Friday, March 1, 2013

Brady the Gymnast

Brady has been rambunctious since day 1 and we're always looking for activities where he can burn off some of that energy.  He went to Gymboree classes from 3-23 months and that was all about developing gross motor skills.  We had tried a gymnastics class when he was about 18 months, but he was still at the point where following directions wasn't his strong suit and I decided it was best if we waited a while before trying again.  After we got home from Germany, I was itching to get him back into activities.  He was getting to the upper age limit at Gymboree, so I decided gymnastics was worth a second try.  I signed him up for an 8 week class, meeting once a week for 45 minutes each session.

The first week was really rough.  He saw all of the equipment and other kids and wanted to go wild.  It was so stressful, I was starting to regret signing him up at all.  The second class went better, but then the third was just like the first again.  By the fourth class, he was listening again, but I had to be very clear that if he started to act out, I would take him out of the room until he was ready to listen again.  There were still a few times when we'd have to sit down and wait a few minutes before resuming the exercises again.

He was in a class with two and three year olds and they were doing all the things that gymnast do.  They did a stretching section at the beginning, then we did 15 minutes at different areas.  Sometimes it was floor work, beam, bars, and even vault (not with a real vault, but with a spring board onto a foam pad).  He was eager to do headstands and could easily hold up his body weight.  He was amazingly good at bars and could get his body all the way over.

His age level required parent participation and it was very physically taxing on me, especially being pregnant.  There were many times where I needed to sit down for fear of passing out in the warm gym.  He was doing very well by the end of the first session, so I decided to sign him up for the second fall session that would take us all the way to Christmas.  Andy had taken off the day before Christmas break, so he was able to come with us to Brady's last class.  At the last class of the session, it's ribbon day, and they get to do some fun things in addition to their normal circuit.

Climbing up the rock wall (not a normal activity).  He was eager and quick to get to the top.  Some kids were too scared to even try.

Over the top to slide down the other side.

He is holding himself on the bar, while walking up the wall, then he gets his feet over so he does a complete flip over the bar.

Holding himself up on the parallel bars.

One of the special activities was getting to play in the foam pit.  This is where gymnasts practice dismounts and vaults before trying to land them on a harder surface.

Since it was ribbon week, the kids got to walk up to the podium at the end, get their stickers and ribbons for completing the class.

He was a little too excited about the candy cane to look at the camera with his ribbon.  He really loved the classes and every now and then will start saying "nastics" and doing some of his moves.  Just the other day, he said to me, "Mommy go in the car, drive to nastics." He hasn't been to a class in over two months and still thinks about it.  This center doesn't do child only classes until 4 years old, but I know there's a center in Farmington Hills (where we used to live in MI) that does them at 3, so I might sign him up there in the fall.

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