Tumbling Class

November 7, 2013 at 8:41 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Today was the first day of Liam’s tumbling class at the Y. We’ve been talking it up all week, and he’s been asking about it every day. Finally the morning arrived, and Liam was in high spirits when we arrived a little early. We watched through the window as the smaller kids finished up their class. Another mom and her little girl joined us, and we got to talking about how attached our little ones are to us. She expressed concerns about her daughter, who was only three. I wondered if perhaps her daughter would cling to her side just as Liam usually does with me. Perhaps I’d see another little introvert in action, and for once I wouldn’t be the only mom who’s child vehemently refused to participate.

One can dream, right?

The class was extremely small, four little girls and Liam. One girl was only two and a half. The rest were three – I’d signed Liam up for the younger class because he’s so small for his age. The teacher remarked that all but one were new students. So she expected some trepidation and chaos. No worries. She called the kids over to sit in a circle to start class. And, of course, Liam refused. All the other little girls, even the two and a half year old, are gamely following along with the teacher, and I’m on the sidelines doing my usual song and dance, “Doesn’t that look fun? Look, they’re all stretching! Can you put your arms up? How about we walk over there together.” And Liam is not having it. Just clinging to me, and, no, he would not like to join the group.

At one point I picked him up and walked over there with him, all the while him screaming and carrying on. We sat down and he instantly ran away. I stayed put, but that just made him whine louder. So back to the stands we went. Sigh.

The girls all lined up to try balancing and summersaults. The teacher called over to Liam. Did he want to join now? No way, Jose. So we watched as the girls crab crawled over two elevated beams, did a summersault on a ramp, and balanced on a single beam. Kind of impressive, actually. I’m not sure Liam would even try that. I’m glad I didn’t sign him up for the 4-5 year old class.

Finally I told him if he didn’t try the next activity, we weren’t going to be coming back again. He was eyeing the trampoline, and the teacher told him if he tried the balance beam, he’d get a chance to jump. Finally, after watching the girls try the beam, I got him to walk over there and give it a try. He held my hand on the first go, then held the teacher’s hand as he walked backwards once, then did “ninja kicks” (or princess walks, as the girls called them). Then he got to bounce on the trampoline. He finally seemed to be enjoying himself. Then the teacher said we’d be ending class in the circle. And Liam, oh Liam, parked himself about 20 feet away. That’s as close to the group as he was going to get, thankyouverymuch. Sigh.


As frustrating as it is for me as an extroverted mom to have an introverted child, I am seeing some kernels of hope here. At age two, Liam patently refused to participate in baby yoga. At age three, it took him five or six sessions before he’d participate in his music and art class. But I think at age four, now that’s he’s taken so well to preschool, he’ll only need a class or two before he’ll give this tumbling thing a real try. After class I took him to lunch and I asked him why he wouldn’t participate today. And he told me he didn’t know what the directions were, so he wanted to watch first. He also wanted to know the teacher’s name, which I’d forgotten to ask. So there’s hope that in the next class, or maybe in the one after that, he’ll get comfortable enough with the routine to get up there and give it a try. Preferably without me standing there like a dope holding his hand while all the other parents get to sit and watch.

I’ve oftentimes questioned why I even bother doing this, signing Liam up for classes and activities when he always behaves this way. Perhaps if I were more like-minded, more introverted, we’d just stay home all the time. But the everydayness of stay-at-home momdom easily gets stale for me. I find myself pouring over catalogs from the Rec Center and the YMCA and Exploration Place, circling the preschoolers activity at the science museum, the story time at the public library, Breakfast with Santa, preschooler’s game day, swim lessons, tumbling. And rarely doing any of it because I know my kid and how he’ll behave. And it’s not that he’s being a bad kid, and I’m trying very hard not to make him feel like he’s at fault for feeling the way he does. But I see these kids learning new skills and having such a great time, and I want that for my own kid. I want him to see and do and learn things I can’t teach him. But I’m trying my best to understand that Liam needs time to warm up to new situations. It’s hard not to compare him to all the other kids who readily jump in and follow along with the group. And, frankly, it’s embarrassing to have the only kid who won’t pose for the group photo on the fire station field trip or stand in the circle at tumbling class or sing with the other kids in the Halloween parade. But I know someday I’ll look back and laugh at what a peculiar little kid I’m raising. And Liam will look back and wonder why his mom always made him do all these things he didn’t want to do. It’s for your own good, kiddo. Trust me. 


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