Once she started school, we stopped the weekly visits to MyGym and focused on dance instead. About nine months ago, Cubs 3 and 4 started taking a gymnastics class together and they both liked it, however Cub 3 likes basketball much more than gymnastics and she stopped in order to play in the Upward league.
Cub 4 continued with gymnastics and was eventually asked to join a pre-team. This was a group of girls who had potential to compete, but would spend a year learning the basic skills to get ready for it. We had to make a one year commitment to this program. After only three practices with the pre-team, the coaches decided to move her up another level! Still another year-long commitment which includes 8 hours of practice per week, competing against other Level 2 teams around the state, and more dollars flying out of our bank account. SN: Don’t ignore my pleas for your help when we start fundraising soon!
Anyway, I’ve spent many hours at the gym watching girls and boys at all different levels practicing and training for competition season which will begin in November. As you can imagine, there are all types of skill levels jumping, flipping, tumbling, and spinning all over the place! One particular exercise that is closest to the parent observation area is rope climbing. It’s just like the rope you’d find in most gymnasiums that we all had to attempt to climb during fitness tests in PE. The gymnast do it because it’s a great way to build their upper body strength and core. Some of the girls can go up and down the rope multiple times like it’s nothing! Others struggle to get a few inches off of the ground. That’s probably where I would be! Cub 4 used to get about half way up before slowly sliding back down. She was partly afraid of heights and partly a little too weak in the arms to make it to the top. She’d get to her highest point and look through the window at me and that’s when I would give her a thumbs up, a smile, and a silent clap and she was content. Each week she moved a little bit higher than the week before. Then just this week, she made it all the way to the top…TWICE!!
Like with any sport or other activity that involves a performance, there are some hard-core, making-their-kids-cry type of parents in the observation room with me. They tap on the window at their kid. They go into the gym (where parents aren’t allowed) to yell at their kid for not getting to the top, or to confront the coach because they feel the coach is being too hard on their kid. I just cringe at the embarrassment that their kid must feel as their eyes meet the disappointed eyes of the parent behind the glass.
I can’t be totally judgmental of these intense parents as if I always get it right. I’ve made the same faces and have had the same tone when it comes to my cubs’ academic journeys. Cub 1 caught it/catches it the most (one of the negatives of being the first born) and through parenting him, I’ve learned to chill a lot more with stressing over their academic performances. He started hating school and I’m sure I had a lot to do with that. Sometimes, we want our kids to be successful so that WE look good. It’s how we validate our style of parenting. When they are successful, then we feel successful because of their accomplishments. Regardless of our parenting styles, our children will grow up and take whatever they’ve chosen to listen to and head out into the great big world. Cub 1 is SO close to that reality! Just in this past week, he’s taken his senior pictures and we’ve taken two college tours! Time. Slow. Down. Please.
What I’ve discovered is that while I want my cubs to do well in all that they tackle, they are going to fail at some stuff…and it’s okay…and it’s good for them…and I can’t do everything for them…and I can’t want it (whatever it is) more than they do…and parenting is so much more easier these days with my discovery. At least in the academic area. Now, figuring out how to get them to turn off lights, keep their rooms clean, and hang up wet towels will make me even happier!