Tuesday, September 16, 2014

What a Difference a Year Makes

I'm sure I've blogged on this topic before. I've probably even used this exact title before. But when you have small children, you are struck again and again by how much they grow and change (and by how much they change YOU) over the course of 12 months.

One year ago, my then just-turned-2-year-old daughter began taking gymnastics classes. And, like her brother before her, she was a trial to her teacher. Even with me by her side, she didn’t listen, she didn’t follow her classmates, she wanted to play on every piece of equipment except the one she was supposed to be playing on. I spent more time chasing her around the gym than actually doing exercises with her.
She did improve over the course of the year, at least to the point where I was able to get her to cooperate by telling her to instead of by physically chasing her around or bodily picking her up and slinging her into line with the other kids. But I couldn’t imagine what it would be like putting her in a class without me by her side after three months of being away from class.

Well, here it is the next fall, and her second week of class without me. I’d be lying if I said she was perfectly behaved. I would be lying if I said she paid attention to her teacher all the time. I’d be lying if I said she wasn’t the least focused child in the class a good bit of the time. But I’d also be lying if I said the improvement wasn’t far above and beyond what I’d ever imagined or even hoped.
She runs right into the warmup circle at the start of class. She sits when she’s told to sit (most of the time), she gets into line with everyone else (some of the time), she waits patiently for her turn (occasionally – although she does at least wait impatiently a good deal of the time), she listens to what her teacher says and tries to do it (almost all of the time).
Well, she's not standing on her dot, but she's in the general vicinity of the circle,
she's not racing around on other equipment, and she seems to be listening to the
teacher. I'd call that a win.

But best of all, she doesn’t think twice about leaving me behind at the top of the stairs when class begins. She doesn’t look up to the windows during class to reassure herself that I’m still there. And although she’s happy to see me at the end of class, it’s not because she’s upset or scared, but because she can’t wait to tell me all about all the exciting things that she just did.

What a difference a year makes. And viva la difference!!

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