Friday, July 03, 2009

Adventures in summer activities

My first ever children's summer activity season is currently in full swing and I'm not sure who has been getting the wilder ride, me or the girls. Aside from a drawing class that Anna took last summer neither of the girls has ever participated in any organized activities, but this summer I was determined to keep them busy. And what better way to ensure they stay active than by assigning that task to someone else? Here you go Coach, exercise my child for me. I'll be sitting over there by the soda machine with my Crackberry uploading pictures of my kids in their cute little uniforms to Facebook.

My girls and I discussed their interests and I researched our options. After explaining to Anna that there were sadly no whale training courses for four-year-olds in central Ohio we settled on gymnastics, ballet and soccer. We paid the registration fees, bought the supplies (ok we still need soccer shoes but I swear we are getting them tomorrow), signed the releases and pulled our girls off the walls they were climbing in excitement.

The girls were excited for obvious reasons; my reasons were a little more complicated. Lately I've been worried my staying home with the girls has caused them to become overly clingy. Just a few weeks ago Anna called me to come pick her up from an overnight at Grandma's house, something that had never happened before. She can be quite outgoing if I'm nearby but she still stops whatever she's doing several times a day just to come get cuddles from Mommy and often follows me from room to room because in her words, she wants me.

Of course as soon as I start worrying about Anna, Rachel prances in and steals the mommy anxiety show. Sometimes Rachel does such a good job of keeping up with her sister that I forget she's only three. She wants so badly to get out there and do new things, she just wants me to hold her hand while she does it. Literally. While Anna takes to the gym like a fish to water, Rachel clings, she tears up, she goes in to try to participate, sometimes she retreats again, sometimes she actually starts to cry. And I sit there, cheering, encouraging, stifling my occasional urge to roll my eyes or even to scoop her up and leave and try again next season. It doesn't seem to matter how many other kids are doing the same thing, I can't help but worry that my child just isn't ready and it's somehow my fault that she isn't more independent in these situations.

Our third gymnastics session was this afternoon and the whole way there Rachel told me she was going to be brave and let me sit with the other parents behind the glass (as opposed to inside the gym close to whatever equipment she was on at any given moment). She repeated the promise to her instructor once we arrived. When class started though she insisted that I come inside again. I sighed but I went in and spent the first three minutes inching farther and farther away from her and even though she kept sneaking glances back at me, she was also smiling.

Finally I was sitting against the wall by the door and before I knew it she was racing across the gym in the opposite direction and lining up for her next activity. I watched as she climbed, balanced, rolled, swung and even interacted with the other little girls. Anna was sitting next to me waiting for her class to begin and she was just as proud of her sister as I was. At one point Rachel climbed up onto the parallel bars she had refused to touch during her first class and scampered across them as instructed. When she was done she called across the room to me and blew me a kiss. I blew one back at my sweet girl as Anna leaned over and told me "your child is really doing it!"


  1. It is soo much fun to see our kids overcome their fears and "do stuff" !!

    Way to go Rachel! :clapping:

  2. It's so hard to understand their need to be physically in contact with us for so much of the time, Berangere never seems to get enough cuddle time, but then I think of the not so far off day when she won't even want to hold my hand and it makes my heart ache.