Stella enjoyed her first Gymboree class ever today. By letting her go until 15 months without being enrolled in a “structured program”, I let her become a delinquent, apparently. Well I’m making amends! Not really. Stella’s just incredibly active and we were getting bored. I thought it would be perfect for her.
She just turned 15 months old yesterday. But mainly because she’s been walking for so long and is so good at balancing and climbing and other physical feats, I took her to a class for 16- to 22-month-olds, rather than the one for 10- to 16-month-olds. The woman at the front desk told me they were pretty flexible with the age ranges of the classes, which made me feel more confident about it. We arrived a couple minutes late and I was flustered and wondering if we should even be there, but the staff really put me at ease.
Stella watched solemnly from my lap for much of the time. Two teachers went above and beyond to assure me that it’s totally normal for kids that age who are new to the program to simply watch the others at first. Stella definitely stood back. She seemed awed, fascinated and, while not at all upset, a little nervous. She did explore a bit. She walked up some plank that you are supposed to crawl up. She jumped off a platform, went to town on a giant rocking horse contraption, slid down the slide, kept throwing two balls overhand at the same time with one in each hand (with impressive form, a small thing but I so appreciated it), and approached a couple of kids in a friendly manner.
I was reminded again today, in looking at the slightly older toddlers, how lean Stella is. She’s just as tall as they are, but appears small because she’s so thin. Perhaps that’s why she already seems like such an athlete. After all, her triceps are more defined than mine! (Okay, that’s not saying much.) While her eating has received way too much attention, I’m starting to believe that her build has less to do with intake and more to do with her insane activity level. I was reminded today that her leanness serves her well. Stella climbed up on a teeter-totter, with seats on both ends and bars across the middle. She climbed up onto it, unfazed by its rocking motion, and sat right the middle with her skinny legs stuck through the slats, arms outstretched and holding the side of the teeter-totter behind her, moving side to side. The teacher said she’d never seen anyone use it that way before. What a trailblazer!
At the very end of the class, as Jimbo the puppet said his goodbyes to everyone, Stella got up from my lap, ran away on her tippy toes and pointed at Jimbo. She was finally comfortable, and it was time to go. Of course. I had to peel her off of the rocking horse.
This could be the beginning of a lot of gym time for Stella, and I am prepared to be alternately dazzled and supportive.