Olympic Dreams, Fading Fast

I have never wanted to be one of those moms who schedules her kid to death (I think we all know parents like that). So we try to stick with one activity at a time. She's only two so anything we sign up for at this stage is really just for fun. I do think it's very important that she learns how to swim, so we'll tackle that when she's a little older (she took a "Daddy and Me" swim class with P when she was six months old).

For the last six months she has been taking a developmental gymnastics class at The Little Gym. They have all sorts of fun equipment and A has a blast running around and jumping on stuff. P and I have been taking turns attending the class with her. Each week there has been a new skill to learn and practice.

Here's the thing, though: she didn't learn any of them. She runs around and she runs her mouth and that's about the size of it. I told P that I'm pretty sure we'd better keep contributing to the kid's college fund because I don't think there is an athletic scholarship in her future.

When you adopt a child the old "nature vs nurture" debate takes on a whole new meaning. I look at A and think, "How is she like me? How is she different?" She's clumsy like me. She's incredibly brilliant like me. She has a good sense of humor like me. On the other hand, I'm hoping she'll have some talents that she never could have gotten from me through genetics. She loves to sing and I think she may turn out to be pretty good at it. She's outgoing and friendly, which I envy. And she's so pretty that sometimes I am almost overwhelmed when I look at her.

Another trait I've noticed about A is that she doesn't do something until she already knows she can do it. She never practiced walking. She was a little later than average but at 14 1/2 months she just got up and started walking one day. She didn't bother with all the clinging-to-furniture stuff that other kids do. Likewise, I think she just doesn't want to take any risks in her gymnastics class. I'm pretty sure she was the only kid in the class who didn't learn how to do a forward roll on her own. She also didn't learn the monkey jump, donkey kick, or how to land on two feet when she jumps. Not only did she not learn any of the maneuvers on the bar, she refused to hang on the bar for even one second.

Her favorite part of class was when they would bring out a bin of balls for playtime. Instead of kicking and throwing the balls, though, A would usually just hoard them.

Saturday was the last day of class. They had a "medal ceremony" where each kid got up on a podium and received a medal. For the rest of the day the kid talked about her "necklace."

Six months and a fair amount of money later, we have a happy kid who can't do a forward roll but who had a blast nonetheless. I noticed that some of the other kids in class were practically mute but could do flips around the bar. My kid speaks in complete sentences and talks non-stop for all of her waking hours, but still trips over her own feet. My beautiful girl may not be the next Nadia Comaneci but I can't help but think she is going to do something amazing.


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