When I was 3 my parents put me in dance lessons. I was shy just like Claire and Mom was hoping to bring me out of my shell a little. I fell in love with it and it helped me to be more confident in many areas. Unfortunately as I got older it got more expensive and on top of it being a 45 minute drive to the studio (we lived in the country) they wanted me to compete more and farther away. It was just too much with 2 kids in school and sadly I had to quit. Being that I was a dancer and loved it my first plan was to enroll Claire in dance. She shook her booty all the time at home and I thought it might be good for her. When I mentioned dance to her she never seemed overly excited, but not opposed. In Jr High and High School I was a cheerleader and loved it. I never learned to tumble past a cartwheel, but being from a small town tumbling wasn't required to cheer. Tumbling was always something I wished I had done. As I was researching various options for Claire a Groupon for a tumbling/cheer class came up. Being the deal finder I am was intrigued by the amazing price. It was 16 weeks of classes for less than $50! I figured even if she decided she didn't like it at least I wasn't out a registration fee and a whole lot of money and it covered all summer. Still I wanted to give Claire a choice. Once I mentioned learning to flip she was sold.
The first night of practice rolled around and I was so nervous. I really didn't even think she would walk through doors onto the floor without me and by some chance that she actually would go I knew there would be tears. Suddenly the coach came out to gather Claire's group. She had a tight hold of my hand. We had talked quite a bit how it would work and she would have to go without me, but I would be right in the other side watching her. Shockingly she let go of my hand and right as she was about to cross the doorway she started to turn back to me. Just then a young coach grabbed her hand and off she went with no tears! After she went in I just knew she wouldn't participate. She would probably just stand there and look at everyone like they were crazy. To my amazement she not only participated and actually tried, but I saw something in her eyes I had never seen before. She was focused and the eagerness to learn these skills was written all over her face. Looking back I think to myself "she was only 3, she was just a baby, why was I so worried she would stay shy forever"? I think having 2 kids has mellowed me some in that respect. However, I am beyond happy with my decision to enroll her in something when I did.
As the weeks went by so did her excitement to go to class every week. Before I knew it she was practicing at home. Then working on her skills consumed her. She would spend hours trying to figure out stuff even just a basic cartwheel. Then get mad when I told her it was time for bath and bed because she wasn't done yet. She was 3! At the time this didn't really occur to me how young she really was to understand practice and to apply what her coaches were telling her at home by herself. Now that Luke is 3 I can't imagine him doing something like that. To me he is still such a baby. When Claire was 3 Luke was barely 1 and she seemed so much older and more mature to me than she actually was. Don't get me wrong Claire has always been quite mature for her age, but still she was a baby.
Here she was the night of her very first tumbling practice.
The class we initially enrolled her in was 45 minutes of tumbling followed by 30 minutes of cheer. After she participated in tumbling I was still convinced there is no way she would stand there and copy cheer motions. Ha! Little girl proved me wrong again. Not only did she try and do motions she eagerly wanted to go up in the air!
The people and coaches as the original place she started at were so sweet with her. They were a startup business though and were going through a lot of growing pains. The coaches were a little less experienced than I would have liked and the class because of the Groupon had grown to an enormous size. As the weeks wrapped up on the Groupon the gym staff was persuading us to join as a non groupon regular in a smaller class. Offering to waive the first year registration fee. Worth considering however since this was clearly something Claire loved I wanted to explore other options as well and was hoping for a morning class. Little Kids just focus better in the mornings. I already knew where I wanted her to trial a class at. They are known for their strong tumbling program and Allstar program, the gym location is literally out the back out of our neighborhood, and they offered morning classes for preschoolers. 10 minutes into her trial class at Woodlands Elite and I knew without a doubt this was the place for her. The coaches, teaching techniques, and staff sold me immediately. Every coach she has come encountered with has treated her and even me as a parent with the same respect and given encouragement the same as their top athletes. It's amazing to be at a place and know they actually care about your kid and of course as a result Claire would live at the gym if we let her. Last year when she broke her wrist the 7 weeks she couldn't tumble were torture on all of us! Literally the first evening she had her full cast on she was bridging one armed and then I busted her right as she was attempting a 1 armed back walkover. Since then she has mastered a one armed cartwheel, one armed back walkover, and one armed front walkover. I'm fairly certain this is her "insurance" should she ever break an arm again she can still tumble haha.
When I really stop to think everything she has learned in 2 years it's quite amazing. Not just the sport itself, but life skills as well. It is shaping her to be a strong and confident girl. Teaching her the value of hardwork, to ask questions when she needs to (she used to not even ask a question because she was scared) and soon she will learn the value of teamwork and the importance of encouraging others. I've struggled a bit lately since Luke is now the same age Claire was when she started. I stress all the time about him feeling left out because we spend so much time with focusing on Claire's passion. He doesn't seem to mind and rolls with it. We recently enrolled him in swim lessons to give him an activity he would maybe enjoy. He knows his to swim, but needed to learn floating and coming up for air. I'm quickly learning once again how different each child is. He enjoys swimming, but not being told what to do. He is ok not doing anything right now. He doesn't feel mistreated in anyway. He isn't quite as mature in the paying attention and doing what a coach tells you realm. I know 6 months to a year from now he may be completely different and thrive in something, but for the sake of just trying to be equal amongst the kids this just isnt his time yet and he is ok with that. He is happy if I take him to the park and run around awhile. I know his day will come and I'm finally ok with that.