Please don’t mind your own business

This pic was taken by Little T who has shown a growing interest in photography.

I’ve been taking Little T to this gymnastic class held at our gym for close to 2 years now.  He rarely complains about going, and when watching him run around in circles and complete the gymnastic routine (which includes swinging on a rope, climbing up a ramp and jumping off, bouncing on a trampoline etc.) he always wears a smile.

So, I was a bit taken back this pas t Wednesday when another mother, who has recently helped out with the class, pulled me aside and said that she doesn’t think Little T enjoys coming to the class and that I should consider enrolling him in something else. 

Not knowing how to respond, and as his class was about to start, I politely thanked her for the information and went to work out.  While on the elliptical trainer my thoughts went the full range from “It was thoughtful that she was honest with me” to “How dare she tell me that my son isn’t enjoying something.  I’m his mother and I should know best!”

Then of course I started to second guess myself that maybe Little T wasn’t really enjoying it anymore and maybe I was routinely taking him with the satisfaction that he was doing something good for his body.  I haven’t asked him if he still enjoys going.  I just assumed, based on what I saw while watching, that he does.  At least with all these thoughts tornadoing through my head, I burned a lot of calories!

I felt a little awkward having to again face the judgmental mother, which changed to a feeling of defensiveness when and she informed me that once again Little T didn’t seem to have much interest in the class and spent half of it off to the side (he later told me that he hurt himself and didn’t want to play after that).  With a slightly shrilled voice, I responded that I make a point to watch him do the class on a regular basis, and just last week both hubby and I watched and agreed that he seemed to really enjoy it.  Besides, the class was supposed to be offered for kids up to age 7!

Her response was that she thinks Little T may be just bored with the routine, as he tries to do the equipment as challenging as possible (like walking up the slide structure backwards).  And, lately there have been more younger kids participating in the class that also seem to annoy him, and today there were a few older kids that seem to intimate him.  She asked if I was familiar with other gymnastic type programs in the same city that offer a lot more challenging structures – I wasn’t! In fact, she was sure there was a program offered in the village where we lived.

On the way home, I asked Little T if he liked going to exercise.  He responded with a “No. It’s too easy.” So, the next day I began researching other gymnastic programs, and sure enough found one within walking distance that offers the class on the same day.  Hubby and I took him together to check it out. On the way into the gym, Little T clung to me like a frightened bird. The teacher allowed us to stay to watch, but explained that normally parents are asked to leave.  Inside the gym was a room filled with boys Little T’s age, and two from his Kindergarten!  This seemed to alleviate some of his fear, as he bravely joined the other boys sitting down waiting for the class to begin.

The hour was filled with lots of running, sliding on tummies, standing on one foot, climbing up ladders, jumping off horses, swinging on ropes and tumbling down mat made hills.  A perfect venue for boys who need somewhere to exhaust all their pent up energy. If you have a boy, you know what I mean.   Even while waiting in line, these boys would jump up and down, or hit each other, or scream at the top of their lungs. Little T mastered it all, and wore a big smile.  It appeared to be an ideal class for him.

The experience made me realize that as a parent, we should remain open to other parent’s suggestions or observations as it is impossible to know everything about your child. I realized that that mother who approached me this week was likely uncomfortable, but she did it out of concern for Little T.  And for that, I am grateful.

After the class, Little T came running up to Hubby and I and said (in his cute 5yrish little voice):

“I don’t like this class.  I like the other exercise class bettohr!”


3 thoughts on “Please don’t mind your own business

  1. Oh, isn’t that just typical. It does sound like he would be happier in the new class though.
    Just a note, I’m not sure if you have heard but Stan’s Dad, Steve Mance, passed away this past Thursday from a two year battle with cancer. I’m not sure if you have ever met him but I wanted you to be kept in the loop.
    xoxoxo Susanne


  2. Thank you for letting me know about Stan’s dad, Susanne. My mom had also mentioned it to me on Saturday. My thoughts are with Stan, Christine, Eric, Alexander, and Victoria during this very sad time.


  3. You know what they say… it takes a community to raise a child. Parents should be open to suggestions… we don’t know it all and sometimes it takes fresh eyes to see there is a problem. I also have always appreciated when another adult will talk to my boys directly when they are doing something wrong or unsafe.


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