Before I start this story, you need a bit of background to it. Before Jaimee was diagnosed with Hip
Dysplasia, she loved doing tumbling tots (a preschool gymnastics class) every week. At 3, this was the highlight of her week, and she was great at it - she balanced on the beam without looking at her feet, arms held out perfectly. She hung upside down on the rings for ages, straight as a pencil. She jumped off the high squabs with ease (we were all amazed that her hips could withstand all this without pain after we found out they were completely out of their sockets!), and we were all gutted when she had to stop for her surgery, 5 months in full body cast and then her long recovery road.
In February last year, Jaimee was given the nod by her surgeon to continue life as normal. Her hips were healing so well, he felt confident to leave her next check up until 2013. YAY! Jaimee had been itching to get back to gymnastics, so we popped her name on the (loooonnngggg) waiting list and waited.
Today we finally were asked to come along to an open day at Hastings Gymnastics Club so that the coaches could get to see her in action and she could have a go. Jaimee, Kate and I were very excited about this..I never did any extra-curricula activity (besides swimming lessons) as a child/youth. Well, I did have one short horrid ballet experience at 5, resulting in mum pulling me out because the teacher was horrible and yelled at me. As I got older, books kept me happy enough as well as looking after all the little kids in my neighbourhood!
Anyway, back to Jaimee. She loved it, and had a go at everything. I ran into a mum there with her daughter that I used to teach as a baby, and was able to ask her lots of questions, as they had been doing gymnastics for a year already. Her daughter had been invited to do competitions, and I asked about what this involved. "It's pretty intense - 2 hours once or twice a week, sometimes up to 4 times a week during comp session" My eyebrow shot up, and I timidly asked about the expense "Yeah, its kind of expensive, there are fees for the term plus the competition entry fees, the costumes, the trips to Gisborne....". Ok, well that is that. My daughter will not be doing competitive gymnastics. She can still get badges and progress in the 'kiwi gym' class, that will be enough for her. I never did any sports or anything, and I turned out OK. She doesn't need all that stuff. I guess I have no prior knowledge to go on in this area, and one of the reasons that I am nervous about Kate wanting to do dance when she turns 5 is because I know that there are intense practices and costumes at production time. SO not excited about this idea of so much practice, for goodness sake, let kids be kids!
About 5 minutes after this conversation, one of the coaches walked over to me after watching Jaimee on the beam. "Ok, so I think your daughter has a real natural gymnastics skill, we could really make something of her. I need the head coach to look at her, but I think we may have something here" he said with a very serious face. Okay. All previous thoughts were reduced to muck as I listened to this coach tell me how talented my daughter was. There is nothing so wonderful for a parent as having other adults see the potential in your child. It almost totally squashed my hesitations with one bit of praise. How pathetic is that?!
Although every ounce of my proud-mother-state now wanted to agree with him to enroll her for 'pre-competition' classes right away (2 hours instead of the 1 hour, more skill focused class), I swallowed my desire to scream "YES, sign her up for the Olympics right now" and tried to be sensible. I explained that she has limited hip rotation, that I have just quit one of my jobs and that I was not sure we wanted to do competitive gym just yet.
|The head coach works with Jaimee|
But I admit, as a parent, it was a bit of a pride buzz to see the coaches give Jaimee so much attention and get excited about working with her! We all like to think our children have skill somewhere, but it is so fun to hear other adult (and those who don't even know her) agree with you for a change! So I decided we can just take it one step at a time and see what happens, and as long as Jaimee is having fun it is all good. Yes, I know, I am so weak!
|Foam pit fun with Seth and Ella|
Of course, at the end of the morning, the most fun that the kids had was getting swallowed up by the foam cubes in the foam pit that surrounds the tramp! They loved jumping in, lots of giggles with their friends Seth and Ella were had in the pit! I had to pull Jaimee out at one point, she got stuck up to her armpits and couldn't get out. Hehehe. Kids will be kids!
It was so much fun, Anne-Marie (Ella's mum) and I both agreed that we secretly wished we could enroll and relive our childhood gymnastic dreams!