The first day of gymnastics or, why growing pains suck

Moments before class started. Excitement!

Moments before class started. Excitement!

It was only this past weekend when I purchased a Living Social deal for 4 gymnastics class at one of the gyms here in town for T. He’s been asking about gymnastics for a long time, and I was glad to be able to finally give him the chance to check it out to decide if it’s something he wants to do on a regular basis.

It’s all he’s been talking about. Thursday meant gymnastics. He’s also signed up for a second year of T-ball, but that paled in comparison to starting gymnastics. He was over the moon excited.

And then he woke up at 4 on Thursday morning with an intense pain somewhere in his leg. He was vague, and his exhaustion from waking up early meant he was much whinier than he would have been had he been well-rested. I massaged his leg until it was time to roll out of bed and get ready for the day. He dressed himself while in bed, and then he went to walk and he just kind of crumpled to the ground. It hurt too much. He couldn’t walk. He cried and cried. I was frustrated, believing the pain to be imaginary or exaggerated. So I carried him into the car and got him to school.

I called the teacher halfway through the day to ask about him, and she said he had mentioned his pain (which was now located in his knee). She said she noticed him limping occasionally, but then he would be running around the playground. She couldn’t tell what was going on, but she would keep an eye on him.

When I picked him up from school, he was limping but able to walk. He said he was excited about gymnastics, and that he would totally be able to do it. So we went.

Registration was quick and easy, and the woman I spoke with was very friendly. T talked to her, asking questions about his teacher and what they’d be doing.

The sitting room (viewing room?) was stuffed with parental types watching their gymnasts of various ages through a giant window. I found a seat and talked T through what would happen. I explained that I wouldn’t be in the gym with him, but I would be watching him. He looked a little worried, but he said that was alright. The crowd and mayhem that took place between classes was enough to make him anxious. I could see it in his eyes. But he kept telling me he was alright with it.

When it came time for his class to start, he joined the other boys. This class was made up of boys ages 6 “and up”. Which meant there was one boy there that looked about 12. T was the smallest, and – apparently – the only new one.

Watching through the glass, I couldn’t tell exactly what was going on, but T looked like he was keeping himself away from the other boys. The teacher didn’t look like he was trying to involve him, but I’m not trying to make any assumptions based on that. Watching someone through a window without sound makes it hard to know what’s really going on. They were doing lots of jogging and jumping, and T was at the end of the line and taking longer than the others.

He looked small and helpless. I wanted to rush in there and tell him that he didn’t have to keep going if his knee was hurting. I wanted to be able to hear how the teacher was interacting with his students. I wanted more information, but I kept myself in my seat and continued to watch as my little monster looked more and more out of place.

He finally decided he’d had enough. He came out to the room with the parents and started crying. I took him aside and he said it was just that his knee hurt. I asked if he wanted to try again the next week and he nodded, telling me he just wanted to go home. I spoke with one of the friendly women at the front and she told me we could come back the following Thursday, and they just wouldn’t count this one towards our 4 sessions.

On the drive home, T told me he felt the teacher was mean because he made him go to the back of the line. Which, I mean, he was the last to enter the room, so where else in the line would he go? He didn’t like the tone of the guy’s voice. The other boys gave him a “not nice” look when he was slower than the rest of them. I was right; he did feel out of place.

Instead of putting him in the same class, I’ve opted to start him off in the next class down. This class has just 5 year olds, and a few 6 year olds. It’s a smaller group of kids, and the woman agreed that it might be easier to start him there. He can move up to the other class when he feels comfortable.

At this point, I’m pretty positive that the knee pain might be growing pains. There’s really no other explanation, since they started so suddenly in the middle of the night after a day of normal activity. Hopefully the pain will subside over the next few days, and he’ll be ready to try again next Thursday.

At this point, we’re back home and he ate dinner while resting on the couch. He’s walking around the house, but slowly. He’s still excited about trying gymnastics next week, and seems almost relieved that he won’t be with the older boys. No lasting harm, and I’m glad the people at the gymnastics place are so understanding.

They should be. I’m sure they deal with this sort of thing all the time.

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