Denai is doing gymnastics for the first time. She is the smallest in her class by a full head and probably the youngest, too, though not by much. She’s just a tiny thing. Always has been.
I think she takes after her daddy who grew up stick-thin. At least, that’s what Mr. Sexy tells me. I didn’t know him when he was young. I wasn’t even born yet. (See how I throw in those old-man jokes haha)
The fact that Denai is the tiniest in her class makes watching her jump and roll and balance that much more fun. Oh, yes, let’s not forget that tongue of hers. Her tongue is a sign of concentration and I have come to know it’s an endeared trait from Mr. Sexy’s side of the family. Yes, Mr. Sexy himself has been known to ponder, or work hard to fix a problem, all the while his tongue barely crosses the threshhold of his lips. Like I said, it’s an endearing trait – one that I make fun of from time to time.
Although Denai is the youngest in her gymnastics class, she is able to be independent and capable. Now, she is always the last to run to her spot due to her shorter legs. She isn’t nearly as good at the balance beam or walking across the floor keeping one paper plate to the ground with one foot. But, she is able to dress and undress herself before and after class.
Denai picked up on the routine of things very quickly. She has been using the same cubby to store her clothes and shoes since her first day. And it’s the first thing she does. She takes all the extra clothes, and one by one, each gets shoved into “her” cubby. She even allows me to put her hair up now. That has been fun.
After class is over, the upstairs waiting area is full of people. Parents, kids getting ready for the next class, kids finishing with their teachers after class, and other kids who have to be there with their parents. I, for one, find it a stressful time. So I just sit back, watch and wait. I watch Denai wander around for a minute, a little dazed by the excitement. Her adrenaline is racing after all. Then she focuses on that cubby of hers and, one by one, pulls each piece out and attempts to put it back on. I say attempt because sometimes she doesn’t get it quite right. Just the other day she was sprawled on the floor in her angst because she couldn’t get her boot on. Socks would have helped that problem.
While Denai attempts (and often succeeds) in dressing herself surrounded by swirling adults and children, I have noticed that just about every other parent is off their seat and going for that cubby hole. Maybe they are always in a hurry with an appointment to get off too. Or maybe they just don’t want to wait. Maybe it’s an unspoken rule that parents get their kids dressed and out the door as soon as possible. If so, well, I fail. That’s just not me. I love watching Denai figure herself out in that mess. Every once in a while I give her a bit of direction. But then she’s off. Doing her groovy thing.
Sometimes, when I’m the only parent watching my kid get dressed, I feel embarrassed. Like I should be doing something. But why? Because everyone else is? No way. I don’t change my parenting style just because the surplus of parents around me behave differently. I would be doing a disservice to myself and to my kids.