Caroline just finished her 8th month of gymnastics! It seems like yesterday when we were at our first day of gymnastics. This was her first experience having to follow instruction in a class setting, and she had a hard time the first week. The second class came around, however, and she rocked it! She listened so well and did her best at each of the activities. It was so amazing to see and I even teared up (silly mama)! She was the youngest in the class, and she just wasn't physically able to do some of the activities yet. But she always tried. Since then, she's simply continued to impress me every single day.
While I always knew Caroline was athletic and strong for her age (she jumped and got air when she was around 19/20 months old), this class has really brought it out in her and I'm always amazed at what she's capable of. She's still the youngest in the class, but there's nothing she can't do at this point.
Rings/bar: Caroline's core muscles just astound me. From pretty early on in the class, she was able to hold onto the rings and the bar for quite some time while holding her legs up. She's also able to touch her toes to the bar all on her own.
Bear crawl: This is an activity that took Caroline awhile to master. They have to crawl across a ladder that's placed horizontally across two chairs. Their feet go on the rungs and their hands hold onto the outside of the ladder. Around October (she was 23 months old), she was suddenly able to do this with ease. I no longer even had to spot her!
Tummy pull: For this activity, they have to lay on their bellies and pull themselves across a board. Sometimes the board is flat, and sometimes it is slightly inclined. Caroline now has the strength to pull herself all the way across the board even when it's inclined!
Balance beam: Finally, she let me let go! It took going to an open gym night with Daddy in tow. He got her to do it all on her own. She's been capable for awhile now, but she finally took the step to do it!
Somersaults: Caroline started out doing amazing at these. I would say after the first session of gymnastics, she had this down and did perfectly straight forward rolls. She's gotten a bit lazy with these and does them kind of sideways now. LOL
Tumble track: The tumble track is a long trampoline. They do all sorts of exercises on this: regular jumping, feet going open close, high knees, backwards jumping, and side to side jumping. Today they even did backwards open close! Caroline simply ran (more like sprinted) down the trampoline for the first full session of gymnastics! LOL! I couldn't get her to stop and jump for the life of me. She was simply too excited. Now she does it all, and really excels with doing open-close, open-close. She has a little trouble going backwards the entire way, but I have no doubt she'll have mastered that soon enough!
Rope: Today for the first time ever....she held on to the rope to swing back and forth a couple of times. She usually just lets go immediately!
Trampoline: When they get to do the second trampoline time, they do individual practice and wait on the other children in the class. Caroline is really taking her time with this now and listening to her coach. I used to have to remind her what to do, but she now makes eye contact and listens to the coach all on her own. She knows when she does something correctly, or if she needs to "try again". She states "I will try that again" before she's even told! She's really able to do a lot on the trampoline now, and I've loved watching her grow in this area.
Aside from all of the amazing athletic skills she's learning, she's also learned so much about social settings and things like how to focus and try her best. She's an excellent listener, and she's really gotten to practice and show me how much she's learned. She waits patiently, helps other children clean up when it's time, moves onto the next station without hesitation, listens to her coach, and tries every activity.
Overcoming fears: Caroline notices every single little detail about every single little thing. I wrote about this in her 26th month update- she had a little gymnastics setback. She was terrified of a ripped cover that is on one of the balance beams. So terrified she wouldn't participate in ANY of the gymnastics activities for a couple of weeks. It was to the point that I was out of ideas. I had tried ignoring it, letting her go look at it and touch it, empathizing, having her help to "fix" the issue, bribing, and more. I was at a loss and thinking that we might need to take a break from gymnastics (even though that broke my heart to even think about, since she loves it so much). She powered through. She overcame her fear all on her own. My last efforts were to remind her of our rules for gymnastics (that we decided way back before her 2nd ever class), and to excite her again with a leotard. I have no idea if either of those things helped, or if she just decided to move on. She now talks about the cover that she is scared of, and I can see the fear come over her, but she lets it go. She powers through and has a good time.
Caroline is so strong- physically, mentally, and emotionally. This class has helped bring that out in her. I am so thankful she's found a sport that she loves so much. We'll continue with gymnastics until the day she decides it's not for her (if that day ever comes). I love seeing her so happy, and love to watch her excel so much.
More posts of interest:
First Day of Gymnastics (oh the struggles)
Second Day of Gymnastics (our rules)
26th Month Update (gymnastics struggles)
Check out Hill's Gymnastics if you are local and want to join in on the fun!
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