When the recreation department flyer came home in the kids’ school backpacks a couple of weeks ago my progeny was all atwitter with the possibilities. I told them they could sign up for one class each, as long as there was not a conflict in schedule.
It didn’t take them long to choose. Batman, of course, chose karate, and I blogged about his first class last week. Annabelle decided she wanted to do gymnastics, for the simple (and I thought perfectly acceptable) reason that she was intent to master the art of the cart-wheel.
When Annabelle wanted to add karate after watching part of Batman’s first class I was all for it. As I mentioned in my post, I was impressed by the discipline and sheer physicality of the program, and I knew she was going to be bored sitting there twice a week just watching.
What I didn’t think all the way through was what would happen next. Once we got in the car to drive home Batman announced that we was going to take gymnastics with his sister. It was only fair, after all, since she gotten to add karate. Mind you Batman had never seen a gymnastics performance of any kind and certainly had no idea what gymnastics entailed. I mentioned to him that he would probably be the only boy in the class, to which he shrugged and said “So what? I’m used to girls.”
OK then. When I logged onto the rec department website to pay for Annabelle’s karate, I signed Batman up for one month of gymnastics at the same time.
Last night was the first class. Annabelle hurriedly did her homework after school and I told the kids to change clothes. Annabelle put on a tank top and her new yoga pants that I had purchased so she wouldn’t get so many mat burns during karate. Batman dressed himself in a snappy ensemble comprised of a blue hand-me-down ninja turtle shirt and flannel pajama bottoms that ended about two inches above his ankles. I told him he’d probably be more comfortable in shorts, but he dug his heels in and said he was already comfortable, so off we went.
As soon as we walked into the rec room, which coincidentally was the same room used for karate, I had a feeling there might be a problem. Most of the kids were already there, and each and every one of them were girls. There was an abundance of long blonde ponytails, and almost everyone was wearing a leotard. Batman took one look at his classmates and shrank behind me, his dusty cowboy boots kicking me in the back of my legs and he shifted frantically to stay out of the teacher’s sight.
I walked forward and greeted the instructor and told her the kid’s names. Annabelle kicked her flip-flops off and headed straight to the mat. Batman clung to my waist like a drowning swimmer in a lake, and no matter how hard I tried I could not get him to come forward.
The instructor immediately recognized my plight, and I’m sure she was trying to be helpful when she said “If he would feel more comfortable you could change to the 6:15 class. It has four boys in it.” She obviously had mistaken my son’s competitive drive to not let his sister have the privilege of more class time than he for any spark of desire that he might have to actually do gymnastics.
After several minutes of whispered discussion and a few wrestling moves on my part, it was apparent that I was not going to get Batman out on that mat. The little girls all performed a warm up sequence fairly similar to that in karate, and then they lined up to begin practicing maneuvers.
Batman climbed onto a chair in front of me and sat miserably, kicking his boots back and forth and plucking at this camouflage pajamas.
We watched as Annabelle learned move after move, a delighted smile on her face the entire time. The girls laughed and played and danced around. They were all really enjoying themselves.
Batman watched balefully, pulling me forward once to tell me that he had expected to be training on the tall balance beam on the other side of the room, not the tiny one that the coach had dragged out and placed on the karate mat. He didn’t want to do baby gymnastics.
When class was over, the coach gave every girl a sucker. I am quite certain that was the only moment of remorse that Batman had over the demise of his gymnastics career.
When we got in the car to go home Annabelle announced that she LOVED gymnastics and hated karate. I told her that she could stop karate if she wished; just as soon as this month’s lessons were complete. As for Batman’s tuition, well, I guess I’ll just chalk it up to mommy malpractice.