Tuesday, April 29, 2008


Lauren has always been a strong child. Physically strong. Not freakishly strong, but stronger-than-average. Mostly I've always thought she was in a fat hurry to catch up to her brother, but I don't think that anymore as her physical abilities are her own and not a mimicry of him. Unless you're talking about Pokemon, and then it's completely about mimicking him. He's into it = she's into it. Down to every last detail. But that's another story for another time.

Lauren has been taking gymnastics since preschool began for her this past fall. Just one 45 minute class each week, immediately after her preschool ends (her preschool is located within the same building as a competitive gymnastics and cheer facility and they give discounts to preschool families. Love that! Very symbiotic.) Anyway, Lauren really liked gymnastics and seemed to have a natural aptitude for it. She's strong and fearless, and takes direction/correction well. And once she figured out the hand/feet correlation for a proper cartwheel, well, there was no stopping her. And then, some gymnastic competition in connection somehow with the road to the Olympics was on TV a month or so ago and Lauren was hooked. She watched, mesmerized by the gymnasts and convinced she could do what they were doing (until she saw them doing flips on the balance beam and conceded she couldn't do that yet - but soon!). And ever since, she's been turned on by gymnastics even more, expressing to me that she wants to be "just like the girls on TV!". She told her gymnastics teacher all about it, and started focusing even more during class, trying harder and determined to improve. She's 4.

But her natural determination and physical abilities have paid off because her gymnastics teacher asked the head teacher at the facility to come watch Lauren and evaluate whether she could move up into her teacher-approved class. She "passed" and was approved for this instructor-approved class. She was the only kid in her class to be promoted so far.

Her new class was yesterday and she was so excited! She kept saying she couldn't wait for her harder class and she was so proud of herself for getting in. Again, she's 4! She has a definite goal in mind and the ambition to pursue it. She melded into this new class as if she had been part of it from the start. It wasn't as "hard" as I thought it might be and the class actually did a lot of the same stuff her previous class had been doing, but the kids doing it were just better at it. But even though these kids had been in this more advanced class longer than Lauren, the new girl, she kept up with them. In fact, she had the best cartwheel in the bunch! And could do a better pencil-hang, too. I even saw Lauren execute a nearly perfect handstand - until she couldn't hold herself perfectly upright and flopped over. Hopefully it won't be long until she can learn to cover that error and turn it into a walkover or something. And yes, I'm totally bragging on my kid. I'm proud of her! She was giddy when the class was over and had so much fun. I checked in with the new teacher and she said Lauren had fit right in. Lauren heard that and just beamed, and told several people later in the day how happy she was that she "fit in" without giving said people further context about what she meant. It was pretty funny to hear her.

I think if she keeps up her enthusiasm and her teachers/coaches agree, we might need to consider adding additional classes for her this summer. Start giving her more time to practice, learn, and improve. And maybe, just maybe, someday you'll be watching my little gymnast on TV when she ends up "just like those girls" she saw back when she was only 4 years old. A future Olympic gymnast? Why not?!

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