Mother Goose played on the stereo while little birds balanced […]
Mother Goose played on the stereo while little birds balanced on beams, chased bubbles, and perfected the parent-assisted somersault. Welcome to The Little Gym! It was Max’s first day at the local baby gym, and he joined 17 other ‘birds’—the term used for 10- to 18-month-old babes—as they cruised, crawled and toddled around a gym that looked like something Prince George and Princess Charlotte might own in Buckingham.
Shoes off and socks on ‘cause that’s the rule, the class began with parachute games on the mat. Lily, Noah and Carson giggled and grinned as the parachute went up-up-up and then down-down-down, and I held Max’s hand as he took in the toys, the babes, the music and the balls. Sounds like fun, right? Maybe on day three or four of class, but day one brought sensory-overload and a monsoon of tears.
I can’t imagine a more perfect place for exploring babies (padded everything and games galore). Avery, Oliver and Ben toddled around like bitty rulers of the happiest place on earth. Max, however, burst into tears before the instructor could finish introducing him as the new kid.
Max wanted outta the baby gym like I want outta Nordstrom on Black Friday. (To clarify that analogy: Nordy would be heaven if everyone else would go home and nap while I shopped. Could I have the store to myself while I try on this top and those jeans? Then get it all for 50 percent off? Thanks so much!)
Max looked impressed with the gym, but all the littles running and twirling and playing—17 of them with their parents makes 34 people total—made the place a bit (errr a lot) overwhelming. ‘The wheels on the bus go round and round,” played on the speakers as I tried to reason with Max:
“Honey? I understand that unfamiliar environments are intimidating, but I want you to be brave and try something new.”
“NO WAY MAMA! HOLD ME CLOSE FOREVVVER!”
My boy’s 32-pound body clung to mine for an entire hour, and so this mama got a solid workout at the baby gym. The two of us left feeling both physically and mentally exhausted.
I needed a bit of calm after the gym, but getting Max into his car seat was another battle: He arched his back and filled my SUV with high-pitched cries. For me, it quickly became was one of those ‘I’m-too-exhausted-to-do-this’ moments, and so I chimed in with my own ‘when-does-it-get-easier’ tears. What to do, what to do? I took a deep breath and called my mom.
My mom suggested giving Max a bottle and holding his hand while I chatted with her, and so I parked the car and did just that. Mama talked about her own trying experiences with me, offered a few motherhood jokes and eventually got me chatting happily about what we were both reading. It took 45-minutes parked outside the baby gym to get everyone calm, but, thanks to my mom, we arrived home feeling somewhat normal.
My mother-in-law came to visit later that day, and she quickly assessed how much we (me and max) needed some R&R. And now? We’re all taking care of each other: I just finished rocking Max, she’s doing laundry for me, and my husband, her son, is bringing home chocolate ice cream for all of us.
I’m still learning how to support my son when he’s scared, challenged, and/or intimidated, and I’m ever-so-grateful for family members who support me as I figure it all out. Mom? Jane? Your love and support means the world to me. Thank you, mamas.