Tuesday, April 22, 2008

To Move Up - or Stay Put for Now?

So, let me start by being really honest with you - my daughter loves gymnastics and I love that she loves gymnastics! Why do I love that she loves it? Probably because its one of the sports I truly enjoy watching other kids do and I don't mind going to lesson after lesson - I don't find it boring at all and the better they are, the more I enjoy watching. My daughter had her first gymnastics competition last week and while the best part was obviously watching her (especially because out of the 3 previous dance and gymnastic performances she was in, she backed out of two and only did one of them, so regardless of how well or not well she was going to score, it brought tears to my eyes that she simply competed in front of lots of strangers!), I truly loved watching everyone else as well.

I give my mother credit for all the years she shlepped me to my swim team practices and meets as well as my tennis team practices and matches - not to mention my brothers' soccer, football, tennis and wrestling activities. While every mom loves to watch their child - if we are truly honest, some things are just a little more boring to watch then others and while I would love and support any sport my daughter wanted to do, selfishly I'm kinda glad I'm not watching t-ball or softball or soccer as those would be a bit more challening for me to enjoy. And maybe gymnastics doesn't quite float your boat, but I love watching all the kids my daughter does gymnastics with as well as I love watching my daughter.

So the current dilemna is this - my daughter is 5 1/2 and in Level 3 where the other girls range from her age to a year or two older. She loves it and does well and truly enjoys it and some of her closest friends are in that class with her.

Her coach wants my daughter to move up to Level 4 which we tried out tonight. The differences between the two classses was simply amazing - from the workout and conditioning the kids were doing to the skills they were working on to the abilities of the girls. I truly have no doubt that if my daughter wants to get better, she should move into the Level 4 class. But she will be moving from a comfortable environment where she is age appropriate and at the top of her class to a very challenging (mentally and physically) environment where she will be the youngest (her other friend from school who is also in Kindergarten will be moving up with her and she is 6 months older and there is one other 6 year old girl as well but the majority of the girls are anywhere from 3 - 7 years older) and definitely at the bottom of the rung in terms of skills.

I'm pretty torn as I see reasons to stay put and reasons to move her up and perhaps if I felt strongly one way or the other I would gently try and steer my daughter to make the "right" choice. But instead I gave her the decision and its amazing how grown up little Kindergarten girls can be.

After we left to go home, my daughter asked if she is going to stay in Level 4 or go back to Level 3 - appropriately expecting that this was a decision mom was going to make. But I surprised both of us when I told her that the choice was entirely up to her and there was no right or wrong and she can choose whichever one she wants to go to. And I told her the most amazing thing was that after she makes her choice if she feels it was the wrong one, she can change her mind again. I told her that the most important thing was that she loves gymnastics and should have fun and so she should choose whichever class made her happier.

She was quiet for a bit and then told me it was a hard decision to make because she wants to do both - the Level 3 class was easier and she knew more people and she would miss being with her really close friends Amy and Lindsay but that the Level 4 class had lots of big girls that could do really neat things (those girls were actually in Levels 5 & 6, but they practice at the same time in 2 different groups) and they did neater tricks in Level 4. So, she was quiet for another minute and then said. . .

I want to come at the end of Level 3 so I can see Amy & Lindsay, but I want to do the Level 4 class and be with the big girls. I was actually really proud of her decision - never one to forget her friends, but yet she didn't let that hold her back.

So, on the sound and thoughtful advice of my 5 1/2 year old daughter, off we go to newer and bigger challenges - at least until she wakes up and says (as she is always famous for), "Actually, I changed my mind. . .". And that would be okay too. . .

And by the way, in case you were wondering, she did fabulous in her gymastics competition - she got 2nd place! I was so happy for her - but the best part of all was that she did it and loved it!

No comments: