Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Gymnastics Class #2

I've let this all sink in for a day before I've finally settled down to write about it. Gymnastics class #2. sigh.

Well for starters, the morning of- Addison didn't really want to eat much breakfast which is usually fine because she hangs out at home most mornings and finds herself an hourly snack if she's hungry. This is my fault for letting a bad habit develop. So yesterday morning we were going to class where she was going to burn energy and she only wanted a couple bites of yogurt. Not enough. (I could fill post after post of Addison's eating issues...let's just say we're doing the best we can in that department)

Then, we dropped Carter off at Grandma's house, and when Addison realized that SHE wasn't getting out to play with Papa and Grandma, she started bawling. She cried the entire distance from their house to the gymnastics center.

When we got to the center, I was paying the nonrefundable registration fee and the cost for the rest of the month while Addison went up to a poor little girl and tried to steal her bagel. We didn't have time to buy her her own bagel (which she wouldn't have eaten anyway...just trust me on this one), but I gave her the granola bar that I brought and tried to get her to eat it. She nibbled at it until she spotted the large room full of "stuff" and then threw the rest of the bar down on the ground and tried to open the doors herself.

I thought that if she had a few minutes to roam around the equipment without being told what to do, she would be more likely to obey during class since she already had some "free play" time. So we went inside and she "explored" for a few minutes on her own and seemed very happy.

Then, the other members of her class arrived and it was time to start. We ended up going to a different room (maybe this set her off? She LOVED the first room where class was held last week), and it was a swift downhill slide from there.

Last week, she would whine and thrash for about thirty seconds and then at least be quiet as she continued to wiggle. Yesterday, her whines turned into squeals which turned into long, continuous screams of "MY MOMMY IS TORTURING ME- HELP!"

I tried to hold her on my lap for the warmup- at first trying to help her do the warmup, and then just settling for trying to get her to just sit quietly (which she DEFINITELY did NOT want to do).

When we did the first obstacle course that included jumping on the trampoline into the pit, she did OK, but once she was out of the pit she didn't want to finish the course. She just wanted to wander off and continue to explore on her own. When I "guided" her to the next station, we were back to the whines turned squeals turned screams. And thrashing. I swear she kicked me in the head a couple of times as I tried to keep her in the right place (yes, she is that flexible to be standing in front of me and still kick me in the head)

We took a couple of time-outs in the bathroom to talk about her behavior and to ask her if she was OK and if she was hungry. She would immediately settle down and didn't sign "eat", so I would take her back to class and set her back down.

I would give her a minute to stand on her own to re-acclimate to the class, but sure enough, every time, she would wander off either into another class's space, into the way of another child in the middle of the obstacle course, or under a high beam or something.

So I would pick her up or try to guide her by holding her hand (or both arms by the elbow) to the right place to be, and she would start whining/squealing/screaming again (and holding up her feet and making herself deadweight when I wanted her to walk in a certain place)

Totally ignoring the rest of her class, she thrashed, she screamed, she turned red in the face and looked VERY upset that I would not let her just wander off and play.

I have NEVER seen her this poorly behaved (of course, she has never been told so specifically where she could and couldn't be). We did finish the class, and I did not give in to what I really wanted to do (pack her up in the car and head home). After firmly holding her (in spite of her kicks and her trying to claw my face off) where she needed to be and whispering encouragement and "NO ADDISON"'s, I THINK I saw a little progress by the end. (maybe that's hopeful thinking)

But we worked on- sitting quietly, following the class to the next activity, waiting her turn, staying with the class, circling around the obstacle course even though we didn't do each motion (I let her do her own thing on most of the objects- the second room we were in made this easier to do which is maybe why she did better in this room?)

I felt like the big bad wolf as I "made" her do these things (and she attacked me as such).

It left me wondering
1. Is she really just not ready? (I wish she would have done this before I paid all the fees)
2. Was she hungry but not signing it?
3. Is the busyness of the room just sending her over the edge?
4. By holding her in place and asking her to "be" certain places, am I asking more of her than she can give?
   .......does she truly understand what I was asking of her and refusing to do it? or was she frustrated that I was holding her back from free play on the cool toys and didn't understand why I wouldn't let her go?

5. Is this the process we need to go through in order to learn these behavioral issues that we've never faced before. Will a few really horrible classes (with me not giving in) help teach her how she's supposed to act in a class environment? (and I'm going for VERY basic behaviors here) Is this her process?
.....Is she acting out like ANY 2 1/2 year old and we just need to work through it by repeated process and hope that it gets better each time?

After the class I told her I loved her and I was sorry that she wasn't happy. She glared at me and went for another kick. sigh.

Next week I think I'm going to have Addison's behavioral therapist meet us there (I already paid for it, so it seems silly not to go at least one more time...I think)......any thoughts???

Just reminding myself of what I'm going for here.....


  1. I believe it's because she is 2 1/2. My first two children would act the same for any if the reasons you listed. I found talking about what we were going to do ahead of time and if possible going a bit early to observe sometimes helped. It's hard when they don't want to eat when you need them too! Praying she gets used to it. It's hard when we've paid and realize its not for them. She may end up loving it though.

  2. I feel your services with Cooper have been exhausting. The best one was the sweet kisses he was giving my face until I realized he was licking my face. Nice! Hope you have clarity ASAP!


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