Last week saw another major milestone for Arthur as we bid farewell to his baby gymnastics class: from this Friday he’ll be with the toddlers taking his skills to another level.
We’ve been going to Fun 4 Baby at Torbay Olympic Gymnastics Club since Arthur was only eight weeks old. I remember his first class well – it was the first group we’d been to together, and by the end he was so exhausted from all the excitement that he fell asleep.
In those early weeks, we focused a lot on getting him to enjoy tummy time. He hated it when we did it at home: would scream from the moment I put him on his front until I rescued him (usually about ten seconds later…). But at baby gym his coach, Mark, propped him up so he could look around, and gradually he got used to the idea.
Arthur loved the sensory area when he was tiny too: the different shaped mirrors that would distort the reflection of the baby he didn’t realise was him yet, and especially the mirror ball which mesmerised him with its sparkle of scattered light.
More than anything else though, Arthur loved the flying duck. A baby bouncer suspended from the rings to double as a swing, he would squeal with delight whenever we put him in it. Since his language and mobility skills have developed he’s toddled over himself, pointing and saying ‘Bird! Bird!’ and only ever reluctantly giving it up for someone else to have a go when his turn was over. The last few times he’s flown in the duck the difficulty of getting him out has been compounded by him being just too big! A sure sign that it’s time to move on…
We’ve really enjoyed baby gym – Arthur’s loved the freedom it’s given him as he’s grown and developed so much, and for me with a childhood spent doing gymnastics and trampolining it’s been great to be back in that environment again. Although there is a basic structure to the sessions, and some clear activities for the children to engage in, I’ve loved that it’s essentially been baby-led – so I’ve been able to watch Arthur grow in confidence and curiosity, branching out and trying new things, and often surprising himself (and me) with what he can do.
I think now though he’s definitely ready for the next level, where there will be more instructions, more challenging equipment and lots more skills to learn. He’s already practising his forward rolls which Mark started teaching him last week: several times I’ve found him in his cot in a downward dog position with his bottom in the air and head tucked under rocking gently and trying to work out how to turn himself over. So whilst it’s farewell to Fun 4 Baby I know there’s going to be lots more fun for both of us as the parent and toddler sessions help him learn and develop even more!