A and I were in gym class today, having a blast, when little-miss-independent decided she was going to explore on her own. She even gave me the arm swat when I got too close. Okay, I get it, she is growing up, and at over 1 year she wants to figure it out on her own. I mean I can't blame the little peanut...I was the exact same way!
Anyway...so we were in gym, and A is off exploring, giving me a second to look around at the other kids while keeping an eye on A who is now navigating the cheese wedge. It must have been "trial day" because there were about 3 moms and their kids in class who were definite new-bees. My guess is one of the boys was about 15 months, at least. He was walking well and had a full head of hair. Okay, so the hair reference is probably not a great indicator since A doesn't even have enough hair for a stick-on bow! So the boy, let's call him James, was tentatively walking around the gym space and looking at the different foam shapes, not really going on any of them. When the kids had been exploring for about 20 minutes, our teacher, called them all over to the bars to demonstrate the "skill of the week". How cute is that, A learns a new skill each week :)
So James watches a few kids do it and then it is his turn to push himself up on the bar while the teacher holds him securely. Now, you would have thought a giant, green monster had started to eat his toes with the screams this kid was letting out. I mean full screaming fit with tears. Wow!
I didn't think too much of it however, since some kids are much more timid than A and get upset when they have to try new things...but then it kept happening. When he was trying to do a forward roll, or go down the cheese wedge, or roll a ball, or even catch bubbles. After each episode his mom is getting more frantic and keeps mumbling something.
Alright, I will admit, I am a bit on the inquisitive side, so I made sure before the next activity to be right next to her and James...can you blame me, I just wanted to hear what she was saying? The last activity the kids were learning that day was straddle rolls. The teacher picked up A to use as a demonstrator (I swear A likes her teacher more than me some days!) and rolled away. After A finished her roll and is laughing on the cheese mat, the mom turns to me and asks when we started gym class. I tell her a few months ago, so when A was around 11 months old. She then sighs the saddest little sigh and sais she wished she had started James earlier because he was petrified of new activities, and wouldn't do any of them. He wouldn't play in playgroup, participate in story time, or (as I saw) do anything but cry in gym. Unfortunately, A decided to use that very moment to try out the balance beam, so our conversation was cut short.
I have always put A in programs early, half because I want to have some fun activities to do with her during the day, and half because she is so nosey she loves to people watch. Maybe it has helped shape her into the independent little person she is today, or maybe it is just a great way to tire her out before nap time.
But it made me think....is there ever a too young?