Yesterday I took Mr S to his appointment at the optician. As we walked down the street, there was a small gap in the shoppers walking by. Without saying a word, Mr S broke into a short run, before throwing himself into a roundoff. With a small smile, he waited for me, and then continued to walk alongside me as if nothing had happened. That’s nothing unusual in my family- both Mr S and Mr F will cartwheel, roundoff, or drop down into splits at any opportunity.
They see any open space as an ideal place to have a go at perfecting their gymnastics skills, so days out in the countryside are filled with cartwheeling and other tumbling. Walking on their hands instead of their feet down supermarket aisles is also pretty standard stuff for us.
While I may outwardly grumble and complain about them ‘embarrassing me’ in public (ok, I definitely *do* grumble and complain about it!) I secretly love that they can’t stop themselves from doing gymnastics wherever they happen to be. I always see it as a sign that they really are passionate about their sport- and if they’re happy, then I’m happy!
I know it’s not just my children that do this, though. Other gymnastics parents I know, both online and in real life, say that their gymnasts are just the same. There have been many times I’ve dropped my boys off at a training session and had to dodge a cartwheeling child in the corridor. At most competitions I’ve ever been to, a group of siblings who aren’t competing that day can be found huddled in a corner somewhere, happily showing off their skills to each other.
When my younger sister was a gymnast, my dad even invented a word to describe the way she constantly turned herself upside down, or bent herself into crazily flexible poses- he would tell us “she’s gymnasticating again!” It seems that little gymnasts just can’t help themselves.
But although I can be a little bit embarrassed by the antics of Mr F and Mr S at times, it also makes me incredibly proud of their abilities. When we go to a park and tiny Mr S shoots to the top of a large climbing frame without hesitation, or Mr F climbs up the fireman’s pole and then circles up on the top of it, other parents will often rush to grab them, thinking they’re in danger; but will then give them an admiring grin and tell them (or me) that they’re ‘really great!’ And don’t all parents love to hear someone else telling them that their kids are great at something?
What do your gymnasts get up to when they’re out and about? Let me know in the comments!