Thursday, 6 October 2011

My Little Gymnast

My daughter, Leyla, is 5 and a half years old. She is tiny, with light brown hair, sparkling black eyes. If i were to define her personality, I would have to stick to sparkling, not only because her eyes are so, bu because she has the gift to make the people in her presence feeling like having had a glass of bubbles.

Until three months ago I thought that my youngest daughter was cute, lovable, cuddly and kind. In the last three months I learned that other descriptions asked to be added. Determined. Hard working. Confident. Smart. Talented. Strong.

It all started with one free gymnastics class in the previous school holidays when having nothing better to do I took both my daughters to. Surprisingly enough it wasn't Leyla, but my oldest that requested to enroll her in a gymnastics class. Leyla just confirmed. And because it was good bonding and gave us something to do in that rainy afternoon, I showed them videos on YouTube about gymnasts from my country. And because there is no better known gymnast then Nadia Comaneci, I showed them the first ever Perfect 10. Without thinking, Leyla announced that she is, not will be, but is, the second Nadia Comaneci.

What do you do when you adopt a New Age philosophy of personal choice and personal responsibility and your 5 year old child tells you that she will equate perfection? Hmmm... I explained to her that millions of girls at her age dreamed to achieve the same result in the last 40 years. I got a very decisive reply that she is the second Nadia. It is not often for my children to leave me speechless, but over the last 3 months it became a habit with my miss Leyla.

And so, all three of us went to the first gymnastics class. Which was good and fun for them. And I got the request of doing it every day.  Which was a bit too much for my taste- I thought that I have better things to do with my time and money- so we settled to three lessons a week. This number 3 seems to keep repeating in this post. Oh well, maybe is magic in that.

However, back to my story, we went back to gymnastics the following day. At the end of the one hour class, the coach comes to me and tells me that is a waste of time and money to have my daughter in that class. Hmm... Considering that it was a beginners class I wasn't to impressed. I mean, it was my time and my money. but before I got the chance to open my mouth he added that he wants her tested for a pre-levels class. Before asking what in the world that meant, I asked about which daughter are we talking. The little one. Ok... All good. Except Yazzy's (my other daughter) tantrum.

Six days later, after the class, Leyla had her first assessment. At the end of it, the coach told me that we are to start pre-levels and see how she handles it considering that Leyla just started gymnastics a week before. So we went from one hour class to two and a half hours. Not only that she managed the class easily and got to stay, but she wasn't even tired.

Like a good mother, knowing how hard it looked, the next morning I offered to give her a massage, thinking that her little muscles must be hurting. It got nicely declined with a very sure : "My muscles are not hurting." What could I say at that?

And so, for the next 9 weeks, twice a week, we went for Leyla's extra long class. Or so I though that it was extra long. She proved to me that she is focused, hard working and takes it seriously. And I found out that my baby is very strong for her age and quite flexible. That was from the coach. From my observations, Leyla knew what she wanted and went for it. Which was something her coach confirmed at the end of 9 weeks after I got to learn the difference between the varied classes.

Colors is beginners. Depending on the age and ability, from that is either Pre-levels, the first advanced class or Stages, or one step up from beginners. From Pre-levels is either Levels (that I kind of figured) or Elite (whatever that was). From Stages is Levels. Both Elite and Levels have numbers from 1 to 10. Except that Elite does not have 9. I think. I also found out that Levels is the national stream and Elite the international one.

Because I have been told that Leyla will be in Pre-levels for about one year, I decided to relax and get used to our new schedule.

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