The Most Precocious Gymnast


Every day throughout the week Destroy would find the opportunity to burst into the room, inquiring if it was time to go to gymnastics. Until it was time to go, of course.


One diaper change and four sandal swaps and we headed out the door anyway. When we got to the rec center, Destroy calmly employed his trump card stall tactic. “Mommy, I have to go potty.”

I parried. “Well, then you’ll just need to use the big boy potty.” Completely throwing me off my game, he acquiesced. We marched into the women’s restroom prepared to disrobe.

Now. If you thought doing circus contortions so as to not touch anything during a clothing change of your own was difficult, let me introduce to you the fatal combination of public restroom and toddler. Everyone and everything is getting boiled or burned after this.

Destroy was divested of his shoes, pants and diaper, (yes, diaper – because kid refused to wear his pull-ups) and precariously placed backwards upon the cootie commode. “I’m doing it!” he exclaimed gleefully.

I was very proud of my boy, but rather preoccupied with using sanitizing baby wipes to gather our things and escape the stall. We exited – well, I opened the door and Destroy strutted out like a preening peacock toward the sink. (He gets very excited about hand washing. I am okay with this.)

Amid cries of, “There’s a boy in the girls potty room!” from the female contingent of gymnastical tiny tots, Destroy sprinted to his teacher. “Coach, I go potty! Now I do gymnastics.”

Whatever it takes.

This week’s play theme was “Where the Wild Things Are.” I love this book (notsomuch the movie, though.) Still, I was nervous. There was maybe a 75/25 chance of participation no-go at this point.

Last class involved an animal theme. His coach requested the tots crawl under an arc and through the tunnel – pretending that a bear was chasing them. It did not go well. The result was a class-canceling meltdown of epic proportions as though this imaginary bear was Satan come to steal his soul.

Grizzly Wild Thing

Turns out – Wild Things? Totally acceptable. Because they involve chasing a spinning hula-hoop. All right then.

Climbing across a horizontal ladder and leaping up onto the pommel horse followed (pommel is his favorite skill). Destroy got a little over excited and began embracing his improvisational skills. Flying leaps, impressive crash landings and accidentally joining another class ensued. Albeit with a smile instead of hysterical tears… (Seriously – how are their not more major injuries?)

As the Wild Thing within emerged, I grabbed him on his next attempted fly-by flailing and told him to put on his listening ears. He immediately stuck his fingers in his ears. I *think* this means he’s showing me listening ears. He could also be ignoring me with style. (Look who’s good at imaginative play now.)

Let’s just get this part out of the way – no, I am not above bribing my child. So I reminded him that if he was a good boy, we’d take a stroll over to see the fire trucks after class (there is a station next to the park).

Suddenly homeboy was HUSTLING. He was aiming to complete the course in double time – classmates in the way be damned! In his urgency, Destroy body checked the little girl in front of her. It was an accident, and she’s just as rubberized as my little one, but still – an apology was necessary.

So he reached out and petted her. Coach was a bit confused, but this is his sign for sorry (much to my chagrin). He refuses to say the actual words. But he did his petting and he did seem legitimately concerned (mostly because it really was an inadvertent slide tackle).

All the parents cooed about how adorable Destroy’s repentance was enacted. Laugh now fathers. Because my son petting your daughters isn’t going to be so cute as he grows older.

Ten minutes before class ends, runs over and announces, “I’m all done. No more gymnastics.”

I believe this was a premeditated protest over the lack of trampoline time. The true draw of the supervised rubber room known as preschool gymnastics is the trampoline – where small peoples can launch themselves skyward like a human Wacky WallWalker.

At class’ conclusion, Destroy declared, “I did it! I went potty. I need a candy. Now we go see the fire trucks.”

Certainly can’t fault the kid on his follow through.

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