Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Gymnastics Class and Helicopters

We've been meaning to get Dada into a gymnastics program for a while, recognizing her strength, fearlessnes, and love of being upside down, but had been waiting for the fall programs to start. Well I finally got it together enough this weekend to go visit a couple of studios near us and arrange trial classes. Last night we went to The Little Gym (a franchise that is ubiquitous) to try their "Super Beast" class for kids between 18 months and three years. The Little Gym specializes in gymnastics for little kids.

Dada loved it. The class is mostly just undirected play on the equipment with some basic "follow the leader" kind of warm up exercises but it was still a lot of fun. They have mats everywhere and parallel bars and balance beams and whatnot. I would have liked a little bit more directed activity but I do understand that these are two-year olds who don't always take direction.

Dada did not want to leave, with cries of "more. More jim-agtics class. More".

On Thursday we will try a class at a more serious gymnastics facility, the Star Center Gymnastics and Dance studio and see how it compares to The Little Gym and then make a decision about which one to use. Julie seems to be a little concerned about the cheerleading activities at Star Center, but I say we can't protect our child from such things forever so we might as well address it head on. I think I have this fantasy that the instructors there will immediately recognize Dada as a prodigy and accellerate her training. This despite the fact that I know that Dada will be too big to ever actually compete as a gymnast. This is just about helping her develop her general physical abilities and confidence. [But at the class last night she did demonstrate the ability to kick a ball hard and straight so maybe there's a future in soccer....]

I'm working really hard not to be one of those "we got us one a' them genius Chinese babies" parents but I'm really starting to wonder. Remember that Dada is just over 2 1/2 years old. According to the What to Expect Toddler Years your child "may even be able to build a tower of 7 blocks". Given that, here's what happened on Saturday when Dada and I were playing with her legos (Duplos, which are halfway between the giant toddler legos and the regular legos):

At her request I had made her a helicopter, which consisted of a straight body with a stack of two blocks that then had four flat blocks representing the rotors. I had not bothered to do anything to represent the tail rotor. Dada looked at it and said "it needs a tail", grabbed a square block and deftly put it at the end of the body where the tail rotor would go. I sat there on the floor in rather stunned amazement as I realized that this indicated not only a clear ability to abstract from individual helicopters to the idea of helicopters to a stylized representation of them but the ability to then conceptualize and execute on that stylization (within the limits of her manual dexterity, which is sufficient to add a block to a complex lego structure). I can't help but come to the conclusion that the child is advanced.


At 10:54 AM, Anonymous Nei Nei said...

Indeed she is advanced! (Of course, all my grandchildren are advanced.) In this case, I believe she gets her engineering skills not only from her biological heritage but also from her father, who was similarly advanced at the same age. Her grandpa George is especially proud of her model-building abilities, which maybe she got from him?? Anyway, this grandma sure is excited about visiting Dada in September...

At 7:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It certainly does sound like you have a smart one! I administer developmental screenings for children 4 - 60 months so I'm not just saying this. I can always send you a copy of the 30 month old screening so you have tangible proof and not just parental pride!


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