Little Man had his first trampoline class today.
This was his first big boy class where I didn't participate with him. We have done a few other classes where we both participated, but not many. I'm not really one to force him to participate in something he doesn't want to , and he hasn't shown any interest in anything before, so other than family music classes and a mom and tot gym class, we haven't done much structured activity in his four years of life.
So today was a big step.
He loves to jump on our small exercise trampoline (isn't like we use it for anything anyway) so when I asked him if he would like to go to classes where they will teach him different tricks and jumps he was very excited about it. I took him with me when we signed up, showed him where it would be, went to watch one class before the start of our own classes, all to prepare him and get him excited about it.
Well, D-Day was today and he was a bit confused as to how he felt this morning. He was really wrestling with the fact that he wanted to go play on these massive trampolines and the fact that he knew it would be just him and I'd be in the waiting area.
I should note that the waiting area is fully visible from the gymnastics area, and the trampolines are right in front of it. There is a half wall with windows on top so we can watch if we want. So while it is separation, it isn't total isolation.
Well, we got there and the nerves kicked in and when it was time to go through the door to the mats, Little Man freaked out. There isn't a nicer way to describe it. I have NEVER seen him react that way to anything.
He screamed at the top of his lungs.
He tried to hit me.
He was shaking with either fear or anger or both.
Luckily, the teacher there was an angel sent from heaven because she took him, told me to close the door and motored him through, all the while letting him hold her hand and giving him frequent hugs. An angel I tell you.
He cried for about the first 20 or 25 minutes, and then she told me to sit on the bench just inside the door so he could see me better, I gave him a quick nose wipe and pep talk and when he went back he was calm, but still holding on to Suzi, the instructor, for dear life.
And then he did it.
He jumped on the trampoline, holding her hand at first, and then on his own. And his eyes just lit up. He was totally in love. Especially when they moved on to the running trampoline (not sure what that thing is called but it is long and narrow and the kids hop like bunnies across it and then tumble and flip off the end on to some big smooshy mats).
Finally, class was over (I say finally because by little lady spent the whole time saying ME TOOOOO and I was a little tired of hearing it) and Little Man, well, he just hadn't had enough yet. That's what happens when you cry for 25 minutes.
So we'll see how next week goes. I really wish they had two classes a week so there wasn't so much time between, but we'll see what happens.
One thing I really wasn't prepared for was my reaction. I knew there would be problems, that there would be tears, but I honestly didn't ever expect that behaviour. I have never seen him try and hit someone and scream like that. And while I wouldn't say I felt guilty (he's four, I really feel it is time for him to start separating from me, even though it breaks my heart), I did feel so bad for him because he was really scared.
And I will also admit that I was fighting tears for the first half of the class because of his tears. And then I was fighting tears right at the end because he was so very proud of himself and so excited about how he did. Basically, I was a mess right there with him, just not that he could see. I was all smiles and encouragement when he looked over. I know that as parents, we need to encourage children to leave their comfort zones and step in to the unknown. I know that this experience, in the long run, is good for him. And I know that this will help him get over other fears and anxiety he has. But still, all I wanted to do was scoop him up and make it all better. I can't help that reaction, I'm his mommy.
The thing that gets me now is that he doesn't want to talk about it. At. All. He stops me from talking about it when I mention it to my husband, he didn't want to share his news with his Oma, he doesn't want to talk or think about it at all. Which I will respect, but I do hope he is just processing and that he starts to talk about it in a few days, because I am really proud of the way he pulled it together and participated at the end.
And I hope, dear heavens, I hope, that next week goes just a wee bit smoother than this week did.