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Get Your Jump On

Open gym is OPEN.

To badly paraphrase Browning, “The lark’s on the wing,
the snail’s on his thorn, open gym’s open, all’s
right with the world.”

Yep, Cora and I cracked that bad boy open like a rotten nut
crumbling under a sledgehammer yesterday. Cora has had her leotard
picked out for THREE WEEKS, waiting with breathless anticipation
for those doors to unlock and summer break to be OVER. And it
finally, officially is.

Of course, all of this anticipation had to
be downplayed around Maddie, who is distinctly unhappy at the
demise of her Open Gym days. Sure, she was in preschool last year,
but I took her out one day just so she could go to open gym, and
that’s sort of frowned upon once you hit real school. Plus,
five years old is the age limit, so Maddie’s aging out this
year anyway. So as you can imagine, I had a sullen, jealous
five-year-old on my hands whenever Cora tried on her First Day
leotard, though to be fair Maddie tried hard to be happy for Cora.

But as soon as Maddie was dropped at school Wednesday morning, Cora
and I were doing a happy dance around the house. And a couple
endless hours later, we were busting that door down.

Cora strode right in there and took ownership of the place. She
marched to the fish tank – “Hiya, fish, you’re
still there! Good job!” – before claiming a chair and
stripping off her cover-up. As we walked onto the gym floor, she
inhaled deeply, eyes closing briefly, before gazing around her in
serene satisfaction. She was Alexander-the-Great-like in her survey
of her empire, deliberating over the entire space before –
what else – heading for the trampolines.

Keep in mind that the first time Cora went to open gym, she was
eight months old and I wore her in the Bjorn the whole time. Now my
child is one of the “big kids” at the place, moving
confidently over the apparatus, following all the rules, and
“tsk”ing when some newbie runs the wrong way on the
long trampoline. My kid OWNS the place. And it’s weird to
think that though my child has finally come into her own here,
completely out from under Maddie’s shadow, this is in all
likelihood her final year at the gym herself, preschool being
mandatory in my household when you’re four. Ach, my baby.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Yesterday, Cora was
excellent, sharing the trampoline without complaint, waiting
patiently in line, even helping younger kids onto equipment. We
played all our favorite games, running all over the space, crawling
through tunnels, chasing and hiding. We had a fantastic time. And
at the end of open gym, as the time came to shut it down, Cora left
uncomplainingly, astonishingly prompt in her obedience, before
tumbling in contented exhaustion into her car seat.

It’s going to be a great year.


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