A few years back, Marie age 4 had started taking taekwondo lessons and loved it. However, life took us in such a direction that she had to stop after about 3 weeks. She used to love it. I still have her kimono, costume, uniform, whatever it's called, stored somewhere. Last year, I considered the question of her doing 'something' again for the whole of about 5 minutes after realizing that, realistically, it wouldn't happen. I was working full time and Marie used to go to a creche for afterschool care. I used to finish work at 18h00 and it would be 18h30 by the time I got home. So it would have been very unpractical to have to take her out for some activity after that, what with baths and dinners and bedtimes. Saturday is not an option either as she takes a trip up to 'Noodleland' as she calls it.
As you know from a previous post, I like sport and have grown up doing one sport or another. And I want my girls to do so too. So this year, as I was on maternity leave to be extended into redundancy (as off friday coming, but I'll get back to this in another post), I decided it was the perfect time for her to join 'something', anything. I talked to some mums at the school gate (not my favourite activity I have to say, they all look like they've known each other for years) and found out that some of Marie's friends were joining Hip Hop on a Monday from 6 to 7 at the local community centre. So off we went to enroll her. It didn't start well. The times that were printed on the flyer were wrong. It was from 6.30pm to 7.30 pm, a slight adjustement that we could live with but still, I and, above all, Mr Foodie found that quite unprofessional and unorganised. But Marie was delighted to take part in an activity with 4 of her all times best friends from school. Then, a couple of weeks later, some kind of misunderstanding between the community centre and the highly organized (*cough cough*) dance people lead to a change of venue and another change of times. So it was now taking place at the local GAA club between 7 and 8pm. The room used for the lesson included a fully stocked bar (in case they got thirsty I suppose) and was furnished like a pub. But she enjoyed it so we still went along. By then, 3 of her best friends from school had dropped out. Then came the Christmas holidays and the 'Big Freeze' and a phone call informing us that they were trying to change the time and place of the lessons yet again and that they would keep us updated in the next week or so. That was 6 weeks ago and not a word since. So I resigned myself that Marie would not do anything until next september as I didn't want her to join something mid year and feel like she was behind.
That was until 2 weeks ago, when I came across a flyer advertising cheerleading lessons starting soon. So I brought the flyer home to discuss the option with Mr Foodie. Now, when we think cheerleading, we think High School Musical, american football, skimpy outfits and jumping up and down waving pompoms etc. Mr Foodie was particularly not enthusiastic about it, claiming that this was not the US, that it was not a sport (sparking quite the debate on what was a sport or not), and that it wouldn't be something that she could keep up. I agree with him on all points bar one: it is not a sport. After researching cheerleading (well, watching Glee mostly but still a bit of Googleing too), it so happens that it is a sport and a growing one in Ireland too. So after much debate, we decided that she would go to cheerleading classes if only for the next 10 weeks so that she does 'something'.
I brought her there yesterday and she loved it. She even made a new friend. She learned how to do a hand stand, a cartwheel and a pyramid. She also perfected her tumbles. Parents were invited to come in at the end so that the kids could show us the pyramid and there is something quite scary about seeing your child on all fours, with another girl on her back and a third one standing on top! She thoroughly enjoyed it. The location is a proper aerobic classroom in a local sports hall (5 minutes walk from our house) with the appropriate mats. The registration was very well organized with forms to fill in and even computer generated name labels for the children. They haven't got their pompoms yet as they have to earn them by working hard. And there are also rules that none of the acrobatics should be done at home. Marie even remembered the teacher's name (when she could never remember her dance teacher's name before). I peeped in at the end of the lesson and Marie looked like she was doing quite a good job (better than Hip Hop anyway).
And writing this post, I just realized something that I had forgotten, buried somewhere in the back of my brain. I used to do baton twirling when I was younger. I started at age 2 until I was 6. My grand father was involved in it and he was training the local team. And he used to take me along. I still have the baton in France. Call that a blast from the past!!!
So what do you think? Would you enroll your children in an activity just for the sake of doing 'something'? Even if that activity is filled with negative stereotypes?