Tumbling Toward Bribery


I cried in gymnastics class. Just a little, but I hadn’t expected a tumbling class for kids who still do the pee-pee dance to make me feel like such a failure as a parent.

I’ll back up. For a while now, Sally and I have been going what we are now referring to as the “baby” gymnastics class. This is a class for 24- to 30-month-olds. Their tiny little butts bulge from diapers, they tumble around like carefree Gumby dolls, and when they all line up, Sally can use their heads as armrests.

Sally is a more than a year older than these kids. When she jumps of the foam steps to swing from a parallel bar, her feet drag on the ground. She’s always been a bit more on the…intellectual side, though, so this class was a legitimate challenge at first. But she needs to move on. Plus, and perhaps more importantly, this class requires the parent to participate with the child, and if I have to Army-crawl across across a room one more time I’m going to cry. Again.

So we go to the “big girl” class. Where parents do not have to walk like crabs but rather watch the kids, which is what lazy, aging, overweight parents are supposed to do, damn it. I digress. Class starts, and the teacher–who knows Sally is a freakazoid cautious child–grabs her by the wrist and drags her around the circle where the other children are happily jogging. Sally explodes into tears as she dangles from the teacher’s grasp and I begin to wonder if she might decide to chew her own arm off rather than be subjected to this immersion torture. They sit down to stretch and the Mr. and I beam too-big smiles while giving a rousing thumbs up. No dice. She wrangles away from the teacher and makes a mad dash past the normal children to bury her head in my lap.

We spend the next 10 minutes trying to convince, bribe, even physically push her out onto the blue mats with not a sliver of success. Then I just sit, watching other people’s children bear crawl, which is not as interesting as you might think, and my eyes well up because I am now sure I’ll have to go on her honeymoon with her so that she won’t be afraid. “That’s it! We’re going. You’re obviously a baby and can’t do this.” And like a lunatic, I drag her, crying now about leaving, past the parents and outside. Mr. Embee is steeling himself for the duel-female sobfest he is about to endure.

Normal parents might have stopped there. We are not normal. We decided we would go back every week and make her watch class until she realized how much fun she was missing and conquered her insane separation anxiety.

Oh, and I decided to bribe her.

The deal: Do class like a big girl, and Mommy will paint your nails. No seriously, this is a WAY big-girl reward. The child has wanted her nails painted since she could speak, which was roughly two weeks before birth, and I’ve never let her. “Do you have blue nail polish?” “No but you can pick any of the colors I do have.” SOLD.

Watching Sally start Class No. 2 might as well have been watching her jump out of a plane. She was scared to death, but…[close eyes, run blindly in style of Braveheart] FOR LOVE OF NAIL POLISH!!!! And she was in.

Further proof a manicure can solve any problem.

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6 responses to “Tumbling Toward Bribery

  1. Everyone has their price, good job Mom! 🙂

  2. Yay for Sally! I hope she starts to feel more comfortable. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wished that Rider was old enough to bribe like that!

  3. I always did think that a manicure solved problems. Now I have proof!

    Auntie Carol is very proud too!

  4. LOVE IT THIS IS SO MIA

  5. I just have to say…that is an awesome title for this post!

  6. Just found your blog and as a mommy to an almost 2 year old daughter, I’m sure to be reading you faithfully from now on. Hilarious!

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