For those of you who know me or who have met me, you would know that I’m not an overly spiritual man and is not really a follower of any particular religion. I am baptized, had my communion and was married in a the Lutheran church, and my lovely Queen is from the Catholic wing of the Christian belief.
It also shouldn’t surprise you that I support and attempt to participate in most activities that our kids have “volunteered” for, in order to get the social interaction, learn new skills, grow the personality – generally most school and sport related activities.
Given our son hasn’t mastered his verbalization yet, we are constantly looking for ways to encourage his speech development. I can’t really take credit for finding many (if any) activities, as my wife is the true hardcore skills tracker. I’m obviously over the moon with her tenacious and at times scary enthusiasm, but most activities she has found to date have been of great benefit to our son.
He has come a long way since we moved to the US and the variety of development opportunities available to him are endless. It all depends on how far you are willing to drive and how much you are willing to pay of course; some activities are supported by the health insurance and many are not!
Thankfully a lot of these activities are also free the first time, so not a huge financial impact on the family budget. There are a few obvious reasons as to why these venues offer trials;
- it gives parents a chance to evaluate the activity and at the same time gauge if it’s right for our son, before investing in a 10 week program
- it’s a great opportunity for the provider to “sell” and push their solution on parents. We are suckers for getting as much support for our kids as possible, so these venues are milking us … and some time it’s worthwhile.
Recently my wife signed our son up for yet another free trial, which I for some reason had to go to. Not that I mind going, I’m just a little apprehensive of making a fool of myself in public such as if we have to run fast, catch a ball or sing with our kids. But, I gave it a go … and OMG that session was an eye opener.
My son and my youngest warrior (my three-year old) daughter arrived at the location with only seconds to spare before the trial session kicked off. We were greeted by some very enthusiastic receptionists, who quickly gave us our personal file for the afternoon and directed us to the personal wellness space.
The instructor smiled to us and gave us the Namaste greeting and ordered us to remove shoes + socks!! This is one of my phobias as I’m always dreading showing my toes in public, mainly because they remind you of an alien and also because they might smell!
Oh well, the sacrifices we do for our kids 🙂
My worst fears had been realized, it was a child/parent yoga session, to help kids relax.
I’m not a yoga man either and find it difficult to take it seriously, but I was there and had to participate. Thankfully it was a short session, but we started with breathing exercises and hugging our child.
My son was clearly amused by the session and saw it as an opportunity to start wrestling me, and as a result he started to wrestle my arm and headbutting me.
As I tried to stop the battle, one of the instructors placed her hand about an inch over my head while breathing calmly. However, this set off something deep inside me that was difficult to contain, so I calmly burst into laughter while hiding my face in my son’s back – much to the amusement of my son who thought I was tickling him.
Suddenly another instructor pulled out two awful looking hand-puppets, that looked like something that had been around for decades and had suffered the decay of time. The colors and faces on these dolls reminded me of Chucky’s victims, and probably scared the kids rather than calm them down. And, it got worse when she tried to pretend to talk through the dolls, which completely freaked me out.
What really cracked me up was when the instructor told parents to hug their kids again, and this time breath at the same pace – breathing in the same rhythm while uttering “oooommm – oooommmm – oooommmm“. That in itself reminded me of Ace Ventura Pet Detective and I could hardly contain my laughter erupting inside me and dug my face into my son’s back again while laughing.
Thankfully the trial session was only 20 minutes, so before we knew it had ended and we were allowed to put our socks back on. As we headed towards the car, my son uttered a few words “terrible” and “ice“, and then he burst into a huge smile 🙂 he obviously had a great time too. LOL