April 23, 2014

Gymnastics — Inclusive, Fantastic and Elastic!

My daughter's genetic make-up is unusual in many ways and I suspect her DNA also includes a unique elastic gene. The girl lives to flip, jump, roll, climb—basically anything that results in her body leaving the ground for any length of time.

Avery was first introduced to gymnastics by her cousin — it was love at first back bend and we knew we had to sign our little monkey up for a local program.

By "happy-stance" I met Canadian Olympic Gymnast Jessica Tudos on Twitter and she recommended a gym for us. She said it would be a perfect fit. She was right. Though Avery has developmental and physical challenges, Schlegel's Gymnastics Centre is fully inclusive. Avery is just another active kid in a leotard climbing a rope. Can I just say how thrilled this makes me??

Several years ago Avery attended a play gym and because of her special needs she was placed in a program with kids half her age. There was poor Avery out on the mat with toddlers. This didn't do anything to develop her physical or social skills. We quickly pulled her out. 

Schlegel's focuses on each child's individual strengths and needs. It's non-competitive and based on the three Fs: fun, fitness and fundamentals.
In 1998, sisters Elfi and Andrea opened Schlegel's Gymnastics Centre in Oakville, Ontario. Elfi was a member of the Canadian National Team from 1976 to 1985, won two gold medals at the 1978 Commonwealth Games and won Canada's only World Cup gymnastics medal in 1980. Andrea specialized in Rhythmic Gymnastics, representing Canada on the international stage.

Avery has a 90 minute class once a week. It's the highlight of her week; of her young life really. Hearing her shout, "I did it!!" across the gym when she's mastered a new skill is THE BEST.

I grew up doing cartwheels on the lawn and handstands against the wall. I miss my bendy days and wish I'd kept it up. Elfi mentioned a night class for adults interested in getting back to back bends. I must say, I'm intrigued. Though in my aged and atrophied state I fear the cartwheel. A few years ago when I was still teaching, I took a dare from a seven year old student. She challenged me to do a cartwheel. Not one to turn down a challenge, I put down my yogurt and yard duty whistle and did a round off. I wonder if the kids could actually hear the ripping sound that emanated from my inner thighs? Maybe I'll just stick to the log roll because I'm clearly missing the "elastic gene."

Schlegel's Gymnastics Centre: Dedicated to providing recreational gymnastics which promotes the physical, emotional and social development.

April 15, 2014

Can't Think Of A Title For This One...

wrong song lyrics

This post is about nothing and everything. So unless you're Seinfeld, how can you title something like that?

Today as the kids and I went through our morning ritual of listening to Top 100 tunes while dancing around the kitchen making breakfast, feeding the dogs and the guinea pig, chugging coffee (me, not the kids) and making lunches, "Summer" by Calvin Harris came on. (The video is below in case you haven't heard it yet).

After the first verse my son said, "How is that even allowed? Isn't that name calling?"

How was what name calling? The dude is singing about some chick he met in the summer. The only thing offensive is the video. Could those girls' shorts BE any shorter? Either I've become a prude, or I'm just jealous that I used to be able to rock short shorts, but now without sturdy jeans to cradle my cheeks, I'd have to carry my saggy ass behind me in my handbag.

But I digress.

He thought Calvin was singing, "With a midget in the summer."

We laughed as I sang him the actual lyrics. ("I met cha in the summah...") Clearly the kid got his mother's lyric-challengedness. I've been butchering perfectly good songs since the late 1970s.


It's interesting though how something as silly as a misheard song lyric can lead to an earnest discussion.

We talked about the word midget and how like many words, it's morphed into something else.

We talked about labels—specifically how they can both help and harm.

And we talked about how we have the power to choose our words; to wield them like a weapon to attack or to protect. Name calling isn't black and white. Calling someone a silly goose isn't the same as calling them retarded. My son is painfully aware of how that label stings. He chose his words of retaliation carefully. He used his words to gently and intelligently educate his peers about his sister's developmental delay.

Maybe a good title for this post would be, "How My Kids Make My Heart Sing."
But that's just cheesy. Seinfeld would be ashamed.

April 11, 2014

Funny But Not

You know those moments when you're half sobbing, half laughing, mortified but not enough to be blind to the humour of the situation? Of course these simulhumourous events are funnier when they happen to other people. But it seems they happen to me more than the average Joe.


It's funny, but totally not when you drive over the edge of a snowbank, expecting it to be soft and squishy, when in fact it's frozen solid like a block of cement. There's a deafening thunk as your hubcap flies off. When you realize what happened, you must reverse and slink out of your car to retrieve your hubcap, praying silently that your neighbours aren't watching in astonishment at your idiotic driving.

It's funny, but totally not when you're woken up in the middle of the night by the sound of one of your dogs—the one with the sensitive stomach—heaving. He pukes on the floor and then jumps onto your bed making a "more vomit is imminent sound" adjacent to your pillow. In a panic you sit up, grab the convulsing canine attempting to make a run for the tiled bathroom floor. In your haste you don't realize your leg is tangled in the sheets and you lurch, head first off your very high bed. In an effort to save your dog, you rotate mid air, cradling the pup to your chest and take the impact of the hardwood floor fully on your back. The crack as your spine hits the ground awakens your sleeping husband who strains in the dark to make out the source of the wretching (the dog is still trying to barf) and moaning coming from the vicinity of the walk-in closet.

It's funny, but totally not when you step off a curb and misjudge your foot placement because: a) you're a klutz b) you're staring ahead, contemplating how you're going to fit your giant load of stuff you're carrying into the car c) you fall a lot so it's not exactly a surprise. As you go down you know it's going to hurt, but you're powerless to stop it. You feel your ankle twisting. When you hit the ground, your instinct is to jump up before anybody sees you. But you're hurt and can't actually move. You hope any passing cars will do you the favour of swerving around your quivering mound of a body instead of driving over your skull. As you lie there wondering how long it will take for you to actually be able to get up, you marvel at how the winter salt and gravel on the ground it actually quite pretty up close and then you remember that your friend lives only a few houses down from your current resting spot and you imagine how funny it would be if she stepped outside at that particular moment and saw you lying in a heap on her street.

It's funny, but totally not when you brag to your ten year old son that you used to be really sporty as a kid saying, "Of course I can still ride a scooter!" So you commandeer his Razor ride and launch yourself down the street—the street that you never realized is actually quite a slope. As you speed along you revel in your awesomeness until the tiny front wheel (why are they SO small anyway?!) begins to wiggle rather violently and in what seems like slow motion, you crash onto the pavement. And as you lay in the prone position, you feel significantly less awesome and significantly more bruised. 

Finally, it's funny, but totally not funny that most of these incidents end with me injured, lying on the ground...

April 7, 2014


When I declined my son's invitation to go for a bike ride, he asked if I was sick. The fact that I was doubled over, holding my midriff probably gave him that idea.

I wasn't sick. I just wasn't thrilled about mounting my bike. I also wasn't interested in horseback riding, frolicking on the beach in my bathing suit or doing gymnastics, if you catch my drift.

I was a crampy, bloated nightmare. The only thing I was interested in was a heating pad and to be left alone. However, I felt I owed my son an explanation.

He knows all about the birds and the bees. We had that talk ages ago. And though we discussed the whole "menses" topic and gave him a book to read, (It's So amazing!: A Book about Eggs, Sperm, Birth, Babies, and Families) I suspected that my boy needed a little refresher.

And so I explained, in my most mature and matter-of-fact sciency voice about this monthly process. When I was done he said, "I'm SO glad that guys don't have that."

No kidding. You dudes have no idea.

Then he asked, "Does this have to do with PMS? And what does PMS stand for?"

So I explained that too. I wanted him to understand that it's not made up and that for some women, it's a difficult and emotional affliction. And that if his sister or future wife or occasionally his mother goes through it he should be compassionate and mostly, if he wants to survive, he should keep a sense of humour about it because like any storm, it will pass.

So now he knows that when his mum uncharacteristically snaps at his dad for accidentally bumping her arm on his way past and then she sharply reminds him that the dishwasher doesn't unload itself followed by several minutes of her fuming about something you can't quite hear, it's probably PMS. And when your dad hugs her and she starts to cry, apologizing for being a horrible, horrible person and says, "Look away! I'm a menstrosity!" and then starts laughing hysterically, it's definitely PMS.

Anguished Lady Image: Joelstuff V4 via photopin


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