After careful consideration Milo decided not to renew his contract at our local Gymbaroo at the conclusion of last season. The team there had little promise, a losing culture and no sign of the ‘rebuild’ that the GM promised us when Milo first penned his contract. Pinky and Lord Varys do not a rebuild make.
So with looming cap space increases in summer 2016/2017 Milo signed a one year deal at a rival centre across town, betting on himself for a three year max contract during Free Agency in 2017, with a player option for a fourth. The journey for our Gymbaroo futures began today.
Overfloweth with nervous energy Milo was up before 0600; but with mum’s coaxing stayed in bed another half hour, eventually rising with the Wattlebirds around 0630. With the assistance of Baby Einstein, Milo feasted heartily on Weetbix and some sort of banana/ mango concoction. This manoeuvre is now known in our home as the ‘Einstein Breakfast’.
Not entirely sure what to expect from this new Gymbaroo team, culture and environment our warm-up was disjointed. I hung Milo upside down for a few minutes while singing a song about bus-drivers, I built a makeshift tower out of cushions and the cats’ blanket and then rolled Milo down it singing about mountain streams, I massaged his feet with the spiky plastic ball thing that reportedly improves the efficiency of the drier while repeating the word ‘foot’ over and over again in German… “fuss”, I let him play briefly with a maraca then held a card up to his face for less than half a second with the word ‘maraca’ written on it, I helped him pour all of his toys out onto the carpet then encouraged him to pick them up one by one, placing them into a laundry basket while reciting the chemical composition of household bleach. That was all I could think of. Milo looked confused and tired so I took him to bed.
Alas he slept less than 45 minutes, so much on his mind. It was now only 1015 and we didn’t need to leave until 1140. I tried to give Milo some leisure time with the cats and then offered him an eclectic lunch to get his mind in free-form; omelette, peas, bread, creamy chicken puree. He ate lazily but he seemed distracted. He did two nervous poos between 1015 and 1140.
Finally it was time to leave. We chose a gender neutral outfit of hot pink tights, a blue long sleeve t-shirt with arrows on it and his favourite Petit Bateau blue stripey hoodie which makes him look like a fashionable wizard. In the interests of hydration I filled up Milo’s sippy cup for him so he could administer water as required (Milo is far more comfortable with his bottle which requires parental intervention). Changing the hydration routine on game day, amateur hour.
Milo reclined comfortably in his car seat while I tried to remain calm for him, glancing casually at my google map as I navigated our way through unknown suburbs. I did not notice that Milo had allowed his sippy cup to fall out of his grasp and into the groove of his seat.
We arrived and made our way upstairs to the waiting area. We were a little early so I let Milo out of his pram to cut around on the floor for a few minutes. It was at this moment I noticed that Milo’s hot pink tights were quite wet in a very suspect area. Fortunately we were alone in the waiting room so our reputation could yet be salvaged. I quickly scooped him up and took him into the male changerooms for an inspection; one advantage of being the only male parent at such things is I can always have the pick of the stalls, or however much floor space I require. As expected we were not disturbed and I was able to execute a seamless nappy change. To my surprise I discovered his nappy was completely dry, and the moisture on his trousers was water. Arrrgh! The sippy cup! As I admonished myself for being so clumsy and amateur I fished around in his backpack for a dry pair. Alas, all we had was a onesie with feet. This would not do; of course the first rule of Gymbaroo is you do not talk about Gymbaroo, but the second rule is all participants must have bare feet. So we had no choice but to dry the trousers under the hand drier. We have a one season contract, it is all or nothing.
Milo found the whole scene quite amusing, lying on the floor of the changeroom giggling at me with no trousers on.
The tights were simply not drying but we were out of time. I redressed Milo, pulled his wizard jumper down as far as I could and strode into the gym with confidence. I can tell you it is far more mortifying carrying a child into a room with 10 strange infants and their mothers with your child in (what appears to be) urine soaked tights, than it is to actually pee your own pants (which I have also done). When they are your child’s pants the embarrassment and discomfort is comparable, but the ridicule and judgement are far more acute. I considered trying to explain the whole sippy cup scenario to the group en masse as a pre-emptive strike but perhaps wisely just silently took a seat and got on with the business of Gymbarooing.
After a bit of faff the first real event was ‘wheelbarrowing to the middle of the circle to get the television remote control’. Basically you pick up your child by the hips as they face forward, like a wheelbarrow, and if they are strong enough they can walk forward on their hands in the direction of the remote control, if they are so inclined. This is not a race of course but Milo won it. I think I saw the Gymbaroo MC note something down in her book.
Then there were some odd and totally out of context nursery rhymes with words substituted to fit the activity like “the wheels on the bus go round and round, all over your body”. It is hard to conceive how these activities could be deemed competitive, but I am pretty sure Milo won.
Eventually it was time for ‘free play’ in the gym, which Milo loves. He flung himself through the hangy tube thing, ‘cruised’ along the wooden beam in pursuit of a plastic robo-zebra, scampered up the slide as if he were climbing a coconut palm, bounced around on the trampoline while lobbing hexagonal balls off it and generally had a lovely time. We returned to the mat, tights now dry, confidence up, in time for the classic maraca and parachute game; the children get two maracas and are allowed to crawl under a parachute as it balloons up and down (if they so wish). Milo was captivated by the maracas and was disinterested in the parachute. In fact while other children scampered under the parachute Milo harvested their maracas.
Soon it was time to say goodbye. The parachute was balled up and put away and the maracas wrested away from Milo. As the other children were being redressed and prepared for departure I placed Milo down on the mat. Immediately he flew off at top crawling speed in the direction of the toy stash, in the opposite corner of the room. Milo arrived quickly and started clawing at the transparent box that housed the maracas. Realising this was a forlorn hope Milo spied the box of stuffed dogs and started extracting them one by one and tossing them out to his colleagues. Milo’s rebellious thrust piqued the interest of one other Gymbarooer, Oliver, who dashed across the mat side-stroke to get his fill of the contraband booty. I arrived shortly after to help replace all of the plush pooches into their box, secretly smiling at my child’s mischievousness and enterprise.
Gender neutral Gymbaroo attire
Soon we were back in the car and Milo predictably fell straight to sleep. I had no choice but to execute some fast food parenting and pulled into the KFC drive-through for mobile lunch. I then continued my parenting in earnest as we drove around the Eastern Suburbs, Milo sleeping peacefully having made a solid first impression with his new franchise.
At some point along the drive I attempted to open my can of Solo by placing it between my legs before tugging on the ring-pull. Unfortunately the can had been shaken up somewhat and Solo was sprayed liberally in my lap. I laughed, Milo was asleep and nobody else was there to share the amusing coincidence that Milo and I had both suffered non-urine related groin soakings in one morning.
Eventually we were home, Milo tucked into his favourite Putanesca tuna and peas combo before we had a Gymbaroo debrief and warm-down. I explained to Milo it would not be possible to fill a large plastic seashell with tambourines in our living room so he could have an authentic training environment, the cats simply wouldn’t be able to handle it.
Mum was home around 1800 and received an exhausted but lovely welcome home from us both, but particularly the star of Gymbaroo East, Milo. After some cooking, chatting and only two false starts Milo is asleep and I just returned from carrying a comparatively small Huntsman spider downstairs in some Tupperware to release him into the wild; a reminder of the dangerous urban environment in which our son is being raised.
- Number of Wattlebirds spotted by Milo and Huckleberry in the garden – 1
- Seconds taken for Milo to seize the remote control at Gymbaroo – 12 (just shy of a new record)
- Number of face plants out of the hangy tube – 2
- Total minutes of daytime sleeping – 90