a peek inside the fishbowl

19 Jan, 2007

Bathing suits and limbs akimbo

Posted by andrea tomkins in: Easy ways to make kids happy|Misc. life

The girls both started gymnastics class this week.

The first words uttered (by Sarah, I think): “MOM, EVERYONE’S WEARING BATHING SUITS!” I stared goggle-eyed at the array of female gym attire.  Most of it was g.d. tacky, the twice-removed cousin of that horrible fashion crime: 1980s aerobicswear. Okay, maybe not that bad, but bad. There was an overabundance of hot pink and shimmering spandex. Mine eyes were hurtin’.

We had been led astray. A friend assured us the girls could wear shorts and a t-shirt. So they did. And haha they were the only ones. Okay, Emma was the only one. She wore these sweet little red jersey shorts and a cotton top. Sarah wore a black hand-me down gymnastics suit. It was black with long sleeves and regular bathing-suit style rear. We put shorts on top because it became apparent they were a touch too small. She was picking them out of her crack the whole time.

I wish I didn’t feel like I have to rush out and buy each girl a gymnastics suit. (And if I do, it won’t be one of those eyesores I saw the other day. I will only consider monochromatic, preferably black, with longer bottoms so their cheeks don’t spill out.) Size issues aside (Sarah definitely can’t wear hers) I hate being pressured to buy because everyone else is wearing it.

I was pleasantly surprised by the number of boys I saw. (Most were wearing special white tops and black shorts.) The more I watched, the more I loved the idea of enrolling a boy in gymnastics instead of say, hockey. What a perfect activity to get them involved in. What a great way of blowing off steam…  and nonviolent to boot. From what I saw their energies were focused on the task at hand: the tumble, the jump, the leap, the bounce.

This gym is a kid’s dream come true: trampolines big and small, piles of mats for cushy landings and for rolling on, rolling in or jumping on. Sarah declared a preference for “the cheese mat,” a huge wedge that the kids somersault down. There were ropes for climbing, bars and rings for hanging, springboards for sproinging …I couldn’t believe all the stuff.

The kids, boys and girls, had wide happy grins on their faces. It was kiddie heaven.

This was the first time out for both Emma and Sarah. Their bodies never stopped moving the whole time they were in there. Emma’s class was 90 minutes. Sarah’s was only 60, and let me tell you she was pretty bummed about that. As soon as she met up with us afterwards she declared she wanted to go back. Right. NOW.

Confession: at first we weren’t going to sign the girls up for gymnastics. This place is pricey. And I wasn’t entirely convinced that it was a good idea. As I watched the girls leap and jump and bounce I quietly worried about sprained wrists and ankles. But oh, they were having so much fun, learning so much, and trying things they’d never have the opportunity to try elsewhere. They were flushed, breathless, and oh so proud when they greeted us after their lesson. They were pleased as punch. And we are too.

8 Responses to "Bathing suits and limbs akimbo"

1 | s@bd

January 19th, 2007 at 10:24 am


oh man … I’ve been putting gymnastics off …

2 | andrea

January 19th, 2007 at 10:54 am


S: We had been putting it off too. But if you can, do it. I wholeheartedly recommend it.

3 | julie

January 19th, 2007 at 11:58 am


I think the girls’ standard in gym wear varies radically, depending on the gym. I recently switched my daughter over to Starr Gymnastics (by the Ikea) and not one girl wears a bodysuit. All shorts & tshirts.

4 | twinmomplusone

January 19th, 2007 at 1:11 pm


my 5 yr old twins, boy/girl, have been doing gymnastics since they were 18 months old and still love it!

I love it in that its an activity that both genders can do together and it prepares them (balance and coordination) for so many other sports. Definitely money well spent in my opinion.

As for the outfits, shorts and Tshirts are fine really but if they want a real outfit, Loblaws/Superstore often has some neat ones (with the longer short portion) at a pretty reasonable price

5 | DaniGirl

January 19th, 2007 at 4:18 pm


How funny that you post this, as I was just contemplating putting in the effort to find a program that both my boys could be enrolled in together! I love the idea of gymnastics for the boys, and only in a small part because I was denied the opportunity as a child, I swear.

They have special shorts and Ts even for the *boys*?? Ugh.

Mind if I ask where you enrolled?

6 | andrea

January 19th, 2007 at 4:25 pm


It’s: http://www.ottawagymnasticscentre.ca. There’s lots of info on the website, including half-day kindercamps…

7 | BeachMama

January 21st, 2007 at 11:16 am


That sounds awesome, I have wondered when would be a good time to enroll J, maybe soon!

8 | Donna

January 21st, 2007 at 2:52 pm


Our whole family (2 boys, 2 girls) was involved in gymnastics for a long time, my Dad was a coach of both genders. Then after my knee blew out I became a coach, it was a wonderful experience and I hope your kids continue.

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The Obligatory Blurb

My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark and our dog Piper who is kind of a big deal on Instagram. We also have two human daughters: Emma (20) and Sarah (18). During the day I work as a writer at The Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999. The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, family travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa for families. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

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