Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Gym Slip-Up

After having Ruby's name down for trampoline lessons since moving into the area 4 months ago, finally today is the day of the first session.

She mutters under her breath all morning that she doesn't like trampolining anymore, but I remind her how much she actually does, while silently cursing the leisure centre for debiting my card a full term's worth of fees and an annual gym membership.  Why on earth does a three year old need a gym membership?  Hell, I've survived nearly 40 years without one.

It's a pretty sneaky trick I reckon.  These places should offer taster sessions or pay-as-you-go rates.  Most three year olds are just as likely to announce the following week that they HATE trampolining and what they really want to do is judo/street dance/tambourine lessons...

We arrive somewhere early for once. Although, to be fair this is only because I bundled her into a taxi from the rail station.  Somewhat counterproductive as one of the main reasons I was so keen to give in to this bouncing obsession was the exercise she'd get from it - that and the hope that it might save our bed springs.

But it was raining hard, she'd already had a full-on day with dentist appointment, cousin's birthday party and a 2 mile walk, so I wasn't risking meltdown halfway up the road.

At the main desk we're met by a surly receptionist - is it in the job description that to sit on a front desk you must be brusque, sullen and have a face like you're licking piss off a nettle?  Why does the look they give you make me feel the urge to check the soles of my shoes to make sure I haven't trod in a giant dog shit?

"We're here for the trampolining lesson" I inform her.

"Yes?" She barely raises her head.

"It's our first week, so I'm not really sure where to go or what to do."

"Go through the double doors and the gymnasium is straight in front of you.  Go right in".

Gymnasium.  The word strikes fear into my heart.  Memories of shamefacedly wearing gym shorts at school, being forced to climb those ridiculous wooden frames like ship's rigging, the smell of rubber plimsolls and sweaty feet.

There's a gaggle of small children and parents - all of whom clearly know each other.  Kid's are frantically discarding socks and shoes, and Ruby sits down and does likewise.  A friendlier lady at the door asks her name, checks her list and declares she's not on it.  No matter she says, come in, come in.

All the girls (for it's predominantly girls) are kitted out in leotards and leggings, and I feel slightly embarrassed on behalf of Ruby who's standing there expectantly in a pair of tatty tracksuit trousers and a long sleeved top.  I think my discomfort rubs off, because she begins to cling like a limpet to me and buries her head in my chest, refusing to join the circle.  I look round and notice there are no other parents in the room, but offer to come and sit with her anyway.  Looking like a sore thumb in my coat and boots, I enthusiastically try and join in with the warm up, hoping Ruby will follow suit.  She starts to cry.

The lady with the list comes to check our name again and asks how we booked.  After recounting the tale of the telephone booking I'd made a few days earlier, she disappears again.

I try to get Ruby to join in with the game of tag that everyone else is playing, but she's having none of it.

Eventually, 15 minutes into the half hour lesson, the lady returns with clipboard.

"I see what's happened" she says. "You've been booked for trampoline lessons".

"That's right I reply".

"You want trampoline lessons?"

What is this mad woman talking about? "Yes" I tell her.

"Oh. This is the gymnastic class" she explains patiently, as though to an imbecile.

Good God.  Is it possible to feel more socially inept? More gauche and stupid.

"Oh" I stutter.  "This is where the receptionist sent us".

The nice lady draws back a screen to reveal 3 massive trampolines and a small group of children similarly attired as Ruby.  We slope off muttering apologies.

Thankfully I am redeemed as Ruby spots the boinging, and she agrees to allow me to go and get a coffee and watch from upstairs.

Praying that none of the other mums had witnessed this total parenting fail, I order a coffee and watch through the window, waving maniacally and doing double thumbs up every time she jumps/falls over.

No sooner had I finished my coffee, I noticed all the mums shuffling back downstairs to collect their offspring. Ruby was still bouncing, so I returned my empty coffee cup to the counter and made my way back.

As I pass the counter, a suited man decides that this is the very moment to turn abruptly with is over-full Americano Grande, elbows me on the right boob and slops scalding hot coffee all over himself.  I apologise profusely (although strictly speaking he walked into me and wasn't looking where he was going), and he gives me a look of disdain worthy of a receptionist.  The lady behind the counter then rushes over (rather over-dramatically if you ask me), and frets about whether anyone's injured? Should she get the first aid box?

Coffee guy replies that he thinks we're all ok, and glowers through his eyebrows at me.

I make a hasty retreat, shove Ruby's boots back on, pour her into her coat and whisk her away.

"That was great" she says.  "Can we do it again tomorrow?"


  1. Awh!
    My list of parent fails in the last couple of months are two many to mention, my brain has been frazzled!
    But include, sending N back a day earlier than I should to school, forgetting her flute 3 week on the trot to a flute lesson!
    Sending a note apologising for not paying for the Christmas meal, (she's usually on sandwiches) when I had anyway!! If I had any brains I'd be dangerous!! ;)

  2. Oh dear... at least she enjoyed it and wants to go again next week!

  3. Honestly, I felt SUCH an idiot! OH of course thinks it's hilarious: "Didn't the lack of trampolines in the room give you a clue?".

    Gidders - LOL.

  4. LOL!!! If a bloke did that to me i'd have started rubbing my boob and glowered at him with added mutterings about boob injurys and how much they don;t like being elbowed!
    my kids went back to school today - i'm sat here wondering what i've forgotten!

  5. oh liz im sure we've all had days like yours lol glad ruby enjoyed the trampolining session in the end :) x

  6. he sorry but I can't help but have a giggle at this. It's very well written. Glad she enjoyed the actual trampolining lessons. Good luck next week!

  7. Oh dear...if its any consolation it sounds like something I would do!