I am coining a newish term: progidies. Progidies are progeny who are prodigies.

The proximate cause of this neologism is Robert’s gym teacher, Andy. Robert has been going to gym classes ever since he was about 18 months old with a thing called Baby Gym. Baby Gym involves climbing over things and falling onto mats. Since Robert was doing this anyway and Pamela likes going to the gym it seemed a good idea. And he enjoyed it.

And so he progressed through Junior Gym (climbing over bigger things and learning to fall gracefully) to real gym which involves walking along beams, swinging ropes over pits, jumping off little trampolines and swinging on the Roman rings. A lot of fun actually which made me a bit envious I was too old to go and play with them.

Robert also plays soccer. Soccer practice is on a Wednesday night which is when his gym class was. His teacher thought he could reasonably go in with some boys a couple of years older on a Monday night so this is what happened. Pamela gets to work out while the class is happening.

This is where we start having problems. Andy starts enthusing about Robert’s ability and starts talking about putting him in with the even bigger boys. Then he starts going on about State representation and even International competition.

Reality check time. Robert isn’t even six years old yet. Let’s not get carried away.

  • First checkpoint: is Robert having fun?

We ask him. No, he says, Andy works me very hard.

Do you want to keep going to gym? we ask.

I could go for an extra half hour, he says.

Obviously at five he has a clear sense of what fun is and it doesn’t involve working hard. The question was wrong. He must like doing it if he wants to stay longer.

  • Second checkpoint: is it making him too tired?

Doesn’t seem to be. He’s keen to go to a Friday class as well. He gets a bit tired and ratty at times but don’t we all. It doesn’t seem to be connected to the gym. Probably being fit makes him less tired.

  • Third checkpoint: do we want him to keep doing it?

This gets tricky. Neither Pamela nor I were great on the athletic front as kids so it’s a bit hard to judge. We certainly don’t want him getting into the stress of competition at this age. We are agreed that (to quote Granny Weatherwax) we can’t be having with that.

We have come to a sort of compromise. He can go to the big boys’ class for a while. If trying to keep up with them stresses him out then we will scale the whole thing back. On the other hand, if loves it and wants to do more we’ll worry about that when it happens, thereby neatly putting off any decisions.

There is the distinct possibility that Andy is wrong anyway. Kids tend to advance at different speeds. Robert could be an early starter who will also plateau early. Having a progidy in the house is not necessarily desirable.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, June 27th, 2007 at 2:56 pm and is filed under Family. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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June 2007
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