The first lesson I signed Malina up for was swimming. We started with a parent and child class when she was 9 months old. It was a great beginning to the endless world of lessons. Swimming is one of my passions and having the kids learn how to swim is an important item on my list. If they fall in the water I want them to know not to freak out and instead just swim to the side. After reaching the age of 3 Malina began the group lessons with a teacher. By that point I was already swimming with Matteo so it was fun to see her on the other side of the pool as Teo and I swam. She knows how to swim now and passed the ‘deep end test’ last year at summer camp! Yeah!! I also did not freak out when she was invited to a pool party at a friend’s house at the end of summer because she was an independent swimmer at that point. Spring is around the corner and we’ll have both kids back in the pool for private lessons.
In our house we decided the age of 4 is a perfect age for lessons. I found that starting anything prior to that to be a waste with my kids. I thought Matteo would like to start soccer at age 4. I took him to the local park to check it out and he clung to my leg as I prepared to take him over to the little kids his age practicing. He said somewhat frantically, “I do not want to play soccer anymore!” I am definitely not one to torture my kids by making them do something they are not interested in. I checked with him and he said he would like to do gymnastics. Having done gymnastics as a kid I was excited he had interest in it. I wait for the move to begin the search for a good gym for him to start.
Ballet. Not having any personal experience with ballet I enrolled Malina in her first class after watching “Black Swan”. The movie is a little bizarre, but I thought the dancing was incredible. She had been asking to take ballet and that movie spoke to me… the rest is history. We started her out with a ballet and tap class that I dropped after 2 months when I couldn’t deal with the obnoxious parents in the waiting room. We moved on to an excellent class closer to home that she stayed with for a year. The recital was adorable! Close to her last days she became bored and lacked motivation. We kept her in a while longer so she could improve the hard techniques that made her want to quit, but eventually I said that’s enough! The time of the lesson was horrible anyway, but for me it’s all about sacrifice for my kids.
Tennis. We tried tennis first at age 4 for Malina. She played after watching my girlfriend and I play to start, and eventually we signed her up for semi-private lessons and later private lessons. It wasn’t the right time. The coordination wasn’t there. Soon she will be taking small group lessons and I’m sure she will play better than me by age 12. Matteo is now at the stage of watching and playing some when I go out to the courts and I have noticed a natural talent. We’ll start him in group lessons too sooner than later.
In a previous post I mentioned Matteo’s wanting to participate in typical American male sports. I look forward to being one of those parents rooting for him – whether he is good or not… having fun and learning to be part of a team is key for me. It is amazing how expensive all the lessons are here and there, but it’s good for the kids, and I remember being a kid who took a ton of lessons too!