Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Gym Rat

Ethan did Little Gym in Waldwick for a year. I think it was from a little over one year till he was a little over two years old. It was fine, but I felt like he out-grew it. By the time he was two and a half and he went to camp on his own, I didn't want to do anymore classes I had to be in with him. He was a behavior nightmare with me in the room but totally awesome without me. Little Gym didn't seem to have a drop off class when he was ready for one, so I looked into other things. That's how I found his ballet class, which has been awesome. But, I thought I'd also look for some kind of gym class.

At the beginning of the school year in the fall I went to Elite Gymnastics in Hawthorne. A lot of local moms mentioned they took their kids there for swim lessons. I went to their Open House. It's in a weird half residential/half industrial area of Hawthorne. When I walked in the door I was immediately greeted with the strong smell of feet. Ok, it's a gym, I get it. Feet are a big part of that. The main gym, for the gymnasts, looked really nice. I didn't get a chance to really check it out but from what I saw it looked good. BUT, then they sent me to the "toddler area" room and I was actually aghast. I don't have super high standards- Little Gym is no amazing Olympic gym or anything. But this was disgusting. There was some kind of maze/obstical course type thing and it was held together with duct tape. It was equipement taped to random wooden boards. To ME, it looked dangerous. I spent 15 minutes there and ran. That was the end of that.

Recently a friend told me to check out ENA Gymnastics in Paramus. I sent them an email asking if I can do a trial class. They sent me an email back within 24 hours and seemed very professional. Thursday at 10:25 was a go. It's in the same building as World's Gym. I was hoping it would be good because I was hoping to sign E up until camp starts. I went in and the same smell of feet that hit me at Elite hit me here. I don't understand this because My Gym, Little Gym and Gymboree do not smell of feet but whatever. I see it's "Spring Egg Hunt" day. REALLY?? A gym class with an egg hunt? Let's be real too- this was no "spring" thing- Let's call it what it was- an Easter egg hunt. I was SO annoyed, not because I'm Jewish but I'm also sure there was no Afikomen hunt day. But if I'm paying for gymnastics, music, dance, etc, I don't need an egg hunt or other correlating to religious holiday activity. Like the Easter kids won't have enough egg hunting in a few days?

So it was total chaos. E was there for a 3 year old class. I send him into the gym but I see moms going in. I asked the one teacher and she said, "Oh, no that's the Mommy & Me class. E is with me, but we're all doing the egg hunt together.". I sit down in front of the window that looks into the gym. I see E running around a giant gym with no supervision, teachers chatting, looking for eggs. It was a clusterfuck of epic proportion. Then they seemed to break off into groups. I ask some moms sitting at the same table as me if their kids are in the 3 year old class. They told me their children were in the FOUR-FIVE class. What the what, now? Not only were there 3's, but there were the Mommy & Me's and the 4-5's. You could hear the Mommy & Me's singing in one corner which was distracting, and the window isn't a two-way mirror so E could totally see me sitting there. He'd look over and totally lose concentration. I was FURIOUS. I asked the lady at the front desk if it was always this chaotic and she said "Well it's egg hunt day (like I'm a schmuck) and there are always three classes in there at once".

He came out. I got his shoes and socks and asked him if he liked the class. He said NO. That is so unlike him. He likes any class. He's NEVER said he didn't like a class he was in. I said, "No? You sure? Do you want to come back?". He said, "NO!". Then he said he's sad I asked why and he said it was because of me. I was perplexed and asked him what I did. He said I didn't come in there and there were other mommies in there. How was I supposed to explain to him what Mommy & Me is where he would care? And it didn't matter really because we were never coming back. I never heard of something so stupid- having three levels of classes in one gym at once. For anything I don't like at Little Gym & My Gym, at least they have control, only having one age group class at a time. Out of boredom, I looked at their class schedule for the summer too and it's completely inconvenient. Any classes for his age are in the morning. There is not ONE late afternoon class. Obviously we won't be signing up at ENA anytime soon.

My Gym called ME to do a trial because E went to so many birthday parties there in such a short amount of time. The only time I could do it was a Sunday. Sunday works GREAT for me. With one problem- the only class for him is a mixed age class which is ages "Three & a quarter" (I don't know where they came up with that one) to SIX YEARS OLD. I have a HUGE problem with that. It totally discounts working parents to only have mixed age classes like that offered on the weekend. I expressed my concern with the age issue when the woman in charge that day was trying to get me to sign up. She looked up the class roster and told me that the oldest in there, at this time, is five years old. YES, I understand that TODAY there are no six year olds but that doesn't mean next week there won't be. The class is OFFERED to six year olds, so the expectation is that six year olds will sign up at some point. And why would a six year old want to be in a class with three year olds? That doesn't even make sense.

I was disappointed that Sam, the assistant director, who is FABULOUS with the kids wasn't there. There were two teachers, an older woman and a younger one. The younger one seemed fine but I wasn't impressed with the older one at all. Not after seeing Sam in action there or Melissa from Little Gym. Both are very friendly and enthusiastic and really awesome with the kids. That's what you HAVE to be like to be great at this job.

They really give the hard sell too. Basically I heard the older woman tell another mother doing the trial that if she didn't purchase their "deal" right then it wouldn't be guaranteed she could get that deal again. BULLSHIT. Guess what? If I call and want that deal and you tell me I had to buy it that day, I'm done. I highly doubt they're turning down anyone's money. And if they are then that's just bad business. Then they called me EVERY DAY for about five days until I finally answered the phone. Listen, I'd love to send E there. It's IN town, convenient, and Sundays would be awesome. But, it's super expensive! It's $92/month! When I told the guy who called me that I thought it's expensive and his answer was that "you get two classes a week for that". No, you don't. You get a CLASS, and you get a "free play". Well "free play" is having to watch/chase E around on their equipment in a mixed age group. I'm not paying all that money for free play. He can free play in my house. If it was two actual CLASSES a week, THEN it would be totally worth it. But it's excessively expensive in my opinion for one class and one free play a week. Just my opinion. Like I've said before it's super clean and all the equipment is in perfect condition. But it's new- that's what I'd expect.

So, I'm still on the hunt. E is going to camp all summer so it isn't imperative I find another activity. We're keeping ballet/tap at Wyckoff School of Dance for next school year. We're doing it on saturdays once this school year ends since he'll be in school full time. He loves it, he's good at it, it's local and it's not too expensive. Ideally I'd like to find him something drop-off in music, karate, yoga or gym. We loved Aardvarks but we finally had to graduate from that. All their classes are still Mommy & Me and E is just way passed that. His behavior is 1000x better in drop-off classes and I'm fine with that.

There's actually an Open House on April 14th at the Moonlight Dance Studio (Ballroom dancing) at 175 Rock Rd, Glen Rock. I'm thinking of having E go to that and see how he likes it. Can't hurt to try. I'm just not ready for the sport thing yet....


  1. Cheryl- I've actually talked about Kids U in a prior blog entry- I will look tomorrow for you. Not a big fan of Kids U. Been there for many parties and fundraisers, never a class. I'm not sure if they have a drop off class- I'd have to revisit that but it's not high on my list of priorities at this point. My friend did tell me Kidville in Englewood is excellent but it's too far for me for the times I'd need it with traffic.