humor, motherhood, parenting

On art, developmental goals, and the utter lack of slides

Taking advantage of a groupon, I signed Waleed up for a one month Gymboree pass. While okay enough, I don’t know if its $74/month okay enough. Still, today was our last session so I signed up for ‘art’ instead of ‘play’ to see how it went. I felt nervous on my way there because they’ve been really pushing me to renew and I have a very hard time saying no, especially when very nice people get very insistent.

Waleed made a mad dash for the play area and stared at me utterly perplexed as I led him to the art room. As the session went on that look never really left his face:


After about twenty minutes of polite befuddlement at sticky marshmellow [you expect me to touch that?] and finger paints [which he wiped off. On me.] he bolted out of the room. Each time I brought him back he stared at me with a look of betrayal surely wanting to say what he lacked the linguistic capability of shouting: what is wrong with you? There are slides out there. DON’T YOU SEE THE SLIDES? At the umpteenth time of rerouting my runaway child one of the workers approached me.

Bobbi: It’s okay you know. They don’t always like art class at first.
Me: Yeah, he just really loves the playing part.
Bobbi: It’s not his fault. He’s not a bad child for it. It’s normal.
Me: Oh I know, he’s just super active.
Bobbi: Exactly. It doesn’t mean he’s delayed. Or there’s something wrong with him. Or that this is a warning sign for something else. Or that he’s not meeting developmental milestones. Don’t get too worried. It’ll be okay.

As I dragged him home that afternoonΒ  hollering his utter disbelief at having been so close to slides he could not slide, two thoughts came to mind: a) I never really thought a dislike for art meant anything other than a dislike for art but thank you very much for that to ponder and b) making an exit with an outspoken toddler amidst a crowd of finger-painted little ones makes the conversation about care to renew please please please a whole lot easier to avoid.

[As an aside, it disturbed me how some construed this post. The intent is to share a ‘day in the life of’ and a reflection on well meaning people who often say things that are just well, befuddling, a thing I do quite often. For the record, I’m not worried his lack of interest in art is anything other than a lack of interest in art though I reserve the right to write about things I am concerned about if I choose to]

16 thoughts on “On art, developmental goals, and the utter lack of slides”

  1. you know you have no good reason at all to worry about your son's development, speech, etc… yet, you keep doing so, and i bet he can sense it. kids sense these things! i know it's hard not to be bothered by jerks like bobbi, and maybe you feel writing and thinking it over (and over and over) is a way of working through it and getting support, but sooner or later you're going to have to reassure yourself and learn to disregard people like that without a second thought. try to put it into perspective, talk to some moms with kids who have actual, undeniable learning disabilities or the like! even if he can't put it into words yet, your son needs you to have faith in him, and you know there's no reason why you shouldn't… i'm not an expert and don't intend any offense, just my two cents…


  2. Anon, I don't know where you got that the point of this post was worry on his development? The point was people sometimes say stupid things in an attempt to be supportive. It was actually humor, not for advice, hence no 'advice' based question asked in bold as I typically do when that is the point of a post.

    As for “letting it go without a second thought” my blog is about my life, reflections on my interactions with people and conversations I've had that I share with others, my about me says I write a lot about “the little things” this being one of them. I'm not worried, I'm not panicking or even upset, I am amused by the interaction and I wrote about it. If you don't like it, there are a ton of other blogs out there.

    I did write about my concern about his language over a month ago. . . It's not something I go on and on for 'support'I do it for perspective and advice and it helped. I taught special needs kids and represented special needs kids as an attorney so I'm aware of people who have 'actual learning disabilities' However,when people say asinine things I do think about it, and I most definitely write about it to share an experience and because other mothers get comments like this too and it helps people know its not just them.

    I normally don't respond to condescending comments from anonymous people but I'm giving a benefit of the doubt here, if you want to continue the condescension however, I'm not engaging in back and forth.


  3. Heheheh. We just got BACK from Gymboree 'class' and I have no doubt that if I took Hen to the art room instead of the slides room, EVERYONE in the building would know how unfair that decision was! And as for marshmallow fluff, Hen doesn't even like a crumb of bread to land on his hand. I guarantee we won't be doing 'art' class anytime soon!!! Here's another kid on team Slide!


  4. Kate, indeed!!! I mean, she meant well with assuring me, but I was already quite assured lol πŸ™‚

    Susan, are you going regularly? How do you find it? I wonder if my experience is less bc of Gymboree and more because of the particular place I've done it.


  5. Remember boys will be boys. I took my son to music class and he keep running out of it. I gave up and took him back to slides….They have their own personality…

    Who cares! Just let them be happy.


  6. I love gymboreeeee!!! Ive been taking my daughter since 6 months, initially to the baby play singing class and now the walkers
    Class.. Also with lots of singing. I'm not sure id
    Keep the membership for art though as yeah it
    Is pretty pinchy on the pocket! We love
    It with the crazy singing n the running around
    N the slides though!

    Also what a total weirdo that person was for telling you not to worry about an art
    Class. Why would anyone
    Think their child was delayed for that reason?! Mebbe
    She's come
    Across a crazy person whose child also didn't like the class
    And she freaked about
    Development? Weird.


  7. Mystic, its funny you said music class, because I was considering signing us up for a music class near our house, but most likely that should be something we wait a few years to do.

    Bongi, for real?! you love it?! We didn't run around much in our gymboree, didn't sing much either, hmm, yours sounds wayyyyy funner than ours was. Ours was relatively dull but I know when we once had a great instructor it was fun, these places are so person specific ya know? Thanks for sharing, maybe I'll try them again at some point in the future.

    Jen, lol, they're all so different yet so very vocal about their likes and dislikes!! πŸ™‚


  8. Yeah it really does depend. I've been to two other Gymborees nearby (where my sil takes her little one, and another where my friend takes her little one) and they aren't anywhere near as good. The instructor i go for is an out of work theatre actoress, and her voice rocks. She is fab with the kids too. I don't think they sing in the art classes, but their baby class did, and now their toddler walking class does too with different activities based on teaching them how to walk better, improving their fine motor skills etc, with singing and fun-ness!

    The only thing i'm finding not fun at the moment is two kids in the class who snatch absolutely everything my daughter picks up, and the mums saying nothing…just “Oh “X” just wants what other kids have” err OK. so after the bazillionth time of this happening, my daughter finally got tired of it and instead of crying, she kinda pushed this kid gently, and ordinarily i would have told her not to, but i let it slide. Let her duff up the mean kids i say πŸ˜› kids are SO MEAN.


  9. I swear they would bring the house down, our two boys… They have so much in common! πŸ˜€

    At the creche they have these 'art projects', finger painting, glueing bits of cut-out coloured paper on variously shaped bigger pieces of paper, you know the type. It took George two entire months to warm up to the idea of doing 'art' instead of jumping, climbing, running, sliding, whatever. Two months of trying every week, Mon to Thu. And apparently he is the last to come sit at the table and 'work' and the first to jump on the chair and than the table before the ladies manage to clear away the finished products and colours/glue/etc. He does often come home with blue fingers or green glittery highlights. πŸ™‚

    I tried colouring at home with George, and I gave up. I chose my battles carefully, and this is not a battle. This is just something we can't do at home just yet. I admire the ladies at the creche for their patience. And i suspect loads of the 'art projects' are hardly made by the children. πŸ™‚

    So, I totally get where you're coming from. Find a better place for W, one that you like better as well. You'll see the difference.


  10. Kamille, LOL you and my husband are on the same page, he too completely understood the lack of interest in art.

    Bongi, oh wow yours sounds dreamy! I will not close off to such classes in the future then as I was previously going to do.

    Mina, lol, yes ours are cut from the same cloth I believe πŸ™‚ As for the parents are making most of the projects [or teachers] I saw that at Gymboree, everyone was 'assisting' so while helpful, the end results were hardly child-created. LOL


  11. If you don't want to sign up or are not totally sure, just tell them that you'd love to but his dad booked him into a community centre program for the spring. Or tell him you're taking him to Pakistan for a couple of weeks – that'll shut them up.


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