One of the greatest joys that I've had in the last year is that my Happy Gym Company finally opened a long-delayed and much-anticipated gym just two short blocks from the Urban Family's front door.
Ok. My point. Finally.
All of these gyms feature a climbing wall; ours is an indoor wall. I've watched people climbing it and wondered about how people get started learning about this, but shied away from inquiring.
Urban Kid 1, however, is not shy about pursuing her interests. Our gym opened when she was four, and she has been consistently and repeatedly been asking about getting on the wall -- thus forcing her mom out of her shell. But they don't allow the kiddies to take a class until they are five.
For her fifth birthday, Best Namma Ever! popped for the class. But I held off on signing up for it because our schedule was already hammered with activities, none of which U-Kid 1 was keen to let go of.
So I made an executive decision -- one of the perks of being the Director of Curriculum & Implementation at the "Urban Family" Country Day Academy: we would skip swimming during the Deep Freeze and try climbing instead. This got me out of having to completely blow-dry a squirmy little one, plus avoid the New Year's Resolution Crowd in the locker room.
Here are a few shots of my little Monkey Girl from tonight's class. (those of you who might be new around here...one of the rules is no pictures of the Urbans, due to U-Dad's security concerns, thus the reason you can't see U-Kid 1's face)
My first try, I didn't get too far. I sort of attacked the wall and clutched onto it clumsily with too much emphasis on the upper body.
Now in order to keep up with U-Kid 1, in January, I took advantage of a class that the gym has been offering every 4-6 weeks called Climb Like A Girl. About 30 of us chicks all got a relaxed and casual introduction to climbing, plus wine. (and a cool t-shirt!) And a glass of wine certainly helps get one brave enough to try the wall in front of anyone and everyone who might pass by outside.
My second try, I took an easier route, relaxed (I mentioned the wine, right?) and managed to shimmy my way up to the top. An enthusiastic shout of, "hey Val, you climb LIKE A MUTHA!" from my friend Julie at the bottom had me laughing so hard I almost lost my groove completely, but no harm done. What a feeling! Especially for someone who is afraid of heights!
Now I try to stop by the wall during Supervised Climb, when they have someone who knows how to belay just waiting to cheerfully help you out. Despite the psychological struggle to convince myself that I will not plummet to my death if I let go, it's a nice strength exercise without having to lift weights. Just my own butt. And I tell myself that I'm keeping up with and staying involved with my five-year-old.
God help me if she takes up cage fighting.