Elma Family Video {the ordinary moments}



Kitty was two and a quarter when she started ballet, a little round cheeked toddler hopping up and down the room in her blue leotard and skirt and running, always running.  We’d started taking her to a class just after Elma arrived so that she would have something that was uniquely hers when suddenly the rest of her world was having to be shared with this new squeaky bundle of baby that everyone kept called sister.  She loved it and she’s been in one class or other ever since.  And when we took Elma out of nursery I wanted to do something similar.  Part of it was to compensate in a way for all the group activities that she so loved at nursery, to give her some moments with other little ones her own age, and part of it was for that same reason all over again, to give her a moment in the days when she just has to share Mummy with one sibling not two that’s all hers and all about her being the big girl.

Our first thought was to take her to ballet class; after all I do have a leotard that would fit; and I know she would really enjoy it, but something just made me hold back in signing her up.  If we took her to ballet it wouldn’t be uniquely hers, it would be repeating Kitty, following in her sister’s footsteps (and uniform).  There will be plenty of times in her life when Elma does follow her sister; they’ll go to the same school (God and the Local Education Authority willing), and I’m sure we’ll hand down uniform, they’ll be in the same Brownie pack if they want to do Brownies, they’ll be church nativities with all three of them in and probably church choir too.

And while I was thinking about Elma and the things that she really loves to do and trying to think of a class or a something that would really fit her my sister mentioned taking the tiny nephew to a class at a local gymnastics gym. It was a lightbulb moment.  Elma would love gymnastics, she’s been climbing anything and everything (stairs, cot, changing table, beds, chairs) since she was big enough to pull herself up.  And one google search later I found a gymnastics gym about 15 minutes drive from us with Mummy and Me classes on weekday mornings.

So on one of Kitty’s nursery days we drop her off and then get back in the car and head off to gym for a couple of hours.  I think it might be Elma’s idea of heaven, there’s running, jumping, bouncing and climbing.

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life

She loves sprinting up and down the air track and practicing her forward rolls, hanging off the lower bar, climbing up to jump off the blocks and walking along the bar.

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life

And when she’s finished all of that it’s time for parachute games – and then sitting on the air track while it’s turned back on again (it’s bliss, like sinking into a giant pillow!)

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life

She has a blast, and I love watching her, helping her and joining in while Pip cuddles in in the sling and usually has a little snooze.

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life

I think it is really good for her that she does something that Kitty doesn’t, and good for Kitty too; Little Miss had a bit of a moment when she realised that Elma got to go to gym class and she wasn’t going to be going but I think it was an important concept to grasp that even though she is the biggest sister her siblings are independent people.  There may well be a time when Elma does ballet and Kitty joins in a gym class but for now I like that they’re different, that their classes match up to their personalities and that they are Kitty and Elma not just two little Butterflies girls.

And just for fun, and because one morning we were the first people in the gym, I have a little video of Miss Elma in her element!

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  • Betty and the Bumps 22/02/2015 at 7:32 am

    Great photos!

    Gwenn is two in 8 weeks time and I think it’s time she go to some kind of weekly class. She goes to nursery every Friday, so she is used to some structure, but I think a weekly activity with the same group of children would be a great addition to her week; it’s just a case of picking the right one. She loves music, so dancing could work, but mostly she just loves careering around so perhaps gymnastics would suit her better?



    • Carie 23/02/2015 at 9:49 pm

      You could always try both and see which one she loves – I think Elma would enjoy ballet but gym is more her thing at the moment – Kitty was obsessed with Strictly at the time we signed her up (and still is now) so it was a good fit for her!

  • lucy at dear beautiful 22/02/2015 at 8:07 am

    I definitely think its lovely for them to have their own ‘things’ that are theirs alone to enjoy. As you say, there is time for them to share pass times, but its nice for them to feel special at the moment. It definitely looks like that gym class is really fun. x

    • Carie 23/02/2015 at 9:48 pm

      I think so too – although being the eldest in my family I’m always sort of second guessing how it feels to be the middle or the baby!

  • Potty Mouthed Mummy 22/02/2015 at 9:11 am

    That’s really lovely to make sure they have their own special activities. She looks like she’s having a ball! How cute is teeny Pip in the sling xx

    • Carie 23/02/2015 at 9:47 pm

      He is very snug – he usually falls fast asleep half way through, the air track makes great white noise!

  • Karen 22/02/2015 at 9:54 am

    This looks fab. All 3 of mine do ballet now & love it. It’s amazing how they go from cute, chubby toddlers to graceful, twirling ballerinas. Poppy does gymnastics club at school and rosie wants to next year. Lovely that yours have their own special things though and that photo of you all is gorgeous x

    • Carie 23/02/2015 at 9:46 pm

      It is amazing the changes you can see in them year on year – Kitty loves her ballet and it’s so much fun to peep through the door and watch her twirling 🙂

  • sally 22/02/2015 at 10:20 am

    It’s lovely that they get to do different things, Elma does look very much at home in that gym.

    • Carie 23/02/2015 at 9:45 pm

      It’s her home from home – I’d giggle if she really gets into gymnastics – I’m so terribly lanky and badly coordinated!

  • Nasreen 22/02/2015 at 1:27 pm

    Looks like fun, I wish there was something similar where we live!

    • Carie 23/02/2015 at 9:44 pm

      You never know, there might be – I only found this one when I started googling for gym classes!

  • Jess @ Picnics in the Rain 22/02/2015 at 2:58 pm

    This sounds like a wonderful class, what a find! Elma looks to be in her element 🙂 It’s really nice that she isn’t just following in Kitty’s footsteps and that she gets to do something a bit different. Pip looks cosy too! x

    • Carie 23/02/2015 at 9:43 pm

      Definitely Elma’s kind of place, and happily it’s all padded so she can fall over as often as she likes!

  • Kiran at Mummy Says 22/02/2015 at 9:44 pm

    Ah, how sweet. She clearly loves it! x

    • Carie 23/02/2015 at 9:42 pm

      She really does – she talks about it all week and when we finally say yes it’s gym day she can’t stop hopping around!

  • susan 23/02/2015 at 1:17 am

    She looks like she’s having a ball, Carie. You are such a good mom – always thinking things through and making such good choices.

    • Carie 23/02/2015 at 9:42 pm

      aww thank you – as for the choices being good, only time will tell, but so far so good!

  • The Reading Residence 23/02/2015 at 10:13 am

    Now that looks like a fun class! Lovely to give her something that’s just hers, too. You’re right, the younger ones follow so much in the eldest’s footsteps, so this is great. My son and I go to different playgroups to the ones I took my daughter, too, just so that they’re ‘his’ x

    • Carie 23/02/2015 at 9:40 pm

      That’s really lovely for your son, it stops the littler ones feeling that even their experiences are handmedowns!

  • Eline @ Pasta & Patchwork 23/02/2015 at 10:51 am

    ah that looks like such fun! I’ve been toying with the idea of taking M to a gym class too because he’s also a climber (and runner and spinner and generally not a sit-stiller). I think he’d love it and you may just have given me the push to actually sign him up with this post!

    • Carie 23/02/2015 at 9:38 pm

      Oh go for it – I’m so glad I found this for Elma, especially as Pip will be able to join in as soon as he’s moving and it’s the kind of place where I can mange two of them quite comfortably 🙂

  • Becky | Spirited Puddle Jumper 23/02/2015 at 3:09 pm

    Ah bless Elma, it looks like so much fun! S is very much a climber and tumbler and if push comes to shove I think we might be choosing gym over ballet! x

    • Carie 23/02/2015 at 9:36 pm

      I’m really hoping it might help her fall over a little less often but at the moment it’s just convinced her to try to balance on the end of her bed!

  • Rachel @ The Ordinary Lovely 23/02/2015 at 7:57 pm

    That looks like such an amazing place! I’m going through the same thought process at the moment. My eldest goes to Tae Kwan Do and swimming lessons but once he starts school full time in September, I’ll have a chance to take the littlest to a couple of classes. I’m still trying to figure out what he’d like though. It’s hard because his favourite things are playing with cars and collecting sticks. I’m not sure there’s a class for that.

    • Carie 23/02/2015 at 9:33 pm

      It really was a great find – I had no idea it was there until I started googling for gym classes. Kitty starts school in September too and I think at that point I might introduce Elma to preschool ballet but we’ll have to wait and see!