Movers and Shakers

Yesterday morning, Michele texted me to see if Livi and I wanted to join her and Levi for a baby class. Miraculously, it worked out perfectly with both our babies’ morning nap times, so we decided to go for it.. and I’m so glad we did.

Class w liv and levi

(there were two other babies + mamas in our class, too)

The class was held at My Gym, which is a small indoor play area for kids 6 weeks – 13 years.

It was pretty much the cutest thing I’ve ever seen.

For our class, we started with an introduction around the circle, a clapping song, a “warm-up” which included singing to the babies, tickling them, gently moving their arms and feet.

We did music time with a couple of songs- one was a “choo choo” song which involved dancing with the baby, and another one with the babies on our laps.

Next, we did activity time- the instructor and gym owner hung up jumparoos and swings from the ceiling so the babies could jump and swing, and she also gave us activities to do with each of our babies at home for their personal stages of development,

free play (we went in the ball pit)

Me and liv

blew bubbles,

puppet time (a song that we clapped to while the instructor sang and danced with a bear puppet- creepy to me, awesome to everyone else)

and then good-bye.

At first, I wasn’t quite sure how Livi or I would feel about it. I’m kind of a germaphobe and Livi is low key. She’s a strong, smiley girl with a lot of energy (she kicks her feet and babbles like crazy- I love it), but at the same time, she’s chill. She loves when I read to her and we sing and dance together, but I wasn’t sure if the class would be stimulation overload.

She LOVED it. She giggled and smiled during each song, and the look on her face during the puppet time and when she first discovered the balls in the ball pit.. well, I’ll never forget it – a mix of joy and bewilderment.

As far as my germ fear goes, I kind of got over it when we walked in the door. The place was immaculately clean and throughout the class, the owner was cleaning up as we went along. The instructor used hand sanitzer in between each baby when she went around to give us developmental exercises to do at home, and the owner also told me about the ball pit cleaning strategy. He said at least once a month, the entire ball pit is emptied out and the balls are scrubbed by hand. Obviously there are still germs (once a month isn’t THAT often, especially with how many kids must go through there), but with how clean the entire place was, I was fine to get in the ball pit with Liv and play.

I really don’t want to be chasing her around with sanitizing wipes when she’s older and we go to the park or to Children’s museum.. I don’t want to be afraid to make mud pies or be exposed to a couple of germs (goodness knows the types she’ll pick up when she goes to school). I just want to have fun with her, teach her good hand-washing habits, then give her a bath when we get home. After we got home from the morning of fun, she got a bath and took an awesome afternoon nap.

I think the book I’m about to finish, “Bringing Up Bebe” (another post for another day) greatly influenced this, but I couldn’t help but think during the class that it must be something that’s fairly unique to the American culture. The book indicates that it’s not common for babies to take these types of classes and that you shouldn’t “force” development upon them, that it will come naturally. I totally agree with that, but also think it’s a great idea to expose Livi to different places and experiences. I think classes like this do have value besides the obvious motor skill development- the social value, like learning how to take turns, share and have fun with other kids is important, especially before she starts school.

If anything, it was a blast to play and be silly in a new environment with good friends like Michele and Levi (I’m hoping Kelly and Avery can come next week!). I also had the chance to meet and talk with other moms, which was a lot of fun. It was like playtime/social hour, and that’s ok with me.

Have you taken your kids to anything similar? What’s the first class you remember taking? 

This is totally crazy but my first tap teacher, when I was 3, could turn her head all the way around on her neck. In other words, she’d be dancing facing forward, and while she was dancing, turn her head around to face us to check how we were doing. It’s been 24 years and I’m still traumatized, haha. 

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  1. Erin @ Girl Gone Veggie on June 6, 2012 at 11:03 pm

    Aww this looks like such a fun time! I’m so glad Livi enjoyed herself! And I totally hear you on the germaphobe thing, I’m interning right now at a place where I have to shake every customers hand. Its not too bad until you get some really grimy customers and then it just sets off every germ warning in my body. I basically just walk around with a bottle of hand sanitizer while I’m there. ;p

  2. Sana on June 6, 2012 at 11:05 pm

    My mom told me to never use public water fountains as a child and I still don’t…

  3. Suzi @ Confessions of a Fitness Instructor on June 6, 2012 at 11:05 pm

    It’s possible that I’m slightly tramatized just by the thought of her being able to do that!

    I’m impressed they wash them by hand, that must be a long boring job!

  4. Jamie on June 6, 2012 at 11:12 pm

    SO cute! I first remember a dance class I took when I was four or five.. I only remember it because the instructor yelled “skip Jamie, skip!” and I couldn’t so I cried and sobbed in the corner LOL. I used to go with my mom when she took my much younger brother to gymbore and it was adorable!!! Do they still have those classes these days!!?

  5. Ali on June 6, 2012 at 11:18 pm

    I did little pre school ballet, and I was the kid in the class that just ran around like crazy having the BEST time, but annoying the teacher to no end. Livi looks SO adorable!!

  6. Abby @ Change of Pace on June 6, 2012 at 11:25 pm

    That sounds like SUCH a fun class! Livi is adorable; I can’t imagine how special every memory is with her.
    I don’t have kids yet, but I went with my niece to one of her swimming lessons when she was 1. It was a riot!

  7. Amy @ Inspired Amy on June 6, 2012 at 11:30 pm

    I used to dance competitively and I remember the dance teacher Olga kept on telling me to go on pointe … at 7 years old! My mom refused and boy oh boy am I glad because that could have really messed up my feet at such a young age! And I’m glad you enjoyed the class with your baby!

  8. Irina @ Chocolatea Time on June 6, 2012 at 11:38 pm

    Whhhatt that head-turning thing is like something from the Exorcist! Soo creepy…

    Anyway…glad to see you and Livi had a great time! She’s so beautiful 🙂

  9. Krystina (Krystina Yogini) on June 6, 2012 at 11:42 pm

    Her eyes! So soft and big and beautiful. 🙂

  10. another girl in tucson on June 6, 2012 at 11:43 pm

    i take my son ( 19 months) to the same gym! he LOVES it!! it is such a wonderful place to have in tucson. we played outside all winter long but now it is just way too hot. he needs a safe ( and, yes, clean!) place to run around and release some energy. and as a mom, it is so fun to watch him grow, explore, and gain Independence.

  11. Caralyn @ glutenfreehappytummy on June 6, 2012 at 11:47 pm

    aw, so fun! you’re such a good mom!

  12. Vicki on June 7, 2012 at 12:00 am

    Love My Gym. I took both sons there. You will love it when they get older. We did baby signs as our first class. It was really fun, the kids loved dancing! Also, Mommy N Me. Where I live, Mommy N Me is one of the best ways to make mommy friends!! Enjoy.

  13. Kristin on June 7, 2012 at 12:00 am

    I used to teach at a place VERY similar to My Gym for 10 years. I taught all ages from 1 year to 12 years. I have to say my favorite classes were the “mommy and me” ones. I had several children who came in that were very shy, developmentally behind, and just your average children, and to see them blossom over the course of a class is unbelievable. We never forced skills on children and everything was done at the child’s own pace. If anything it just gives the kids exposure to playing with someone new (the teacher), learning how to be social with their friends, learning how to take turns, and just becoming aware of their bodies in different ways. Plus they learn some new songs and games in the process. I know I will definitely be taking my future children to classes like these.

  14. Mary on June 7, 2012 at 12:07 am

    I almost never comment but the image of your tap teacher turning her head all the way around to watch you guys is going to give me nightmares!!!

    Livi is so beautiful!

  15. Maura @ My Healthy 'Ohana on June 7, 2012 at 12:54 am

    With my daughter, we went to Gymboree…she loved it and I met a great group of moms there 🙂 I’m thinking of checking out My Gym in Hawaii when we move, looks like you and Livi had a great time!!

  16. Shelley on June 7, 2012 at 12:56 am

    I totally hear you on the “creepy to me” sentiment! We went to a puppet & music class, and I wondered, “Why does this ‘man’ own so many puppets? It seems weird that he’s singing right into my baby’s face…”

  17. April on June 7, 2012 at 1:08 am

    We took our son to My Gym in Honolulu and he LOVED it! We had a month-long pass, and after that, we just decided to wait to register him for anything else until he’s older. Now, we have an AMAZING (state-funded!) playgroup that’s developmentally and activity-based and he loves it just as much. My first “class” was gymnastics, and I have so many happy memories! It’s so much fun to see the babes reacting to all of their firsts, though 🙂

  18. Averie @ Averie Cooks on June 7, 2012 at 1:37 am

    I didn’t do too many of those classes when my daughter was little. They were all so pricey around here so we didn’t do tons but a few. Germs…well…I figure the more they are exposed to, the stronger their immune systems will be one day 🙂

  19. Bree on June 7, 2012 at 3:33 am

    I’m reading Bringing Up Bebe right now, too. Well, when I have time 🙂 if nothing else, it’s been a nice reminder for me to relax a little.

    Total germaphobe here…I’m hoping it will get better with time. We’re taking the babies to meet extended family this weekend and I’m already a little anxious about germs.

  20. Ashley @ The North Carolina Cowgirl on June 7, 2012 at 7:34 am

    That’s a great picture of you two! I can’t believe how much her appearance has changed since her birth. She is super cute!

    BTW, I’m a germaphobe too. I’m so bad that I won’t let my son play on the playground at the fast food restaurants. The smell when you walk into those places is enough to make me gag. I can only imagine what kind of germs are growing in those play places. Ick!

    • Nikki @only25hoursinaday on June 7, 2012 at 8:44 am

      LOL at the smell comment – I thought I was the only one who gagged at it 😉

      It’s like a mixture of plastic and sweat… GROSS!

  21. Courtney on June 7, 2012 at 7:36 am

    I think you have a great attitude towards the whole germs and dirt thing. I remember growing up my mom was super cool about germs, etc. We played outside all day, riding our bikes on the dirt road and climbing trees, running around getting into God knows what. And at the end of the day we all came in, got bathed and cleaned up before supper and slept like rocks! My sister and I never got sick (and still don’t) and I wonder if it’s because our systems are “used to” germs and fighting them off, if that makes sense? The world is so concerned with over-santizing now and you see so many kids who are always sick.

    • Andrea on June 7, 2012 at 9:38 am

      My husband is an allergist/immunologist and would completely agree with you. When our kids were little (they are 9 & 11 now) he used to tell me it was good for their immune system to get sick. Now that they are in school they are never sick.

  22. Lindsay @ Lindsay's List on June 7, 2012 at 8:20 am

    With the second one, you’ll become even MORE relaxed with germs. It will disturb strangers just how relaxed you are! 😉

    • Sejal M on June 7, 2012 at 9:02 am


  23. merrie on June 7, 2012 at 8:33 am

    These gyms for preschoolers are actually really good for a kids development in many ways. Gymboree is another good one. They both have actual curriculums geared towards certain age groups.
    Appropriate stimulation from an early age makes a big difference in a kids cognitive abilities later on. I see it every day in my teaching job…

  24. Nikki @only25hoursinaday on June 7, 2012 at 8:43 am

    I can relate to the germaphobe thing. We got a lot of dirty looks and sneers when our son was <6 months old because we made everyone who held him use hand sanitizer first… BUT, it was a. winter in the North, where everyone is sick all the time; and b. after we had a MRSA scare {where we spent overnight in the ER having his blood drawn/labs done, etc… very traumatizing for us!} when he was only 8 weeks old. We also didn't let him play on those mall play areas for a long time… LOL. Now that he's older, we aren't quite as crazy about it – afterall, germs are needed to boost the immune system 🙂 – but we definitely enforce handwashing and keeping hands out of the mouth/eyes/nose.

    In response to the forced activity thing – I definitely feel that some parents push it way too much in this area. We are laid-back, and our 4.5 y/o isn't "enrolled" in any extracurricular activities. He is very socialized at his all-day preschool, and we do so many things out and about as a family, that we feel it's plenty of stimulation for him. I have relatives who put their young kids in several activities {music lessons, sports, languages}, and from my prespective, all it causes is stress {having to run around after work/school, schedule meals, etc.} and actually leads to burn-out {their kids don't even really like the sports/music that they're in}.

    Call us old-fashioned, but we know there's plenty of time in his childhood for these extra activities.

  25. Sejal M on June 7, 2012 at 9:01 am

    I’ve taken both my kids to classes. Music oriented (dancing, singing, moving), and swi classes. I did these while they were home with me for their first year (Canadian maternity leave). They loved it but really, who was I kidding. It was FOR ME!!!! I needed to get out, meet other moms, talk poop, sleep, diapers, etc and just have some structure. I only ever signed up for two classes per week and when they were over might try to fill the gap with another session but only kept it to 2 classes so not to overload me or baby,
    Sounds like you had fun!

  26. Rebecca on June 7, 2012 at 9:31 am

    Although I think the business of having ‘baby and me’ things is a new creation – babies/mom’s have always socialized in some form. Or at least that is what I think people did when Moms didn’t work so much 🙂 But…I also think people are pushing too much on their kids. Personally I don’t go to anything that requires me to pay $$ to have Max socialize, but I have enough friends with babies that we can do the same thing at a park/someone’s house.

    I’m kind of relaxed about germs – but I still get the heeby jeebys (however you spell that), if a complete stranger touches Max. I don’t make people wash their hands or sanitize everything all the time. I will give a restaurant highchair a quick wipe though and try to not let Mr. I will eat everything, actually eat everything.

  27. Christina on June 7, 2012 at 9:35 am

    you look gorgeous gina! and livi is just too cute!

  28. Kristen on June 7, 2012 at 10:54 am

    I’m glad you and Livi had a fun time. I think those classes are good just for something fun and different. I would take my son there but I definitely don’t think they’re a neccesaty for his learning. I feel that he’ll learn alot just by everyday living and playing. We expose him to different people, other children, and surroundings quite often, as well as read to him ourselves and play games with him using his motor skills. I’m not going crazy with classes while he’s little because in about five years he’ll have plenty of them for at least 12 years. So for now, I just want him to enjoy being a baby. 🙂
    As for germs, I just use common sense and plan to teach my kids the same. I don’t want to be just a complete phsyco germ mom. I don’t feel that will really accomplish anything but lots of added stress.

    The lady can twist her head around? Really?! That would give me nightmares even now, much less if I were a child!!

  29. Georgia on June 7, 2012 at 11:44 am

    Just read that and loved it! Five years in Europe and I didn’t pay a lick of attention to babies or how they got to be so disciplined. But the book has already changed the way we’re relating to her in snacking and dinner. She’s just at the “cheerios” at every juncture age and now at least I”m aware and can say “no thanks”. Love the book (most of it).

  30. Meagan on June 7, 2012 at 4:11 pm

    Livi is just gorgeous, and you are looking fantastic! Might have to study your video tutorial on curling hair…once my hair grows out a bit 🙂

  31. April on June 7, 2012 at 4:30 pm

    Ahhhh, you two are SO adorable, glad you both had fun!!!!!
    It’s funny, i never was a germaphobe and thought i would become one after having a baby…i did think about both of us picking up germs quite a bit in the beginning, but now that Jack is in day care i can’t obsess over it. This may sound lame, but all the ‘sprays and cleaners’ they put on the toys gross me out more than the germs from the kiddos. I would much rather they just wash the stuff with soap/water at the end of the day:)

  32. Courtney on June 7, 2012 at 5:41 pm

    I’m traumatized just by the mental images that story put in my head. Yikes!

    And I’m with you on the hand sanitizing. I’m not a complete germ phobe, but I am so afraid of stomach bugs that we use Germ-X and Wet Ones wipes very frequently. Lol!

  33. Lea on June 7, 2012 at 10:58 pm

    I remember taking a ballet/gymnastics combo class when I was 3. I remember everyone loved tumbling around in the gymnastics half, but we all whined like crazy when it came time to do ballet! We did get wands with our ballet costumes at recital though, we stopped whining so much after that.

  34. Kevin on June 8, 2012 at 12:41 pm

    It was great having you and Livi at My Gym for our “Little Bundles” class. We look forward to seeing you both again soon.

    By the way, the gym is not small, if you look at it from Livi’s height it is HUGE! 🙂

  35. Sam @ Fit for My Fork on June 8, 2012 at 1:20 pm

    I remember doing Gymboree classes as a kid. If I remember correctly, I loved them! I totally agree with you on the germ front though – my boyfriend always jokes that we will be bathing our future child in Dettol. 😛

  36. Jen on June 8, 2012 at 10:19 pm

    Have you heard anything about those bouncers being bad for babies? My husband is a chiropractor and he thinks propping up our baby so she can bounce and jump is bad for her development. I believe him but I’m not sure if it’s a real concern or not. He’s VERY CAREFUL! Anyway…I figure you are connected with a lot of people so I thought you might have heard this before.

  37. Gia on June 8, 2012 at 10:33 pm

    First, LOVED Bringing up Bebe … cant wait to read your post on it.
    I take the twins to lots of classes, I started when they were around Livi’s age and also had the germaphobe thing going on. It was their love of classes that got me over it. There is just something magical about watching your children discover new things, hear a new song, find something funny and when they get bigger its amazing to watch their social skills develop with the other kids in their class.

  38. Lauren on June 9, 2012 at 6:26 am

    I always feel that a little germs are good for their immune system. I read a lot about autoimmune diseases, because I have one, and they say being “too clean” during childhood may play a roll.

  39. Jen in MN on June 9, 2012 at 1:16 pm

    I’m reading Bringing Up Bebe right now too – almost done, in fact! I’m really loving it. Are you? Eager to see what you will post about your thoughts on it!

  40. Lauren on June 11, 2012 at 12:46 pm

    Hi Gina!

    I am a daily reader of your amazing blog and I truly love every aspect you include in it, especially how important your family is to you. I am a huge supporter of TeamDad, an organization created by David Hirsch in Chicago, Illinois. He is a primary member of the Illinois Fatherhood Initiative and has created TeamDad with his wife to raise awareness and money for children who do not have father figures in their lives. TeamDad created the Great Dads Coin as the perfect Father’s Day gift to give to those special men who are heroic figures in the lives of children. More than 200,000 children have been born this year without the name of a father on their birth certificate. Please help us raise awareness for Team Dad by highlighting the organization. Your help is so greatly appreciated!

    Thank you so much!

  41. Heather Eats Almond Butter on June 11, 2012 at 3:06 pm

    I was wondering if they ever cleaned the balls in the pits. I’m not sure if Nashville has a gym class like this for little ones, but it sounds like so much fun. Before I had Summer, I saw the documentary, Babies, and decided that our child would not need stimulating classes or DVD’s or toys with batteries, etc. She could just play and crawl around on her own and be happy. Hehe, let’s just say I’ve become a little more flexible around those types of things, and although we still try to keep her from getting overstimulated, sometimes a fun class with other moms and babes is exactly what we both need! Oh, and the occasional DVD is great as sometimes it’s the only way I can fit in a shower these days.

    Also, we love a little dirt – helps build that immune system! 🙂

  42. Carrie R. on June 22, 2012 at 1:36 pm

    My Gym is so cute!!! I don’t have babies yet but I have gone with my friends and their kids…yeah the puppet dancing at the end of the session is weird, I concur. They do it at Gymboree too. 🙂

    My swim instructor was kind of crazy when I was three. My swim teacher used to push us in the pool. Like literally push us…the day my Dad saw him they had a shoving match. LOVELY!!! Lol…my Mom taught swimming after that…

    BTW that pic of you and Liv is a framer. She is so adorable bless her heart!!!!

  43. Valerie on August 22, 2013 at 8:57 pm

    I’m so glad you blogged about this. Now that my baby girl is 6 months, I can go back and reread the things y’all did at her age 🙂

    The first class I remember taking was a dance class with jazz and taps. I loved it. I hated the amount of makeup they made us wear for recitals. It did make me feel like a supermodel though!

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