Day Twenty-Seven: An old rivalry rekindles – Wednesday 29 July 2015

Milo’s first performance at his new Gymbaroo was strong. But you’re only as good as your last performance and a week is a long time in Gymbaroo (insert additional sporting cliches). Today we returned.

Milo appeared relaxed all morning. Kuepps has been working hard this week so headed into work a little later than usual, giving me the opportunity to gather my energies for Gymbaroo. Milo drifted peacefully to sleep just after 0900 and I needed to rouse him at 1140 as we had run out of time; this was a relaxed boy, none of the nerves we saw last week.

If I am honest, I did not quite share his relaxed demeanour. I attempted to navigate without the use of electronic maps and got us a little lost, rookie mistake. We arrived slightly late just as the ‘Welcome to Gymbaroo’ song was beginning, Milo seemed calm. What we noticed immediately was the significantly larger group than what we encountered last week. We squeezed our way in between a new boy named Oscar and Milo’s co-conspirator from last week Oliver. We then quickly scanned the new faces and about half way around our arc we saw him; the Swami of Swim School, the Putin of the Pool, the Doyen of Dunking. Lennox.

Milo seemed unfazed, but I knew the stakes had risen. We arrived last week presuming we were Lebron, looking for our wingmen (or ladies). But perhaps in truth we were only vying to be Wade, or God forbid Bosh or, deary me, ‘the Birdman’.

Watching Lennox crawl around in the middle of the mat with impunity during the ‘Jack and Jill’ warm-up it was hard not to be impressed. He is good; and he knows it.

The first activity was of course ‘wheelbarrow to get the remote control’, which readers may recall Milo triumphed in last week. Now, during the week I have consulted Wikipedia, Wisden and the Grays Sports Almanac and I am confident no baby has ever won this event two weeks in a row. I didn’t tell Milo of my findings to avoid undue pressure, but I knew he was on the precipice of greatness.

The remote control was tossed onto the mat and Milo started well. In fact, the Gymbaroo instructor acknowledged Milo’s early form specifically saying “Milo is going to show us how it is done”. Well, Milo had a healthy lead and had only to continue on his forward trajectory to achieve greatness. Instead he turned left toward a little baby called Amelia, and the chance was lost. The stickler in me would point out the remote control really wasn’t placed directly in the middle of the mat, it greatly favoured those on the Western side, but in truth it wouldn’t have mattered. Lyndie, another new face, grabbed the remote, and the ascendancy. Milo continued happily toward Amelia and they sort of butted their heads together before returning to their respective parent’s laps.

Milo performed well in the ‘wash the laundry, dry the laundry’ game but always seemed to be whooshing when he should have been shooshing. He flipped elegantly in the ‘incey wincey spider sequence’ but it was low profile, and therefore low reward.

Soon we headed into the gym. Milo went straight for some high difficulty apparatus, brushing away my urgings to warm up appropriately; the spider web climbing thingy with the bells attached to it, the hangy tube which was elevated off the ground today for additional risk, the ladder laying on top of the slide with the plastic bumblebee at the top, and then the long red inclined tube with a nasty 12% gradient dip toward the end.

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Spider-web thing

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The ‘cruising’ beam

We had watched several babies bravely climb to the top of ‘The Tube’, only to peer into its mouth and retreat; to the large plastic bowl covered in sheep’s wool, to the pile of mini-bean bags, to the tepid springless trampoline, or some just to their mothers.

Milo, inspired by a Dodecahedron placed atop the tube, scaled the mighty staircase that lead to its entrance and soon sat gazing into the abyss, odd plastic geometrically challenging toy in his hand. After taking a breath he rolled the Dodecahedron into the tube and plunged in after it. I frantically dashed around to the other entrance to meet him triumphantly as he cruised out safely in his jaunty style. We embraced and our eyes darted around the room. Nobody had seen.

Milo, unfazed, moved quickly over to the ‘trapeze’ which was in the highest difficulty category today. Due to the high risk involved the Gymbaroo instructor was there to supervise. Part of me felt as if this was our last chance for redemption today.

The instructor explained that Milo needed to grasp onto the cross bar, I would need to let him go and she would then swing him back and forth while supporting his wrists. Milo’s little hands remained clenched and his body instinctively twisted around toward me, away from this potential danger. It was clear today was not our day. “Don’t worry” soothed the instructor “the trapeze will be here again next week”. “Next week… next week”. The words rang in our ears, and we knew all that we had left was to return to the mat and prepare for the goodbye song.

We had not been paying Lennox’s performance in the gym too much notice, we are always of the view that if Milo takes care of his work the results will follow. Lennox looked confident back at the mat however and once again strolled out into the middle just as the parachute game began. Milo, perhaps astutely, decided to finish his day in a reserved fashion and chose to remain on the outside of the parachute. With the larger than usual mass of babies the interior of the parachute became clogged very quickly; babies dashing back and forth, reaching for the parachute as it bobbed up and down, toppling onto each other.

Lennox could be spotted easily, sitting in the middle of this mayhem, calm for a while but soon he too realised his predicament. His exit routes were blocked, his balance under threat and gradually he became distressed. This distress eventually precipitated his father picking his way into the middle of the mat and retrieving him, a clear black mark on a Gymbaroo performance. This event was not lost on the Gymbaroo panel, and perhaps there is still hope that Milo can one day claw himself back toward the upper echelons of this elite Gymbaroo gathering.

The drive home was peaceful, Milo munching happily on a cracker, and soon we were back at the living room table to debrief over sandwiches and pasta. After an hour or so of lunching together Milo had a short play with his pegs and then willingly headed downstairs with me for a rejuvenating afternoon nap.

Kuepps arrived home before we awoke and this surprise lifted Milo’s spirits immeasurably. He giggled and beamed at his mum and did not stop smiling for the rest of the evening. Oma arrived home from Germany this evening so Milo was allowed to stay up late, reading books in German and eating broccoli before eventually flapping and flailing himself to a well earned sleep.

  • Number of recorded back-to-back remote control wheelbarrow victories – 0
  • Number of pegs discovered in Huckleberry’s lair – 7
  • Hours volunteering at local library referencing books in the Dewey Decimal System – 0
  • Hours volunteering for the ‘Urban Bee Society’ – 0
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