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The shape of things

July 29th, 2012 | Posted by Amy Boughner in Parenting

Sitting downstairs this morning watching women’s gymnastics with the kid. I knew she would be interested because she’s taking gymnastics and she loves to bounce around and swing and doing somersaults.

She was excited to see the balance beam, because she’s walked on one before, and she likes the flips on the floor. She was very excited to see one of the athletes do a somersault – this one in midair.

Behind me she’s started pretending to be on the parallel bars.

She loves being active and gymnastics is one of her many interests, as is dance, and as the mother who over-thinks these things, I already wonder how I’m going to explain to her that her body type is not that of a gymnast or a ballerina.

I remember watching the 1996 Olympics, watching women’s gymnastics, and becoming a fan of Svetlana Khorkina. She was so tall and gangly and the announcers kept saying that coaches had told her she was too tall for the sport.

And then I googled her and found out that she’s 5’5.”

Yeah.

My kid? Going to be a lot taller than that. She’s already 3’1″ and she’s only two and a half. She’s also going to be big. Strong legs, big arms, solid build. No question.

I wonder how long she will continue taking dance classes and gymnastics – she’s already told me she wants to be an acrobat, which I kind of think would be great. I wonder when someone will first tell her that she doesn’t look right, or her body is wrong. I wonder what effect that will have on her and if she’ll talk to me about it. I wonder if, in that moment, anything I’ve said to her about her smarts and beauty will stick.

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