I started taking Frank to Little Gym when he was 7 months old maybe. He was just starting to crawl, so whenever that general age is. This was Tracy’s idea. Now don’t get me wrong, Little Gym is great. The staff is friendly and professional. Tracy still takes Frank once a week as part of their date night and he loves it. My experience is with the moms. Ok, the more I look at that the more it sounds as bad as it reads.
Little Gym does not differentiate between male or female parent, but I have found that the weekday morning classes aren’t really used to having a male of the species intrude. And the only guys there on Saturdays are the ones whole lost the argument over golf vs quality family time. As the only male among the teacher and 8 other parents on Wednesday mornings it was a little uncomfortable – for the moms.
At first there was the constant correcting of the pronouns to gender neutral and the descriptor of mommy to daddy or parent. It was always with the look of dread as if they had just caused me some great offense. If it wasn’t for the nervousness that made the air in the room heavy I would not have even noticed being called a mommy. I was too worried about making sure Frank didn’t take a header off the balance beam and bust his melon; and not so much that he would get hurt, but how would I explain his concussion and probable brain damage to Tracy. No way I get to tee it up on a Saturday if Frank breaks his gourd on a Wednesday.
It’s normal for the kids to wander around the gym, the theory is that if we all continue doing what we were doing the kids will wander back. This is true for the most part. Sooner or later a child not of your loins will wander over to you, hands thrust into the air signaling touchdown and pick me up simultaneously. While other mothers were free to scoop up the other kids, mommies would come retrieve their kids from me and apologize profusely. Again it was as if the kid had just broken some secret and ancient code worthy of a Tom Hanks sequel.
The shunning – planning play dates. As the class moved on through the 15 weeks we all got to know each other. Before long the kids became aware of the same faces every Wednesday and this familiarity prompted a scheduling of play-dates. It went something like this – “wow, Edwin and Amanda have so much fun together we should get together for a play-date.” Guess who was never invited to a play-date?
Frank was a big hit with the kids and mommies too. Hell, he taught half of the little mouth-breathers to crawl. But he was being held back by dear old dad. I would have gladly gone. I have actually gone to a few, with the wives and children of some of my former comrades in arms. It’s a great time, Frank loves it and I get to eat like a pig and cultivate babysitting contacts for when I need an emergency 18 hole golf session. But no dice. Little Gym moms just couldn’t bring themselves to invite me. And of course now I’m feeling like if I invite them I’m the creepy 42 year old dude trying to put the move on some stay at home moms.
Alas Little Gym moms, you’ve cut me to the quick with a wound I’ll take to the grave.