09/06/2011
Between the two Huntsville TLG locations, I have met and interacted with thousands of kids over the last 4 years. And let me tell you a little secret I’ve learned: there is no such thing as a “typical” kid. Or I guess there may be one somewhere, but if so, then there is no other kid exactly like that typical child, so we are back to where we started.
 
And I don’t mean this in a “every one is special and unique” kind of way. I mean, that’s certainly true, but that is not my point here. My point is in contrast to the way “typical” is used to describe children who have no diagnosis of anything. Wonderful, hard-working parents will frequently come in to the gym and feel they need to describe some behavior their child exhibits and almost apologize for them.
 
And what I would like ALL parents to understand is that many, many parents feel this. Even ones with “typical” children. You are not alone. And we can all laugh together at the odd behavior that our beautiful, creative children sometimes exhibit. I would like to describe now some of the wonderfully unique behaviors I’ve seen over the years.
 
These examples come from all kinds of children.
 
One of my favorites was a 4 or 5 year old (typical) little girl who insisted on walking, or rather traveling, everywhere in a bear –crawl for months. Still makes me laugh. (because I wasn’t her mom!) Another 4-year-old boy brought a mermaid with him to every class and insisted she sit on the ledge and watch. Some kids talk non-stop. Some insist on having a blue ball. Some make you call them a different name each week. Some will only respond if you treat them like an animal. One 5-year-old boy come to class dressed as Spiderman. His Dad shook his head and apologized. Said he couldn’t convince him not to wear the costume. I still smile just thinking about it years later.
 
One little boy was obsessed with vacuum cleaners. Would actually talk about them all the time. My own daughter when she was about 5 went through a phase where she would only wear khaki pants for about 6 months. I had to buy like 5 pair. Some kids will only wear a certain color. One 2-year-old in my class last week was as happy as I’ve ever seen a kid, smiling and laughing, until I pulled out the parachute. And then he started screaming like he was in a horror film and did not stop until I put the parachute away. At which point he began smiling and laughing like a switch had been flipped. Speaking of switches, some kids love them. Keep turning the lights on and off. Some kids insist on doing the same apparatus the whole class. Then the next week they move on to something else. Some kids don’t like to be touched.
 
You get the picture. And my point is this, every one of these behaviors (even the screamer) made me laugh. Well, except when it was my daughter because as parents we sometimes miss the humor in our own situation. I’ll admit, with her I was a little frustrated on occasion. When all the khaki pants were dirty and she would refuse to leave the house. I wondered what on earth was wrong with her. But you know what, she wears all colors and kinds of clothes now. And the bear-crawler eventually stood up and walked in class. And I think that screamer will one day play with a parachute. But if not, that’s ok too.
 
I say embrace the odd. It really is the norm. Laugh and see the beauty in the uniqueness of these behaviors. Don’t feel embarrassed by them. Be proud. Shake your head and think, “only MY child would...”
-Angel Hundley
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