My Gym is one of the places, other than school or work, that we have visited most since moving to Los Angeles.
Our eldest was first to be invited to a birthday party at My Gym in Encino and he loved it. So much so, he had his 7th Birthday party there.
His 6th birthday had been a far more dismal affair, we'd only really just arrived in the country and so we went to this place he'd heard of called Chuck E Cheese... [please note I didn't link to the cheese on purpose!] I was told you should just stay quiet if you can't say anything nice... So in order of niceness: the parking lot and that machine that draws pictures of you and the big mouse are the best bits of Chuck E Cheese.
My Gym is great for kids parties. They get to run, jump, bounce, crawl, climb and pretty much be active in a safe environment. There's even a 'safe' area for adults to wait, observe and shout 'encouragement' from. Though mostly it's a time to compare war stories, share battle winning tactics and consider when it would be possible to schedule some 'no kids' time.
I was there again on Sunday at a 3 yr olds party. We hadn't been for a while and I wasn't entirely looking forward to it. My 3 yr old isn't exactly a team player. He does what he likes, when he likes it. On previous trips to My Gym with my youngest I've never been able to stay in the 'safe' adult area. I'm always either trying to cajole the angry boy into a group activity or insisting that it's not ok to hold your friend down with a foot, whilst you wrestle the ball you wanted from his/her hands. And then there's the tears when it's all over and time to put socks and shoes back on...
Sunday was different though. My boy is growing up. He played nice, he listened to the My Gym staff, he sat in a circle for the activities and he sat in the audience to watch the puppet show. I stood and chatted to parents in the 'safe' area. I watched other parents try to supply the cajoling for group actions and persuade short dictators to adopt a sharing policy. My boy loved it and he loved being part of it. And I actually had quite a good time too.
Obviously, he's still the same boy though. When we got home he was back to his less cooperative self. How dare I try to feed him such muck? Vegetables! How very dare I! Can't I see the chocolate? You just wait there, whilst I climb onto the kitchen countertop to get the chocolate down.... Dora the Explorer came to the rescue and Boots inspired him to scoff two bananas in short succession.
Perhaps, I'm trying to ignore his progression and development. Sure it's easier when he's more cooperative and reasonable, but I don't want him to grow up too fast. Where's the fun in that?