A Gym Tale: A community, not just a place to play

 by Lara Our relationship with A Gym Tale began three years ago at the end of cold and flu season. Stinky Monkey was just 2 months corrected age (4 months chronological) and I was finally going to be allowed out in public with him. I needed to find other moms and other babies to socialize with after a long, snowy winter of hospital stays and doctors appointments. Regardless of Stinky Monkey's prognosis I was determined to give him the best life with the most experience.   During an online search I found A Gym Tale, at the time it was just a few doors away from our Pediatrician's office. They had a program entitled "New Magic" for babies 3-10 months. I thought I would call and see if I could enroll for the end of the Spring session or at least pay per visit. I spoke with Lindsay, the owner, and explained my situation and the need for as germ-free environment as I can possibly get with little children. She reassured me about their policies and was great about prorating our enrollment. The class was small, the moms were welcoming and Stinky Monkey and I were quickly embraced into our new community of mom's and babes in Barrhaven. Songs, rhymes, learning and development activities, sensory activities and allowing babies to explore their new world in a safe, kid friendly environment. This was my first experience as a mommy, a non-NICU mommy, and A Gym Tale helped us to build bonds and friendships in Barrhaven.

  Three years on we have done MANY an organized playgroup with A Gym Tale, Stinky Monkey attended all levels of groups, some with me, some with The Husband and some with Nana...he's finally reached the age where its time to just go and play in the pirate ship and castle. He's even mastered the "Big" slide (the slide I won't go down). Bella Bear started the classes at 2 months old and she has made her own friends now in her groups and enjoys every minute of the time in class and enjoys the under 3 play area when Stinky Monkey is enjoying the slides and larger structure.

  Lindsay has become part of our family, she always takes an interest in the kids she see in her groups. She engages the kids and the parents, offers helpful tips and reassures those of us with little ones who don't always want to participate in the groups that no its not a developmental issue, he's just 2!

What I appreciate the most about Lindsay and her business partner/husband Alan is that they are following their passion and are committed to making the best memories for kids and their families in a positive and rich learning environment. Whether a special event scheduled on Father's Day or creating a safe space where parents feel comfortable dropping their kids (3 and up) for a fun Friday night, offering preschool, before and after-school care, summer camps, or participating in the Barrhaven Santa Claus Parade or helping our little people celebrate their birthdays. Every child is important to them, every child's experience is considered a priority.

  To this end A Gym Tale is really committed to creating a community for parents in Barrhaven and beyond, creating memories, enriching learning and helping families sharing parenting experience. This commitment has now expanded to just moms too! Lindsay has recently started a monthly Moms night of scrapbooking at the centre and it is great to get together with other Moms (without our babes) and enjoy stories, pictures, memories and parenting advice.   Visit a Gym Tale in Barrhaven or follow their blog, details at www.agymtale.com.

Lara is mom to Stinky Monkey (3) and Bella Bear (1).  She enjoys making the best memories with her active cardiac preschooler and a healthy heart toddler.  Lara also works, volunteers, shops (way too much), and is new to blogging at www.parentingwithheart.blogspot.com