I was never one for cartwheels and handstands. It wasn’t that I was a nerd, head stuck in a book all day, or a mini fashionista too primped and preened to do anything so inelegant. I just couldn’t perform them.
No matter how hard I tried, how many hours I practised I just couldn’t master the moves.
It’s like the grown-up equivalent: press ups. I cannot do these either despite working out with a personal trainer who tells me “everyone” can do them. Everyone, that is, except me.
I remember break times in the school playground.
My classmates would giddily cartwheel by me, perfectly in time leg and hand rotations, or skip towards a wall, place their hands neatly on the ground, and execute graceful handstands. I stood by spellbound.
A few times I would attempt to join them but a wobbly headstand just didn’t have the same aesthetic, or kudos. Still I wanted to be part of those playtime activities.
Recently, the girls in Master A’s class have taken an interest in performing cartwheels and handstands. I think it’s an age thing because if memory serves me right it was around the age of seven that my classmates started to think of themselves as mini gymnasts.
According to Master A, every day while the boys are busy kicking a football around the girls are out perfecting their gymnastic skills and routines.
Inevitably, some are better than others – and there are a few scrapes along the way. This is what happens with children, how they learn, how they progress in life. It’s part of growing up – but not so if you’re in Plymouth.
A head teacher there has banned “gymnastic activities” because some of the pupils had fallen and this was deemed to be causing the school problems.
The only problem I can see is children being denied a happy, healthy “normal” childhood by an absurd, patronising system.
Working Mum, attempting to do a cartwheel because maybe the world will make more sense the wrong-way up.