Class 2 of Gymboree.

Prior to our first Gymboree experience a couple of weeks ago, I had posted that I was semi-excited about the new challenge for Ella (and a reason to get out of the friggin' house). One of my Twitter Friends replied, "I remember being so isolated that the prospect of meeting other moms was exciting. And then I did and it wasn't. As a writer, you're curious, interested, intelligent, eclectic...1 hr of diaper comparison & you'll want to blow your brains out."

I laughed, thinking, "Surely NOT!"
And then?
Today happened.

But there was no gun to the rescue.

Turns out?
I stepped into Stepford-Gymboree.

APPARENTLY, you have to be a size 2 with fantastic hair, cute jeans, manicures, the latest Chloe bag, a perfectly behaved child who sleeps all night and no longer takes a bottle at age 13 months. HM.
Who knew?

Suddenly? I was in high school again.

(BTW, if the new Gucci purse is called the Jackie, don't you think it's a sign?!?!)
(I digress...)

Pre-Ella, I had heard of these Mommy Cliques. (They're kinda like Gossip Girl, only for older, post-pregnant women.)
I thought these groups were urban myths.
Until I experienced it.
The weird thing is? I'm way past the point of caring what other people think of me. I mean...

I'm social!
I'm smart!
I'm semi-trendy!
I have an interesting career!
I have a cool haircut!
I dress my baby in UGGs.
I have Juicy Couture sunglasses!

Why doesn't anyone want to ask me to the prom? (Oh, wait, that was something entirely different...)
So today, during my Stepford Gymboree I had a running reel of non-stop internal dialogue. It went something like this:

Perfect Mom 1: OH! I'll be 29 tomorrow!
Perfect Mom 2: I just turned 30, isn't it depressing?!??!
Perfect Mom 3: Oh, that's how old I am... *unison sigh*
All three look at me. I just? SMILE AND BLINK *blink*blink*blink*
Jackie Internal Dialogue (JID): Seriously? I don't even remember 30. I just turned 40 and I have a 1 year old. I'm worried about hot flashes, breast exams, and retirement savings before my kid makes it to kindergarten....

Perfect Mom: Oh so you're NEW. Are going to come to our Tuesday class now?
Me: Yes
Jackie Internal Dialogue: Not only am I going to be in your class, I'm also NOT going to get a manicure. In fact, I'm going to continue to sweat all over your class while I have to chase my crazy-not-fit-for-public kid all over. Did I mention that I shop at Target? And sometimes? I buy GENERIC at the grocery store if it's on sale!

Another Perfect Mom (APM): So...I'm sorry, I forgot your child's name?
Me: Ella. EL-LA.
APM: So, does ELLA sleep through the night now?
Me: *snort* Uh, no.
APM: *shock*surprise* REALLY?
Me: Why, does Patty?
APM: Yes, she sleeps from 8 p.m. to 8:30 a.m. I need my "me time", you know?
Me: Well, Ella sometimes sleeps through the night. Sometimes she gets up in the middle of the night and wants a bottle.
APM: *gasp* REALLY?
Jackie Internal Dialogue: Not only does she not sleep through the night sometimes, but we still co-sleep with her and she's a king-size bed hog and I either have to teeter on the edge or sleep on the couch. AND? She takes MULTIPLE BOTTLES per day. AND? She sucks her thumb. STILL. And this "ME TIME" - what is this "ME TIME" you speak of??!?!?!??!?

For goodness sake, people. It's Gymboree, not an ivy league admission test.
As in a GYM.
They have frayed carpet and no heat in the bathroom.
I mean, can't we all just get along? (Even though I wore my Rocket Dog sneakers and a hoodie?)

Maybe if I tell them about my artsy writer side there willl be forgiveness? You know, kind of like that crazy aunt that wears big flowered Mu Mus and always has bright red lipstick on her two front teeth? You tolerate her just so you can make fun of her later when she's not around.

To make things worse? Ella bores easily and really isn't that interested in playing with the other kids. She plays at home all day by herself. I'm sure she's thinking, "Why are these people invading my space?" So, not only does my kid NOT join with the other kids, I spend the entire 45-minutes-feels-like-3-hours chasing her around.
(Did I mention the sweating?)
(Mine, NOT HERS...)
So today, on our SECOND CLASS don't forget, the instructor said, "Boy, Ella sure is everywhere. Tracy [the other instructor], did you see Ella?"
I mean, WTH?
(HELLLOOOO SECOND CLASS...barely enough time for Ella to understand she's coming to a class, let alone how she's supposed to act...)
I just smiled and said, "I need a nap." My internal dialogue said:
Look, I'm just thrilled to get through this. She's completely out of her element, which makes me edgy and uncomfortable. I'm just glad she didn't cause one of the other children bodily harm or throw up on some mommy's Christian Louboutin boots. Maybe you guys should consider serving margaritas to parents after each class.

BTW, I find it interesting that Gymboree's tagline is Creativity-Confidence-Friendship.
Show me the love, I say.

Ella, post-Gymboree (clearly disturbed as much as me by the experience...)


Michelle said... @ 9:20 AM

Oh, I could have written this same scenario with my Ella, except I didn't get the Rocket Dogs until I was pregnant with Baby #2. :) She was about 2 when I found a group of moms who didn't fit in anywhere either. Only, I don't exactly blend in with them either, but at least they meet one night a month for margaritas! Now, if I can only make it to one of those margarita parties, I think I'd feel much better.

Don't feel too bad. We still wake up every 2-3 hours to nurse. Oh yes, I'm a complete zombie. But I'm way too lazy to night wean. By the way, she's SO CUTE sleeping like that. Looks to me like she had a good time. :)

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