Making Time For Baby #2: Our ‘My Gym’ Experience

This children's fitness review is brought to you by My Gym Jacksonville.


My two-year-old, Mac, started Mommy and Me classes when he was only 2 months old. The week after his first set of vaccinations, I put on his second cutest outfit (he puked on the first cutest because, yeah, 2 months old) and headed to the downtown library for a Friday morning session of  Stories for Babies. Within a few months, we’d also joined a playdate group, a workout club and started a signing course, too.

When he was 8 months old, a friend with a baby the same age told me about My Gym Children’s Fitness Center and suggested we take advantage of their free trial class. I was skeptical. I mean, he was 8 MONTHS OLD — what the heck could he possibly do at a “gym,” when he wasn’t even walking yet — let alone ready to test out his tumbling skills?

Needless to say, it was free, had great Yelp reviews and gave us several different class times to choose from — so we went.

From balance beams to balloons to ball pits, My Gym Jacksonville offers tons of activities for your little one!
From balance beams to balloons to ball pits, My Gym Jacksonville offers tons of activities for your little one!

And we LOVED it! Mac was in the “Tiny Tikes” class for babies aged 1 to 13 months. There were kiddos as young as 2 months in our session, up to a pair of 1-year-olds who’d been going since about that same age. Although all the little ones were at different levels developmentally, the coaches were super engaging and made sure that all the activities could be modified to suit every participant. There were songs and stretches in addition to the gym work and play time — plus plenty of socialization for both moms (and dads!), as well as babies. While I couldn’t register Mac for a series of classes at the time (Great incentives and reduced costs if you do!) due to that already strenuous schedule of Mommy and Me-ness I mentioned earlier, we were hooked! We’ve been to at least a half-dozen community events (Put on by the likes of everyone from Jacksonville Moms Blog to the library!) that featured My Gym and their awesome, enthusiastic coaches. We’ve even been to a handful of birthday parties held there that immediately made me regret having ours at home. Seriously, a blast.

I mean, what kid wouldn't want to do this?!
I mean, what kid wouldn’t want to do this?!

So when the Boss Ladies at JMB asked if I’d be interested in taking My Gym Jacksonville up on an offer to test classes for our new kid on the block, 5-month-old (at the time) Josie, my answer was hell freakin’ yes! I’m going to be honest here – being born only 22 months after her big brother has seriously cramped Josie’s social style. Gone are the sweet mornings of Mommy and Me classes that baby number one enjoyed. They’ve been replaced by frantic attempts to feed and dress her in time for drop-off at Mac’s three-morning-a-week preschool and the occasional playdate at a friend’s house. And I use the term “playdate” loosely — it’s usually more of an opportunity for Josie to sit in her car seat carrier for an extended period of time while I chase her brother around someone else’s house, begging him to turn his sippy cup upright.

Just another future Olympic gymnast and/ or Cirque Du Soleil contortionist showing off her newly learned My Gym stretching skills!
Just another future Olympic gymnast and/or Cirque Du Soleil contortionist showing off her newly learned My Gym stretching skills!

Having a set time each week to be able to focus on her, my relationship WITH her, and her development was exactly what we needed! Initially, I was a little nervous about the fact that, at 5 months, she wasn’t even able to sit up unassisted — but I put it out of my mind when I thought back to my other My Gym experiences with her older brother, and how there had been babies even younger than she. As soon as we had arrived at the cute, clean space on Beach Blvd., put on our socks and joined the circle inside, it was obvious Josie was into it. Her head was basically on a swivel, rotating every which way to take in the brightly colored equipment and smile at the other kids. She was all laughs during the opening “Getting To Know You” song and her smile stayed firmly in place throughout each structured activity — stretches, songs, assorted skills for parents and babies to participate in together (and utilize at home), and finally, different stations. Although Josie seemed to prefer the swings, I was amazed at how well she did on the guided balance beam and trapeze. I felt like I was seeing a much older, much more capable baby than I’d realized I had! During free play, we enjoyed beach balls suspended from the ceiling, all sorts of climbing mats and mirrors. We even tested out her first ball pit which, to my surprise, she LOVED. (My son is still wary of them at two!)

The staff at My Gym Jacksonville recommends at least eight classes to really see progress in your child, noting that the routines and skills they teach are even better when they’re built upon, week by week. My eyes were open after our very first session; here was my teeny, tiny girl — already bigger, braver and bolder than I’d realized, strutting her stuff and showing off new skills in a safe, structured environment created for that very thing! It’s safe to say that we’re Team My Gym for life!

Or, at least, you know — until they’re 14 and age out of “Cardio Kids”…

Born in The Great State of Texas, Erin grew up in Jensen Beach, Florida. After graduating from Florida State University (Go, Noles!), she managed to wrangle herself a career in fashion management and HR; one that allowed her to live in her favorite places- Ft. Lauderdale, Los Angeles, Austin, Chicago, Palm Beach, & Newport Beach- before her husband, Derek, caught on to her plan. The couple moved to Jacksonville in 2013 for Derek’s second career in the Navy, where they now live happily as a party of four: their son, Mac, joined them in 2014 and their daughter, Josie, came less than two years later. Erin spends her weekends exploring Jacksonville with the fam, her weekdays learning how to be a Stay At Home Mom who’s never at home, and her nights knee-deep in t-shirt designs for Brindle &The Blonde- with one eye on the video monitor, of course.


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