A Gymboree Experience — Babylicious by Figur8

A Gymboree Experience

A couple of weekends ago, Gavin attended his first birthday party at Gymboree.  His friend A was turning one. 

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Knowing that Gavin loves music and games, I was anticipating him to have a blast at the party.  Below: Adam telling Gavin the rules of the party. (Thanks C for the photo)

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Below: Adam shocked by Gavin’s nonchalant attitude. (Thanks C for the photo)

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Below: With the birthday boy and his parents. (Thanks C for the photo)

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While the guests were arriving, Gavin had fun playing on the gym equipment – he was even making friends:

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When the fun and music began, all he wanted to do was stand in the corner and play by himself:

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After a while, he decided it was too much and he wanted out:

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He even signed “please” as he begged to be taken out of the place.  I thought a breath of fresh air would make a difference. 

Hubby didn’t join us at the party because he was busy entertaining a friend from Australia who was in town.  They were also at Bangsar Village with us and hubby thought he would poke his head in to see how we were doing.  When Daddy tried to take him back to Gymboree, Gavin howled and wanted to be taken back out.

All in all, it was a disaster.  I was devastated.  My social butterfly son was anything but a social butterfly on this day and I was at a loss to understand why.  He seemed to be enjoying himself before the music began but almost the instant the music started, he refused to join the circle and he wanted to play on his own. 

It is difficult to imagine that it was the noise that bothered him since I have taken him to the toy arcade in the toy department of Jusco, Midvalley.  If you’ve ever been there, you’ll realise it is really noisy in there.  It is also difficult to imagine that he was overwhelmed by the crowd since he seems to adore interacting with people.  He waves, smiles and blows kisses at strangers we meet on the street. 

So why did he freak out?  If you’ve got a theory, feel free to share it in the comments below. 

In the end, I took him home early and he missed out cutting Adam’s cake.

I had scheduled a trial music class for him on the following Monday which I wanted to cancel after the disasterous experience at the party.  One of the staff convinced me to go through with it because she felt the environment would be completely different to party.  In the end we didn’t go because I was sick.

I have yet to re-schedule another trial class for Gavin.  We’re going to play gym tomorrow so we’ll see if he still has bad memories of the place.  It’s probably a good thing I didn’t blindly sign up for a year’s membership at Gymboree, although I’m pretty keen on the place. 

Why send Gavin to a place like Gymboree?

  1. helps him to expend his excess toddler energy in a constructive manner which is both fun and educational for him
  2. helps him build rapport with other kids and “teachers” while Mum and Dad or someone he is faimilar with can be with him – this is great preparation for kindergarten when he will have to go on his own
  3. relationship building for him and his Dad or grandparent who brings him to the class

Although my original reasons for wanting to sign Gavin up for Gymboree were largely due to point one, I’m starting to think that reason number two is equally as important.

So far, I’ve only checked out Gymboree and Megakidz but Gymboree looks like a better bet to me.  Gymboree is designed to cater for toddlers, whereas, the focus of Megakidz is the older children.  Although Megakidz has programs for toddlers – like their music class – that’s about all they have.  Gymboree has play group, art classes, music classes, and yoga for kids.

Additionally, Gymboree looks brighter and cleaner.  Admitedly, I’ve only checked out Gymboree in Bangsar Village and Megakidz in Midvalley Megamall (located on the top floor near California Fitness).  If you take your child to another place that you highly recommend, please feel free to share it with me and I will check it out.

About the author

Dr Shen-Li Lee Dr Shen-Li Lee is a freelance writer and mum to two boys who have been the inspiration for her ongoing study in child development and education. She searches for the balance in child development methods and educational philosophies that will encourage the nurture of happy, confident and successful children. She shares her views and findings at Figur8.


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  1. […] I took Gavin back to Gymboree for a play date with his friend A.  The last time he was there was A’s birthday party, which has been a rather bad experience for him.  Not to be discouraged, I figured a bit of time […]