Here is what you need to know.
Age 3-5: You have Ultimate Control. You know exactly what you are doing, because You are the Mom/Dad and You. Know. Best.
Activities at this age are both
"See you in 45 minutes, Sweetie!!"
Age 6: You know what you want but all the other girls are doing Gymnastics (and the boys are doing Calcio)! You are powerless against the Triestine Forces of Conformity.
Social pressure becomes nearly unbearable when kids get to elementary school. This is when parents understand the Truth. We are not as all-powerful as we once thought. While we still control the pocket-book, we desperately want our children to love us, and this becomes increasingly difficult in the Triestine context unless you submit to the idea that:
"Children should be Happy" in their after-school activities,
"Children should not have too many activities so that they have time to play and be kids."
No more asserting your Will on the wee-ones without coming under direct scrutiny by your Triestine husband, the Triestine Nonnis, and the Triestine community at large. Find refuge with the other ex-pats who believe neither of those statements to be true as long as you have a Long-Term VISION for your child's future (which, of course, you DO).
However, this is a battle you cannot win.
You may have liked the Pool after two years of getting used to the routine, the ego-strokes of having your kid convocato to participate in competitions (which start at age 4 if your child is particularly *ahem* aquatic or has that certain, shall we say, aquacità), but it is about to End.
She is done with the Pool. Hates it. Can't stand it. Too many laps. Too Boooooring.
To prove her point, she has spent the entire summer perfecting her cartwheels hundreds of times per day and doing handstands against her bedroom door just like her gymnastics-going friends showed her... and, while you HATE HATE HATE the idea of change when you KNOW all Great Athletes (not that this is important) started Very Young, you have to admit:
There may be some Potential here...
But. Where? Welcome to the mid-September Triestine parent rat-race! It is the season of the PROVA. Like at the swimming pool, there are two free lessons for your kids to Love before you plunk down the cash and they begin to hate it but you no longer care.
So, you start asking around because Everyone has an opinion about where you should take your kids to gymnastics. Basically you have to ask yourself these questions.
1. Do you want to create a champion?
2. Do you want something close to home?
3. Prefer something in Slovene?
4. Want something that is Not Quite the Best?
5. Is it important for your gym to be financially secure?
For any question that has particular meaning to you, there is a gym that is right for you. If you want to save time, however, just find out where her friends are planning on doing the Prova and piggy-back along with them.
The kids will fall in love with the same place, anyway (so you could skip the prova in theory, but that is pretty courageous), so that's one headache less. Actual lessons will begin in October. It will be a twice-a-week commitment until school gets out. It will be at the worst time ever for your schedule, but at least you can carpool.
It is no longer about your hopes and dreams (which are crushed by now anyway) but rather what her friends are doing and logistics.
And, in the end, that is okay, too.