Archive for the ‘pregnancy’ Tag

My Exercise Partner and a Tough Trainer

exercise partnerI’ve been exercising off and on for over 6 years with my daughter, well almost 7 years if you include my pregnancy when I exercised a lot and had an amazing level of fitness. My daughter is energetic, flexible, strong, and constantly moving or climbing, and she likes to challenge me. She has many of the desired qualities of an exercise partner or a fitness trainer. She loves to exercise. She loves to stretch. She loves to relax. We do sprints together in the local park. We do all sorts of strength and flexibility competitions. “Mama, look how high I can kick my leg! Could you kick your leg this high when you were little? Can you do a straddle like this?” She mostly wins the competitions. To be honest, I can still kick my leg high, but I couldn’t when I was six.

On Saturday I did a number of sets of rebound box jumps, using my step, and my daughter joined in. I’ve been doing rebound box jumps, a type of plyometric training, with my clients recently. The idea with rebound jumps is to spend as little time on the ground as is possible, hence the “rebound.” The ones I’ve been doing myself and with my clients are low rebound box jumps, working with a range between 3 and 6 inches in height. As with any new type of training I begin modestly with limited repetitions and progress slowly. The rebound jumps have been a welcome addition to both my personal workout and my clients’s sprinting workouts and the rebound jumps compliment the jump rope, jumping jacks, and burpees that we already do.

My daughter decided to give the rebound jumps a try and she did 2 jumps the first time before belly flopping onto the couch. She repeated the couple of jumps followed by the belly flop a few more times before her neuromuscular system kicked in and she developed the rhythm and coordination necessary to complete 50 jumps, albeit under tempo. (Each complete jump ideally takes just under one second.)

We alternated jumping for a while. I added a side to side rebound jump, something for my clients to look forward to, then my daughter upped the ante: she picked up a 5 pound weight and did the rebound jumps. Then she doubled the ante with an additional 5 pound weight. She weighs under 40 pounds, so this was more than a quarter of her bodyweight. I did give this a try holding two 8 pound weights. It’s hard! My daughter is one tough trainer.

A blank page.

Our children come into the world, much like a blank page but with personality. A blue page, or a pink or a textured page but blank. The underlying being is there but the words have not been written, and especially not engraved in stone. What do we decide to teach them? There are so many possibilities, important things like, numbers, letters, names for things, to get along with other kids, look both ways when they cross the street, and to not pick their noses in the middle of ballet class.

I believe that for me the most important thing I can teach my children is a love of physical activity. Except I didn’t need to teach them this, they were born with it. (The way I may have influenced my children and their physicality was by being as physically active as I could be while I was pregnant. I ran, I stretched, I did yoga, push-ups, lifted weights, and walked many miles a day. So, my kids came out running give or take about 9 months. Check my fitness pregnancy blog if you want more details. An excellent resource if you are considering being active during your pregnancy is the book Exercising Through Your Pregnancy by James F Clapp III MD and remember to consult your ob/gyn or midwife.) I’m sure most, if not all children, are born with this love of being physical, the need to explore the world around them and the only way to do that is by moving.

Let the crawlers and toddlers be active, get out of their way, be close, spot the adventurous ones, but also let them fall, let them climb, pick them up, let them explore some more. And so quickly the toddler years are over. Preschool years begin and we, as parents, begin our anxiety about schooling our kids. Relax. Let the preschool years and early elementary years still be about motor skills, both fine and gross motor skills. You can focus on their “schooling” from first or second grade until they are through high school and into college. School will not keep your kids active, in fact it’s the beginning of a decline into adult sedentary living!

So let your kids be active! Have a cartwheel competition, a handstand competition, a jump on one foot competition, a bridge competition. Just do it with your kids! Let them see your love of being active, of sweating, of exercising, of playing a sport, and then give them an airplane ride or wrestle a bit.

Airplane

5 weeks to go

Okay, second pregnancy really sucks. I can’t keep up with Mateo. He loves to play chase: I chase him. I used to always catch him, quickly if needed, or at least stay close to him. I can’t anymore. The last few weeks it’s become really tough, next to impossible. Now really it’s impossible. I can’t move that fast without hurting something: my abdomen, my thighs, my legs give out. I have 5 more weeks of this.

Mateo can no longer climb on me the way he loves to and the way that I used to let him. I liked being his jungle gym, but I can’t be his jungle gym any more. What’s worse is I keep on telling him that I can’t do things. “Mama can’t do this.” “Mama can’t do that.” It’s horrible. And I’m getting angrier at him than I ever have before. Mostly because I’m scared that he’ll run somewhere dangerous before I can catch him, but also because I’m so tired all the time. Really I don’t believe the human species was designed to raise children in isolation the way we do today in the “nuclear family”. It’s impossible to be a good mother when pregnant and needing to care for another young child. Maybe that is why children should be spaced 4 or more years apart? Or grandparents or other siblings of the parents should live close by, or as New York families and other wealthy families in other countries tend to do: hire a full time nanny. Or as the less well off do: drop the child at a full time day care, of course here in New York that is ridiculously expensive also. But I want to be an active and available part of my child’s life, I want to be able to chase him, let him climb on me, and not get angry at him for being a three year old who wants to explore and enjoy the world.

So, back to that first sentence: the second pregnancy doesn’t really suck; it offers unique challenges. I suppose you could say, as a woman said to me today, it prepares mother and child for the addition of a newborn and not being able to meet all the needs of the older child. He gets used to not having his mother at his beck and call, before the arrival of the younger sibling. Not what I want to have happen, but I suppose it is a bit of reality, unless I can create a different reality for my two children, where the needs of both children can be met, meshed together, not separated or placed in a hierarchy of who gets care and attention first. Oh, an extended family who lived nearby would be quite helpful then everyones needs could be met, including my own!

Where have I been?

I have been neglecting this blog.  I’ve been keeping up with the other one, the fitness blog turned pregnancy fitness blog. This one has been neglected. Actually I had a topic I was going to write about while I was on vacation recently, I just never wrote it. Maybe I should discontinue this blog, but I would hate to and I actually am still having plenty of fitness adventures with my toddler (I guess he is a pre-schooler now) and my belly. For instance, yesterday I was teaching a Creative Movement class for the 2.5- 4.5 year old. It was fun, but I forgot to do anything on our bellies. Usually we do snakes (slithering around the room) and cobra stretches and a lot of rolling. We did a little bit of rolling, but no snakes, slithering or stationary.

My belly is too big….

 

The 18 Week Bump

The 18 Week Bump