Sunday, October 04, 2009

Shoes and What Goes in Them

The pendulum has swung back, and from maintaining the house in unflinching neatness we have gone past normal functional-but-messy-at-the-edges to Total Chaos. This could be psychological, or it could just be the necessary consequence of trying to pack with the children's help. ("No, you DON'T want to pack your tennis shoes. You need to wear your tennis shoes." "Hey, Mama, what can I do to help? Oh, hey can we play dress-up? I'm sure a good helper, huh?")

Actually wearing shoes is what the babies like best. After weeks of borrowing any shoes lying around the house, they were thrilled to get their Very Own Shoes, and they know quite well whose are whose and that you need both of them to get dressed. They hold out their little feet, quivering with excitement, for socks to be applied. And then, please, can we go Out? Door? Out? D4, especially, finds a day wasted if he does not get to acquire a brand-new scar. (The prizewinner was falling off a brick wall into a rosebush.)

Not to be outdone, I invented a new sport this week. I have been needing a more aerobic activity, because when I don't get aerobic exercise, I can't sleep, and when I don't sleep, life is horrible. Which it was last weekend. I like to just walk, but unfortunately I tend to forget I am walking for exercise and instead mosey along lost in thought. It's good for the mental health, but not sufficient physically. Unfortunately, brisk walking or running require concentration on something that is, to me, extremely boring, i.e., repetitive physical movements.

Early this week we watched a movie that included some demonstrations of free running. Now that looks fun, I thought. And--another requirement in my book--no special equipment or location. Unfortunately, while other little girls were doing gymnastics and turning cartwheels, I was walking into walls. So the more acrobatic elements of the sport--vaulting, flipping--are well beyond me.

But, I figured, anybody can stop going straight on boring paths and instead look for ways above, under, or through obstacles. And thus, I invented my own personal sport, which I shall call "crazy running" because the goal is to have the neighbors look out and say, "What is that crazy lady doing?" The rules simply are (1) Keep moving quickly; (2) Keep it changing; (3) Avoid actual damage to people or property while otherwise pushing the limits of acceptable adult behavior. So, climbing trees, running up or down slides at the park, jumping off bleachers, running and jumping on and off the curb, taking advantage of abandoned jump ropes and hopscotch games, high-fiving random poles, breaking into a crazy step pattern, vaulting fire hydrants, and who knows what else I may think of tomorrow. (I'll admit, my attempt to vault a fire hydrant was not very successful, but I think I can learn how.)

The challenge of coming up with new crazy things to try keeps me interested and moving fast. The variety of movements makes for a far better workout than running or walking alone would. I've been doing about a half-mile of running/jumping interspersed with brisk walking, which I know is not much but it's where I have to start and I hope that now I will actually build up my strength. Afterward I cool down by taking a classic mosey to clear my brain.

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