Yikes! Step aerobics were a lot easier seven years and fifty pounds ago!
Today was my first day at my new fancy gym.
And I forgot to wear deodorant! I was in a rush, what can I say.
I wanted to get there super early so I could fill out all the paperwork for the "kid's club," spend a few minutes with Nicknack (since it's his first visit there), ask my instructor if her class ("The Ultimate Workout") was appropriate for beginners, and get a primo spot at the back of the room.
In actuality, I arrived just in time (sans deodorant) to scribble something on some paperwork, blow Nicknack a kiss, and have a ten second discussion with my instructor. She assured me that, although it was an advanced class with lots of complicated footwork, I was welcome to do just the basic steps until I got the hang of it.
It was meant to be a 75 minute class (half cardio, half weights and stuff), but I planned to (and did) duck out after the cardio. I will build up to the entire class, eventually.
Wow. Did it ever kick my boonie! I pride myself on picking up on things quickly and being coordinated. I was a cheerleader for TWO whole years, for gosh sakes. But this was some serious steppin'. I literally never got through the entire routine once. Not even close. When I finally did start to get the footwork down, I was too tuckered out to go on! But I kept moving, even when I just had to march in place. Which was fine. I just hope I didn't throw off any of the other steppers. One woman, kittycorner to me, gave me several sympathetic glances. She was a little lost, too, at times. But I was the worst, by far.
But I'll be back. I'm pretty competitive.
After the cardio fun was over, I went to pick up Nicknack. I was a little worried, because I'd had to just rush off and leave him with strangers. He has gone through pretty much zero seperation anxiety. (He's eleven and one half months.) And he's been spending a couple of hours at the church nursery twice a week since he was three months old. If ever I am tempted to skip my weekly Bible study or Sunday service I just think of how much fun he has with those nursery ladies and I get myself there. He just loves every minute of it, and why wouldn't he? Those sweet gals are so good to him.
So I was pretty sure he'd be fine, and I hadn't been paged or anything, but there was a little trepidation in my heart as I left the studio. By the time I approached the kid's center's door (about sixty seconds later) I had come to the conclusion that I was a terrible! mother!
"I probably should have stayed with him for a while. What was I thinking? This is nothing like the church nursery! WAY bigger! Ten times the number of children. And not seperated by age, like he's used to. Why, one of those giant oafy looking three year olds is probably pushing my itsum bitsum off a slide right this minute. Walk faster. Hang on baby, mama's almost there! Or wait. He and little Meghan, from church, have been known to get into spats over pacifiers and rocking horses. But she's a feist, like he is, and holds her own. What if my little menace has cleaned someone's clock? I hate bullies! At the very least, there is no doubt that he has thrown a temper tantrum. Lord help anyone who takes anything away from or has to say no to our little man. I should have warned them about that."
Whew! I was there. The very first thing I heard, before I'd even opened the door all the way, was a peal of laughter. His laughter. I don't know how to describe it, but just imagine the laughter of your baby, or your child when he or she was a baby, and you'll know that little giggle was angels' music to my ears.
I imagine there must have been dozens of other noises and voices, but his was the only thing I heard. Aha! This must be how penguin mothers pick their little one out of the crowd. God is amazing.
I scanned the room for my little penguin, eager to take him in with my eyes until I could get my arms around him. I'd been gone almost an hour, after all.
The room is huge. There is a little gym/court area, a quiet area with cribs and swings, a movie area, a baby-gated play area (where I'd left him), and in between all this, a half dozen toy stations. About 20 two and three year olds were sitting on the floor, watching a Disney video. (It's kid center's busiest time of day so they, smartly, choose this hour for movie watching. I don't hold it against them. It was a gaggle of children.) The baby area was full of caregivers with babies on their laps or in exersaucers. But where, oh where was Nicknack? I could still hear him squealing with delight.
Finally, I found him. He was all by himself, playing with one of those pretend kitchens. (I don't think I've told you this, but Penn is a professional chef.) Just standing there, turning knobs, opening doors, and just generally cracking himself up. He looked so little and silly from across that big room.
I could just eat him up.
You should know that Nicknack has never been a very demonstrative baby. For the first nine months of his life he showed little interest in me and never acknowledged, in any way, that he knew who I was. This bothered me at times. My Bible study ladies assured me that this is healthy. He is independent. He is well adusted. He feels secure. I wouldn't want a clingy baby, would I? Would I? Noooo, of course I wouldn't. Wink wink.
But in the past month or two he's delighted me by demonstrating mild happiness to see me when I pick him up from nursery or return from an outing. When I play on the floor with him I am sometimes on the receiving end of a hug. Or at least his version of a hug, which is more like a gentle headbutt. On the rarest of occasions, these are accompanied by a sloppy (but cherished!) kiss/bite. And every once in a while, if he's really tired, he'll let me rock him, like when he was little. If he's actually in the process of falling asleep, he'll rest his tired little head on my shoulder or under my chin. If he's not quite ready to give up the ghost he'll lay in my arms, looking at me. He touches my teeth (?), plays with my hair, or pats my face a little too hard as I wonder what in the world I did to deserve him. (Answer: nothing.)
My point is, I live for this stuff, and it's not an everyday occurence.
Today he pulled out all the stops. I got a headbutt/hug. I got a monster's kiss. I got another kiss. I got another hug. He crawled up and onto my lap. We played kitchen together for a few minutes, then he lifted up his hands for me to pick him up, and I knew it was time to go home.
During the car ride I kept thinking of that joy fillled giggle of his and reliving our moment together. I couldn't wait to tell Penn all about it. But I had to because I forgot my cell phone.
One of the many wonderful things about being somebody's mother is sharing it with somebody's father. Because there is only one other person on the planet who knows exactly what Nicknack's different laughs sound like. And will imitate each one with me, when we're somewhere together, without him. And missing him. He's the only other person who cares to hear every detail of our daily adventures. And, most importantly, he's the only other person who really and truly realizes how super cute our child is. Other people have the gall and audacity to think their kid is the cutest. It's the weirdest thing.
I came home, put Nicknack down for a nap, and called Penn.
Despite the fact that I made a total nerd of myself in class today, it was a wonderful first trip to the gym.