Monkey See, Monkey Do Pushups

Just in case there was ANY question her sponge-like mind is absorbing everything she sees…

(If you’re viewing this in your email, you might have to click through to see the video)

Natalie now copies all the moves we do at Mama Beast. Completely unprompted and multiple times a day, but as you see in the video, she’s more than happy to comply with requests for specific exercises.

And she LOVES it. Especially mountain climbers. She does mountain climbers on the stairs. During her bath (and massages her knees to a bright shade of pink from rubbing against the non-skid tub mat). As a stalling measure before we brush her teeth at bedtime. On the changing table while we’re attempting to remove a dirty diaper. I’ve even seen her on the video monitor do them in her crib just minutes before conking out for a nap.

She walks around with my exercise band held over her head, pretending to do overhead presses or bicep curls. She’ll flex for you if you ask to see her “strong arms.”

And I LOVE it.

It took me many, many, many years to embrace the idea that exercise could be fun and exciting, rather than something you did grudgingly out of some sense of obligation. It took me just as long to let go of the many insecurities I had about looking silly while exercising. I used to turn BRIGHT BRIGHT BRIGHT red during gym class in high school, both from exertion and embarrassment, so that didn’t help matters.

We weren’t really a “sportsy” family growing up. My sister participated in a few team sports; I dug in my heels and refused. My parents didn’t watch sports, and although my dad did take up running for a while, it clearly wasn’t anything that made an impression on me at the time.

Do I wish I had had this epiphany about fitness sooner? Yes. Of course. But now all I can do is model it for my daughter.

I get the same feeling watching her do mountain climbers as I do when she chooses a book from her basket and brings it to me to read to her. Pride. Elation. Heck-yes-maybe-we’re-not-completely-failing-as-parents-after-all.

Right now she loves the bootcamp-style exercises, because that’s what she sees me doing. And maybe in the future she’ll find other outlets that she loves even more, because there’s a whole wide world of things that fall under the category of “fitness that’s fun.”

So for now I’m going to keep doing what I’m doing. Going to class, bringing her with me, doing workouts at home, and showing her that I do this because I love it. Not because I want to shed all traces of the body that brought her into existence.

She doesn’t have any concept of that at the moment. Of what size and shape she is, or what size and shape I am (answer: increasingly rounder). I know I can’t shield her from that forever, but right now I can and I will. I will show her as best I can that the human body is an amazing, practically limitless thing, and she should be so, SO proud of everything that hers can do.

Now we just have to work on that pushup form.

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