Cutting a non-stop swath of destruction, Evan is a tornado. He doesn’t stop moving, unless he’s watching his favorite cartoon or sleeping. Even when he sleeps, he rolls, kicks, and punches. The kid could power a small energy if we could hook him up to the grid. As for the destruction, it’s typical for your average three-year-old, just toys and crayons strewn across the room as I demand that he stop throwing almonds. Before any one gives me that control-your-child look, I do make him pick up after himself.
Did I mention Sean is a tornado in training? He’s learning from the best, running across the room and throwing balls, especially the small, heavy wood ones (Thanks again, Mom). The other day when he noticed Evan had juice and looked over to see his own cup on the little table, Sean actually sprinted to his juice across the room.
So I have to recommend that taking care of toddlers is the best form of exercise for those who are trying to loose weight. I’ll admit I’m done with loosing the baby weight; it melted off with breast-feeding, though it was harder with the first one than the second. Perhaps that’s because I was running around after Evan as well as feeding Sean. Now I am working on the pre-baby weight that came with too many nice restaurants with good bread and desserts, sushi gorging sessions, fast food for lunch, and not walking everywhere like I did in college. I packed on a few pounds, and all I want is to be a healthy weight, not the starving college student weight. Too hard to keep it up.
Most days Evan is in charge of my workout routine, which consists of walking over 10,000 steps a day. It means running upstairs and downstairs to get everyone dressed and night clothes put away. It means running after Evan to get him to brush his teeth or eat a meal. It means running after Sean when he takes a fork out of the kitchen drawer. My mom doesn’t believe me, but it’s true. While I do a small 15 minute workout every other day as the boys play by themselves and I watch the news, I really much prefer Evan’s work outs.
The newest exercise is “being a bat.” Since we went to the children’s museum last weekend and learned about bats, Evan is a little obsessed. Yesterday he wanted to be a bat with me. This consisted of running around the room flapping your arms. For an exercise routine, it’s not half bad as it gets your heart rate up and works on your legs and arms. I made my wing flaps large for full effect. Evan flapped at his elbows; while, Sean got in the act running and flapping his hands. Yes, it was darling. Keep this exercise up until they get bored, about ten minutes.
You can always do “the tickle monster,” which you stand above a laying child who is begging to be tickled. Then you lift your arms straight in the air and bring them down to tickle the child. Three reps of 15 does nicely, unless you have two kids then you better do four reps. Be prepared to do this exercise often.
Another favorite of my three-year-old trainer is “Around the Mulberry Bush.” I chase Evan and now Sean around the dining room table singing “Around the Mulberry Bush” at the top of my lungs as I try to tickle them. This is great fun, which started when I was pregnant with Sean. Then I could barely catch Evan. Now we just chase each other until Evan and Sean gets tired or when I desperately need something to drink and a breather.
After all the cardio, don’t forget the lifting. Lift the child off the table he’s standing on. Lift the child out of the crib. Lift the child so he can see what you’re cooking for dinner. Lift the laundry and carry it around the house. If you are particularly generous, you can lift the child to see the mobile or the wind chimes or just to swing him around. Usually these lifts are done when you are so tired you just want to curl up on the catch and watch the sticky-sweet ditzy Elmo.
But in case I get bored with my usual routine, my little trainers have come up with several different games and activities to get me motivated. Sean is working on becoming a quarterback or pitcher (he doesn’t know which yet), so he needs a catcher, which is always me. Also in training, Evan is attempting to make the US fencing team one day. Of course, he doesn’t know that fencing does not have light sabers or bats. We also have soccer in the evening and catch-me-if-you-can just as it turns to dark to see or when I am just too tired to move. It’s a very strenuous workout that doesn’t stop after the kids go to bed; then it’s housework.
As you can imagine, I should be able to fit into all those tiny shorts I wore in college. Except I don’t plan on being that thin again, so I choose to even out the workouts with my weakness for anything sweet and chocolaty. I also find that if I want my sons to eat, I find to set an example, which includes mac-and-cheese, potato salad, sour cream, and French bread. It’s a sacrifice all mothers must make. So that our kids understand the good things in life, we mothers bake or buy desserts, in which we teach our kids that all good work deserves a reward.