Thursday, August 17, 2006

Then ... and Now

When I was growing up, I was really in to gymnastics.

It would drive my family absolutely crazy because whenever they'd take me to the grocery store, I would run down the food isles doing round-offs and back handsprings, narrowly avoiding the canned goods with my size 5 K-Swiss.

People would look at me and smile. At the time, I thought it was adoration ... now I know it was most likely a grimace as they were thinking to themselves, "Would someone PLEASE control that little brat?!"

My love of gymnastics extended to every inch of my life - and every inch of our house. I used the shower curtain as a "bar" - as well as the towel rods on our wall. I would vault over the couch ... practice cartwheels on the curb outside ... and do press handstands on the rim of the tub.

Happiness at the age of 10, was a big living room devoid of furniture and the Meatloaf "Bat out of Hell" album on our record player. Nadia Comaneci was my idol. The 1984 Olympic Games were my goal. Fresca and Cocoa Puffs were my fuel.

The depth of my energy supply was positively staggering.

Then my gymnastics team got new leotards. Mine was a ghastly purple that didn't fit right and constantly rode up on me - so I stopped going to practice. That was the end of gymnastics and sadly, my Olympic career.

I haven't done gymnastics in ... let me think ... umm ... 25 years. I haven't really thought much about gymnastics ... how good I once was, or how long since I've done it ... until yesterday.


Our kids are so adorable. They are starting to do this little stunt where they'll bend down and put their head on the ground. Yesterday, thinking this would be a great opportunity to teach them how to do a somersault - I lifted their legs up over their head and helped them to roll.


They'd jump up, put their little heads on the ground and stare up between their legs at me. So, I'd roll them again. And again, and again, and again.

Charlie comes home from work and I'm rolling kids all across the carpet.

At some point, I had this brilliant realization that maybe I could teach them to roll on their own, if they could see me do it.

Their mother was once an aspiring Olympic gymnast, don't you know.

So, I bend down at the knees, place my forehead on the carpet and roll forward. It's simple. It's a somersault ... basic gymnastics. Rudimentary stuff ... this comes before you learn to "dip" on the balance beam.

The kids laugh so hard at me doing somersaults that they fall down. I can just imagine what's going through their little heads, "Mommy rolling on the floor, did you ever?! Bawahhhaaaa!!!!"

Charlie kicks off his shoes and joins in the fun. He puts his forehead on the ground, kicks his legs in the air and rolls. But, he adds a twist. At the end of his roll, he jumps up and puts his hands in the air and shouts "TA-DA!"

The kids are laying on the ground in absolute hysterics.

The former gymnast in me comes out. Not one to be outdone - especially when it comes to tumbling ... I pull my hair back in a ponytail (that always means business), tuck down, roll and pop up. Just as I'm coming out of my somersault - I feel this unusual sensation - kind of like jolt of electricity shooting down my neck, shoulders and back. I stand up and turn around and my world goes black - white - and then starry.

searing. pain. engulfs. my. entire. body.

"HOLY ^@!^*%$*&@$#^!!!! WHAT DID I JUST DO?!?!"

Here's a tip: I did three somersaults in a row - after having not done any form of gymnastics for twenty-five years. That would be a quarter of a century or, one fourth of 100 years. 25. YEARS. I rolled my entire body, that two years ago at this very time, was carrying three babies in it, over my head ... supported only by my neck.

Who the hell do I think I am ... Nadia Comaneci?!

Cut to today.

This morning, when I woke up, I couldn't lift my head off the pillow. I could barely raise my arms up to put my shirt on. I most definitely can't turn my head to the left or right ... and I have to grab a hold of something with both arms if I want to look up or down. My wardrobe had to be carefully coordinated around a neckbrace. I looked like a whiplash victim when I hobbled in to the office at 10 AM.

What has this experience taught me?

Happiness at the age of 35, is a heating pad and Jack Lim's Qi Energy Music on my headset. Yogi Bhajan is my idol. The ability to do Utthita Trikonasana is my goal. Zinfandel and Vicodin, thankfully left over from my c-section, are my fuel.

The lengths to which I'll go to amuse my children are positively staggering.


  1. I was like "ooh, I can do that too!" (a sommersault) and then I finished reading your post. Note to sommersaults. I hope you feel better soon!

  2. Put me on the list of "no sommersaults."

    I am glad your kids laughed. Just remember that every time you go to turn your head today.

  3. Yikes, hope you're really okay. I probably couldn't even do a sommersault if I wanted to. Never could do any of that. In fact, my daughter is now trying to learn a cartwheel for cheerleading and she wanted me to show her. Seriously it was worse than hers.

  4. OMG!
    This is hysterical, yet I am soooo sorry for you!!!
    You might need to see a doctor, if you have nerve symptoms/damage!
    Be good to yourself ;)

    Btw, I've never done a cartwheel in my life.

  5. Okay, note to self...only show my girls how to do somersaults if I have a chiropractor appointment scheduled for the next day:-)

    Hope you are feeling better!

  6. Ruh roh!

    Welcome to the old people's club-LOL.

    I sure hope you are OK. Maybe get thee to a chiropractor if you are into that sort of thing. Well, that's what helps me.

  7. You should've tried the handsprings and cartwheels (is that how you spell it??)! They are a lot easier on the neck than sommersaults! Shayna loves to do sommersaults and she has found out, the hard way, that they only work when there aren't any big things (i.e., TV, toy box, kitchen table, mom & dad, couch, coffee table) in the way! Good luck - and I have to agree with "jeanr," Welcome to the Old People's Club! (That's a good one!)

  8. julia pratt8/18/06, 1:30 PM

    You have me laughing so loud, I might wake up the girls! I hope you feel better though. Not much better than Pain meds and a glass of red wine, every once in a blue moon when you need it! Take care of yourself, you old fart!

  9. The laughter makes it feel worthwhile once the pain medication kicks in.

    I am still in awe at the joint family effort by the parents and the kids finding it all very humorous.

  10. Oh REALLY cracked me up with this one!!

    I feel your pain. My daughter makes me do all of that stuff too! I like the time I was on the trampoline and I thought "hey, I can do a!" Well, when I landed (this was only after carrying ONE child, it was PRE-twins) I peed in my pants a little bit. Brittney thought it was HILARIOUS!! I had to threaten her to NOT tell anyone! I don't think I'll EVER try that again after having the boys.

    I hope you feel better.

  11. Oh. I hope you are feeling better. I , too, tried just one a few months ago and it was ridiculous. I used to think my Mom was lazy & scared b/c she would not attempt the stuff I I know she was smart & had reason to be scared!

  12. MichelleM TX8/19/06, 7:02 AM

    Oh, boy! That is too funny. It's great that you can laugh at yourself. There's something about turning 35 that your body says, "That's it. I'm older, not as flexible, and I'm a few years short of aching for no good reason so you'd better take it easy!" I know this b/c my husband is 10 yrs older and ices some part of his body every day!

    Hope you feel better today...and try some ice packs. :)

  13. Funny pictures and cute story.

    My mother STILL talks about the "grocery gymnast". Thank God - for "ALL" of us that you Grew Out of one!

    ...But if it's any comfort I made the same mistake once/twice/3 or 4 times in my parenting career.

    Recently, showing off to the boys and my husband who "challenged me", I decided to perform the old walking on my hands trick!

    OF course it went about as well as yours, I got a few bumps, bruises and scratches out of the deal.

    The worst part about it - is that because the kids are so CUTE - when your feeling better; a few years down the lane you may forget that "it's really not a good idea" to jump through hoops to show the children your talents however, because our loving, adoring husbands "challenge" us to a dual ...well, you know the rest of the story. (Personally, I think it's a conspiracy).

    I hope you are feeling better soon.

  14. Oh Jenn- I was laughing out loud. I am sorry for your pain, but the rest of the story is HILARIOUS! Too bad you didn't catch that all on tape for America's Funniest Home Videos!