Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Born to Run

While thumbing through the December addition of Runner’s World today, I came across a Letter from a daughter about the joys of running with her father and everything they have gone through together during their runs, from job changes to new boyfriends. I have never run with my own parents, but I have forged lifelong friendships with other women through marathon training and early morning runs. Running seems to bond you in a way you only get from the passage of time, and time is relative. The same hour spent drinking a cup of coffee is completely different than an hour spent pounding the pavement.

I enjoy taking Harry out in his jogger, and while I struggle up hills, I remind myself that I am setting a good example for him, as well as getting him some fresh air and quiet time. Now, I realize, I am also paying it forward. I am instilling in my son a love of sport, so that I may have a lifelong running buddy!

Okay, maybe that sounds a little selfish. But how great will it be when Harry can really run with me? Think of all of the great discussions we will have. All of the bonding time! That is, if I can keep up with him. I guess I will also need to instill in him the joy of being a penguin! A whole new brand of guilt: I pushed you uphill in your jogger for 26 miles! The least you can do is slow down for your old mom!

Sunday, November 27, 2005


I have been maintaining my own blog now for over a year, yet somehow when I was asked to do one for seemommyrun.com, I panicked! It has been easy to vent, brag, log, or shout out to my hearts content on my own site, but with a more public outlet, I have suddenly developed stage fright. I worry that what I like won't be good enough, or interesting enough, or that others won't approve. I guess those feelings are sort of what you deal with when you are a parent, too.

When it comes to our children, everyone seems to assume that they have a say in their upbringing. Not just family, but strangers as well. Even when they don't, we worry on our own whether we are doing what's best for our children, what's smartest for our children, what others will approve of. Such is the case more often then not, but was especially true when I enrolled my then 6 month old in swimming, and again when 1 year old Harry started gymnastics.

Some people believe that you should wait until at least age 4 to begin organized activities. I obviously went in a different direction, but I still wondered if early enrollment was worthwhile. I found my answer when I took Harry back to the local indoor pool a few months after his first class ended and a few weeks after his new gymnastics class began. I was surprised to learn that Harry not only remembered the basic swimming skills he had learned 6 months earlier, which included kicking his feet, climbing out of the pool and "jumping" off of the side of the pool,but he also used his newly learned gymnastics skills, leaning his arms carefully behind him and rolling around in the shallow end of the pool (including putting his head under water) and hanging from the ladder the way he does on the parallel bars at the gym. I was amazed at how much "cross training" had paid off.

Harry's gymnastics instructor reinforced my theory the very next week when she mentioned how much the kids in the class had grown physically and emotionally since the beginning of class. They were more comfortable in their abilities as well as with the other kids and parents. They recognized what to expect in the class, and what was expected of them. The teacher also mentioned how activities learned at a young age do become so much easier for kids when they are older, more so than for other kids who are introduced the same skills later.

A good friend and running buddy was telling me just this afternoon how grateful she was that she enrolled her son in gymnastics. He has also learned many things, including how to go down the slide at the park, which no one had taught him and he must have picked up at gymnastics! He is proud of himself and his confidence is obvious. Coincidentally, this same woman and child became friends through Harry's swim class, so even if the group skills hadn't been the least bit beneficial, we made two priceless friends out of the deal!

I am not suggesting everyone go out and over schedule their kids before they are out of diapers, but this mom thinks activities are beneficial, whether the goal is to learn a new skill or to just get off of the sofa and make new friends. This is true for both little kids and big ones! New things can be intimidating, but the more things you try, the better you are at them. The more you work at something, the more confident you become. Besides, sometimes the only voice you need to listen to is your own- and also that happy little giggle that comes from confident little people!