Tonight I tried a Zumba class for the first time. I am supremely uncoordinated, to the point where, as a child, I was asked to leave a ballet class where I was the oldest because I just wasn't getting it. The fact that I survived tap dancing in 42nd Street is nothing less than a miracle. Still, someone I know runs the class and I figured it would be as good, if not better, cardio than doing my Couch to 5k program in my neighborhood at dusk, where motorists view a runner as some kind of moving target. Most drivers in most cities would slow down for someone jogging where there are no sidewalks. In my little piece of paradise, they speed up.
I arrived, workout clothes on, hair braided back, proper footwear. I figured, an hour of dancing. I can do that.
Fifteen minutes in I was sweating. Twenty minutes in and my face matched the magenta shirt of the girl next to me. By the half hour mark I stank. I gulped water in between songs. I got most of the steps, gave up on 90 percent of the arm movements, and desperately moved back and forth to Rhianna, Gloria, and a whole bunch of other people who sing really, really fast songs.
I survived. My legs feel like jelly. But it was a nice end to a long day, one where my daughters alternately made me crack up and want to move to Istanbul. At one point one of them told me she hated me because I wouldn't let her watch Pingu on Netflix. (Guess who lost television privileges for tomorrow as well?) At another, I had both of them on my lap, asking for cuddles, while Lily toddled all over the living room and the newly teething Baby G kept surreptitiously trying to sample my arm.
At 1 p.m. I surveyed the scene. The older two were watching TV (this was before IHateYouGate). Lil was crawling all over and staring at the door. Baby G seemed up for anything and it was a gorgeous day. I snapped off the TV and told everyone to go to the bathroom, put on shoes, we were going to the playground.
Much rejoicing was heard as we drove away from the house. I walked with the babies while Mary and Anna played. I noticed a couple of free baby swings and loaded Lil and Baby G into one each. They giggled and chortled as I pushed them.
"I want to swing, too!" Anna called over to me. There was one swing left, but there was a kid between Anna and the babies. I loaded her up and started jogging between swings, pushing Lily who screamed for more, gently nudging Baby G who liked her thrills on the tamer side, and convincing Anna that she did not, in fact, need to be death defyingly high to have a good time.
"Mary, you're too big for a baby swing."
"Well what about those swings?" She pointed to the regular swings, about 15 feet to the right of the baby swings. I sighed and helped her on. I gave her a push.
"Mommy, I not high enough! I goin' slow!" I ran back to Anna, pushing Lil and nudging Baby G on the way.
"Higher, Mommy!" Back to Mary.
At this point I was debating even going to Zumba later that evening, since I was clearly getting my cardio in and amusing the heck out of the other playground goers as I ran back and forth like a demented hamster.
Then Baby G had had enough. She started fussing. I held her. No good. I put her in the stroller and pulled the sun shade down. Absolutely not. Finally, I had no choice.
"We have to go," I said, over mild protests. I performed car and booster seat maneuvers and set off down the road.
"Mommy, are we babysitting?" Mary asked me.
"Sometimes..." she sighed. "I feel like I am inside an alligator."
Me too, kid. Me too.