This morning's exercise session was short and to the point. I began with kid flips, which can be done successfully with kids of any size and age. Typically when I do kid flips I've got a chain going, with one child going over my head as another child is climbing onto my legs and a third is running around to take up position again. The more kids involved in the chain, the more exercise you get. Also the more fights break out (my turn!) and the greater chance of an injury. But since I determined that Micah is too young for this exercise, my chain had only one in it-- Kolbie. And I think she was a little shocked at the intensity of repeat flipping.
Kid flipping, as you may have figured out, is when you lie on your back with a kid across your shins, holding on to your knees. After a pump up of one.... two... three! (lowering and raising your legs), you throw the kid over your head with your legs, catching them around the waist, and lowering them, quickly, into a standing position. The more you practice, the smoother the flip goes. It's quite a bit of fun for both you and the child and a good workout for your tummy. I was tired after ten.
It didn't help that Micah was smacking me in the face wanting to get in on the fun.... so at some point I picked her up and started tossing her in the air while Kolbie continued to rock gently on my shins. I think she was prepping for a nap.
Once I managed to pull my self off the floor, I decided to end my extensive (we were going on three minutes now) morning workout with my favorite-- and I've never met a child who didn't love this-- Drop the Baby.
Drop the Baby is simple and easy-- can be done in public; in a doctor's office; in line when a kid starts to get ancy-- works to stop crying in about three seconds, most of the time. In fact, Drop the Baby should be included in any book about parenting in the first year or two. Kolbie's a little big for it now (by big, I mean heavy), but I've still been known to do it. I've actually done it to Mason once in the past year, but that didn't work out so well. The point of Drop the Baby is to catch the baby before they hit the floor. That should be a given, but I figure I should put it out there anyway. Just in case.
I'm pretty certain that Drop the Baby- like the name "Daddy"- was invented by a man. Has anyone ever found it very coincidental that the first sound most babies make is "DaDa"? All mothers (and most fathers, even if they won't admit it) know that that baby is not talking to his/ her father. She's just making the sounds she can, and some Daddy out there one day decided to one-up his wife. He was probably feeling a little left out from all the new parenting fun...feeling a little bit abandoned and ignored, and not really having any connection to this thing that came out of his wife, changing her body AND her personality. So one night while his wife was sleeping, he was rumbling around his house looking for something to do to occupy his time since his wife used to stay up late and count stars with him or something like that- and now that the baby was here, she was going to bed whenever. And you can't forget, this is well before the time of internet and tv and even radio... I'm not sure if there was electricity. I haven't done any research on this subject, if I must be honest-- And as he's looking for something to do, he hears the baby wake up, so he goes and looks at this thing he's supposed to call beautiful even though she looks like a frog (but the wife did not appreciate him saying that)... and the baby looks up at him from the bed and says "DaDa". And he thinks... awe... so cute... wonder when she'll start calling me Father? Then, because he's feeling a little resentful toward his wife, he thinks "I hope she says Father before she says Mother... that would serve Wife right for being so baby-centered..." But as he stares down at this child, he begins to think about his own father and how they didn't really have that great of a relationship, and how the word "Father" just evokes some feelings he doesn't like to dwell on (this was WELL before the era of man sharing his emotions). So he decides he doesn't want his daughter calling him "Father", which means he then has to figure out what his daughter should call him. As he's mulling this over, stroking his whiskers, his daughter looks at him again and says "Dada!". And that's that. Of course, he then has to deliver this news to his wife-- and he can't risk the baby saying "Dada" in front of his wife before he's had the chance to tell her his decision, or else he'll loose the power of having the baby say His name before Hers. So he quietly slips over to the bed where his life is sleeping, snuggles up behind her, and as she half-way opens her eyes and turns to him, he says "Honey, can I tell you something?" and proceeds to tell her about his feelings toward his father and his fear of fatherhood and the name "Father"-- and how he'd like the baby to call him something else... like, say "Daddy". His wife is so touched and overwhelmed by this sharing of emotions that she agrees without question. And then, as they lie there-- he pleased, and she wondering at the depths of emotion in this man-- the baby cries. And the father, never one to miss an opportunity, leaps to get her, saying "It's okay, sweetheart... Daddy's got you". And the baby smiles sweetly and says "DaDa!".
Thus, three traditions were born in one night: Fathers being called "Daddy"; Men using whispered words and sensitivity in the night to manipulate women; and little girls doing anything they can to please their Daddy's.
But that doesn't explain how Drop the Baby came to be. The much shorter story of Drop the Baby- perhaps invented by the same Daddy or by another equally inventive one-- began when a father (new or old, doesn't really matter) dropped his baby, narrowly catching him before he hit the floor. Before his wife could scream and rescue the child, the quick-thinking Daddy said "I meant to do that! See? He likes it!" And Drop the Baby was born.
Now, the thing about Drop the Baby is that half the fun is the anticipation. Sort of like a roller coaster. The fun part is the ....wait... wait... wait... NOW! But with Drop the Baby I do a sing-songy... "I'm going to.....DROP the Baby!" And at "Drop", well, you Drop. You need to temper your dropping based on the age of the baby, of course. A newborn should not be dropped- period. A three month old, you drop slowly, but never separate hands from head... so they are more being "lowered" than dropped.... but "I'm going to LOWER the baby" just doesn't work as well. Micah is at the age now where I can really drop her. And the further I drop her, the more she laughs. It's a good drop when my fingers skim the floor as I grab her. She will actually tense up her body as I start singing, and a second before I say "Drop!" she'll throw her body backwards as hard as she can. The first time she did this was a little frightening, so I'm putting it out there so you can be prepared in case your child is similar.
The worst part of Drop the Baby is stopping the game. For some reason, the kids just won't tire of it! And you will. Believe me, you will.
Now, I'm sure some people are going to be greatly concerned about my mothering and the safety of my children, but I promise you-- this is a safe game, if done correctly. Just don't let the baby hit the floor.