This weekend I convinced my husband to go to the gym with me. Believe it or not, we've never been to the gym together in the four weeks I've had a membership, so needless to say, I thought it would be romantic... or at the very least, quality time together, as we sweated and laughed and chatted about our children and how great it felt to work out.
And I admit, I envisioned a scene from an 80's movie as we entered the gym together: cue bomp-bomp-badow music, wind machine, and slow motion movement as we enter the gym door... all eyes turning to us "who is this beautiful couple that is entering this place?" But it didn't really work out like that.
For one, he doesn't like being told what to do.
Once the kids were properly in place in their daycare, I attempted to start our workout regimen. (side note, I do not like the new daycare person: what type of woman sits there staring vacantly at a child as they cry with their arms outstretched? If you don't like kids, get a different job. If you've got this one, pick up my sobbing baby so I can work out! That's what I'm paying you for!)
So I lead JMahl over to the ellipticals.
First, we're going to do this for 20 minutes to work up a sweat and work off some calories.
No, we're not.
Yes, we are. This is what I do.
Well, I don't like the eliptical. I'm going to ride the bike.
The bike isn't as good for you as this machine.
You realize I'm a grown man, right? You realize I can choose my own workout, right?
Well, Honey, I've been coming here twice a week for the last four weeks, so I do think I know what we should be doing. (Because, truly, this makes me practically an expert.)
At this point I get the look- the long look up and down my body. I'm going to choose to believe that this was a look of lust (or at the very least, affection), but chances are good that it was more a look of "if you'd dropped six inches in the last four weeks, I might buy that argument, but since you didn't, I'll stick with my own plan". And with that, he walked off to the bikes.
The next- and last- I saw of him was his reflection in the wall-length mirror as he lifted weights- and I continued to sweat on the elliptical until the un-helpful daycare provider informed me Micah would not stop crying and needed me.
So, needless to say, while I didn't get the wind-blowing, giggling experience of running side by side on the treadmills together into some imagined sunset, at least I could ogle him from across the gym, so it wasn't all bad.
Truth be told, it was a pretty good weekend. We went roller-skating with the kids. Another attempt to align my visions with reality that completely fell through. In the movies, JMahl, the kids and I would all swing effortlessly around the ring, holding hands and smiling beatifically at each other-- no wind machine needed due to our speed and gracefulness on the floor. In reality, I plodded, bent double, gripping the wall, scared to death of falling while trying to convince Mason, plodding with me, that "there's no need to be afraid! It won't hurt if you fall!" (the things we lie to our children about). Kayton passed me about six times for my every lap around the ring; Mason was surpassing my speed within minutes (he fell alot, but didn't cry once); and Kolbie refused to even set a foot in the rink. Or put on the skates for more than 30 seconds-- as long as it took for her to realize that this was not going to be the fun I'd promised her it would be. JMahl sat on the sidelines (other than one sneakered trip into the center of the ring to get Mason on his feet) and held Micah-- who just stared at us as if we'd all lost our marbles-- which maybe we had.
And while Kayton and Mason loved skating, I realized rather quickly that it would be a few years before that was the full-family-fun activity I'd dreamed of it being; so, following the rather frustrated advice from my husband, we regrouped and refocused, and went to Old Navy.
Here, my husband made an almost fatal mistake-- miscalculating the maturity of Kayton's shopping drive. ie. Don't ever tell any female-- even an 8 yr old girl-- to "just pick out whatever you want". It was like a scene from Pretty Woman (minus the 80s music, again... I really need to set up an iPod playlist to accentuate my life.) Kayton was running around the store, grabbing things off the shelf and throwing them in my arms. At some point, I don't even think she realized what she was grabbing-- (although, maybe she really loved the white jean jacket and pants ensemble with bright pink sequins, but I choose not to believe that- yes, I, too, am shocked that Old Navy actually had that.) JMahl was right, though. This was a great family activity, since even Mason and Kolbie got into it. Mason's technique was a little different, though. He found one pair of shorts that he liked, and proceeded to bring me every single pattern of that style of shorts (about 12, to my count), then found the $5 t-shirt shelf and thought that one of each would also be perfect. Kolbie was content to just find one dress, attempt to slip it on over her clothes, then follow me around for the next thirty minutes repeating "can I have this dress, Mommy? can I have this dress, Mommy? can I have this dress, Mommy?".
At some point my father-in-law showed up- I suppose I told him where we were going, although he has a tendency to just appear wherever the kids are, as though he's got a sixth-sense for grandchildren's where-abouts- and he just sat back with a smile on his face enjoying the bedlam. If I could read his mind, it probably would have told me something like "glad they're not my problem, but they sure are cute when they're having fun." It didn't help that he started slipping them quarters without my knowledge so they could retrieve bouncing balls from the gum ball machine-- which then meant that I was, Micah in one arm, piles of clothes in the other, attempting to read price tags, send bikinis back to their shelves, hide the overly-graphic graphic tees and grab potentially-deadly bouncing balls before they caused a wipe out-- all the while Granddaddy was just smiling at the fun the kids were having, and JMahl was applauding the kids' choices in clothes. I think he'd gone into "just make it through without losing your temper" mode-- at which point a parent just gives up trying to maintain any control and just shuts down in order to avoid an over-frying of the brain from the stress of attempting to have well-behaved kids in public.
We made it out of the store eventually without shoplifting any clothes that Kolbie was trying to wear home, with t-shirts fit for a seven year old, no bikinis, and only one over-priced sweater that managed to fool me into thinking it was part of an ensemble.
But the kids were happy.
The husband was happy.
The granddaddy was very happy.
And me, well, I was happy that everyone else was happy. But honestly, I think I was sweating more from stress and balancing/ grabbing acts in that Old Navy than I was on the elliptical at the gym. So maybe JMahl's right. Maybe he does know the best way to work out.