Can’t Talk Now Mom, I’m Exercising!

The kids “exercising” on makeshift elliptical machines

“Children learn what they live” is an adage my mom often quotes. It’s a powerful reminder to be careful about the example we as parents set for them in daily life. It’s not what we say that they’ll necessarily remember or take heed of; it’s what we do.

So, the other day I watched as my son overturned one of our kitchen stools, placed his hands on the now upturned legs, and ran his little legs in place as fast as they would go. He was huffing and puffing and fully occupied as I stood nearby wondering what was going on. Before I could ask, he looked up at me, waved and said “Hi Mommy! Can’t play ‘wich’ you right now, I’m exercising.” Then he held up two toddler fingers and said, “I’ve got two more minutes.” He was pretending to be on an elliptical trainer like the one we have in our home gym!

I was unequivocally amused by this exchange until I realized that he was playing back something he’s probably heard from me a time or two (or twenty) if I was wrapping up an early morning workout as he came downstairs with his Daddy to start his day. “Learn what they live”, indeed! I guess he’s taken the good with the bad in this case.

While this particular interchange certainly inflicted a bit of guilt (over making him play alone while I exercise), it also made me happy that my kids are picking up on the notion that exercise is fun. And a priority. And a part of our everyday life. As a result, there are other preschool-isms about exercise that come out from time to time. Ones like:

“I’m soaky sweaty! That’s b’cause I’m exercising!”  or 
“My bones in my body are getting stronger b’cause I’m exercising.” or
“Please I ride my bike too, Daddy?” or
(While playing Barbies)  “Where’s the Mommy?” “Oh! She went to Pilates!”

My kids think exercise is fun; it’s a natural outlet for their energy and an exhilarating way to spend part of their day. I only hope that what they’re observing and mimicking in our household today fuels a lifelong exercise habit for them. 

Children learn what they live. Not surprisingly, Mom was right….again.

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