Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Look weird but exercise right

We had just dropped Sonny off at the infant care centre when the woman with the bizarre gait cantered into view.

Mum saw her first: The woman, who looked to be in her 30s, was pushing a stroller and fair whizzing along. She had her arms ridiculously extended horizontally, her posterior rising like a minor hill, while her legs clip-clopped energetically like a sprightly pony's. She was probably trying to get in a bit of exercise along with transporting her baby (assuming she was conveying one), but came across as either struggling with a back ailment or a devotee of some martial art that prescribes weird training postures.

But best not to make too many snide comments. Since Sonny has entered our lives, we've had to make our own share of posture adjustments. For starters, Mum is convinced that she now has a sprained back that is the upshot of bending down too many times to pick up an increasingly heavy baby. Pa, meanwhile, has carefully worked out just how to hold his back and spine to avoid travelling down the same path as Mum's. The result may not arrest the casual observer, but it involves lowering his centre of gravity and slightly widening the stance of his feet. If we were ever to try and build up a good head of speed while strollering Sonny along, chances are we might end up with a gait at least as eye-catching as that woman's.

And at least she was keeping up her fitness programme. We've seen many parents do the old jog-with-baby routine, though they mostly use those fancy buggies that come with three extra-large wheels for increased stability, speed and (for all we know) built-in afterburner. The best Pa has done - as recounted a while back in 'Stroller: Danger on the left' - is to give Mac the stroller a good shove while releasing, so that Sonny skitters along as though on remote control until Mac's momentum wanes and Pa catches up. He claims it gives his arm muscles a bit of a workout, but nobody else is buying that sorry tale.

Perhaps he'd gain more credibility if he faked some weird gait while releasing...