Somersaults Used to be Easy

In anticipation of the last Friday Night Open Gym at our local gymnastics haunt, I decided it was high time I practiced some basic childhood skills.  I’ve watched S., who isn’t yet 3, do somersaults for months.  All the while I’ve thought she was terribly clever for learning so early, yet remembered how often I used to do the same as a child.  I’ve watched L. master her cartwheels and do handstands, feeling the same pride while knowing that I could do them all just as easily if I wasn’t, say, pregnant.

The 6 week mark of life with A. happened to fall on the last Open Gym, and so I decided that as a treat to my family I would use the occasion to return to “Fun Kelly”.  Fun Kelly jumps on the trampolines, hangs from the bars, and is not afraid of doing a flip into the pit, even though she will actually land flat on her back instead of completing a graceful landing.  This is in stark contract to Pregnant Kelly, who walks around telling L. and S. that she cannot jump on the trampoline, while having her baby boulder ogled by the masses.

In light of the fact that I am, actually, aging, I realized that before trying any of those things in front of other people, even if those people were all of the little variety (as in children – not actually little people), I decided to try a few somersaults and handstands in the house.  I knew how it would go:  I would practice a few somersaults to get the feeling of actually rolling upside down in my head.  This would inevitably lead to some sort of fearless flip into the foam pit later that night.  I would also practice a few handstands, as Husband had been pointedly questioning whether or not I actually had the arm strength to hold myself up for more than a blink of an eye.  I would then hand him A. at the gym that evening and show Husband how I could do a handstand against the wall.

Sometimes life is so much more fun in our heads.

The first somersault was painful – I mean literally painful.  It could’ve been the ponytail holder on the back of my head, but I think more than anything it was caused by the meeting of bone and floor.  The girls laughed, and I laughed, and so I decided to try again.  The second somersault was painful – really, really painful.  I finished, and had to smile, as my own cheer section erupted in mirth.  Seriously, how did both of my children do this across the living room rug all day long?  Now my spine hurt as well as my head, but with visions of grandeur for the coming evening I decided it would be easier on my body if I would just go practice a few handstands.  After all, how hard could it be to do a handstand?

The girls have developed this wonderful method for practicing handstands off of the bed.  They lay down at the foot of the bed and hang off until their hands touch the ground.  They then use their hands to support their body and flip their bodies over.  Even though I am, admittedly, much taller than them, I still thought this would be a perfect plan to get my body used to being upside down.

Crumpled.  That’s the best word to describe how exactly I ended up after Attempt #1.  L. broke out in peals of laughter as my legs went sideways, my arms collapsed under the weight of the rest of my body, and my head dropped like an anvil onto the floor.  I smiled, wanly, cursing Husband internally for being right about said arm strength, or lack thereof.  Ever a glutton for punishment, however, I decided that I needed to try again.  Even though my only audience was a 5 year old girl, I do still possess some pride, and so I tried again.

Attempt #2 was more successful–and by “more successful”, I don’t mean success; rather, it was less of an abject failure.  I managed to flip my body over and keep my arms from collapsing, but this was at the expense of my knees, which smacked to the floor as I flipped over.  Ahhhhh.  Now I saw where the real problem of the height difference between me and girls lay.  I tried two more times, with the same results, and a massive headache.  What did that mean?  Time for a snack.

Husband came home from work and after dinner we loaded everyone into the car and headed to the gym.  I felt less confident than earlier that morning, but still sure that I would at least try to jump into the pit.  Upon entering the gym, however, Plan B (which had never really been a plan at all) came into implementation.  An extremely large group of teenagers/young men from the Dallas Parkour had also come to Open Gym, and were flipping, hanging, jumping, and doing all sorts of things in ordered chaos around every inch of the gymnasium.

I often say that I make wonderful plans, which God laughs at while putting His plan in motion.  So instead of an evening filled with either extreme humiliation or extreme vanity (probably the former, although don’t discount the possibility of the latter!), Husband and I spent the evening making sure that L. and S. had fun and didn’t get run over.  The Parkourists were all very friendly and took turns on everything with the children, but when you have a little one the size of a hobbit, it’s best to be on the safe side.

We left the gym with two tired children and one sleeping baby, and I left with the knowledge that if the circumstances had been different, I would’ve been awesome.  Ummm, right?




Homeschooler. Mother. Worker Bee. Wife. Christian. Chef. Allergy-expert extrordinaire. Dog lover. Soul-mate. (w)Riter. Reader. Runner.
  • I’ll have to give that a try! And I will remember to tuck for the cartwheel, because I will go and try one 🙂

  • amsangel

    ROFLMBO… I feel your pain old neighbor, I feel your pain! No, really, that’s why I don’t try to do somersaults anymore and limit cartwheels to once every couple of years (tuck in your shirt, I know you’ll try it!). Maybe you should warm-up with a headstand, start with your knees on your elbows…