In which a veteran of cultural studies seminars in the 1990s moves into academic administration and finds himself a married suburban father of two. Foucault, plus lawn care.
The Girl had a Little Gymnast class yesterday at the Y while I was at work. (TW took her, and TB tagged along.) It involved jumping on the "bounce-oline," as TG called it, and negotiating an obstacle course.
(The class was in the gym, which was divided in half. On the other side a bunch of older kids were playing pickup basketball. TB managed to insinuate himself into the game, and the older kids treated him as a sort of mascot. He nearly burst into tears when it was time to leave!)
The Little Gymnast teachers came up with the single best explanation of jumping jacks I've ever heard. "Make an I! Make an X! Make an I! Make an X!" TG is proud of knowing her letters, so she was all over that. She even gave me an unprompted demonstration in the living room after dinner.
Then, there was tumbling.
To appreciate this, you have to understand a few things about me and my defective genes. I've never been terribly surefooted, nor have I ever been accused of physical grace. Though not as skinny as I once was, I've managed to maintain and even refine a certain gawkiness that most people leave behind as they, um, let's go with 'fill out.' My sense of balance is astonishingly bad, which I think I get from my Mom. (For a spell in her twenties, she broke one foot a year.) Running on a treadmill is enough to screw up my equilibrium. (Luckily, ellipticals don't have the same effect.) Hell, I got motion sick on the *%(#&% "Cat in the Hat" ride at Universal Studios. At age 32.
Seriously. It shot the whole day.
In this, as in so many things, TG is her father's daughter. The "forward roll" completely eluded her. She gets into a sort of crouch, with her back oddly straight, and tries to jump forward. She doesn't actually go over, which is probably for the best, since I get visions of 'full body traction' just watching it. TW and I took turns holding her and trying to help her roll in the living room, but she kept making the same weird move.
That's when TW, to whom I am married, who claims to care about my well-being and who will be stuck with me anyway, suggested that I perform a demonstration forward roll.
Like Amy Winehouse, I should have said "no, no, no." Instead, like Amy Winehouse, I made a bad decision.
I did the roll.
No, no, no.
The good news is, I didn't crash into anything, pull anything, or hear any disconcerting 'snapping' sounds. TW even claims that the roll looked relatively smooth, as these things go.
The bad news is, not having done a forward roll since probably 1982, a single roll now is enough to throw me off for hours.
Naturally, TG and TB immediately wanted a repeat performance. Uh, no. Nope. Not gonna happen.
Now I'm going to go make myself some herbal tea, sit quietly in a dark corner for a while, and curse Father Time and my defective genes.
In this, TG is on her own. Good luck, kid. And watch those feet.
This wasn't in the parenting manual...