Walking with my mom yesterday I was trying to teach her how to use her core to help her get up hills. I had her tucking her butt, not slumping too far forward, all the while asking her if she could identify her core. She said yes. I still don't believer her. On one of our breathing breaks where I tried to keep focused on the fact that she is older than me and if I push her too hard I'll kill her, she wheezed out, "You know who has strong abs?"
"Your cousin, Zachary."
"Isn't he, like, nine months old?"
"Yeah! He can sit up all the way without using his arms. It's amazing."
Flashback in my mind to being in Guatemala on a stinky local bus making a stop and a bustling village with locals hanging out gossiping and selling food off of tables as everyone pretended flies don't exist. I was on the bus, near the back, crammed up against the window. There were about four more hours to my destination. I was snapped out of the state of zen that must be achieved on such a bus ride by the sight of a dangling baby. The typical method of baby transport in Guatemala is a cloth made into a sling with a baby tucked in around the mothers body. Seeing a woman with three slings on and four children grabbing at her skirt is typical. She may even be breast feeding one. The baby I was looking at was solo on the mom's body around her back. He/She must have been seven to eleven months old. Although, this is Guatemala where the tiny children look like snacks for an American playground. The baby might have been three. For the sake of the story, the baby was very much just a little fat cheeked, googly headed mass. Seriously. That's why I was shocked when I saw it dangling from the sling. Seventy-Five percent of the little one was outside of the sling, tilted toward the ground. I knew I was about to watch the death or severe damaging of an infant and there was nothing I could do about it. Even if I could shout from my confinement on the bus, I had learned earlier in the trip that I really don't know any Spanish. Some one asked me in Spanish if I spoke Spanish. I replied in Spanish, hot sauce. I was trying to say a little. Really, I know none. I could shout in English, the woman, if she even heard me, would turn, suddenly startled and whip the baby out for sure. As these thoughts skidded through my mind, wrinkling my forehead on there way, the baby used her/his obliques to right herself or himself in the sling. The mom never noticed. I'm still filled with a sense of wonder as I think about it. I think that was the moment I became obsessed with the core and its life-saving abilities.
Babies bodies are amazing: soft, strong, flexible, resilient. Pretty much everything I want to be. This summer while I was mountain biking a lot I started to get really strong and hard. My butt had no jiggle. My legs were tense even when I wasn't flexing. At first this sounds good, but then you have to think about femininity and music videos. Girls want some jiggle. Only a controlled bit and in the right spots but you don't want to be a rock. That ain't the end goal. I got softer as the biking season ended. Feels good.
I need to talk about not being too hard because I got a note from a friend where she lamented her body going soft after it had gotten really hard. This is a girl with a beautifully curved body who has never gotten near being fat. You know I am a proponent of being strong and using your body so that it doesn't break down later. I think the whole world need to play more because it is fun, with the power to make people healthy and happy. The industrial revolution forgot about the human body and I think it's time we bring it back and not just for a recommended fifteen to twenty minutes a day. All that said, I'm not a fan of being critical of something that is awesome. Just know, I bet you were a beautiful baby, cause baby, you're beautiful now.