Squats and curls, lunges and presses. A solid leg-building workout regimen can make the difference between squeaky-cute toothpick legs and hearty, healthy tree trunks. Along with the aesthetic appeal, exercising the legs can also lead to a more optimal overall caloric burn, a better balance control, more endurance, higher metabolism, and, my favorite, “superhero efficiency for everyday tasks,” according to the site Daily Burn (Orlov, 2014). These are just some of the benefits, amongst others, for a grown adult person.
Not, say, a little toddler person.
But tell that to my baby girl.
She lives out the gospel of leg strength since her “leg days” are every day.
When Jai wants to raise herself upon a surface, she bends slightly to the side and kicks one leg up and over. This can indicate lifting up her body to the couch, on the bed, or atop mommy’s nightstand tables. She will hoist that leg and suspend it in midair if it means investigating a potential landing in her plastic tub of toys, once filled with stuffed animals, now emptied for her play enjoyment. Jai will heave that same leg up a staircase that mommy said not to disturb and across a door landing if traveling from inside the house to out into the garage.
It’s a comical sort of aerial hurdling pose that she takes on. When we announce “Unt uh” loudly to grab her attention regarding our grievance with her decision, she freezes, leg posed for seizing the climb of the moment. After the brief pause, she will either continue her pursuit by pulling herself up by the arms and that one leg, or she’ll slide the leg down and stomp away, mumbling angry baby curses at the stint of misfortune she had just endured.
Jai’s legs are incredibly strong. If a diaper wipe is too cold during a cleaning, for instance, she will clamp her thighs tightly together in protest. I struggle to pry her knees open, usually resorting to using my elbow as a crowbar and sticking it and my hand between her knees and holding, like one of those club steering wheel security locks. She carries a sassy rhythm now, dancing to pretty much anything when she feels the spirit, and has discovered that a steady trot around the house will get her to destinations quicker (and, regrettably, find her suddenly up against everyone else’s legs in collision).
Her flexibility is awe-inspiring. She will bend at the legs for hours on end, picking up goodies out of the carpet that are naked to the parent eye, and plugging them into the mouth for extensive inspection. She even curls her legs underneath her body as her preferred sleep position.
I dream of her track career, her ballet classes, her gymnastics flips, her cheerleading soon. I see her toe touches and full splits in my mind and how loudly I’ll yell with my team jersey on branded with my daughter’s name. I think of her playing T-ball, then softball, racing around bases, sliding into home. I picture her a shorty, like her mom, but being the only girl on the team who could dunk, thanks to daddy’s instruction. I am such a fuzzy daydreamer when it comes to her.
It must be all those inspirational leg lifts she does daily.
I applaud those stumps.
Orlov, Alex. “9 Reasons Not to Skip Leg Day.” Daily Burn, Sep. 29, 2014, http://dailyburn.com/life/fitness/never-skip-leg-day/. Accessed Jan. 22, 2018.