Thursday, September 23, 2010


We spent last weekend in St. Louis for Ari's uncle's wedding. Our plans were quite flexible, and since I didn't know how much time we'd be spending there, I packed most of our school books into the heavy-duty Sonlight tote and brought them along with us. All day Friday, my mother-in-law was preparing to host the rehearsal dinner, and school was a reasonable way to keep the kids occupied. We headed down to the finished basement and put their pencil cases on the ping-pong table. There were fewer toys around to distract everyone (though baby B found a box of rocks and corals to gnaw), so things went more smoothly and quickly than they usually do at home.

We've been using Home School Family Fitness as our PE program. The first step the author suggests is setting up a routine of strength and endurance exercises: sit-ups, push-ups, pull-ups, etc. We've been working on these for a few weeks now. Typically, E has been able to do about 7 sit-ups and 15 push-ups, and he can hang on the pull up bar for about 6 seconds. P has been doing about 15 sit-ups and 7 girl push-ups, and hanging on the pull up bar for more like 25 seconds (neither child can do a real pull-up, but then, nor can I). Before we left for St. Louis, P did 25 sit-ups and 15 girl push-ups. So I was skeptical when she announced on Friday, "I'm going to do a hundred sit-ups!"

I now have extra evidence that this child is related to me (though giving birth to her is pretty strong evidence already). I said, "There's no way you'll be able to do a hundred sit-ups!" She did 105. She then announced, "I'm going to do 70 push-ups." This time, I was even more sure it was impossible. After every 10 push-ups, I asked her if she wanted to quit yet. She did 72. I informed her that she would be in worlds of pain the next day. She wasn't (or, at least, if she was, she didn't say a word about it). She said, "I can feel myself getting stronger. I like being strong."

Motivation is an important factor in what one is able to do. Today, I didn't feel like sitting on P's feet for 10 minutes while she groaned her way through another 100-odd sit-ups, so I told her I'd count how many she could do in 3 minutes. She barely made it to 25 after 2 minutes, and quit. I'm sure if I'd okayed her to do another hundred, she'd have made it. I just have other things to do with our time.

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