I booked the first trip to the dentist for all of the children a couple of weeks ago. Jennifer, our landlady, had recommended their family dentist, so we went with her suggestion, and arrived en masse to the clinic on a Monday afternoon. There was a lovely, airy waiting-room with a huge television on the wall, so the kids shed all their snow gear and headed in to explore, while I started filling in the usual mountain of paperwork. I was trying to concentrate and ignore the excited shrieks behind me – what could be so thrilling about a waiting room? – when Benjamin shot back over to the desk, waving a Playstation control. A Playstation, in a little annexe off the main room, with couches and toys and books galore. Nirvana. Silence reigned for the next 15 minutes, and then an army of hygienists arrived to bear them off to their fancy chairs. I took Rebecca in to a really lovely girl, who explained everything to her, and showed her all the instruments of torture she was going to use. Rebecca was gobsmacked by the “magic” chair, and almost popped out of her skin with excitement when the hygienist lay her back and asked her what channel she wanted on the television that hung on the ceiling above her head. Televisions on the ceiling. I love Canada.
Christopher and Benjamin were being looked after nearby, so I poked my head in to see if they were enjoying themselves. One of them, I can’t remember who, had managed to secure the “Mother of the Year” award for me. The hygienist asked him which channel he wanted; he dithered; she said “well, which is your favourite TV channel?”; and he said – wait for it – “We don’t really watch television ‘cos we play outside all the time”. The hygienists were suitably impressed by my incredible parenting skills.
I managed to get them all seen by the hygienists and the dentist without any of them having a tantrum, freaking out, refusing to open their mouths, or saying anything incriminating. It was exhausting, but it’s the first visit over, and I think the lure of the televisions, the Playstation and the goodie-bags that they got when they were leaving will be enough to tempt them back without too much persuasion.
Kelly, June and I started a course in Yogalates/Piloga a couple of weeks ago in the gym of a local school. Pilates is something that I have wanted to do since Rebecca was born, but I never seemed to have the time, so this class seemed like a great idea. We bought our yoga mats and arrived at the gym with about 10 other women. Our teacher, Diane, is a young woman who is fit, lean and a walking advertisement for Pilates. She went around the room to get our names and our previous experience in either Yoga or Pilates. It turned out that I was the only complete novice, so that was a bit daunting. We lay down on the mats and started the workout; Diane demonstrated the different levels of each exercise, and we all tried to follow it at our own level. I say “tried”, because she looked like she was made of elastic, and just flowed from one movement to the next. I suppose I wouldn’t ever have considered myself the most co-ordinated person on the planet, but I brought clumsiness to whole new heights. Diane swung her body up onto one elbow and ankle, and then watched as I attempted the same and promptly toppled straight over. We curved our bodies into a “C” shape, rolled backwards and then rolled upright again. At least, everyone else in the room rolled back up again. I puffed like a upended penguin, and failed to raise myself off the mat at all. I think I need to face the fact that I’m a long way from my abdomen resembling a six-pack. Diane has promised me that I shall be sit-upping with the best of them at the end of the course; watch this space.
Halfway through the class, there was an unfortunate incident. One of the three of us (and it wasn’t me) farted. Really loudly. Kind of like a gunshot in a silent room. We lay on our backs, shuddering with laughter, and trying to look nonchalant. Amid the purple faces and muffled snorts, came a disembodied voice from the left. “Don’t worry”, it said cheerfully, “we all fart at some stage during Yoga”. Well, that was the end of us Kelly had tears running down her face, and I was afraid to catch June’s eye. You can’t bring them anywhere.
The second class started at a faster pace, and was a much harder workout than the first. I finally discovered what a Downward Dog is, and became sick of doing it fairly quickly. Diane issued streams of instructions; “ok, up into Downward Dog, down into Plank, back into Downward Dog, down into Shell” blah blah blah. She moved gracefully from one action to the next, while I creaked and shuffled up and down, and tried not to think about what I must look like to anyone around me.
Sad, but true. However, another few months and I shall bear a startling resemblance to the top picture. Hope springs eternal.