"Ms. Laila, feel my muscle," four-year-old Ashley* said after story time today. She flexed her left arm and I poked at her bicep. "Oh my goodness, that is a big muscle! You're very strong!" I enthused. With twinkling eyes she smiled and said, "That's because I have a watch in there." I asked, "A watch?" "Yes, a Belle watch." (Belle, from Beauty and the Beast, which her mother told me she's never seen because it's in the Disney vault!)
Ashley reminded me of myself at her age, flexing with pride over my big muscles. There are numerous pictures of me at ages 3 and 4 with one or both arms poised to show off my "guns." Most of the time I'm scowling as if to say, "Don't mess with me, pal." This was my Lynda Carter Wonder Woman phase. Oh, how I loved her, wanted to be her, fight crime with thigh-high boots and gold bracelets!
Truth be told, I'm still apt to flex in front of the mirror after I get home from the gym. I make my husband periodically feel my muscles, and he gamely plays along. I love feeling fit and strong and I want to get fitter and stronger. Tomorrow, in another instance of Stuff I'm Actually Doing, I'm taking my first kickboxing class. I'm nervous. The ever-present fear of making a fool of myself rears its ugly head. But I've got to at least try. It's something I've always wanted to do! I'm going to try and channel my fearless inner four year old.
(*names changed for privacy)