That time has come- my oldest in school and my youngest is at preschool 4 mornings a week. Having given up whatever semblance of a career I had when the first one was born, I am now- in theory- a person with time on my hands.
Truth be told, once drop offs, pick ups and shopping has been done the time is not so great but still. I have time- which is a novelty.
So what's a girl to do with all this me time?!
Today, I thought I would revisit aerobics. Retro Aerobics to be precise. I've been getting fitter recently and I thought it would be great to "mix it up" (dreadful phrase, I know).
I gingerly entered the mirrored room and slunk along the sides, relieved to see other anxious looking people- a group of around 8 women. I wondered what on earth I had let myself in for.
Suddenly, the instructor burst in, as personal trainers and gym instructors always do: burst, bound and grin. They're either theatrically happy or alarmingly burly and muscular. The latter looking as if their greatest pleasure in life would be to chase you round an assault course in the mud at 5am.
She bounced to the front, beaming- her enthusiasm, energy and positivity at this time of the day a clear giveaway that she didn't spend the best part of 2 hours chivvying 2 under-5s out the door.
"Okay, great!", she enthused, "Thanks soooooo much for joining me today. This is a low impact class with some high impact aspects if you want in the middle. We'll start with a low impact warm up".
The words "low impact" were music to my ears; I sensed the relief around the room.
She put the music on and started moving in a way that can only be described as a cross between J Lo, a whirling dervish and a Tasmanian Devil. Low Impact my arse.
"Grapevine to the left!! Sashay 2 counts to the right...and now twinkles for 8...! Woooohoooo!".
My first instinct was to put my hand up and ask for a dictionary: grapevine? Isn't that where wine grows? Twinkies? Eh? Isn't that a biscuit?
No time to think- we're off to the left, back round, clapping, hopping.
I said revisit: suddenly, I have flashbacks from the first aerobics class I ever attended: Long Aerobics in my first term at university. For some reason my friends and I didn't realise the word "Long" meant, well, the class would be long. An hour and a half. The most unfortunate thing was that my friend and I discovered that we were lacking that one thing you needed for aerobics about ten minutes in: coordination. We spent the first ten minutes trying, the last 80 laughing. The instructor was not as amused.
No coordination. Still. The music is great but I flail round the room either 2 steps behind or 5 steps ahead of the instructor. Luckily, there are more Heffalumps like me in the room and occasionally we unwittingly congregate in the centre of the room where we should all be on the right doing a mambo followed by a Vstep.
Just as I am feeling good about the uncoordinated camaraderie, in steps the gay guy. How do I know he's gay? The coordination, the perfect bod, the backing dancer smile permanently on his face. But what gives it away is the enthusiasm with which he does jazz hands and the flourishes with which he finishes every perfectly executed move. Ain't no straight guy gonna do flourishes. He swims through the cement bags of the rest of the class effortlessly, grinning all the while.
And then, oh please no: "Find a partner!! Woohoo!". And the backing dancer finds me despite my best efforts to hide behind the Swiss balls. "C'mon!", he enthuses. He drags me round like a sack of potatoes, my malcoordinated limbs heavy with humiliation. The rest of the class look at me with sympathy and a: there but for the grace of God look. They've been here before, I can tell, they've learnt to hide.
The class progresses and I progress from bag of cement to rusty robot moving through molasses. At one point the persistently happy instructor bounces over to me and shouts:" Good going!". Bless her, she must have been looking out for the one time I was in time to the music.
The warm down was less intense: more acrobat mixed with podium dancer although I think at this point I was just staring at her, arms hanging down like a dying gorilla.
"Thanks for joining me!! Join me next week and on Saturday if you wanted to be humiliated twice a week!" (she didn't really say the last bit).
I'll be back, it was fun and the music was good. I'll be there early to scout out a good place to hide first though.