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Destinations, Dreams and Dogs - International adventure with a fast-track family (& dogs) of Old World values, adopting the Russian-Italian-American good life on the go…!

My Son & His Muscles

My son, who arrived into our hearts and lives at the age of 7 as a skinny, 40-pound weakling, is now 14 years old and 100-some pounds more. And he has discovered lifting weights.

We made him wait until this age to start pumping iron, since being in a carnival freak show was not part of our aspirations for his preteen years. It’s paid off nicely, and Petya now has a healthy respect for his body and how to take care of it.

“Look at me, Mama!” he poses and struts his stuff in my bathroom.

I’m blowdrying my hair, getting ready for the day ahead and he’s showing me his muscles, flexing for the huge mirrors. I consider getting some carnival mirrors, and switching them out overnight just for fun.

“Mama, what’s wrong with me!?” he would gasp, looking at his distended and warped waistline, a sight I had staring back at me every day without any help from distorted mirrors.

“What’s wrong?” I would ask innocently, admiring my new, sleek physique in yet another mirror. “I think I’m losing weight.”

Petya has become quite the tennis player, and lifts weights to help with his grand-slam serves. Now winning against more and more adults, he feels he may have a future in the sport, so we do what we can to encourage him.

“Windsprints, Mama, the coach said I need to take up running to increase my endurance. Sometimes I get winded on the courts…” he confides.

“Okay, so let’s start running together. It will be lighter earlier in the morning, so we can do it around 5:30. You in?”

Sure, he was in. Of course he was in. It was Mama, huffing and puffing, and explaining how short bursts of speed were probably more effective than any long-range and long-lasting run, that was having second-thoughts on our first foray. I figured that, as long as it was not the dead of winter, nor the heat of summer, I could somehow survive.

Oh, how naïve.

Hadn’t I read the statistics on women my age, dropping dead like carnival rubber duckies shot out of the water with air guns? This whole physical fitness thing definitely had a carnival-like air to it, particularly motivating if you felt that someday a carnie would be trying to guess your weight for a dollar.

“Five hundred pounds!” he would shout to the crowd.

“Um, that would be no,” I would reply in a huff of indignation.

“Then get on the scale, my little lady!” he would hawk, holding up my dollar on the line for all to see.

“Um, that would be no, as well,” I would disappear off into the distance.

That’s when Benedetto and the coach suprisingly suggested in the same week that Petya’s tennis footwork could benefit from jumping rope. Because it might be left up to me to execute these fancy moves, I wondered if the three of them had gotten together to plot and plan how to get Alexandra into shape….

“Well, we could say that Petya needs to jump rope,” my husband might have suggested.

“It’s definitely beneficial for tennis,” the coach would concur.

“Mama could probably teach me!” Petya would enthuse, never meeting a sport nor activity he wouldn’t try at least once.

This is how we made our way, between nine and ten o’clock at night to a dark corner of our long, curved driveway.

“Shhh…” I told my teen, “I don’t want any neighbors hearing us….”

We pulled out our standard-issue, wood-handled jump ropes, the big $2 investment in our fitness futures.

“How do you do it, Mama?” he asked.

“Well, first of all, these ropes are too long for us. Wrap the end around your hands, so that it’s long enough to go under your feet, but not much longer.” Never mind that it had been about 100 years since I had ever jumped rope.

Without further ado, my son starts frantically jumping like a pogo-stick gone wild. His feet get caught in the rope every time, but still he keeps jumping, higher and higher. I am convulsed with laughter, making my own maniacal attempts to clear the rope which wraps around my feet.

“I’m doing it, Mama, I’m doing it!” he shouts at last, actually jumping rope successfully.

“I see! Shhhh…” I try to hush his youthful (and loud) enthusiasm, lest I have an indelicate accident from laughing so hard.

“Keep going, Mama!” my muscle man shouts as I huff and hop, under cover of darkness.

If this is the highway to health, we are certainly in the fast lane, laughing all the way. Should the economy not improve any time soon, we are confident in the knowledge that we could always find a job in the local carnival, entertaining the masses.


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2 Comments : Leave a Reply

  1. avatar Sybil says:

    Carnie’s beware ; Alexandra is on to you! This was hysterically funny . I hadn’t read it before. You wound in the carnival, jump rope, Petya and his musculature, tennis, jump rope and your own physicality into a delightful story. And by the way, where are those toothless unshaven carnies we sort of sickly all looked forward to seeing in the fairways and running the rides? They seem to have been replaced by handsome young men who flirt with the masses to get them to play their games of chance. There is just something about toothlessness and carnies that went together. Uh oh, I am showing my age.

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