Thursday, August 8, 2013

Having a Very Active Toddler

R poised to take a leap
I am a pretty unathletic person. In grade school I was invariably last to be picked for any team (which did not bother me at all, my lack of skill for team sports was only matched by my disinterest in them). My parents tried to keep me active and at various times I took swimming, gymnastics, dance and tennis lessons; while I enjoyed them for the most part, nothing really took and I remained supremely physically non-talented. For example, even though I had years of swim lessons (including private lessons for a summer when I proved too retarded to learn in a class setting), I can still barely swim and never learned how to do the front crawl stroke properly.

Nothing's really changed in adulthood. I go to the gym (with reluctance), because it's good for me, but I hate running, sweating, sports, lifting anything heavy and physical tasks in general. I have fantasized about buying a mobility scooter for sightseeing, so that I could cover more ground with less work (museum visiting tends to be tiring!).

With that said, I am not sure how I ended up with a child like R. She loves all physical activity--climbing, dancing, running, jumping, kicking balls, swimming--and goes out of her way to engage in it whenever possible. She never walks if she can run, and if she can climb something, she will. Typically, R bustles about the house, immensely busy with her various projects (like moving stools to reach things on the counter, rearranging the couch, or packing bags full of toys and other objects until they are so heavy she can barely lift them).
Typical way she gets around
Other people typically describe her as "active", "lively","energetic" or my favorite, a "dynamo" (what her teachers call her). I am often surprised by how relatively sedate other toddlers are (especially here in Singapore: Asian babies for whatever reason tend to be quite low energy and non physical). She doesn't have any hyperactivity or focusing issues: she just has a lot of energy!
She loves doing this, just for kicks
And this: climbing a high railing at the zoo, rather to the horror of the surrounding Singaporeans
None of this is really a problem (though it does mean R requires more supervision than average). It just seems so foreign: doesn't that make her tired? Wouldn't she rather just sit in the shade and do some quiet activity? (No.) Perhaps she takes after my mother and grandmother (both highly energetic women). As a more low energy person, my mother's constant bustling and endless to-do list have always filled me with a combination of awe, vicarious exhaustion, and puzzlement.
A lot of kids have a similar reaction to R, like this little girl. Who is that crazy redhead?

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