When I picture a flamingo in my mind, I think of such a majestic and graceful bird, with brilliant bright feathers, balancing artfully on one lean leg.
It embodies such elegance – a formidable force of nature.
And then there is my mum.
She’s not bad, you know, as mums go.
Now here’s the part she’s going to kill me for putting in a blog.
So, it was just an ordinary school run on a biting cold morning.
We were dropping all of the children off apart from PDA’er who is on a very slow integration route into a new school.
The transition back from this drop off is one of the most difficult parts of the day.
So we try to keep it light-hearted and get focused on the next activity.
There were other parents around as we were about to go under the subway.
Then my mum turns to PDA’er and says, “I’ve got something fun to do when we get home, it’s called yoga.”
Cue a frown from a grumpy child.
“Wait till you see me, I’ve been practicing, I’m like a flamingo.”
I erupt into spontaneous laughter, although suddenly socially conscious of the conversation we are having!
I also know why my mum is doing this – we have learnt the day is less trigger-happy if PDA’er engages in physical exercise.
Mum carries on her spiel like some new age hippy (which I can assure you she is certainly not).
“It’s for the mind and body you know.”
No answer from her young counterpart.
It seems as if she’s not listening, but she is. It takes even longer to process a demand when you have to understand not only the words but whether you can actually do it.
PDA’er eventually uses her default word: “Noooo!”
“Stick with me,” Nan says, “I’ll get you in tip, top shape.”
This ignites laughter and a way in to distract her from her atypical can’t response.
So we get home and the yoga DVD starts quickly (or else we have lost the window of opportunity and she may have a meltdown about wanting her tablet).
Let’s put it this way, the presenter in her leotard wasn’t the most spritely of individuals and PDA’er became more obsessed about why her clothes cut into places that were inappropriate for TV.
She was quite graphic at this point but I won’t go into detail for fear of alienating readers!!
We also got some avoidance techniques about her foot being tired or that they talk too much, “blah blah blah!” she yells to the passive screen.
Nan tries to take a subtle control, “so, you have to find a spot in the room and focus on it.”
“Where?! I don’t know what you mean!” she screeches back.
They reluctantly start a section that teaches balancing positions and Nanny finally shows off her flamingo pose.
I burst out laughing as I’m in shock she can balance on one leg with the other embroiled into her inner thigh.
I wouldn’t say it was very graceful mind you.
She says she’s been practicing but I later found out she only did 10 minutes the day before … she had convinced us with her commitment.
We all try to copy and fail quickly.
“Naaaaannnn!!! You’re not helping me, it’s not fair, I can’t do it!” she shouts as she hurls out insults.
“Focus on the spot, focus on the spot!” Nan is of a generation where they seem to repeat everything twice.
Finally PDA protégée does it with a triumphant smile.
Nan repeats her flamingo again to synchronise with her granddaughter so they look poised and serene together.
It doesn’t last long as Nan gets her leg stuck and topples over flat on her face, followed shortly by PDA’er.
I pick up the 18 month old sibling and construct Nan’s elegant flamingo pose so she now looks more like a baby Buddha.
Baby looks confused and we all roll around laughing on the floor like a scene from Peppa Pig.
It worked this impromptu yoga session as we had no major meltdowns for the rest of that day.
We’ve been finding opportunities to do it again:
I think Nanny needs to teach all parents and children how to be flamingos!