“I’ve been a lot of things in my life. A liar. A dental hygienist.”– Jan Hooks, 30 Rock
I’ve been a lot of things in my life. A blogger. A ballet teacher. A preschool fitness coach.
You heard me.
I worked with a well-established organization called Stretch-n-Grow. I went into preschools and led them through different fitness or coordination exercises. I ran around the room with 2-6 year olds. I had 3 year olds (still learning to effectively grasp moving objects) pick up plastic balls that I threw about the room. We did sit ups, push ups, stretches. We played animal action and freeze dance. We did obstacle courses and pretended that we were climbing mountains, swimming through oceans, and walking through mud (that’s how we did our lunges).
In the dance world we call this creative movement, although this focuses less on their creativity and more on getting the kids moving, working their coordination, and getting them to follow directions.
Much like in college (when I would improv about the color orange in the dance studio, and then thought “I’m in college?”), I often thought “this is my job? there are people doing that number-crunching thing. there are people stuck at a desk. there are people fighting with the copier. and I am running around with pre-schoolers.”
I have lots of great stories from when I worked for Stretch-n-Grow, like the kid who was running and then went slower and slower and then came to an exaggerated stop where he sputtered like a broken-down car. “do you need some gas?” he nodded, so I whipped out my gas pump and applied it to his cheek until he got enough energy to take off again.
But my favorite is about a kid who would always run at full speed into my room yelling “STRETCH N GROOOWWWW!!!” and eagerly sat beside me while we pointed out all our muscles. While we were going over our bicep and tricep muscles I accidentally hit him in the head with my elbow.
“OH! I’m SO sorry, are you ok?” I said.
“Sorry. I’m sorry” he said holding his hand to his head. He was apologizing to me! “Sorry, Stretch n Grow.”
He thinks my name is Stretch n Grow.