"Can I PLEASE Come With You?"

A really nice part of the long Thanksgiving weekend was having the opportunity to bring my son to the box with me.  I don’t have an awesome photo of myself overhead squatting with him on my chest, but I’m strongly considering doing Murph with him in his Ergo in the near future.  He’s 4 and a half (he announces the half now) and he still loves riding in it.  I highly recommend the Ergo, it goes from infancy to 90lbs- can you imagine carrying a 90lb kid in a carrier?  Great workout!  My ultimate would be to get strong enough to do a muscle up with him on my back.  If either of those events go down I will definitely  document them here.  But seriously, when he rides in there, I am so grateful that I’m strong enough to comfortably carry him.  Carrying 50+ pounds of squirmy preschooler for miles around the zoo isn’t nothing.  Thanks Crossfit!

Friday was the first time in awhile my son has accompanied me to a training session.  He has always liked coming to the gym, but for the past few months my training sessions have just gotten too long to expect him to entertain himself for the duration.  This past week, however, he insisted on coming.  I had some reservations about it because I was max snatching and heavy clean & jerking (in other words I wanted to concentrate), and I didn’t know how long it would take me to get my work in.  I’ve learned from previous experience, when it comes to wanting your attention kids are akin to Honey Badgers- they don’t give a sh*t.  I remember one particular day I was doing a metcon with 150 TTB and 30 OHS at 115#.  My hands don’t usually rip but for some reason (me being a chalk whore, perhaps) that day  my hands shredded to bits.  I hurt my foot during the workout because I missed a snatch, fell backwards and dropped the barbell on my foot.  So I’m bleeding everywhere, concerned about my foot and working my way through and all I can hear the is his high pitched, “Mommy!  Mommmmyyyy!  Lookit me!”  Completely normal, pre-operational egocentric perspective for a 4 year old, I get it.  He doesn’t care about my struggles, there’s something cool to show me!  I decided to bring him along and let him play and have a good time, but also work on establishing some gym etiquette.   The kid is all about rules, he even has a notebook full of drawings depicting our rules at home, so I think he can learn to hold tight when mommy’s holding a barbell.   Sorry about another boring lifting video (that’s what I do!), but just listen to him.  

I love watching how he operates at the box. He interacts with everyone as though they are his good friend.   I find this so interesting, because in a variety of other settings he will do the “shy brother” routine (watch “The Five Heartbeats” if you don’t know what that means), but not at the box.  I have never gotten any negative behavioral reports from my box-mates about what he’s doing while I’m working, only reports of some humorous conversations and maybe a few nosey questions here and there (“Are you leaving already?  You didn’t stay very long.  Do you have a husband waiting at home or something?”).  I’m not sure if his comfort level is driven by the positive vibe he gets from our community or the joy he gets when he’s using equipment to build, making up games and just playing freely in a big space.  I suppose all of the above, or perhaps for reasons I can’t identify.  At any rate, it’s awesome seeing him interact and communicate with adults independently and with confidence.  I can’t say enough how much it means to me that the people I train with not only welcome my son, but embrace him as member of our community.

Some sort of banded MU gone really wrong?

We had such a nice day, topped off with grocery shopping, an oil change and finally a movie.  I’ve found that when you don’t have a lot of spare time to do special activities you have to make the mundane everyday interactions special.  In the end, I don’t think it matters what we’re doing, we both just want to be around each other.  A much less mundane story than mine was posted recently on the Crossfit Games website http://games.crossfit.com/features/ever-so-optimistic-journey about Games athlete Taylor Richards-Lindsay’s journey being a new mom and competing from the Open through the Games.  She’s amazing!  It was cool to watch her at the Games competing and taking care of her daughter, and also seeing her husband and mom supporting her.

Also amazing– this video.  I don’t know if this is objectively funny or if I just think so because he’s my baby.  I love this kid.

Author: Elisabeth Akinwale

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  • Hahaha I love the interpretive dance!
    He is so lucky to have you as his mom! I watch him jump around, be near barbell weights, interact with everyone, jump off the jerk box and I think about the millions of times I was probably told to “be careful”, “don’t jump off that box or you’ll hurt yourself”, etc. It made me shy, introverted, unsure of myself. I admire his confidence but you helped him achieve that and that is a relationship I aspire to have when the time comes!

    • Thanks Donna! That’s an interesting observation, he’s definitely very comfortable moving around the gym and making creative use of the equipment. People often ask if he’s impressed by what I/we do. The cool thing is, what we do is completely unremarkable to him. Jumping, lifting, pulling, pushing- in his eyes these are all normal things for a person to do and I like for that to be his norm vs. sitting and watching TV being the expected behavior. I’ll admit, he was somewhat impressed watching Brett Raz on some DUs- he went home that night and practiced with a string…

  • I love this article. I’ve got a 5-1/2 year old, not as confident as you are at taking him the the box while I work out. Same concerns as you outlined. I’ll try to start bringing him more. Keep up the training Elisabeth, looking forward to watching you in the Games in July.

    • Thanks for commenting Chad! You should give it a try and see how it goes. I absolutely would not have been able to get all my training in to be prepped for the Games last year had my community not welcomed my son. I think being in the environment and seeing what we do sets a good example for them to lead a healthy lifestyle.

      Thanks for the well wishes!

  • I definitely got the shy brother act from him the last time I bumped into him and his dad. lol Clearly I need to encounter him in the box so I can experience the hilarity that I read about so often!! I’m going home to practice that boogie in the mirror 😉

  • My initial and only thought in looking at his groovy video dance moves, “has he seen (and been influenced) by the Kurt video?” Love your posts!

  • I love this!! A friend of mine from Cape Crossfit here in Cape Town, South Africa posted the link to your post on my FB wall.

    I have a 6.5 year old son and I have been bringing him to the box since i started training crossfit when he was 4.5. Sometimes my husband is away for a month at a time for work and I bring him 4 times a week. My experience mirrors yours exactly. My workout mates are so good to him, they rig up different things for him to do in the bands. They talk to him on a real level kids so rarely get from adults. I’m always thankful that Crossfit allows for this. Any other gym would bar him at the door due to liability concerns or send him to some daycare with videos.

    It is always interesting to see how our crossfit time plays out for him. I overheard him tell a friend that “My daddy’s the smart one, my mommy’s the strong one.” I was a little miffed on the “smart” comment (his father has a PhD in astrophysics, and I work from home… so I get the distinction but… if daddy was left to run the family, well…) but got such a kick out of him seeing me as “strong”.

    I’ll be in the middle of my wod and I’ll hear him yell “Good job, Mommy, go harder!” I do my plank holds and foam-rolling with him on top of me. I love all the little ways our shared crossfit time enhances our lives and every time I have to schlep my sleeping son from the car I’m thankful for my strength and wonder how people parent without crossfit 🙂

    I love your son’s awesome dance. These not-so-little boys just amaze me 🙂

    All the best in your training for the Games.