So I signed up for a “Mom and Baby Yoga” class. I didn’t know if it was going to be “baby yoga” in the style of that crazy internet lady who flings an infant over her head…
[I’d post a link but it seriously gives me the piles. I hope she’s retired.]
…or if the babies were maybe expected to do the poses? I guess it may be possible that an infant could assume a downward dog before reaching the ability to hold up his/her head. Gravity would just let it dangle and I guess that’s…ok? A part of me was questioning my and lil M’s preparation.
[For the record, these were fleeting thoughts prior to the class. It is indeed not ok to force or even encourage the assumption of any inverted yoga poses by infants.]
My first class was last Tuesday. I arrived in the nick of time with my haphazardly rolled yoga mat under one arm and my giant eleven week old under the other. I hadn’t been sure what clothes to put him in, so I opted for a tank-top onesie with short-shorts. He looked sort of like this…
…But bald. And with heftier thighs. And his short-shorts had fish on them, rather than stripes.
Anyway, the babies were all, of course, dressed in sleepers. Which is what most normal people would choose for their infants to wear. But not this gal; my little man was ready to sweat to the oldies.
I quickly noticed that all other babies were lying happily on fluffy blankets their moms had been considerate enough to bring for them. I don’t know, I guess I just figured we’d share my mat? I ran out to the car and managed to scrounge a paper-thin receiving blanket off the floor of the backseat. Perfect. I wasn’t a total degenerate. I also found a tiny hoodie to roll up and use as a pillow. Win.
The instructor was a sweetheart. She very emphatically assured us that there was no judgement here, that we were basically at a normal yoga class but that we would be completely understanding of crying, walking around with baby, nursing, diaper changing, etc.
[Of course it was a normal yoga class just with babies present. What, did someone actually assume the babies would be doing the poses? Ptcha. Hahaha…haha…ha… *cough*]
Now, there are a couple things that I feel the need to disclose.
1. The Warm n’ Fuzzy Assumption of Interparental Non-Judgement
I mean, of course mothers are there for each other. Of course we understand that babies are going to cry and we can totally empathize. But sometimes, on some days, you just want babies who aren’t yours and who are crying to take one for the team and perhaps leave. At least go to the next room for a breather.
During the class, lil M had a couple mini-meltdowns, each ending with my sticking him on the boob, my go-to move. But not before my trying to keep up with the poses for a minute or two in hopes that he’d calm himself. The others will understand, right? Of course they will, we’re all mothers…
The tables turned and it was a different story. When lil M was content and happily kicking away on his blanket, I had a difficult time drowning out the cries and fusses from the other babies. I’m ashamed to admit that, in fleeting moments of helplessness and shaky poses, I judged the shit out of the other mothers.
2. The Ass-biting Role of Karma in Interparental Judgementality
Of course it was right after the instructor urged us to find our inner quiet despite the outer noise that it began. Lil M’s fart bonanza. And he could not have looked happier to let ‘em rip through the silent, candlelit room. He is over-dramatic like his moth– uh, father, and so he emphatically grunts before and during his farts. So they don’t sound so much like cute baby sounds as they do a tiny person blatantly and effortfully farting through your stillness.
It was my just punishment. In a safe place of no-judgement, I had judged. A fit of crying from lil M would not have sufficed; that could have easily been quelled with breastfeeding. Instead, lil M happily rocked out to his own rectal rhythms in the most audible passing of gas to ever come from a person so small. There were four in relatively close succession. With each crank, I could feel my body heat transform into interboob and back sweat. And not because I was working so hard.
[My descent from plank position to the floor was ugly. I was basically belly-flopping, I’m lucky to have evaded a nosebleed, too stubborn to “skip this part” as the instructor quietly urged those of us “having trouble”. It was a coincidence she was staring at me each time she suggested this.]
Lil M remained downright giddy, just as I’d [careful what you wish for] hoped. But his tiny butt had lots to say, bless ‘im. What could I do? I was actually doing desperate anal winks to try to somehow stop them.
[Yes. Anal winks. That’s what they called them in last year’s pelvic floor rehab course – https://heatheronarock.com/2012/09/26/the-shocker-every-sense-of-the-term/. The instructor dispersed, throughout her presentation, a picture of an ‘80’s babe winking, which was a cue for all of us to perform an anal wink. Also, I know you’re doing one right now.]
I ended up sticking him on the boob anyway because, again, that’s my only move. At least he’d stay hydrated whilst sharting through tranquility.
[Should you choose to use Sharting Through Tranquility as your next album title, I expect a shout-out in the sleeve notes. Or, alternatively, you can let me join your band. I can do sound effects. And rock an egg-shaker like nobody’s business. But only to slow jams; my carpal tunnel’s been acting up. For reals. I bought a brace.]
And as I sat there feeding my sneaky little dude, considering that a baby in a yoga class is an epic fail of an idea, I looked around the room at the other women now in Shavasana.
[Yes, I just googled, verbatim, “What is the relaxing part at the end of yoga class”.]
The woman across from me was also nursing her little tyke. To my left, a woman was diaphragmatically breathing with her eyes closed as her nine-month old sat on her neck. Diagonally, across the room, a toddler had escaped the grips of his relaxing mother and stood above the adjacent woman, staring down at her intently as she attempted to relax. Another little guy was riding a yoga block like a cowboy. I’m not sure who even owned him.
I realised that the instructor wasn’t just being nice. She genuinely meant enjoy, relax, let babies be babies and try find your inner quiet. At least try. We really are all in the same boat.
And just as the instructor got to the part where we could all start wiggling our fingers and toes (I didn’t even get to the lying down part) and returning our awareness to the room, I glanced down at my precious baby McShitz. Fast asleep. Just in time for the car ride home.