Hatch-Paluck Family, Week 1: Sedentary Us? Who Says!

Filed under: Healthy Families Challenge

If someone had asked me six weeks ago whether we were an active family, I'd have laughed in that person's face.

We're bookworms and reality-TV addicts who like to bake cookies! Now shut up and pass the chips, "The Apprentice" is on!

Then, Emmie, my oldest, broke her wrist on September 1. She lost a fight with the monkey bars, ended up with what's called a buckle fracture, and spent four weeks in a hot pink and bright green cast.

Thus ended, at least temporarily, our weekly jaunts to the pool and after-school stops at the park. We didn't play outside for a month, per her doctor's orders. Finally, just before her follow-up appointment, I relented and let her run around in circles in our backyard when the weather turned from summer to apple-cheeked autumn.

Watching her, I realized how much time the kids spend actively playing, and how much we'd all missed being able to do so. Poor Emmie even had to skip gym class and recess at school, and she complained bitterly.

On October 1, the cast came off. The nurse cut it open with a giant pair of scissors, and I asked Emmie what she wanted to do first.

"Go to the pool!" she yelled.

The next afternoon, Channing and I took the kids to the Urbana Indoor Aquatic Center. UIAC is great -- it has a zero-depth pool (there's no ladder, you just walk in, like you would at the beach) so it's deep enough for Emmie to swim, but Henry can't get into too much trouble in the ankle-high waters. The four of us were thrilled to get wet.

Usually, there aren't many other families there. This weekend there was a birthday party going on during our visit, and Emmie was thrilled to have a pool full of potential playmates. It was a profound relief to see her enjoying herself again.

I often describe Emmie as sedentary. I say she's a lot like me -- she'd rather veg on the couch and read than go outside and play. But watching her swim and jump with the other kids, it dawned on me that maybe I've been projecting my own feelings onto her. I see exercise as a chore, something to be dreaded.

Emmie doesn't. She's a kid, and kids need to play. Her wrist is still a little sore, but she's raring to go. I need to be more supportive of that, because it's healthy for both of my children.

Looking at our family's activity level and lifestyle through the lens of the Healthy Families Challenge has already up-ended some of my perceptions -- in a surprising way.

Who's the rest of the competition? Check out all the challengers' latest updates here.



How is the Hatch-Paluck family doing? Check in on their progress!

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.