Sunday, 5 August 2012

Games girls

G&T - 32 months  M - 10 months

I fear I may have damaged my children. They have developed an uncontrollable compulsion, and it's all my fault. Whenever I turn on the TV, they start to scream... 'Go GB!' Yes, we have Olympic fever!
I love The Olympics. Adore it. Get so caught up in it. But last time it came round, I was a young newlywed with no responsibilities and all the time in the world to get completely addicted to sports I didn't even remotely understand (fencing anyone?). Now, with three small kids around, I feared I wouldn't have time to enjoy it, but the girls have turned out to be addicts too. Usually, the TV stays off all day, save a little news for me, and a CBeebies hit for them to give me space to make tea. For the past week, it's been on constantly, as athlete after athlete reduces me to an emotional wreck. And I've dragged the girls down with me.
'Is he a GB one?' 'Where's the GB lady?' 'Go GB!' 'Mexico!' (I think with the last one, they just like the word...)They don't have a clue what's going on, but they love it anyway. T announced that she wants to do running when she's bigger, 'like that GB lady' (Jessica Ennis), while G fancies spinning and tumbling like the gymnasts. Even little M has been getting in the spirit, proudly wearing her cute GB flag nappy!
I remember having my own sporting dreams as a young girl. I was never the fastest or the strongest, and my sporting achievements were limited to a few hockey games for my school, but I always dreamed of being a dancer. I can't say I really regret never properly pursuing that West End career. After all, I wouldn't trade my girls for the world. But I do get wistful, imaging a life of bright lights and high kicks. The twins are both great little movers already, so I'm going to take them to dance classes when they're 3. Not to live out my fantasies through them, just because I know how much I would have loved it if such things had been around for me, and an innate shyness hadn't stopped me pushing myself. If they don't like dancing, fine by me. We'll try something else until they find their own dream.
I don't mind if they become dancers, or gymnasts, or heptathletes, or doctors, or shop assistants. I just care that they don't want to be reality TV stars famous purely for the sake of it. I love that they're getting to see strong female role models celebrated for their achievements and hard work, rather than the size of their cleavage or how many footballers they've bedded. Some people complain there is too much sport on TV, but if it inspires our children to forget about Peppa Pig and rush outside to race their twin sister round the garden, it's done its job. Who knows, it might even inspire the not-so-young amongst us to get up and move. Now, where did I put that dance school timetable...

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