Yesterday evening: the kids were in the tub, and I was sitting there feeling achey. Geez, I didn’t move much today, I realized, and I glanced down at my step counter: 4, 605 steps. Less than two miles for the whole day, and a beautiful spring Sunday at that. What happened?

I had gone for a long run on Saturday, so when I awoke Sunday, exercise was not on the priority list. Then we had church, various home improvement projects, a birthday party… But still, to have covered less than two miles in a whole free weekend day seemed pathetic.

The kids saw me looking at the counter with a sad face and asked me what was the matter.

“Mommy didn’t get enough exercise today, guys!” I declared.

They looked at me, puzzled.

I decided to make a lesson of it, for all of us: “No need to be sad, I’ll just get my exercise now!” I hopped up and started running in place.

Their faces lit up, delighted. Kids love it when their parents do unexpectedly silly things.

I did a little medley: dancing in place, then jump-roping without a rope, then spinning around.

“What should I do next?” I yelled.

They were thrilled: “Hop on one foot!” they called out. “And jumping jacks! Do jumping jacks!” “Red light! Stop!” “Green light! Go” “Go faster!” “Slow down!” I followed their commands, and they fell all over the tub with giggles.

“Put some music on!” they commanded. Still jogging in place, I grabbed my phone. “Put on No’!” they requested.

Now, our kids have never been interested in kids’ music. Most recently, they’ve been obsessed with Top 40 pop hits. Their latest favorites are Meghan Trainor’s NO, Adele’s Hello, and Justin Bieber’s Love Yourself.

NO is basically an advice song. The lyrics are directed towards young women declining the attentions of young men. Do I think this is too advanced for little kids? No. It’s teaching them what to say to a person who is making them feel uncomfortable, and celebrating that it’s OK to say No, go away. I like NO’s empowering message, so we listen to it all the time.

I think they like it because it’s really what they want to say to us about everything:

“It’s late, you need to get up and get ready for–”

NO. 

“Dinner’s not over! You need to finish eating your–”

NO.

“Time to brush your teeth and go to–”

NO. 

Whatever the reason, they get a kick out of the song, and I needed some upbeat music. So on went the Top 40 pop. Mama burned some calories and got to 7120 steps!

Photos courtesy of Babyboy. The move? Karate kick dancing, also very empowering: