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“Mama! Where’s my kettlebell?”

She’s standing between me and the TV, arms folded and hip jutted out to the side. Buttercup has been wanting in lately on the Pauline’s Search for a Smaller Ass Healty Kick and that means less solitary Ohms and more creative inclusion. I grab the remote and hit pause on the Gaiam kettlebell workout I just bought, set down my own four-pound bell of wonder, and start scanning the room.

“Let’ see what we can find for you to use.”

Buttercup smiles. She’s in!

“What about this?” I hand her the pink Disney princess squishy softball that was wedged under the couch. I’m figuring it’s small enough to handle and light enough for her to mimic the movements without hurting herself.

“No. It doesn’t look like yours.”

Okayyyyy….

I sigh and walk into her playroom, Buttercup hot on my trail. She isn’t going to settle for a cheap substitute. She wants Mama’s kettlebell. And Mama isn’t gonna get her workout in until Buttercup is happy.

I’m not going to argue. I’m thrilled my little girl gets to see me setting a good example. And I am doubly happy that she associates exercise with being healthy and strong instead of the words that plagued my formative years.

Fat. Big. Calories.

I was bulimic by the time I was 15. I was eating disordered long before then, hiding in the food pantry to binge as a small child.

Buttercup wants a kettlebell to be healthy and strong. I want to encourage the positive.

“Baby, I can’t find anything for you to use. Will you let Mama finish my 20-minute workout and then you can sit down with me on the computer to order you a kettlebell for kids? One that is safe for you to use?”

She considers while I hope like hell that such a thing exists. If not, it’s back to working out after she is asleep, knowing full well I will have lost all motivation by then and go back to making excuses.

“Okay, mama.”

So I work out. She plays. And when we are both done, we sit down on the couch with my laptop. Thanks to a twitter recommendation, I find a sweet stuffed kettlebell toy named Buffy on etsy. I buy it. And Buttercup is beaming.

When it shows up in the mail, Buttercup declares it her new best friend and wants to sleep with it. I, however, did not just pay $28 for a new addition to the Ignored Stuffed Animal Collection.

“Does Mama sleep with my workout equipment?” I point to my yoga mat, kettlebell, and hand weights sitting in the corner of the living room. “Or do I only use them for being healthy and strong?”

Buttercup chews on her lip, torn between the desire to play with her toy and the one to be like me. She breaks into a huge grin.

“No,” she says, laughing. “That would be silly.”

“Yeah,” I say, “it would.

“Being healthy and strong isn’t silly, right?”

“Of course not.”

She nods her head at my response and sits down on the floor to velcro on her her sparkly gym shoes. She stands up, Buffy at the ready and her own little face the very picture of determination.

“Then let’s do this.”

Yes, ma’m.

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This post originally appeared on Bookieboo

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