“I can’t talk to you while you’re bouncing,” I tell my daughter. She sits across the living room from me atop my grey balance ball. In my head, I rattle off the other things that are hard for me to watch her do: spin, jump, twirl and any other variation of the same innocent moves. Her personal favorite is the Swivel-Chair Spiral, where she lays belly down on the seat of the desk chair and turns her body into a propeller, hair flying outward and eventually rising up off the floor with the physics of motion.
I read somewhere that spinning and twirling are good for developing balance. If that’s true, my daughter must be the most balanced human being on the planet. And it’s not that I don’t want her to do these things, but watching her induces a car-sickness-like nausea that makes it so hard for me to stay focused and all I can think is stop, stop, stop. But that voice in my head – the one that used to pass my lips, saying “Stop. Stop. Stop.” – is not as strong as it once was. She has this effect of evoking evolution in me.
Even as I type these words, she is spinning on the chair next to me. I catch a small glimpse of her blond trusses every time she completes a revolution. And then she invites me in: “Mom, when I pull my legs up–watch–” She re-assumes the position on the chair and gets going so fast that I can feel the wave of uneasiness cresting to crash. “And then I pull my legs in… See? Did you see how I went faster?” The wave subsides without washing over me and is replaced by a smile and a Steve Spangler “Science of Spin” lesson, too.
And to take this all one step further, if she was riding the office chair while I worked on this piece, what do you think I was sitting on? You guessed it! The balance ball. Turns out, I like bouncing. Having written this entire blog from the top of the grey orb, my knees folded under me, I can say I get it now. Maybe the secret to watching her bounce has been here all along; I just needed to join her.