Sunday, August 10, 2008

These (overpriced) boots are made for walking

I bought myself a pair of MBT's yesterday - that's the Masai Barefoot Technology trainers, developed by a Swiss engineer. Yes because when I think Masai, I think trainers, and more so, I think Swiss trainers.

I had seen them featured in a magazine a few years ago, accompanied by a picture of Jemima Khan wearing a pair - all long, leggy and trim. The blurb waffled on about how these 'revolutionary' trainers are supposed to give you good posture, a great butt, and work out your legs and stuff just by walking around in them. But let's not kid ourselves here, clearly it was Jemima's tight cricket-loving bottom that was doing the selling.

The sales person in the shop (enviably toned and young) told me that you get a DVD when you buy your MBT's showing you the best way to walk in them, and what exercises you can do to maximise their benefit. Exercises? Who said anything about exercises? I'm always suspicious of any kind of footwear that's accompanied by literature. Exercise indeed.

I bought them because I do a lot of walking every day (as you do when you have a baby), and have a bad back too (ditto). I figured I needed some decent foot kit to ensure I'm not doing more harm than good, and if that kit also happens to help with butt firmness, then why not? God knows I can use all the help I can get in that department. Then there's the fact that they have this platform thing going which means even though you are wearing flats, you look a lot taller, albeit in a Tom Cruise hidden lifts kinda way.

I decided to wear them for the walk home. It felt as though I had springs attached to my feet, and steep downhill bits were a bit tricky - kind of like you are about to topple over in ski boots. But, to be fair to the hype, I did find myself, quite unconsciously, tightening my stomach muscles. I think it was out of sheer terror of falling forwards on my face, but if my abs (what abs?) get a workout, then I suppose that's a bonus.

We met up with good friends on Sunday for lunch and talk turned to putting Julia's name down for schools. Again. My god it's anxiety provoking. Apparently we are too late for one school, because you really have to put your child's name down when you are pregnant . So nearly 8 months is like way to late - I mean, stupid us for now knowing right? And that's just the baby school, never mind the junior and senior ones. God knows it's a taste of things to come. When I was a kid we went to the local school that was closest to where we lived, which also meant we could walk home if my mom got tied up. I think the latter being the sole requirement when my parents were choosing. We were thrown together with a motley crew of individuals - some academically ambitious, others aspiring thugs, and those were just the teachers.

I found a local place that does baby activity classes. It's an opportunity to break the incredibly repetitive and often insanely brain draining dullness of your day - at least that's how I think Julia feels about life with me - and meet other babies and their mothers. The first one I went to was a sort of music class. I didn't know what the hell was going on, and while the other babies dutifully went through the motions, Julia used it as an opportunity to crawl up to them in an attempt to scalp them or gouge out one of their eyes. I simply banged along on my tambourine with the other mothers, smiling like an eejit, and trying to look as though I fit in.

By the second class, Julia already knew what to do, far better than I did, but this time we were with older children and I had to protect her from getting scalped and having her eyes gouged out. It's definitely a baby eat baby world out there.

My sister and her son are visiting us at the moment. He is seven and very articulate and in touch with his feelings. This pretty much involves daily, sometimes thrice daily, announcements that his mother is showing more affection to Julia and that he is jealous.

Kids are amazing. As adults we never admit to jealousy. Instead we put our partners or friends through passive aggressive hell making them feel as though they are the ones at fault for our crippling insecurities. I tried to explain to him that jealousy was not something inflicted by another person, i.e. his mother, but a choice and something one had a degree of control over, granted with the help of a many years of expensive therapy . Bearing in mind that people three times his age would find this concept inconceivable, I thought he received it pretty well, "Yeah OK, but she still makes me jealous."

Finally, a HUGE congratulations to our friends on their engagement. Looking forward to the celebrations guys. Of course this means finding a babysitter that I can trust with our child. Oh dear god ... .

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