Monday, July 25, 2011

Work Out or Rub Down?

I skipped the gym yesterday and opted for a massage instead. Operation B4 is still very much in action, but my stiff neck and sore back were crying out louder than my post-baby jiggle this weekend. So the rub down won out over the work out. This time.

The Hubs gave me spa gift cards for Valentine’s Day so that I could get in one more preggo massage before the baby was born. (He’s so great.) However, our little Q-man decided to come early, so the gift cards have waited patiently in the “stuff-to-get-to” box on our kitchen counter for the last five months. Mixed in with doctor bills, coupons and a couple take-out menus, they ended up in the back on the stack. I would come across them whenever I rummaged through the box, and we would wistfully promise each other, “soon, soon.” “Soon” finally arrived on Sunday. Hubs stayed home with Q, and Mama went off for a little pampering.

I booked a ninety-minute integrative massage for Sunday morning. (Let’s face it – sixty-minutes is really just a tease.) I repeated to myself the whole way there, “don’t fall asleep during the massage, don’t fall asleep.” Falling asleep was my biggest worry. When you’re operating on as little sleep as I’ve been lately, it wouldn’t take much more than a few notes of that relaxing spa music and a whiff of lavender to lull you under. And I wanted to enjoy every minute of it. It would be depressing to wake up and discover I’d missed it. Plus, I’d probably snore all face-down like that, and that would be embarrassing.

During the massage, I focused on remaining present in the moment, on my breath, on my muscles. I visualized those solid knots being pushed out of my body. And I actually stayed awake. Seriously. I couldn’t believe it either. And it was magical. The massage therapist was named Joy, and she could not have had a more perfect name.

I knew my back and my neck were sore, but I had no idea how sore or how many other areas were in need of some TLC. Joy found “crunchies” in places I didn’t know one could have them, like in the heels of my hands and in my wrists. Holding a sixteen-pound baby in the crook of your arm really takes its toll… as does rocking, nursing, playing, swaying, bouncing, diaper changing…

I’m now making a greater effort to stretch when I’m not holding him. In fact, I stopped twice while typing this to get in some neck rolls. Today, Q and I are going to our second mom-and-baby yoga class, so maybe I can work out a couple of those pesky remaining knots, even though the class is really more baby play than yoga. Q loves doing his exercises, too, like “super baby” and “baby airplane.” And he loves looking at all the other babies.

Q’s new favorite pose is called “happy baby,” where puts his legs in the air and grabs onto his feet (which are going to be in his mouth any day now.) So I lay on the floor next to him and do the pose with him. We look very silly, but it feels really good on the back and hips.