‘She’s just like Usain Bolt, only with a little more sass’

As the world watches with bated breath (on catch up, obvs #timezoneprobs) the delights of Rio 2016 are unfolding.

Besides a little glimpse of the opening ceremony and some swimming highlights (*ahem* priorities), I haven’t had much of a chance to witness any of the incredible sportsmanship from the games this year.

Thankfully I share my home with somewhat of a sports fanatic and have been ‘lucky’ enough to have been offered a running commentary on every world record broken and every gold medal achieved (insert vuvuzela sound here).

“I’d say I’m more Tour De French Fancy than Tour De France”

That being said, even though I haven’t witnessed any of the actual games, last week I took Winnie to the park, and as I sat watching her spin around manically in a sandpit full of children (and throwing a plastic crab at a fence) it hit me (not literally) that my daughter is, in essence, an Olympian.

Since this moment of realisation, everything has started to make sense.

Your toddlers aren’t testing you mamas; they’re testing themselves!

100 Metre Sprint

My first example begins with their incessant need to post things down the toilet/open every drawer/empty each and every bookcase. Granted none of these sound like your typical sporting events, but hear me out, as the similarities all lie in the outcome. You see, all of these tasks require a fast, effective and efficient get away. What better motivation to beat a sprinting PB than to have someone after you? The answer is nothing.

Diving

Why sit on the sofa when you can throw each and every cushion dramatically to the floor and then dive off onto the mound? As I see Winnie standing on the edge, gathering her thoughts and preparing to jump, I can see her eyes flicker with hope. I have seen the very same flicker of hope in the eyes of Tom Daley (and in my husband’s when he opens the credit card statement). It’s uncanny.

High Jump

Nothing says ‘I’m going to get out of here whether you like it or not’ more than a toddler trapped behind a baby gate. You could go into the kitchen to take the bin out for 5 seconds and by the time you’re back they’ve jumped the gate, drawn on the walls with a black marker pen and ambled down the hallway for the next episode of Paw Patrol. Hearts in our mouths, gates still very much intact.

Rhythmic Gymnastics

Nappy changes become increasingly difficult once a child realises that they can flip themselves over. You almost need to change them in the bath to ensure a ‘no mess’ transition. From the moment they’re placed onto the mat, their arms are up and flailing whilst their tiny legs fumble to gain the momentum to turn. Rather than continue to battle daily, simply give them a little ribbon to hold and watch the magic unfold before your very eyes. They’re actually rather creative.

Tennis

When teething truly takes hold and nothing is providing relief, a little medicine can go a long way. But first you have to get it into their mouth. The minute you fill the syringe and attempt to administer their little hands are right there. They bat this way, they bat that way, they bat every single way you try. Nothing will distract them once they’re in the zone. They’re like tiny, rosy-cheeked ninjas. With hand eye coordination like this, if Winnie doesn’t make it as a tennis pro in later life, it would quite frankly be an injustice.


Now that I am watching my very own Olympian in training, my need for catching any of the Rio highlights continues to dwindle.

Who needs to watch it live when I’ve got a toddler to contend with?

She has passion, precision, and unrivalled dedication. She runs, she jumps, she dives and she waves around an assortment of cutlery with the force of a javelin thrower.

She’s just like Usain Bolt, only with a little more sass.

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