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Pilates ball?

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There is something utterly delightful about the workings of a child’s mind.

As we age and blunder through life, we forget how to see thing the way they really are – the way little ones perceive reality and bring order and understanding to their daily lives.

We have also come to realize that with very little technical advancement on our part, we become more and more obsolete out here in the sticks – those bright little city souls are becoming almost as foreign to us as their counterparts on an imaginary planet in one of the computer games they so eagerly play.

Connor and antsAware that we should be getting more exercise than we do, and realizing that advanced years don’t always appreciate the more strenuous forms of trying to keep fit, dear husband bought himself one of those enormous beach-ball type things which he encouraged me to use, assuring me that it would help maintain and strengthen core balance, posture and many things besides.

Like all exercise gimmicks everywhere, it was used for a while before being promoted to being one of those glorious, well-known unused objects that take up space in all spare bedrooms across the world.

It was when a much anticipated visit by son, wife and grandson – a chattering little five year old with a keen interest in his surroundings (when he wasn’t glued to his mother’s hand-down iPad) – made it necessary to find a place to put the ball to help make the spare bedroom usable.

Eventually, after trying all possibilities other than deflating it, the only place the ball could be put out of the way and almost out of sight in our little house, was in the corner of the lounge behind a broad, comfortable armchair.  And there it was when the family arrived from the Big City.

Little chatterer became less and less voluble as he spent two glorious days inspecting his surroundings, watching bees working  the flowers and ants dragging edibles into their nests.  Little was said or asked as he watched the comings and goings of the lizards on the rocks and the donkey and cart trotting proudly down the road.

He studied the moon and stars – huge and bright – which fill the Karoo night skies, clearer than anywhere else – excitedly catching sight of the occasional flash of a shooting star. There was so much to see and absorb that was different from his cloistered city home with its high walls, constant traffic drone and polluted dull skies.

And then he climbed onto the armchair protectively hiding the big blue ball in the corner. Peering over, he studied the ball. Silently he hung there, draped over the back of the chair.

After a while he turned to me and said earnestly ‘Gran, there’s a spider on your Pilates Ball.’

Stunned at his superior five-year-old knowledge  – Pilates Ball indeed! – I peered over the chair at the unsuspecting little creature sitting like a small dot on the enormous blue surface and said flippantly ‘Perhaps he’s doing his exercises’.

Little boy swung around, gave me a look of withering disdain and flung an accusing finger in the ball’s direction.

‘Don’t be ridiculous,’ the little mouth warbled, ‘where’s his instructor?’

Yes indeed – childhood is different in the city!