Volume 74, Number 38 | Jan. 26 - Feb. 1, 2005

‘Body by Baby,’ new workout sensation on E. 14th St.

By Judith Stiles

Villager photos by Judith Stiles
Stephanie Spierings stretches while daughter Charlotte enjoys watching her flick a pink scarf.

Blizzards and frigid weather are enough to keep any mom and her baby home for days on end at this time of year. Ever try maneuvering a stroller over piles of dirty snow while trying to cross a street? What mother in her right mind wants to risk slipping on an icy sidewalk with baby in a backpack? In January, many mothers find themselves housebound with baby, glued to the computer, the telephone or the yammering talk shows on TV, just to get a little dose of adult company. However, the hearty mothers in the “Body by Baby” exercise group at the Sol Goldman 14th St. Y, near First Ave., bundled up in this arctic weather and made the difficult journey to aerobics class, scaling snowdrifts and slippery streets, with baby in tow.

“The class is for babies from 6 weeks to 7 months old, which is that wonderful little window of time before they start crawling,” said instructor, Jane Kornbluh. “The workout for the moms is as rigorous as any aerobics class, but it is also very stimulating and engaging for the infants,” added Kornbluh, a mother herself, who is also an experienced Lamaze instructor.

The babies began the class lying on their backs, gazing up at mom from the blue exercise mats as if to say, “Stop dawdling! Let’s get started!” as their tiny arms and legs flailed up and down in constant motion. Soon the moms started swift deep knee bends with arms rotating, holding eye-catching colorful scarves that delighted most of the babies. Four-month-old Dylan Folbaum, daughter of Kelcey, was more interested in practicing her rolling over, which she did with aplomb at least six times during the class, demonstrating outstanding agility and stamina. Baby Nayden Fromberg was not terribly interested in the scarves routine; instead, he had a more rigorous aerobics agenda, which included lifting both feet to his mouth to remove his socks, using no teeth because he doesn’t have any. (Now you try lying on the floor and lifting both your socks to your mouth for removal, using only your lips.) Four-month-old Jacob Rubakha cooperatively stuck to the routine, chortling when his mother, Tamara, swayed back and forth with the scarves, his arms going full speed as if he was trying to catch them with his tiny fingers.

Next, the mothers did pushups over the babies as their noses and sometimes kisses, touched the babies’ cheeks, which led to squeals of delight. Petite Charlotte Spierings was pretty as a rosebud in her lovely pink velour workout suit, and she didn’t spill a drop on her outfit when she took a water break with her baby bottle. The senior member of the class was Broderick Weiss at 7 months, who enjoyed pulling his mother’s hair as she was doing her pushups. On this occasion, Broderick was dressed to the nines in a smashing blue sweater with intricate appliqué on the chest that matched his elegant Chinese slippers with embroidered gold dragons on the insteps. He too seemed ready to take off crawling any minute, but for the meantime was delighted with the activities of the class and the pleasant company.

In the old days, meaning three decades ago, it was unheard of to have exercise classes for mothers and babies. However, under the leadership of director Margo Bloom, the staff at the 14th St. Y has done extensive research to design classes that meet the needs of the community, resulting in a plethora of interesting classes for both parents and babies. This year at the Y, in anticipation of baby crawling, these moms can gets tips on baby-proofing the home by enrolling in the “Daytime Infant Safety and C.P.R.” class. For Broderick and his chums, moms can sign the budding crawlers up for “Sing and Dance Along,” which is billed in the catalog as a “high-energy, mixed-age-level class that will captivate your child’s imagination while stimulating his/her physical and musical development for ages 6 to 18 months.” Hey, does this mean mom can sit and actually drink an uninterrupted cappuccino in a cafe, maybe peruse a magazine for an hour and a half, while baby is in class? It’s time to cut the cord, moms . . . and don’t forget to register early because you can bet this will be a popular class come springtime!

For more information visit www.14StreetY.org or the Sol Goldman 14th St. Y at 344 E. 14th St. to pick up a brochure.

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