My mom did a lot to motivate me to do my exercises everyday and make it fun. I might’ve been five or six at the time I first remember, but she made all my toys talk to me in their own distinct voices and comment on everything that went on in the room. I also knew that there was a witch watching me from the balcony if I was bad or didn’t do what I was supposed to. As a child I was really scared of witches and nurses. I’ve had quite a few injections when was was little and going to get them was a traumatic experience every time. Once my mother misspoke and said that a nurse is watching me from the other building, a fact that that I immediately picked up on. Which is worse? -my mom asked- I don’t know anymore- I replied. Having a lively, engaging environment and a room full of of friends, although all voiced by mother made the dull exercises that I had to do each day, rain or shine for hours a little less boring. Our apartment was full of rehabilitation equipment that might’ve seen unusual to my school friends but felt like ordinary items to me. I’ve had wall bars in my room that doubled as shelves for my plush toys and a gym mattress that was also good for playing or doing homework. All these things seemed natural and obvious as part of our furniture and so did doing the exercises everyday. When I grew older my mom again tried to make it a little more entertaining when I would walk around the house with sticks in my leg braces. The goal was 10 rounds, but I always had something to look forward to. Every so often we’d agree on a break and a piece of chocolate or she would challenge me for a reward. My brother’s cassettes that I remember till this day- Michael Jackson, Sandra, Pet Shop Boys among others made things a little more pleasant. When I was out with my braces the goal was to have me walk al the way to the video store and I could rent some cartoons if I wanted to. It’s not that my mom was bribing me and it’s not that I didn’t want to exercise or didn’t know that I should, but she felt that keeping me excited and motivated was important. It was a win win situation. She wanted me in leg braces either standing or down on my stomach for many hours after all the other things, I wanted to read my favorite novel or watch a classic sitcom. And it’s something I’ve seen in Budapest as well. While most days looked exactly the same on some occasions the conductors prepared something extraordinary. My understanding is, once in a while they were getting evaluated and while exercise scripts remained the same they would get creative and switch things up. On those days they got in character or prepared little prizes for us to collect. I remember getting a pendant made of clay and a Pepsi sticker. They designed the backstory and context just to make it a little more fun and memorable. I remember very little, but it was interesting and different. Routines are repetitive, but they don’t have to be boring. Like everything in life, you have to keep it interesting.