Tuesday, May 11, 2010

I’m so vain, I probably think this song is about me.

This time, I really meant it. I buckled down beginning January 15, and I finally lost the “baby weight.” I lost so much I am embarrassed to give a number because I can’t believe I had so much to lose. Oh, I should mention that my babies are 4 and 5 years old. I would still like to lose some more, but I am now wearing most of my pre-baby clothes. Well, those jeans with the high waists with pleated fronts and tapered legs are now my “gardening jeans,” but I can fit my body into them. My body is distributed quite differently around my frame, but there is considerably less of it than there was at the beginning of the year.

What started with a weight-loss competition on a friend’s blog and continued with the encouraging progress I made has now blossomed into a full blown lifestyle. A lot of the loss was related to healthy eating, but once I reached a certain point I began doing what I told myself was “training for a 5K.” My 5K is this Saturday, and today I finally broke my 11-minute-mile training plateau. I do feel good about it and I feel ready for the race, but I am already looking for the next one. Why? Because I hate to run. I need a race to run so I keep dragging myself out there. I need to be “training” for something. A friend recently asked why I can’t just walk. Then I wouldn’t have to wrap my knees and take joint supplements. Well, if you think running is boring, consider the time it takes to walk four miles. Making the time to run is already difficult. Gentler exercise would be even tougher to accommodate. Someday my body will decide that my running days are over, but until then I plan to keep on keeping on.

If you ask my children they will tell you that I run because it’s good for my body. They will tell you that Mommy wants to be healthy and strong. They know that exercise is fun (No, they think I like running, really!) and we try to do it whenever we can. What they don’t know, and won’t know, is the full truth. The real reason I run: I like the way it makes my body look. I know; I’m so vain, I probably think this song is about me. Is this so wrong? Hmm…nah, I don’t think so. I’ll save my metaphor about the reason(s) many people choose to go to church/temple, and I will just say that I think the amazing health benefits my body is getting are a wonderful side effect of me wanting to look good. I do look so much better, and I feel far better about myself. I wish there was not a correlation, but there it is. Oh, I still need to wear a swim skirt at the beach, but I do need to shop for one that’s a few sizes smaller than the one I wore last year.

Still, I never mention weight loss or calories around the kids. I do not criticize my body or theirs. While I can’t control my internal dialogue about my own shape, I spare them the issues. We have a lot of conversations about healthy eating and making choices about food that are good for your body, but we don’t really discuss weight in a negative context. I want my daughter to exercise because it makes her feel strong and healthy, but I also want her to appreciate her body no matter the shape it takes. I do appreciate my body and understand that pregnancy, childbirth and nursing have altered it forever. My body has done incredible things for me throughout my life. I do appreciate it, but I wish I were more accepting and even loving toward it. I owe it to myself to keep trying to improve in this area.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

It's me again

"It's me again!" begins Tracey Mallett on my workout video. This video is an old friend I haven't caught up with for some time. I was first acquainted on VHS, and found a copy on DVD years later. Tracey is not the easiest instructor to follow. It takes some time to learn to do the video correctly, but my body remembered pretty well and I was allowed time to think.

I felt like me again. What happened to me? I missed me. I am the me that makes healthy choices for myself and my family. I am the strong and athletic me. I am the me who skis down the hill without feeling my chronological age. I am the me who kicks ass and gets things done. I am the me who loves myself enough to treat myself well.

This isn't the first "Biggest Loser"-type competition I've entered. The last time I focused on my body and did well even after the other contestants crapped out and the contest was a bust. Unexpectedly, this time around my mind is claiming a big piece of the action. Oh, sure, I do plan to win the big bucks (sorry suckas aka fellow Loser Moms), but this feels different. I don't think it's just pounds that I am going to shed.

I accomplished a lot already today. It was easy. I am me and that's what I do. I did several things that have been hanging on my to do list for months. Perhaps I was just waiting to make a decision about whether I really wanted to complete those tasks, as they pertain to my future. I found it surprising how much working on my body helped me to focus on my mind. This is only the beginning, but I like the way I feel right now. I am recording this moment in my blog, as I am sure when I begin doing my workouts from "The Firm," and continue working toward the next stage in my personal and professional life, I will appreciate the reminder.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

I have made many excuses to myself, but none are interesting or amusing enough to share.

I haven't blogged in what seems like forever. I don't really have a good reason for this. I have made many excuses to myself, but none are interesting or amusing enough to share.

Now my first baby is getting ready to head to kindergarten. I am sure he will do fantastic. As far as how I will do...that remains to be seen. I will likely end up writing more about this in the future.


In one of my all-time favorite movies, Parenthood, there is a memorable scene which goes as follows:

[Gil has been complaining about his complicated life; Grandma wanders into the room]
Grandma: You know, when I was nineteen, Grandpa took me on a roller coaster.
Gil: Oh?
Grandma: Up, down, up, down. Oh, what a ride!
Gil: What a great story.
Grandma: I always wanted to go again. You know, it was just so interesting to me that a ride could make me so frightened, so scared, so sick, so excited, and so thrilled all together! Some didn't like it. They went on the merry-go-round. That just goes around. Nothing. I like the roller coaster. You get more out of it.
Karen: She´s a very smart lady.
Gil: (said sarcastically) A minute ago l was confused about life. Then Grandma came in with her wonderful and effecting roller coaster story. Now everything is great again.
Karen: l happen to like the roller coaster, okay? As far as l´m concerned, your grandmother is brilliant.

The roller coaster, of course, is a symbol for parenthood and life. I have come to expect this sort of turbulence from parenthood. My friends with older children tell me the craziest is yet to come. I can live with this. It's unbelievably rewarding. As an older parent, I even feel a bit more equipped than the generation before mine. (When my mom was my age, I was a senior in college!) I adore parenting, and marvel at what my children have added to my life.

As far as the rest of my life goes, I am not so sure how I feel about this analogy lately. Merry go rounds do make me dizzy and somewhat ill, but now that I am getting older, I am not sure I quite prefer the roller coaster anymore either. Is there something in between? What about a nice, long, horseback ride? The horse is spirited and sometimes hard to predict. S/he goes at different speeds throughout. The thing is, the horse does not spin so fast or take such steep drops that I want to lose my lunch. I'm sure if I think about this more I can come up with a better metaphor, but this conveys the basic concept.

I have been slowly but surely trying to simplify my life. I want the activities, people, and events I am involved with to enrich me and not detract from my goals or happiness. I have to share that this process can sometimes be lengthy, painful, and difficult. Because it is a process, I am not really "there" yet. Since I always consider myself a work in progress, I may never be. A few of my long-distance friends have mentioned on Facebook (another time-suck I am trying to minimize in my life) that I have seemed "deep" lately. I guess I have been pretty introspective for at least the fast few months. I am extremely fortunate to have an amazing husband and family, so pulling away from other parts of my life has served to draw me closer to what's most important. I do know what the most important things in my life are, yet I am still surprised to find myself reassessing the rest. I thought I would have more of this figured out at this stage of my life. Perhaps I have figured some of it out, and taking action has been the difficult part.

Well, enough navel-gazing for now. I now return you to my blog, which I hope to update more often. At least if I determine it's important enough to do so. ;)

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

That Girl Is A Batgirl

Halloween in our house begins early every year. The children love spooky decorations, scary treats, pumpkins, ghosts, black cats, and, of course, all of the anticipation regarding what they are going to "be." Z decided at least a month ago that he would be Ben 10 and has never wavered. Not once. I purchased the only component of his costume that we didn't already own, and he is ready for the big day (and the multiple costume-wearing opportunities preceding it). M changes her mind often, sometimes several times during a single conversation. So far this year, she has "decided to be:"
- a cat
- a cowgirl
- a pirate
- Spiderman
- Superman
- a witch
- a duck
- a lion
- a tiger
- a monkey
- Thomas the Tank Engine
- a werewolf (yikes!)
- an ice cream cone (!?)
- Optimus Prime
- an alien
- a mummy
- a vampire
- a spider
and probably more that I can't recall right now.

The funniest costume "decision" came while the kids and I were driving in the car one day, and the song Dangerous by Kardinal Offishall featuring (like every other song lately) Akon. The lyrics contain, "That girl is so dangerous, that girl is so dangerous, that girl is a bad girl." You can search "Dangerous by Akon" on YouTube to hear it. Z determined that the girl was so dangerous because she's a BATGIRL and everyone runs from her because they are very afraid. When M heard that, she had to be Batgirl. She absolutely insisted.

Shortly after the Batgirl incident, the disturbing vampire phase began. It lasted for a solid 3 days. This morning she declared that she was going to be a cat (again). I refuse to make or buy a costume at this point, so her choices in the end may be limited by the costumes and items we have around the house.

I should be pleased, I know, that my daughter is a strong-willed girl who is not easily influenced. This will serve her well as a quality for succeeding in life. Additionally, it will prove useful in driving her parents completely insane when she reaches her tweens and teens, but for now she is still two. She is two, and aside from her very first Halloween, I have not been able to successfully influence her costume. Last year she was Spidermangirl (not Spiderman and definitely not Spidergirl). She would accept no other suggestion. She's not a child who accepts even perceived choice in a matter such as this: what she is going to be on the one day she can be anything. The whole choice, with everything in the world available to her (yes, including ice cream cones) must be completely hers. I have to admit I am a tiny bit proud. I am also very, very aware of the implications that this strong personality trait will have on the greater parenting challenges we are sure to face as she grows older and the consequences of her choices become more serious. Fortunately, she is blessed/cursed with parents who can be as headstrong as she. And, yes, I am fully aware that this has most likely been inherited. My father occasionally refers to M as my "payback." Of course, he means this in a most loving way.

Friday, September 26, 2008

At The Risk Of Waxing Whiny

As a SAHM, I spend a lot of time and energy helping my children to cultivate friendships, but equally important is the need for me to cultivate my own. At the risk of waxing whiny, I will share that it’s not always easy to make true "mom friends" with whom all of the wonderful, scary, funny, sad, and very real moments that are part of life can be shared. It’s especially satisfying to have a friend with whom your kids and theirs get along wonderfully and you enjoy as her own individual person child-free. I truly value friends I can gab with on the playground while the kids scramble around as well as over a margarita in a rare, shared moment on the town while the kids are home in bed with Daddy puttering in the garage. I have many wonderful women with whom I share stories, activities, and laughter, but true personal connections are tough to find. I am fortunate to have a few women in my life I share a real connection with, but most of these women are located a phone call away. It’s impossible to grab a quick cup of coffee or a late-night cocktail when a personal jet would be required.

I made a really good friend (I thought) in my area. I will call her Mia. I met Mia through a moms group I am in and we hit it off immediately. Loved her, loved her kids. My kids loved her kids. Our birthdays were only a week apart…that’s how in sync we seemed. All was great. How lucky I was to have found such a good friend. We hung out quite a bit and e-mailed sporadically. Then, suddenly, one day, nothing. No responses to my e-mails. She left the moms group. Worried, I sent her an e-mail about my screwed up life at the time (both because I was worried that I wasn’t "being there" for her and because I wanted her to know what was going on with me). Still nothing. Odd, because now she knew how things were for me, and still no response or even a show of concern. I finally sent her a point-blank e-mail letting her know I was worried about her. Still nothing! I knew her to be really good friends with another woman in our group I’ll call Karen. Karen was really vague and said that she and Mia had had a falling out. I went back to Karen again and told her how weird this was, how worried I was, and asked if she knew anything. After I had spoken with Karen several times expressing my concern and distress, she decided to share her e-mail correspondence with Mia so I would know what had happened. Karen did not do this out of spite. She did not initially want to share anything about it because she hoped Mia would just contact me again and all would be well for us. After it became clear that wasn’t to be and Karen knew I was really bewildered, she shared the correspondence. I was especially fortunate that she chose to do so because she did not consider her e-mails to be the best example of her behavior either.

What I pieced together was disappointing. Mia and I had both been guests at a gathering at Karen’s home. Evidently, some of the guests at the gathering mentioned something to Karen about negative comments Mia had made (about Karen). Mia and Karen had an ugly e-mail exchange for a while, and then parted ways. It became obvious (to me if not immediately to Karen since no names were used) toward the end of the exchange that Mia thought I had said something to Karen or somehow talked about her (Mia) at this gathering with these women. So Mia just completely blew me off. I was so sad, as Mia was someone who had appeared to be such a good friend. Karen told me that she initially thought that Mia might have assumed one of the women who went to Karen with this information was me, but she was hoping not. Karen, of course, knew that I was completely uninvolved and figured that certainly Mia would ask me about it if she had any questions since it was clear from the Mia/Karen exchange that Mia claimed to value this sort of thing in her relationships. Honestly, I had had a good time that night at the gathering and was completely oblivious to any drama at all. Karen was really surprised that Mia dropped me (she steadfastly maintains that Mia considered us good friends) but not as surprised as I was.

At the time this occurred, the knowledge that I should not want to seek friendship with a person who would behave in this manner didn’t make the situation any easier. My feelings were hurt. I considered another e-mail to Mia, but what would it have said? Would it have been an "it wasn’t me and I was totally clueless" e-mail, or a "f you for treating me like dirt when I was supposed to be your friend" e-mail? Was it worth it to attempt to salvage this friendship and, if so, what exactly would I be saving? I eventually concluded that she thought far less of me than I initially did of her. Now that some time has passed, I can clearly see that, like other types of relationships, it’s better to be happy, healthy, and alone than get swept up in the drama of someone else’s dysfunction. Sometimes I miss her and her children, but in the end, I decided to leave it alone and try to deal well with all of the other things in my life...things I know I can have a positive impact on right now. Things I know will have a more positive impact on me.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Preparing for Life and Death

The obsession with death and life continues.

"Mommy, when Grandpa died out, did you make a video?"

I am not sure I'm hearing correctly, so I ask him to repeat it and he does.

"No, honey, we didn't."

"What?! You didn't get it on video?" He seems to be personally insulted or offended at this perceived slight. I have to explain to him that Grandpa was at the hospital and we didn't get to be with him. Any discussion about recording death, I think, can be tabled. Random questions about death keep occurring at the most improbable times, and I do my best to keep that precarious balance. I attempt to be truthful without offering too much information. I try to answer questions the best I can without causing fear.

The other fixation for Z is about which animals carry babies "in their tummies." We have had the "mammal" discussion, and my children have been exposed to an unusually great number of pregnant women at playdates and at preschool. Multiples are a popular topic especially. Z loves to discuss how many babies are in the tummies of various creatures and how they will drink from their mommies. He loves to talk about how when he was a baby, he used to drink milk from his mommy. He likes to "milk" the wooden cow and goat at the zoo rigged with rubber udders for the children to try. He is eager to learn from whose tummy various people came. It is not unusual for him to cuddle up to me and ask me, "Tell about when I was in your tummy," and I do. I tell him stories about how happy I and everyone was. I tell him of flying in airplanes, singing to him, floating belly-down in the water, and petting a real dolphin. I tell him about the preparations for his arrival and things we did together while I carried him in my tummy. These are some of his favorite stories. What a tender age to show such concern about preparing for life and death.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Cow, Pow, Ow, Bow

Z informs me as we examine a craft visor he made some time ago, that visor rhymes with geyser. I have to admit that I am impressed with that one, and I tell him so. Best rhyme ever, Z. Not to be outdone, M spontaneously comes out with "Cow, pow, ow, bow." Learning is still so much fun.

The big attraction in our house right now is our "new trampoline." This is actually a toddler mattress on the floor of our great room, spare for us since Z moved into his Big Boy Bed. The children love it, and spend much of their play time jumping, bouncing, and flopping. It's a truly special toy for our home, because I am one of those mean mommies who allows my children to use neither trampolines nor motorized vehicles. Literally every child in our neighborhood who is at least 3 owns and operates a motorized vehicle. Barbie "Jeeps," John Deere "tractors," mini "quads," and other child-sized vehicles with motors are visible up and down our street. Many times when we visit our especially good friends down the block to play, we finally disconnect the battery on the Lightning McQueen car because M cannot resist the temptation. My father was excited to purchase one for the kids, and I felt a little bad crushing his grandfatherly urges when I informed him that the kids can have motorized vehicles when they become licensed drivers. So far my children accept the explanation that I am their mommy and I don't allow these things, but I know this will become increasingly difficult as they grow. I do not judge the parents who allow these things, and they seem to understand that this is the decision I have made for my children who are too young to examine the risks for themselves.