Thursday, March 18, 2010


Today I had a biopsy done on a lump I found in my back a month or so back. Scary, yes, but it turned out to be just a benign mass that I will probably wait to have removed until this summer. After the biopsy, I managed to pass out cold on the doctor's office floor. I have no idea why. I didn't see the needle (I don't think it would have bothered me if I had though--going through natural childbirth with no drugs has totally ridded me of any fear of pain), I didn't lose any blood, nothing traumatic happened. I just fainted. One minute I was talking to the nurse about how chubby Alice is and the next moment I'm laying on the floor with a bunch of nurses around me and a bit of my J. Crew tiered camisole laying over my lips. I recovered quickly, but it was definitely odd.

Today I drove back from my appointment and took my son to karate. I love to watch Sam do karate--probably why I drive him an hour each way to go. Sometimes I think the class is more for me than for him, but it does him great good, and I am a firm believer in extracurricular activities for kids. And he likes it, and I can't help but think he is pretty good at it. He got a stripe on his belt and he smiled grandly--this big smile that explodes from him like fire. It was one of those moments where he looked at me and I wanted to freeze the moment in my head forever. I want to be able to call back that smile the day I see him graduate from college, the day he gets married, the day he wrecks his car, the day he gets his SAT score and is disappointed with it. That smile tells me just how amazing my son is.

Today my oldest daughter shaved her legs for the first time. Her legs have been rather hairy for a while now, but I have kind of let it go until I thought she was ready emotionally for it. She finally decided she was. It is going to be 70 degrees here tomorrow, and she wants to wear a new tiered skirt she has that has matching arm warmers. Yes, arm warmers. At any rate, I took her to the drugstore on the way home from her voice lesson (her grandmother takes her to singing while Sam does karate), and let her choose her own shaving gel. She picked Raspberry Rain, which seems fitting for some reason. I showed her how to do it when we got home, and then she stalked off to the bathroom to do it herself. She is so independant. But it paid off--she did a phenomenal job for it to be her first time and seemed pretty proud of herself, wearing monkey-printed boxer shorts as she walked around the house. I can't believe how old she is. Part of me wants her to be Alice's size again--new and fleshy and totally dependant. But the other part loves seeing her grow and change and become this cool little lady. I love her dreams, her laugh, the way she is simultaneously proud and embarassed of her intelligence.

Today my husband called me from the road and we talked like we were college again. My husband just accepted a big promotion that puts him on the road a lot--for instance, this week, he left Wednesday and comes back tomorrow (Friday). It has been harder than one would imagine. For instance, I woke up in the middle of the night last night and realized that I didn't know to turn out the lights in the house or to take off my glasses before I go to sleep--my husband always turns out the lights and removes the glasses after I am in bed. But tonight I came home and called him and we giggled on the phone over his hot dog lunch (since he is on the road a lot, he tries to eat at little mom and pop establishments and take pictures of them--some of these are pretty entertaining) and my passing out. It reminded me of all the time we have spent apart--his freshman year in college, the year he worked at the State Dept., the summers in Russia, my time at creative writing retreats. We have always dealt with these times well. Absence, in some ways, does make the heart grow fonder. And there is something about those fevered, giggling phone calls--full of stories and whispers, plans and excitement. It was the perfect ending to a day that was at times strange, at times fun, and just purely normal.

Friday, March 5, 2010

How to Soothe a Teething, Fussy Baby in Three Easy Steps

1. Acquire a Maya wrap or comparable ring sling. Put baby in hip carry. Check the mirror to make sure that both of you look like as awesome as Naomi Watts and Liev Shrieber when they wear theirs. (Ok, yeah, nothing looks as awesome as Liev. Not even piles of Manolos and cupcakes. NOTHING.)

2. Turn on VH1's Greatest Songs of the 90's. Proceed to dance and sing along to every song that gets played. Enjoy the commentary, but mostly just sing and dance. Baby will laugh initially, and possibly squeal. Older children will shake their heads, promise to never, ever be like you, and then retreat.

3. Dance. Get a good hour of cardio. Don't even stop on commercials--just use that time to warble Wonderwall at the top of your lungs. Go and check mirror again. Baby will be asleep by the time Vanilla Ice rocks the mike like a vandal.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Mom on Mom Crime

I have been thinking about this post for a long time. However, our computers have been down, and blogger is blocked at work now (I KNOW!), so it is just now coming to fruition.

Recently (and this is probably because I am spending too much time looking at internet forums and blogs and such), I have noticed a whole lot of mom on mom crime. No, I haven't seen mom's going at each other with machetes. However, it is almost worse. Moms just go at each other with these silly passive aggressive arguments over parenting and lifestyle choices. Not breastfeeding (or stopping breastfeeding too early)? If I were you, I wouldn't do that. DON'T YOU WANT THE BEST FOR YOUR BABY? Have you ever used a disposable diaper on your child? If I were you, I wouldn't do that. YOU COULD GIVE YOUR CHILD A RASH/ASTHMA/DEATH. Did you give your child the flu vaccine? If I were you, I wouldn't do that. HAVE YOU SEEN THIS REPORT LINKING VACCINES TO AUTISM/SCURVY/DEATH? You get the idea.

Parenting choices are just that--choices. We all make different ones. And no one goes out of their way to make a bad one. They make the choice that is the best for them at the given time. The reasons they make the choices may not be relevant to everyone's life, but then again, not everyone else is making the decision. I'll just be honest and weigh in on the three above quandries: I breastfeed, and I'm keeping at it, but at one year, I'm out like shout. I absolutely hate to pump--hate the break it forces in my day. Because of this, I understand why anyone would stop early. Me? I'm just keeping at it because I am damn stubborn. And because I love my 6:00 feeding with Al. That one feeding keeps me going. Yes, I also cloth diaper. Have I ever used disposables? Sure. There is a package of them up under my bed that someone gave us. I love that it is there because I know that if I just don't get around to washing diapers when I should, or if something happens, it is right there. I would use one without hesitation. Oh, and yes, I vaccinated the HELL out of my kids and myself (although Al wasn't old enough at the time to get the flu vaccines). I'm sorry, but I have had the flu, and it sucks. I don't want my kids to get it, I don't want them to give it to their baby sister, and if there is something I can do to prevent that, I'm on board. I don't put a lot of trust into modern medicine--I'll just be honest about that--but this is one instance where my desires outweighed the distrust. And no, you can't send me a pamphlet about vaccines that will make me reconsider, thankyouverymuch.

Another place that this mom on mom stuff leaks in is on weight and body image. As you know if you read the sporadic postings on here, I am losing weight. I am now about 8 pounds over my original goal weight and about half way in to my goal size. It has been a hard ride, but totally worth it. However, I have been treated rudely, been told that I must be having an affair, and had it intimated that I must not be spending enough time with my kids if I am losing weight "so quickly." I even overheard someone saying that I must be "anorexic" because I didn't eat an extra slice of pizza at a birthday party the other night. For one thing, if that is the case, I'm a pretty shitty anorexic, and a fat one at that. But that is beside the point. It is so strange--if you are a big girl (which I have been for the better part of 8 years), you get treated shittily by the outside world--SA's won't help you when you shop, you get unwanted tables in restaurants, etc. etc. But when you lose the weight, thinking you will make everyone happy, people get bitchy and all of a sudden you find yourself the butt of a joke. ONCE AGAIN.

And why did I make the choice to lose weight? Was it because I wanted to look like Jessica Alba? Well, yes and no. I would be lying if I said that wasn't at least part of what motivates me. But mostly it is health related. Obesity (and the problems associated with it) run in my family. My father has been heavy my entire life, and recently underwent gastric bypass surgery because his blood pressure was sky high and he had other associated heart problems. He has also had seven knee surgeries because of his weight. His mother is so obese that she is no longer able to get out of a chair in her living room. My mother (who is very thin because she keeps these things under control) has high cholestrol and runs 6 miles a day so that she will not have to go on medication for it. To be honest, I'm scared shitless of having these kinds of things. I don't want to let something go to the point that there has to be some kind of medical intervention when I originally could have taken care of the problem by laying off the ice cream for a while. And now that I have three kids, it seems rather selfish to eat the way I want and lead an inactive lifestyle that not only could force me to not see them grow up, but also give them eating/lifestyle issues of their own.

I will not say that losing weight has been easy. It has not. I have stood in front of my TV and yelled curses at Jillian Michaels many a time. But. It is the best thing I have ever done for myself. In fact, I now live with regret that I allowed myself to be fat for so long and that I hid behind excuse after excuse when I could have done something about it. I spent my wedding fat, my honeymoon fat, I graduated from college fat. I told myself that I was a "fit" fat person, that I could dress in a way to "flaunt my curves (yeah right)", but I was just lying to myself, and that angers me. I am mostly just happy now that I see what a positive impact this has been on my life and that I know that this is a change I have to make every day for the rest of my life. Mostly because I will not go back to the way I was. Never.

And even as strongly as I feel about my own health and weight issues, I do not think they are right for everyone. I would never tell someone they should lose weight or eat healthier or exercise or any of that. Never. That is their decision--they know what their life is like, they know what issues they have to overcome and they sure as hell don't need me to tell them about it. If they ask me something about it, I would be happy to tell them my favorite workout dvd's, what the best kind of yogurt is (nonfat Greek, plain with frozen blueberries FTW), websites you can go to track calories for free. But I would never force my ideas on them. Moreover, I would never make comments about someone's weight, no matter where they fall. Just as it is not ok to call someone a "chunk" or a "fatty," it is also not ok to call someone a "skinny bitch" or "anorexic." It is also not ok to say that someone's body is not "real"--as in "I'm a size 16--the size of a real woman. That's not a real body over there." Seriously? Does anyone else see the idiocy in that statement? We all have REAL bodies--I am certainly not made of rainbows and kitten dreams, thank you. Lord.

All I'm saying is that fat or thin, zaftig or skinny, crunchy or mainstream, parent or child-free--we all deserve respect and a life free of passive aggressive commenting. If you ever start to say (or type) the words "If I were you...", I would encourage you to stop and think about it. If you were that person, you wouldn't have the same insights, no, but you would still be able to make a decision that best benefits you. Would it be the best decision? Maybe not. But you would make it, and learn, and isn't that what we are all aiming for? I certainly hope so.