Monday, July 21, 2014

On Fat Girls in Bikinis

I follow a local morning radio show, Jackie, Tony and Donnie on Facebook because I genuinely enjoy their banter and I can tolerate the music they play most of the time. They do a weekly write-in, called "Dear Donnie," in which listeners can write in with their concerns and the internet can collectively comment and offer advice, etc. I get that they pick the most ire-inciting emails each week because, hey you gotta drive traffic somehow. Anyway, last week's "Dear Donnie" was a doozy and I can't stop thinking about it. Basically, the author was upset because she works very hard to stay in shape and she is horrified that people who do not work out the way that she does have the audacity to wear "revealing" swimming suits in public places and she doesn't think it’s fair that she has to look at their "nasty bodies" when she works so hard for hers. The anonymity of the author afforded her the ability to say exactly what was on her mind without the repercussions of everyone knowing that she's a total a-hole, but it really bugs me that she even had a platform (and numerous supporters) for her messed up body ideals and sadly, this is not the first time I've this argument. I don't know when and where we came up with this loosely defined set of rules which women can show what parts of their bodies and when and why we think we have any control over it whatsoever but it is becoming seriously outrageous. I kept thinking about if someone wrote in and saying how they were so tired of seeing "fat dudes" mowing their lawns shirtless every single Saturday morning. I have a feeling that people would say things like "well, it's hot" and "mowing the lawn is tough work," or probably some junk about how men’s bellies and nipples are evolutionarily non-offensive because they are men and that is the way that it is. Rather than the slew of comments about how these "whales and hippos" don't belong at the pool because "fatties" don't deserve the right to cool down until they drop the chubs. Double standards aside, the irony of comparing women to aquatic mammals when denying them the right to cool off in a body of water is beyond comprehension. 

My impulse is to say, "If you don't like it, don't look at it and move on," but that doesn't really address the concept of just accepting people for who they are. If these ladies are happy splashing around in a two-piece then why can't we just be happy for them? What difference does it make how they look? Since when does "not perfect" necessitate invisibility? Historically, deciding that people are unworthy simply based on a certain group being "offended" by their physical appearance has led to some pretty dark places in humanity. Of course, this issue gets easily dismissed as a concern for a random stranger's “health”. And it's not that I'm not an advocate for health and personal well-being.  Over the last year I have lost well over 60 lbs through diet and exercise. I was unhealthy, depressed, my joints were killing me, my family has a strong history of type 2 diabetes plus it's REALLY hard to chase two toddlers around with the equivalent of 3 cinder blocks on your back so I decided to make a change in my life. I've tried a million times to lose weight but it stuck this time because I did it for myself, not anyone else, and definitely not to ‘earn’ the right to wear any particular article of clothing. And you know what, I still wear THE EXACT SAME SWIMSUIT I was wearing 60 lbs ago. Not because I have earned the right to wear it, just because I really like that swimsuit.

I can think of five weekly publications off the top of my head that make their bread and butter simply by photographing celebrities and subsequently bashing them for the fabric that they have decided to drape over their bodies on any particular day.  And it goes beyond celebrities, if you go to any event in which there are more than 2 women it’s inevitable that they will spend a generous amount of time appraising and discussing each other’s clothing and deciding if it is appropriate for a particular venue. If middle school had a restrictive dress code, then the real world is just an amplification, rather than freedom from it. While nobody has to sign a contract at the beginning of the year to promising not to be textilely offensive, the consequences of wearing the “wrong thing” tend to be much harsher than getting sent home for the rest of the day. The gossip and judgment is absolutely brutal. It’s a terrible, terrible habit that I am most definitely guilty of too. I recently went to a wedding where I noticed a non-bride wearing a white dress.  I spent 15 minutes judging this woman, almost to the point of anger, “Doesn't she know better? WHO does she think she is?” Then I realized, Did I actually confuse her with the bride? No. Does what she is wearing have any effect on my physical well being in  anyway whatsoever? No. Does anyone else seem to care? No.  It was none of my darn business what this woman was wearing. She was happy in her dress and having a good time and nobody died, and all and all it was a pretty good wedding.  Why on earth did I have such a response her darn dress? Why is this so ingrained in our psyche that we allow what somebody else is wearing to affect us to the point of not enjoying an open bar to its fullest extent?

And the funny thing about dresses is that I wear them almost exclusively, which leads me to be asked constantly why I am so “dressed up” when I wear things like a cotton sundress to a barbecue.  I’m not trying to be more proper or dressed up than anyone else; I just really really hate pants. Like really. I feel like they are too constrictive, I hate the way the fabric clings to my legs, the way the seams dig in, and the complete and utter lack of ventilation, the non functional-pockets.  I have no idea why anyone would ever wear anything but dresses whenever possible, including men. I currently own 3 pairs of jeans and I will begrudgingly put on a pair if there is a thunderstorm or a blizzard, and maybe if I ever go horseback riding, but they feel like pure torture to me. Going sans pants is my choice based entirely on my comfort level, so what does it matter to anyone else? And on the other side of it, I know women who are the most comfortable wearing mens’ jeans, and subsequently they wear them almost exclusively. And that’s their thing. If they want to show up to a funeral in a pair of jeans, well damn, funerals suck so you might as well wear something that doesn't make you feel like you’d rather be the corpse.

I don’t know if I’m a feminist because definition of the term is constantly changing to involve allowing judgment for whatever group of women is being stigmatized at any given moment, but I do know that I am a mother of a daughter, and I don’t want her to grow up in like this, constantly feeling like her worth is earned solely on appearance. I know that I need to first break my own judgmental behavior and then work on helping her have an open, confident outlook on life and I’m doing the best I can in a society that demands the opposite, and I encourage everyone else to do the same, because I really think we will all be happier that way.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

My urge to helicopter parent is only trumped by my fear of heights.

I think that the last thing that anyone would ever describe me as is "laid back".  I've spent my entire life wound tighter than an LA facelift and promising myself that eventually I will try yoga or something to help me relax but I've never really gotten around to it.  That is why it is so surprising that when I decided to gift myself to the gene pool I learned just how crazy the parenting world can be.  Don't get me wrong, my priorities are to keep my children safe and healthy and happy and hope that they grow up to be semi-adjusted adults with just enough quirk to make them interesting, but I also refuse to keep them in a bubble. I want them to learn and explore and make mistakes and get dirty, and I find that this approach is extremely disturbing to people who are not the sole keepers of my babies' development. It really scares the hell out of people that I let my kids be kids, and I really can't understand why.

For example, the other day my mom and I took my kids to a backyard birthday party where there was plenty of grass and cake and a keg. My mom and I were enjoying a beer and watching the kids play in the grass when an older woman came up to me and said "Your baby is playing with rocks." To which I chuckled and said "Yeah, that's Lils for ya."  Clearly miffed, the woman said "Well, I just don't want her to choke on a rock."  Like I do? Of course not. I made a feeble attempt to explain to the lady that I didn't think she would put the rocks in her mouth - and if she did, well, her father is a geologist and I've seen him put more rocks and dirt in his mouth than I'd like to admit because apparently you can tell what a rock is if you taste it or something. I don't know, I majored in English.  I'll just trust that he's right and he doesn't have pica or something. Either way, I know my child, I know that rocks are a "thing" in our house, and I know that she's not going to start cramming them down her esophagus, mostly because they don't taste like cake. What she will do is take the rocks to me and expect me to identify them, and I will tell her that they are "volcano rocks" because I feel like all rocks come from volcanos at some point and so that way I am sort of right.  What I'm not going to do is freak out and cause a scene and scare the heck out of her by screaming "LILY NO ROCKS!!!! NO ROCKS LILY!!!!" Which is apparently what this woman expected me to do, as she walked off telling me "Well she looks petite for her age." I don't even know what that was supposed to imply but I guess I was supposed to be shamed.  That said, am I going to fill her crib with gravel and just let her have at it unsupervised for hours at a time? Of course not, I'm not an idiot.

For whatever reason, I'm part of a facebook group that is about 500 moms who all had babies in January of 2013.  Mostly it's just swapping advice about tantrums and diaper rash and coupon codes, but at least once a day there is a post like this:  "Look at this picture of a baby that my facebook friend posted, she can't be more than 18 months old and she is in a car seat FORWARD FACING." And this will be followed by a slew of comments about how CPS should come in and take the child away, and how just plain ignorant other parents are. These women are obsessed with with the forward/backward facing car seat issue, and are convinced that you should keep your kids rear facing until they are 18 or until they invent car in which everyone can sit rear facing. This picture is often used as an example as to how even older kids can sit comfortably in a rear-facing car seat:


Am I missing something here or is this totally ridiculous?  The thing is, I'm totally paranoid about driving around with my kids in the car. Last summer I was in a pretty terrible wreck in which I pulled out in front of an oncoming car and was t-boned. The force of the impact and the side airbags were actually enough that the baby's (rear-facing) car seat base actually dislodged and pushed her to the other side of the car. Although I had a full on meltdown in the middle of Main Street (I'm sure many of you Los Lunians remember) my kids were 100% ok. When the mechanic looked at the car all he could do is shake his head and tell me "This is why I love Subarus. Any other car and this would be a different situation but this car did exactly what it was supposed to do in a wreck - it performed beautifully." So ok, I'll never drive anything but a Subaru and I lose it every time I see the "They lived" commercial. Aside from the free advertising is at that point it didn't matter which direction my kid was facing, she would've been crushed in a different car. Driving is scary and unpredictable and anything can happen, so the need for precautions is not lost on me. And I get why tiny babies are need to face backwards and I don't have a problem with that.  But I'm also not going to cram my three-year-old into a rear facing car seat in an attempt to prevent the randomness of the universe from getting us. Plus, when he turned one, the recommendation was to turn him to the front, so in the 3 years that he's been alive maybe things have changed, but someone please tell me how you explain that kind of logic to a toddler? "I used to let you see out the window and sit like a big boy, but now the internet says I can't do that anymore so I'm gonna turn you around and if we get rear-ended the only risk is snapping both of your femurs." Things are safer now than they ever have been, we are long gone from the days of strapping and infant into a laundry basket in the back seat and hoping for the best,  and really, what's next, should I put my kids in motorcycle helmets every time we head to the grocery store?  

This doesn't even cover the things that I'm not supposed to give my kids to eat (heyyy high fructose corn syrup), the toys that they shouldn't be playing with (ok, no lawn darts), the TV they shouldn't be watching (but Breaking Bad was shot in New Mexico!), the iPads they shouldn't be looking at, the SPF 1000 swim shirts I'm supposed to force them to wear, the ever changing percent of fat in the milk that I'm supposed to be giving them, the hand sanitizer that they need to be slathered in after every human interaction, the dangerous flip-flops they shouldn't be wearing, and the myriad other things that I'm sure I'm doing wrong. I'm just going to continue doing the best that I can and hope to god that I don't end up a cautionary tale. And, oh god, yes, I am scared, but we just have to keep on living. 

Monday, June 30, 2014

International House of Lowered Expectations

I think that I join the rest of the population in the notion that breakfast foods are the best foods. Especially if consumed sometime after 10:30 am. My husband and I have always enjoyed a good brunch, I have a particular fondness for poached eggs, while he enjoys food on a plate. This small joy is something that we felt that we should share with our offspring, so about a year ago we planned a family day at the zoo and decided to stop at the brunch place that everyone else in Albuquerque flocks to right before noon on the weekends. This turned out to be a huge mistake as my toddler did not appreciate his 14 dollar "French style" pancakes and spent the entire time demanding a cookie while his sister screamed and clawed at my chest because it had literally been THREE AND A HALF MINUTES since she'd last nursed.  Within 20 minutes food was everywhere, hipsters were staring, and all I could do was sit silently as the tears fell onto my perfectly executed croque madame. I chugged down my organic iced tea and accepted the $60 loss that was the meal and we got out of there before we were offered a gig as a live-action traveling advertisement for birth control. As we were walking the 3 blocks to the car, my husband and I looked at each other seriously and concluded, "NEVER AGAIN." We would never take the kids to brunch again.  Now, this is a dilemma, there are certain situations: company in town, lack of groceries, common laziness, which require me to take my children out in public to consume breakfast foods. This is how I started my deep love and appreciation of the the most worldly of  breakfast joints, The International House of Pancakes, or IHOP as the young people seem to be calling it these days.

Everything is already sticky

Children, in their quest to pick up as many germs as humanly possible are perpetually sticky. I think that they actually secrete a special kind of glue that allows them to collect large amounts of dirt on their bodies and take it home so that I can sweep it up later. There are never enough wipeys. Most people in public settings do not appreciate our constant tackiness, but at IHOP they embrace the sticky.  You actually have your choice of up to 4 flavors of sticky, right there on the table for you. Would you like some butter pecan with that glob of dirt stuck to your face? Here you go. Is that dog hair, maybe some human hair on your hands? Either way, it will be complemented nicely by this shockingly red strawberry treacle. I cannot be the only one to notice that the syrups are offered in the primary colors, red, blue, yellow, and then there's brown, or "traditional" (NOT maple)  which I'm pretty sure is just the previous 3 mixed together.  By the end of the meal your table will look like a large sheet of fly paper, but not to worry, it's not going to faze the next sticky family that sits there. 

Nobody judges you for bringing kids into a restaurant

One thing I have learned about being on the other side of the childless/childfull line is there is a large portion of our population that gets seriously pissed if you dare feed your children in the same room as they are eating.  These people will spend their entire meal staring, glaring, sighing heavily and giving you the occasional tight smile if you happen to make eye contact with them.  Everyone is welcome at IHOP, but there are three distinct groups of people who come into IHOP: stoners, the elderly, and families with sticky children. The hostesses are adept at keeping these three groups separated. The families clump together in a sort of romper room, the elderly are lead to the back dining room where they can enjoy their senior discount in peace and the stoners are seated near the door so they can go outside to smoke during the 3 hours it takes them to drink that one cup of coffee. When my son inevitably starts screaming because his hands are sticky the stoners will ignore him and the elderly will tell us how cute his sister is, I might let an old lady pinch her cheek and tell me how her granddaughter didn't have hair either, and at least everyone is not completely miserable.

Everybody loves cookies for breakfast

I'm not going to delude myself. I know darn well that the funny face pancake is just a giant chocolate chip cookie, and I'm not even going to try to justify the maraschino cherry eyes as fruit because I've seen the Food Network special on them and there is no way those things are fit for human consumption.  That said, I am not above allowing my child to eat this thing as his morning meal, slathered in at least two colors of high-fructose corn syrup. It is a guaranteed 5 minutes of absolute silence.  I order the thing with the expectation that he's only going to eat about 1/8th of it, and you know what? I've learned to be OK with a 7/8ths loss of food, if means that I can slurp down one scalding cup of coffee before it's time to break up the full-on fist fight that has started between the two littles over the orange crayon.

It's cheap

There was a time, before children, when both my husband and I were working full time jobs, that we had money. Not like bathtubs of diamonds money, but enough to enjoy brunch every weekend without feeling like we weren't going to be able to buy groceries for the week. Then I left my job because I am a masochist and I thought it would be fun to be tortured by children all day. Then the economy was like "hey, your husband doesn't need a job either." And I get, it, I really do. This is why America is fat, because fatty sugary foods are cheap and filling. I do get it. And oh god, GLUTEN. If I had the kind of money that I could feed us all organic grass-fed kale for every meal, I'd probably try a little harder. Maybe. Our economic situation dictates that it's good news if we can get out of a restaurant at for less than the price of a couple of Starbucks lattes, which is more than achievable at IHOP.  Plus, free refills on coffee.  Just remember, the food is cheap and your kids have come in with the strength of a gale force hurricane, so TIP GENEROUSLY. Somebody's gotta clean that mess up and if you think you're having a hard economic time, think how much harder it is for the server at IHOP.  And if you really can't afford the tip then this is definitely an occasion where you need to stay home for with some Cheerios. 

I do look forward to eventually having a luxurious child-free brunch, maybe a mimosa or two and a quinoa omelette or whatever, one day, in the future. Maybe far in the future. I've learned that this is the kind of thing that you enjoy either in memory or anticipation, but you cannot really appreciate it unless it is no longer commonplace. And come on, my kids are actually kind of fun, well sometimes, and I actually enjoy spending time with them so funny face pancakes for all!

Monday, April 29, 2013

Don't come a knockin'

I've officially been a stay at home mom for a year now and  I am either starting to be kind of ok at it, or my insanity has reached such a level that I just think that I'm ok at it.  One of the most surprising things about being at home all day is the enormous fleet of door-to-door foot traffic that happens during the afternoons. The Baptists, Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses have all come on a mission to get us to heaven and I've turned down people selling magazines, pest control, lawn control, and among other things, MEAT.  I honestly don't know why anyone would ever buy meat from a random stranger who comes to your door but apparently it happens a lot because the meat sales people are still in business.  Any time one of these people comes to my door it sets off my dogs and they start barking like we are being robbed, which then upsets/wakes up the babies so they start screaming and I end up climbing over a mountain of barking dogs and crying babies to get to the door just to tell some sketchy dude that no, I do not want his meat/magazines/Jesus and it takes me a good hour to after they leave to get everyone calmed down again, and my kids sure as hell aren't going to go back to sleep.

Anyway, I thought I would stop this problem by using my previous passive-aggressive-office-post-it skills and posting this simple sign over my doorbell:

Of course I was so, so wrong in thinking that these people would get the hint and just turn around when they saw my sign.  Nope, apparently if you are asked not to ring the doorbell then you just knock on the door in  your quest to sell/save. So then, in addition to the sign over the doorbell, I put up this sign:

I thought it was witty and cute and a good way to say "thanks, but no thanks" to the porch pilgrims.

This sign however, did not serve its intended purpose. In fact, I think it just gave the door-to-door people a challenge to overcome.  The first person who disobeyed my request was a tweaker named Timmy from a company called Coastal Concept Sales. Timmy actually acknowledged my sign and told me how funny it was but  that he wasn't "selling anything" and was there to help our troops by collecting money to send them care packages. So while Timmy is giving me his pitch, talking at about 100 miles an hour and having a hard time staying on subject,  Luke is standing in the door with me only wearing a diaper alternating between demanding pizza and saying "bye bye"and trying to leave while Lily is in her swing screaming her head off.  So because I am a softy and I just wanted the guy to freakin leave, I gave Timmy 40 bucks and sent him on his troop-helping way.  It was only after he'd left that I got onto my computer to figure out that the whole thing is a scam. Coastal Concept Sales is a shady for-profit company that may not have ever sent a single care package to our troops but nobody knows because they keep changing their name and they don't report financials  So that ticked me off, you know, just a little.

The second offence was even more infuriating. It was a Saturday morning and Mike was on about day 13 of being out of town and somehow I'd got both of my kids to take a nap at the exact same time which is a HUGE victory in mom land.  I took this time to eat lunch (without having to share!!!) and take a shower that lasted longer than 5 minutes (and OH MY GOD SHAVE MY LEGS). I got out of the shower feeling clean and smooth only to hear somebody frantically pounding on my door. This is a full-fist house-shaking pound and my thoughts were "OH MY GOD THE NEIGHBORHOOD IS ON FIRE" and "PANTS, I NEED PANTS!!" Of course the dogs and babies started their chorus of barking/crying while I struggled to thrown on a pair of dirty yoga pants and simultaneously run to the door. I got there just in time to see a man closing my gate and to find a flyer stuck into my door inviting me to come to his brand new strip mall "church." JESUS CHRIST!!! Either the dude couldn't read or doesn't know the 11th commandment "THOU SHALT NOT RUIN MAGIC TANDEM NAP TIME." Needless to say I was furious and I spent the next 2 hours trying to get the kids back to sleep while writing a strongly worded email in my head to the church, which of course I never got around to sending because really who has time for that?

Anyway, that has provoked me to put up a THIRD sign:

If this one doesn't work, I'm getting a shotgun.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Two in Two

I was a little apprehensive about having two kids in just under two years, but when I first brought Lily home from the hospital I thought my fears were all for naught. I was so proud of her big brother for adjusting amazingly well. He was sweet and considerate and just an all around good boy.  I was proud of Lily too, she was a gentle calm baby, she ate well, slept well and our whole family just seemed so happy and perfect. Fast forward three months and I realize what a delusional moron I was.  I have to constantly ask Luke not to hit/microplane/smother/stab with the iPad/color on his sister. He has also adopted his (dog) toy monkeys as his own babies and they must be constantly diapered, dressed, undressed and fed throughout the day but since he lacks the coordination to do these activities himself I am now responsible for caring for the monkeys. Thankfully, Lily sleeps through the night but she REFUSES to be put down during the day.  She also has this problem where she will eat way too much and then projectile vomit all over the place leaving her hungry again and me with no milk left to feed her.  Anyway, I've been a little overwhelmed lately, but all of this is nothing compared to the tag-team effort that my kids pulled on me yesterday.

My husband, Mike has been out of town so I've been wrangling the two bamboozles by myself for the last week. So it's the end of the day and Lily had managed to do her throw up trick twice that afternoon and she smelled like frat house. For some reason I'd given Luke spaghetti for dinner (i.e. I am an idiot) and he was covered in tomato sauce combined with crayola marker from some artistic expression he'd engaged in earlier in the day. Plus I'd taken him to Chuck E Cheese the day before and I really should've hosed him off the second he'd gotten home but I got distracted, so it was time to give the kids a bath.  Because I am a stellar multitasker, I approached the chore with confidence.

I had just bleached the tub the weekend before and I was afraid that there may be some kind of residual bleach left in the tub, even though I'd rinsed the tub immediately after cleaning it and the parts per gallon of bleach to water had to be minimal, I rinsed the tub again extra good before I started to fill it up because I had an irrational fear of giving my son chemical burns to his boy parts.  Then I filled up the infant tub for Lily and put it on the counter so that I could wash her and watch Luke through the mirror play in the tub. I was so proud of myself for my genius plan. Look at me, using mirrors, bathing my kids in a super clean tub, being super mom. No big deal, I was born to do this.

When I put Lily into the infant tub she immediately began to scream because she wasn't being held but then got used to it and started to kick and splash and have pretty much the best time of her life, probably reminiscent about her time spent in my tummy before she was exposed to this cruel, cruel world. Luke too was having a good time, he had his approximately 127 bath toys engaged in some kind of epic battle where they would randomly scream out "OH NO!!!" and plunge into the Petersen Sea.  I was reveling at how awesome I was. Both of my kids were super happy, developing their little brains like champs and getting clean! Mama of the year.

I started to get disgusted by the fact that Luke's bath water had turned grey. Like, really, really grey, and I vowed to bathe him more often.  Then I noticed an unfamiliar bath toy floating among the boats and biplanes and whales. I felt the dread start building up in my stomach as got up the courage to take a closer look.  It was poop. Poop in my recently sanitized tub. Poop that was rapidly disintegrating into the bathwater and turning into our own personal sewer system. OH NO indeed.

I yanked Lily out of her tub and wrapped her in a towel and ran and put her in Luke's crib and she starts howling like she's been injured, but at least it's better than leaving her in the tub while I address the poop situation.  I get back to Luke and make him stand up in the tub and I slather him with half a bottle of Johnson's baby wash and then I take the shower nozzle and start to hose him down.  The problem is that I used all the hot water up rinsing the tub, filling the tub and filling the infant tub so it is ice cold.  Luke started to scream like he is getting murdered and reached down to grab a toy to defend himself with.  The toy that landed in his hand was the poop. He looked down at the poop and he knew EXACTLY what it was and started to scream louder and SQUEEZED THE POOP THROUGH HIS FINGERS. It took every single bit of restraint in my body not to vomit right then and there. Somehow I calmly finished hosing him off with the arctic water and removed him from the tub and took him back to his room. By this time Lily had stopped crying and was cooing happily in Luke's crib and I'm thinking "maybe I should give her more naked time, she seems really happy." I got Luke dressed in his PJ's and then picked up Lily and I figure out exactly what baby + cold air + no diaper equals.  Lily had peed all over her brother's bed.  So I reacted by screaming "OH MY GOD" which of course scares the hell out of both babies and they start to cry again and all three of us just sat there crying for a good five minutes.

Eventually I got up, got the sheets changed and got both kids down for the night.  I filled the tub up with more bleach water to soak overnight and made myself a strong vodka tonic which I got about 10% through before I fell asleep watching some idiotic romantic comedy Netflix thought I would like.  So far today Lily has not thrown up and Luke is only 25% covered in marker but if I have to bathe them again I will be ready for anything.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Get in Shape, Girl

I don't know if I've ever had a point in my life when I wasn't obsessed with losing weight or making my body better. I remember in first grade, at the height of 80's aerobics mania, I had a pair of leg warmers and a ballet barre attached to my closet door and I would pretend 'work out' when playing house. I didn't think I was fat, it was just what everyone on TV, etc. was doing. Later, in 4th grade, I actually did start to get chubby and people started to comment on it so I decided to do something about it. That's when I came up with my first ingenious diet plan. Not only would I walk the track every day at recess, but I filled a baggie full of my mom's powdered Slimfast mix and I planned on mixing it with my milk every day at lunch, if anyone asked I would just say I was making "chocolate milk." Yummy. This plan was quickly abandoned when I discovered that Slimfast tasted like dirty ditch water and the swings were much more fun than walking that boring old track. We all know that the story for girls doesn't get better from there. In middle school I made the Cheerleading team and I wanted nothing more to be a "flyer" rather than my sturdy self as a "base." I tried to give up anything that wasn't low-fat and often snacked on tablespoons full of honey. Nobody explained calories to me apparently. High School was a dream (i.e. nightmare) in which I would only eat salad for lunch, but I would skip lunch entirely if the salad was made of shredded lettuce or they didn't serve the right kind of dressing, mostly because I enjoyed being a total pain in the ass. In college I was actually kinda skinny for the first time in my life, only because I couldn't afford to eat. When I got my first real job I finally had enough money to join a gym and I spent a ridiculous amount of money on a personal trainer. Of course sitting at a desk for 8 hours a day with all the free soda and high stress and abundant snacks that I could handle took its toll on me and I steadily gained 10 lbs a year for the entire 5 years I was there. Then I got pregnant. I am pretty sure that the McDonald's corporation still owes me dividends from my first pregnancy because I single-handedly kept them afloat during that 'great recession' as their plain cheeseburgers were the only thing I wanted to eat. There was one day when I went through the drive through at breakfast and then the same one at lunch and the same guy was at the window and we both knew I had a problem. Of course after having the baby breastfeeding sort of helps you lose weight but not as much as you would think. I still had a significant amount of weight to lose when I got pregnant again and that leads me to now. It's spring, my doctor says it's cool to exercise and I can't pass a MickyDee's without a grimace and feeling like I'm going to vomit. So now I'm committing myself to getting into shape and actually eating right, and I hope that I am at time and place in my life that I'm not a total idiot about it. I'm less than a week into my latest 'plan' and I can't help but feel like the universe is conspiring against me.

Eating right.

One thing that I am trying to focus on is eating healthy grains and proteins so the other day I decided to whip up a batch of homemade granola. I was already feeling healthier as I mixed up a cocktail of nuts and fruits and oats and flax seeds that would make Doctor Oz weep with joy. Everything was going pretty well until it was time to take the tray out of the oven, and I forgot just how giant my belly still is and pulled the red hot pan right into my stomach resulting in what I am sure is a second degree burn. Thanks oven, you win this round. At least the scar will blend in with my stretch marks.

Strength Training.

Two c-sections in two years have left my abdominal muscles in a state that resembles over-cooked spaghetti so part of my plan is a daily ab workout. I figured I could do this while my newborn slept and my toddler was quietly playing in his play kitchen. My workout included using an exercise ball which I immediately realized was a mistake with a two-year-old in the room. Once mommy starts playing with a 'big bubble' then it becomes the most interesting toy in the world. After he took it away from me several times I decided to do an exercise where I was physically sitting on the ball so that he couldn't get to it. This just incited a tantrum that I was not in the mood to handle so ended up moving the ball to another room. If we can't share the ball, nobody can play with it. I was then relegated to floor-only exercises and I got about 10 crunches in when kiddo decided to make me 'coffee' and came over and dropped his toy coffee maker directly on my face. It hurt but I was determined to keep going while my left eye teared up and started to swell, then my concerned dog came over to fix my injury and started to lick my face. I was no longer feeling patient and shouted at her to go away, which of course woke up the baby who woke up realizing she was REALLY hungry so I had to stop what I was doing to feed her and by the time I was done it was time to make dinner and the workout was abandoned.


I know that the best way to burn calories and excess fat is to get running and I've always been sort of ok at running, mostly because I was always in trouble during my cheerleading years and running was always the punishment, and for some reason it stuck with me. Notably, I am a perpetual tortoise and I will always get my butt kicked by all the long-legged hares out there in any test of speed, but once I get going I can run and run for miles. Or so I thought. I used to be able to do a pretty decent mile in under ten minutes and I figured that with the excess weight, the lack of muscles and training that I would be around 12 minutes a mile, which I was ok with. I downloaded a running app on my iPhone, woke up before my kids and put on my running shoes, which were now way too small but I wasn't deterred, and I hit the road. I was out, the air was fresh, and even though I was jiggly in a way that I didn't know was possible, I felt great. About 2 minutes into my run I was huffing and puffing but I came up on a group of middle schoolers waiting for the bus and I didn't want to look stupid in front of them so I ran faster. Now my lungs felt like they were going to explode but I was going to keep going! I looked at my phone, 5 minutes into the run, it was ok to slow my pace. Only 7 more minutes til I hit a mile! I passed an old guy and tried to smile at him, and he yelled at me to put on a jacket. I was now wheezing, my face was red and covered in sweat and I started to run with weird gait because my shoes were too small and my feet were killing me. It became pretty apparent that every car that passed thought I was a psycho who needed a jacket and I'm surprised nobody called the police (or an ambulance.) But I kept going. Finally, finally I hit the first mile. Triumphant, I looked at my phone and was dismayed to see that it took me 15 minutes to run that first mile. 15 minutes. I'm sure my grandma can run faster than that. I could have walked a mile faster than that. I decided to turn around and run home, making it a solid two mile run. I got about a quarter into that second mile and my legs said 'no more' and I had to walk. So now I was crazy-sweaty-red-faced-jacketless walker lady. It's one thing to look crazy running, quite another to look the same walking, now I looked like a serial killer. I went home, and did pretty much the same thing the next day, and I'm getting a little better everyday.

So here I am, tired, sore and trying to get both my kids down for a nap at the same time so I can get an ab workout in, but if it doesn't happen there is always tomorrow and eventually I'll invest in a jacket/bigger shoes.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Got Milk?

Today as I was watching my daily dose of Anderson Cooper (love that silver fox!)  I saw this Luvs diaper commercial.  It opens on a "first time mom" sheepishly breastfeeding her child hiding behind a plant with a blanket over his head then it fast forwards to her being a "second time mom" sitting in a restaurant, boob out, feeding her baby like it's nothing, when a shocked looking waiter comes over the mom says "eyes up here."  And I laughed and laughed and laughed. Although I don't buy Luvs diapers because I don't like them, as a recent "second time mom" who is currently breastfeeding my kiddo, it really struck a chord in me. I immediately googled the commercial because I thought it was brilliant and I needed to make sure that the rest of the world thought it was brilliant, and I came upon a site called If you haven't guessed, this is a site where people get together and talk about commercials that they really, really hate.  And looking at the amount of posts that some of the users have, they spend a HUGE amount of their lives just hating on commercials. Anyway, I get that you can't really expect anyone to behave on an internet forum, but holy crap these people are nuts! The sad thing is that I think that they reflect the outrageous opinions that many people have on breastfeeding. Here are some choice quotes and ideas I'd just like to clear up here.

I would love to wipe that smirk off of her face with the back of a red hot shovel!

I really want to smack her. 

What a delusional bitch.

She was probably looking for a reason to get the innocent waiter fired to excert (sic) her control over others.

Wow, how dare this woman feed her child in public. Clearly the only solution is to violently assault her. She must be a radical feminist, with that breastfeeding and all, and by default it is her life's goal to ruin the lives of men (particularly waiters) everywhere.  What is really funny about these comments is that the posters seem to think that this actress in a commercial is somehow a real person.  Do they really think all those people live in their TVs? Do they expect the guys from General Hospital  to perform save lives when they go home for the day? 

Baby doesn't care if it's covered, being fed out in the open, in a restroom, etc.

Maybe the baby doesn't care, but I care. Public restrooms are disgusting, filthy places where people think they can anonymously get away with doing anything, much like internet forums. It's ridiculous to expect anyone to eat in a restroom, especially a child with a yet-to-be developed immune system.  You wouldn't expect a woman to bottle feed a baby in a restroom for this very reason, so don't expect a woman to breastfeed either. 

On the one hand, she doesn't want you to look.  But on the other hand, she demands you notice what she's doing.

Hell, if public breastfeeding is supposed to go unnoticed, and the guy's simply admiring a cute baby, what can Mom say?

It's really hard to not look at a woman breastfeeding.  It's like trying to not look at a woman's cleavage. 

NO. NO. NO. Breastfeeding women are not exhibitionists, they are not trying to turn you on with their milk ducts, again the emphasis on feeding. Surprisingly, women, and their body parts, do not exist solely male sexual pleasure. Jeeeesus. We are in the twenty-first century you'd think we'd get it by now. And nobody is asking you not to notice a breastfeeding mother, just don't turn it into a sex thing and sit there oggling her like you are at a strip club. You wouldn't stare at, or be offended by a mother spoon-feeding a child applesauce in a restaurant would you? 

Anyway people just need to get over themselves. We are MAMMALS. Deal with it, it's natural. This is how we have always fed our young and will continue to do so. But hey, if you're really that offended by it, next time you have a glass of cow's milk, why don't you just enjoy it in a bathroom stall?  

*Let me note I am a breastfeeding advocate for myself but I don't have an opinion on how other women feed their kids. Whatever, do what is best for you and I'll do what is best for me and we can just stay out of each other's business, mmmmm'kay?