Thursday, August 30, 2012

Losin' It

It's time to lose the baby weight.

To be frank it is PAST time. My daughter is nearly 7 months old and I've somehow managed to gain ten pounds since her birth.

And when I say "somehow" I guess I mean "by eating 3,500 calories a day as if I were still pregnant". That whole "the weight will just fall off from breastfeeding" thing has proven no match for my unique ability to consume half a dozen $100,000 bars at a sitting.


After my first pregnancy I had about thirty pounds to lose. I thought about how to approach this dilemma and realized that I could either

a.  Radically alter my eating habits and begin a strict exercise regimen.


b.  Get pregnant again.

I chose Option Number B, restocked my freezer with dozens of Good Humor bars, and never looked back.

When Baby #2 left my bodily premises, I found myself once again struggling with the motivation to lose weight. 

But as it turned out, motivation found me in the form of a grey chiffon bridesmaid dress. As a member of my sister-in-law's wedding party, I'd had the following non-delightful conversation with a dress consultant three months after giving birth.

"Well, let's see here, according to your measurements you're a size 16 bust, size 20 waist, and size 12 hips."

Rather than ordering three different dresses and having them patched together Frankenstein-style, I decided that I should probably just go ahead and lose some weight. Fired up with chiffon-based motivation, I managed to drop thirty pounds over the course of the next eight months. 

And as much as I hate to tell people who ask me expectantly, 

"How did you do it?"

I did it by just eating really reasonable food and exercising a whole lot. Boring, but it worked.

Me at the wedding. Please note insane man arms resulting from my sister's innocuous suggestion that "as long as your arms look good the rest of you will look good". Easy on the free weights, crazy!

Exactly one week after the above picture was taken I found out I was pregnant. And now a year and a half later, I find myself with a beautiful daughter and 25 pounds to lose.

Because we've had what will almost certainly be our last child, I think there is a part of me that is really rebelling against getting back on a normal eating program. It's as if something inside of me believes that once I give up the massive caloric free-for-all that has marked each of my pregnancies, the door to eating anything fun is closed to me forever. And, to be frank, when you are home all day with three kids under four it can be easy to see food as one's nearly sole source of comfort.

"I've changed a dozen diapers since 8am and gotten puked on twice so no one is going to deny me my right to eat 7 slices of pizza as I watch the Real Housewives after they've all gone to bed!!!!!"

But it's time to turn the corner. To remember how much better I feel when I'm making healthier life choices. To acknowledge that I want to be a good food role model for my kids. To PUT THE ICE CREAM DOWN.

And I'm feeling pretty motivated. Though if you wanted to do me a solid you could ask me to be a bridesmaid in your wedding sometime in early 2013. 

It would really help me out.

Thursday, August 23, 2012


Last week I had to deal with a pretty major disappointment.

It wasn't a huge life tragedy -- more of an exciting career opportunity that I thought was a lock which instead fell through in spectacular fashion.

Do you remember that scene in "A Fish Called Wanda" where Kevin Kline opens the empty safe and then gasps a couple of times before shouting,


Look, I found it on YouTube so you can watch it for yourself:

Well, that's kind of how I felt.

I've written before about the challenge of continuing to care for kids when you are sick. I've talked at length about how hard it can be to drag oneself from one's sick bed and continue to provide for and look after one's offspring when one is wildly under the weather.

But last week I realized that dealing with kids when you've taken an emotional hit can be even more complicated.

I mean, before I had kids, upon receiving what we'll simply call "the email of doom" I would have responded thusly:
  1. Emit lengthy cry of epic despair.
  2. Commence cavalcade of cursing while tearing around home looking for items to burn and/or destroy.
  3. Find items. Hulk SMASH.
  4. Locate scores of sugary foodstuffs.
  5. Devour above while lying in bed weeping copiously.
  6. Commit to multiples days of ill-advised television viewing, salty snacking and occasional bouts of sobbing.
  7. Begin heavy drinking phase.
  8. Regret above choices. Advanced tummy troubles commence.
  9. Light at the end of tunnel glimpsed.
  10. Recovery and moving on.

And I gotta say, that system worked pretty well for me.

But when the "email of doom" arrived last week, I found myself at home with three little kids to take care of, which meant steps one through eight were pretty much entirely unavailable to me.

I was lost and confused.

Growing up, my parents had a real knack for, for lack of a better term, keeping their stuff together. I know they faced plenty of tribulations of various sizes throughout my childhood, but while they generally spoke frankly with us about what was going on, they always managed to maintain a stiff upper lip when we kids were around.

Which I'm all for. 

I remembered my own parent's calm last week as I sat sobbing in my room. My three-year-old son wandered in, looked at me with concern on his tiny face and asked, 

"Why is Mommy sad?"
So I told him that there was a job I really wanted that I didn't get, and that it was making me feel really sad. Then I stopped crying, went outside to play ball with the kids for a while, and then made them dinner, put them in the bath, read bedtime stories, and tucked them in, all with a smile on my face.


But I did it because it seemed better than the other option. I'll admit that finding this balance is going to be a challenge for me. I think I'm probably too emotional to manage my parents' air of constant calm in front of my kids, but I also know that I need to control myself so that my ups and downs don't become theirs.

After I got the kids to sleep I sat on the sofa, did some quality cursing and sobbing, and accepted the fact that I'm still working to figure out the balance.

And then I devoured an ill-advised amount of ice cream, broke a couple of things in a quiet manner, and went to bed.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Well, that was a bad idea.

Let me tell you something you don't want to do when you have three children under four.

You pretty much don't want to write a blog post about how fully you are CHERISHING the tender moments with your children when they wake up in the dark of night because you've come to realize how precious that time really is.

Every night since publishing that post my children have been throwing insane all-night baby and toddler parties in what we can only believe is some vague attempt to kill David and I both.

The source of the problem is that we've been attempting to get all three kids to sleep in one room at the same time. We have a two-bedroom house, so unless we are willing to have a child residing under the train table, this is pretty much our only option.

Now, when you have one child sleeping in a room alone there is always some chance that something will go wrong on any given night. When you have three kids sharing a room the chances of something going awry increase exponentially due to what I've dubbed "the domino effect of disaster".

Allow me to illustrate with an example from my own life.

Our problems almost always originate with our 6-month-old. She's teething and thus tends to wake up loudly and angrily sometime around 3am.

The interaction that follows tends to go something like this:

ME: Shhh. OK, baby. It's OK, here's a little pacifier. OK back to sleep now.
BABY: Wah!!!!!!
ME: OK, shush now. Let's just calm down.
(Furious rocking of baby begins)
BABY: Wah!
(Shushing recommences)
ME: Oh, crap!
BABY: Wah!
THREE-YEAR-OLD: I'm going to Disneyland for my birthday right? 
BABY: Wah!
ME: We'll talk about it in the morning. Go back to sleep.
THREE-YEAR-OLD: (beginning to wail) I want to go!!!! I want to go!!!!
(Holding and shushing baby, while attempting to make soothing gesture towards older son with right foot)
ME: OK, fine, you're going. Yes. Now be quiet.
BABY: Wah!
ME: Sorry baby, I wasn't yelling at you.
BABY: Wah!
THREE-YEAR-OLD: I want to see Mickey Mouse RIGHT NOW!
ME: (over sounds of baby's wailing) Oh, Lord.
(Suddenly, a voice from the Lightning McQueen toddler bed).
TWO-YEAR-OLD: I love airplanes!

Cut to 5am, by which time husband and I have banished the baby to the pack-and-play in the living room and convinced both boys to return to sleep with promises of trips to Disneyland and/or the airplane museum.

We stagger back to bed, grumble in each other's general direction and attempt to grab another hour of sleep before the day begins at 6:30am. 

And you know what we DON'T DO???? 

A whole lot of cherishing. 

Or any cherishing at all, to be honest.