Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The March Toward Losing 10 Pounds

My son is going to be 2 in less than a month; in about 6 weeks, we're going to Virginia's Chincoteague Island with some of our very best friends, one of whom happens to be a phenom photog, and doing his 2-year pics. I'm so excited! Munch will love seeing the wild horses AND the ocean. And we'll have lovely family photos!

In preparation for that, I want to lose 10 pounds between now and April 12. I've already lost 11 pounds since Jan. 1. Another 10 in 6 weeks may be a tall order, seeing as Munch's and my birthdays and the holy candyfest Easter are in there. But I really, really want to be 10lbs lighter in his 2-year pictures!

I'm inspired by one mom's commitment to do New Month's Resolutions throughout 2013, as opposed to just your standard New Year's Resolutions. Therefore, here are mine for March:
  • Track food every day, no matter what it is.
  • Up gym workouts to 5 days a week (from 4 days).
  • Try the spinning/running class on Fridays.
  • Eat a piece of fruit or vegetables with every meal and snack.
  • At night, do not check Twitter until I've read for 15 minutes.
I'm still going to keep going on my New Year's Resolutions that have stuck, such as No Dish Left Behind and trying 2 new recipes a month.

Forward, ho!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

On Finding Friends

I love the Bowling for Soup song "High School Never Ends." It's too true that in our everyday lives and workplaces we run into petty, gossipy types, cliques, cold shoulders, and, for me, the same self-questioning I felt at 16.

A line that especially resonates with me is: "And you still listen to the same shit you did back then."

While I've been on my Road to Self-Improvement since my son was born thanks to a visceral need to gain more self-confidence and independence so I can be the very best mother I can be, I still have a naggy inner voice that I have to actively argue against pretty much every day.

The tales we tell ourselves for decades are hard to re-tell.

One such tale involves friendships. As a child, I had a very hard time making friends. The reasons for this are multitudinous and would be better explored in a novel or several years of therapy sessions. Not the least of them are my weight, which was heavy, and my natural propensity to introversion.

As an adult, I'm still an introvert. I don't know how to small talk effectively. I feel extremely stressed in large group situations where I only know a few people, or if I only know everyone slightly well, like work holiday parties. I'm not someone who on a plane will strike up a conversation with the stranger across the aisle and exchange Twitter handles at wheels down. I tend to have only a few friends, but those that I have I defend fiercely and trust completely.

As an adult, this is fine. I am who I am, and I've come to accept that I don't have gaggles of friends. But last week, my son--my not-yet-2-year-old son, mind you--wasn't invited to a daycare buddy's birthday party.

And my inner voice went wild.

Clearly, I am the reason his mother didn't invite Munch.

When our kids are toddlers and very young, the onus is really on the parents to connect and arrange the sacred Play Date. I do not do these things. I smile at the parents I pass at daycare; we may chat for a few moments about how silly our toddlers are; then, I pack up my kid and get home. I'm not part of a phone tree or a network of moms. Munch has been to one birthday party and he spent most of it crying on the ground because he wanted balloons he couldn't have. This too may have gotten him blacklisted.

Look, here are things I know:
  • Age 2 is really too young for a birthday party with friends.
  • The kid in question is the youngest of three and many of his daycare friends are also the youngest siblings in families--thus, they all know each other through other kids.
  • Munch is none the wiser that some of his daycare pals partied without him.
But my mind fast-forwarded to elementary, middle, high school and I panicked over the thought that Munch may have the same troubles I did. I want so badly for him to have a robust social life and to make friends easily and to have a diverse set of people to hang out with. I want him to be brimming with self-confidence (not cockiness), not plagued with self-doubt. And I want to be the one that bears him up, not holds him back.

Really, I want him to be like his father, who had tons of friends and who can more easily ignore slights.

Not like me.

We all worry that we will pass along the worst of ourselves to our children. Or, that in our raising of them, we will mould them into who we are, passing along bad habits and old foibles, despite our best efforts to do something, to be something different.


Munch is not me. Munch is made up of a mish-mash of DNA that has created this tiny unique individual who already shows signs of Being His Own Man. Munch will surely have his own struggles, they are inevitable, and they may be the exact opposite of my own. I cannot control his life or his personality. He is who he is.

And, maybe, someday he won't give a shit that someone didn't invite him to a birthday party. Maybe he'll make his own plans that night and be happier for it.

Friday, February 22, 2013

And Then He Was 23 Months Old!

One more month. One more month until my baby crosses what in my mind is the true threshold to toddlerdom. 

Oh yes, he's toddlier and toddlier every day--from saying that everything he can't see, like the vacuum or the kitties, is bye-bye to wanting to do things like walk and brush teeth and stand on chairs by himself to really, really hating to be told no. 

He's toddler everywhere but in my heart.

One more month until he's no longer 1. 

One more month until the world really doesn't care about months anymore, but years. 

One more month until the world will label him "terrible" but I will label him tenacious and tough.

One more month. One more step up the ladder of his life.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

My Heart Got Melty

This weekend, my little Munch was on the whole in a great mood--he went with the flow of a very busy weekend in which we moved in new bedroom furniture with very few meltdowns.

One meltdown involved the vacuum, which Munch LOVES, and which happened to be plugged in, so Munch kept turning it on and off, on and off. I'm less likely to stop such shenanigans, whereas Hubs is more practical and worries about things like a burnt-out vacuum motor. So, the vacuum was whisked away, and Munch stood in the middle of the room crying and saying "Vat-uum, vat-uum" over and over in the most heartbroken toddler voice you'll ever hear. A couple hours later, though, when Mommy was holding Munch up to the sink to brush his teeth, he looked at me earnestly in the mirror and said, "Vat-uum, bye-bye."

And the mommy inside me screamed, "NO, it's in my closet, not bye-bye, I'M LYING TO YOU."

Whilst the parent in me said, "Yep, vacuum went bye-bye."

Other melty moments:
  • Munch asked for his bottle by leaning forward and jutting out his neck a little bit and saying, with wide eyes, "Ba-ba. Bot-tle." Like, let me repeat this very slowly for you.
  • Munch discovered his old, baby-beloved exersaucer at my sister's house, where it now lives. The top of the exersaucer was on the floor, and Munch climbed right into the little seat and played with the jungle animals while alternately saying "Baby" and "'Uck" (stuck). He's been looking at a lot of pictures lately and I think he recognized that the baby we have 10,000 pictures of was often in the exersaucer.
Speaking of pictures ....
  • I finally took some pictures out of cardboard boxes and put them into clear plastic photo bins (it's an improvement). Munch noticed the picture on the end and said "Mommy." This is a picture of me in the hospital, asleep, the night before my labor with him was induced. Munch looked at me and said, "Mommy," put his finger to his lips and said, "Shhh. Nigh-nigh." (That's the first time he's ever shhh'd like that.)
And yes Munch, Mommy is nigh-nigh in that picture--right before her entire life transformed the moment she saw your little eyes.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Oh My Go*: Don't Repeat After Me

Today is Ash Wednesday. I always do Lent "wrong," meaning that I give up food and treats, self-sacrificing for the good of my body/health. Sort of like New Year's resolutions with Hell and Damnation lurking in the background.

Lent should be about spiritual reflection and making a sacrifice that will also somehow benefit someone else--like, give up going out to eat, but donate all the money you would have spent. I somehow never seem to attach that second part of the commitment.

My conceptualization of giving up of food items originated with my dad, who always gave up food stuffs for Lent when I was growing up. Sweets often was the sacrifice of choice. One year, he gave up milk (not dairy, but like glasses of milk). I remember thinking that milk is a healthy thing, but I now understand that overindulging in even healthy things can be an issue. And he did love milk. For me, as a child, it would have been orange juice. I could (and can) down that stuff in half-gallon sittings.

But I digress. For me, Lent has always been about giving up something you LOVE, and that is almost unquestionably food.

This year is not really different, unfortunately. I'm giving up eating after dinner, a major "problem time" for my eating habits. And I'm recommitting to tracking at least 5 days a week.

But I'm making some spiritual Lenten promises as well. I'm promising to pray, somehow, in some capacity, every day. I like the idea of praying--again, somehow I never seem to actually do it. I THINK about praying. I would be calmer, I believe, if I actually spoke to someone in the Great Beyond.

I'm also striving to stop saying the Lord's name in vain. I say "Oh my Go*" constantly, mindlessly. It's like a nervous tic, an automatic reaction to pretty much every emotion--surprise, outrage, frustration, happiness, excitement, disbelief.

But now I have a toddler. A talking one.

A few nights ago, Munch was doing his typical mad kicking when I was trying to change his diaper. I grabbed his ankles and muttered, "Oh my Go*." Munch looked at me and parroted, "Oh my Go*." Not crystal clear. But close enough.

I swear a lot. Or, rather, I EXCLAIM a lot. I'm an exclaimer. Many of my go-to words need altering now that I have a kid whose language is developing to the point of repetition and learning from what Mommy says. Swearing notwithstanding (I do swear a lot), other common words in my repertoire are CRAP and SHUT UP. Shut up usually in the "joshing" sense with Hubs--like he teases me and I say, "Shut up!" Sort of a Mean Girls usage. I would never tell him to shut up in earnest. However, it's still not a phrase I want to teach my kid to say (that was one of the banned phrases in our home growing up).

But saying the Lord's name in vain--this is certainly something I don't want my son someday screaming throughout the playground. I need to replace it with something. Oh my gosh just isn't going to do it. It doesn't have the same heft as invoking the Supreme Being of the Universe.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Givin Himself the Ol' Side-Eye

Another thing that was crazy hilarious over the weekend--during Munch's nightly post-bath Naked Time, where the Naked Ranger does indeed ride his rocking horse, Munch really noticed himself in the mirrored closet doors. He kept running back and forth parallel to it, looking at himself out of the corner of his eye as he "disappeared" into the wall and came back again. Love seeing him realizing his sense of himself as a human being, separate and apart from all other things!

Monday, February 11, 2013

My Ca-razy Kid

I don't know what was in the water this weekend, but my kid was in quite the state. He did some things that had Hubs and I both laughing raucously and also shaking our heads.

  • Goin after the boob. This is TMI, so skip this bullet if you'd like. I weaned Munch in mid-November. So, it's been nearly 3 months since he nursed. In all that time, he maybe twice held up a pillow in hopes of nursing. He's seen me topless plenty of times with barely a glance. Well, Friday night, I was changing into my PJs. Munch was standing across the room. As soon as my boobs were out, he focused on them with seriously a laser beam stare, popped his paci out of his mouth, and streaked across the room, like, "It is ON." Crazy. I covered myself quickly and kept myself covered for the rest of the weekend! I thought boob-memory would have been long relagated to the subconscious. Not so, it seems!
  • Vampire baby. In keeping with the "I'm going to act strange with Mommy" theme, Munch kept diving for my neck, mouth open, to take strands of my hair in his mouth and bite them. He did this over and over. Probably my maniacal laughter didn't go far to curb the behavior.
  • Interpretive dance. Munch loves dancing, from foot stomping to knee bobbing to being swung crazily up and down and all around by Daddy. This weekend, he started bobbing but also moving his arms up and down in like a wave move. Daddy and I of course mimicked and we all were quite the flower children.
  • Bath/dinner time. My child refuses to sit at a table and eat for me. I'm sure some mothers out there somehow force/coerce their toddlers to sit and eat. Our strategy for dinner over the weekend was to feed him Go-Gurts and Plum Pouches in his bath. It's clean! It's efficient! It's weird. The last thing I want is my son associating the bathroom or shower with food. But the thing I want most is for this lanky kid to EAT. I will choose to believe this association, along with others, will fade if established (see bullet 1).
There was more, like the lightning fast mood swings from gleeful to completely pissed, and the complete lovefest he showered on his new stuffed Clifford. Life wasn't dull at Casa Blank this weekend, that's for sure.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Resolution Update, Week 5

Here we are a month+ into  2013 and some of my resolutions are on track, others are in need of refocus, and others have been dropped entirely.

1. Blog once a week. Happily doing it, at least 1 post a week.

2. Work out 4 days a week. SO frustrating with this one--I got a cold and then a stomach thing 2 weeks in a row--no working out. I got back into the gym and it felt SO good on Thursday and especially Friday--and now I have the most terrible sinus infection. I feel I won't be consistently in the gym until about March at this rate. And I've bought some awesome workout clothes!

3. Track food 5 days. Have not done it and have gained. I've been "eye-balling" it and that doesn't work for me and I know it.

4. Avoid chocolate. I haven't overdone snacking at night, even with eating small bits of chocolate in WW and Skinny Cow snacks.

5. Read 15 mins a day. I'm going to add "5 days a week" to this one. Part of my problem sticking to this one is my sicknesses--I've been so tired and unable to focus; but another part is I'm quite ready to be done with Count of Monte Cristo--and I've still got 1,500 Nook pages to go.

6. No Dish Left Behind. We are rocking this one. Though I hate having to unload the dishwasher pretty much constantly, not having dirty dishes piling up has helped my mindset so much.

7. Write 60 minutes. Have not done it, and need to do it.

8. Try 2 new recipes/month. Tried 3 new recipes in January--the brunch recipe (a hit); minestrone (good, but got my stomach flu in the middle of eating up the crock pot and so now it sounds disgusting); Hungry Girl lemon squares (ok; I burned the crust and that sort of knocked down some enjoyment).

9. and 10. Twitter and iPhone. These have fallen off. I'm revising to be: Do not check my phone after getting home until Munch goes to bed. Really, that's the issue for me--staying engaged with Munch and not getting sucked into my phone.

Refocusing my energy for all, and looking forward to more healthy days back in the gym!

Friday, February 1, 2013

Ahead of the First Overnighter

Today is my husband and my 11th anniversary! Not wedding, but what I call our "organic" anniversary--that of our first date. Some people may stop counting this anniversary after they get married; to me, this is the most important anniversary, the one that sprouted up of its own volition, not the one that is special because I chose a date. Also, Hubs and I were together for 5 years before we got married, and we lived together for most of that time; our life together started long before we got married. I'm not going to erase those five years!

To celebrate, we are going back to Where It All Began--Gettysburg. We're staying at a wonderful little locally owned hotel in their "Majestic Suite"--King bed, jacuzzi, the works.

And, we're not bringing Munch.

Tomorrow night will be the first time I've stayed away from my son overnight. Hubs, because of various work and family obligations, has had to stay away a few times over the past 22 months. I have been with this child overnight and every morning of his life. And, he was with me constantly for 9 months before that.

This is going to be hard, but it's also going to be good. For both Munch and me.

As a child of divorce, one of my biggest priorities is to keep my marriage, the partnership between Hubs and me, strong. Kids are a stressor; I try to ignore all of the articles on studies showing that married couples with kids are inherently unhappier than couples without kids. I would argue that it's a different type of happiness. Kids enrich your life in ways I could not have foreseen; but, you also have a LOT less energy and time for one-on-one devotion to anyone else, even the person you are desperately in love with.

I feel so blessed that Hubs and I were together for over 9 years before we had Munch. That is a long time to focus solely on one another. Our relationship was solid by the time we caused the massive sea change that comes with bringing another life into being.

That being said, since Munch was born, we've only stolen away for a few hours at a time, even on special occasions like anniversaries. And I know it's important for us to take a solid chunk of time to focus on each other, reflect back on some of the best moments of our life together, and recharge. It will make us better parents, and a better couple.

Staying all night with his grandma and grandpa will also make Munch a stronger person. He's already so strong--staying at daycare all day takes strength. But coming to understand that Mommy and Daddy can go away sometimes and that he will be alright, and that we'll come back for him, is a critical lesson to learn. And it's better for him to learn it early. I want him to have fun and find staying with others overnight to be a grand adventure.

This is another lesson in trust for me--trusting myself to go away and enjoy being "me"; trusting myself to not fall into some common emotional and melodramatic pitfalls; trusting our family to take care of this most precious being; and trusting Munch to work through some separation anxiety and come out the better for it on the other end.

Wish me luck!