Tuesday, January 30, 2007

The Fugly Side of Hanging Out

Sometimes I just get a little too excited about my thrift store bargains.

I went to the thrift store yesterday because Monday is “everything half price day” and The Mayor needed some extra pairs of pants because… HE STARTED WEARING BIG BOY UNDERWEAR!! W00T!

While there, I found a pair of “Seven” jeans in my size for $3.50 and I tried them on.

There was a woman in the dressing room next to me that had children’s clothes in her basket so I assumed she was a mom even though I could see from the clothes she was putting on the discard rack that she was a size 1.

I knocked on her dressing room door.

Nothing.

I knocked again.

She pulled the curtain aside wearing her bra only (BOLD) and looked at me quizzically.

“Um, you’re a mom, right?” I asked


“Yeah…”


“I need your help,” I begged, “can I wear these?”

The jeans are tight, low-rise, flared and probably a lot more hip than anything I would normally attempt.

She laughed and we shared a moment of unspoken understanding.

At all costs, we mothers must avoid the dread “mom jeans.”

She had me spin around (so she could totally check me out. Heh.) She declared the jeans worthy and said I should buy them, so I did.

However, I failed to conduct the all too important “sit down” test on the jeans.

All my fellow wimmins know the importance of this test which:
a.) makes sure the jeans are not too tight;
b.) shows how your belly roll will look in them when you are sitting; and
c.) illustrates how much of your butt crack will show when you bend or squat.

I think we can all agree that the sit down test is relatively critical for successful pant purchasing.

This morning I put on my new BARGAIN jeans, squatted to zip The Mayor into his coat and flashed The Rooster a classic rear view vertical smile.

If you weren't fully awake before, you are now little girl!

Standing back up, I realized that the sit down test provides one more critical piece of information – where the jeans will settle on your frame when you stand up again.

In this case, the squatting down tugged the jeans far enough down on my body so that when I stood up, the low-rise feature was lower than…

Well let’s just say that if you saw me at that moment you would have had to shout with alarm,

“Sister, you have a serious ROOSTER WATTLE hangin' outta your pants!”

"COCK-A-DOODLE-DOOOOOOOOOOOOO!"


Monday, January 29, 2007

Bringin' Out Our Mad Skillz

The children have been kicking our parental behind for way too long now and we have flown the ship loose and free without a game plan, but no more.

K and I decided it was time to bring our mad skillz to bear on this parenting situation.

It is time for the parents of The Mayor and Rooster Girl to reveal their true professional identities.

Meet Type A (for A-N-A-L) Project Director Mom and Analyst Dad.

We are both planners and project directors for a living and we have decided we can win this fight.

Though our real titles do have words like "Advisor" and "Analyst" in them, the honest truth is that we are professional document creators.

We are both going to be given lifetime achievement awards for the creation of documents.

Thirty years from now there will be a giant televised special with confetti celebrating the MOUNTAIN of official documents that we have created.

Oh, the documents!!


We create documents and we plan. We organize. We orchestrate.

For many years I helped direct an annual special event where I had to organize unique activities for 16,000 people spread across 200 different locations all in the space of six hours on a single day.

Clearly, I need to introduce my children to the professional side of their mother.

An executive level family meeting was held last night.

Calendars were out, there were bullet points and and graphs... and oh, did we create some DOCUMENTS.

K and I formally welcome the small, loud people of this house to the all new: Family Plan.

From now on, there will be scheduled activities.

There will be time slots.

There will be flip charts and markers.

There will be strategic plans.

There will be 1 on 1 activities, there will be 2 on 1 activities and there will be...

BABYSITTERS GALORE.

If, for some reason, junior members of the team do not wish to COMPLY with the family calendar, we will be forced to MAKE the junior staff members comply using drastic measures involving our secret weapon...

the dread... Schnauzer!

Schnauzer Gray M538
Ruff!

Junior staff members able to resist the Schnauzer will be subject to a great and terrible nostril cleaning.

nostril cleaner

Mommy and Daddy have a PLAN and we're going to be in CHARGE from this day forward.

MMMWWAAA HA HA HA!!!

Friday, January 26, 2007

Honoring Arrival

The Mad Muthas did a post about belly art and I just have to step in and raise my freak flag.

[Roll Theme Song: "She's a super freak, super freak, she's super freaky...]

When I was pregnant with my first child, The Notorious Mayor, there was the usual fanfare and celebration.

There were baby showers, the decorating of the nursery, the acquisition of endless miles of giant plastic baby crap to replace all tasteful decor and so on.

I was nervous about the baby showers.

I thought maybe I wasn't the "baby shower type."

In advance of our wedding, K and I registered for things like mosquito nets and DEET because we took off for a 16 month odyssey immediately after I lost my virginity on our wedding night.

Contrary to my expectations, the baby showers ended up meaning a lot to me.

The gifts were lovely, but the events themselves felt like important rites of passage.

It was incredible to gather with women I care about and celebrate the coming of my first child and the onset of motherhood.

Late in my pregnancy with Rooster Girl I started to feel depressed.

I felt let down that her arrival would go uncelebrated.

I didn't expect or want another shower, but I felt like there should be something... something that would honor our excitement about her pending arrival.

K, all on his own, hatched a plan to make things right.

He did an internet search to find a mendhi artist in our town and then made zillions of phone calls until he found a voice on the other end that said, "Yes. We can do that."

He arranged for the mendhi artist, a woman named Rosie, to come to our house and decorate my belly on the day before I was to be induced.

He invited a bunch of my girlfriends and prepared coffee and desserts.

When the party started, he took The Mayor and left the house.

My girlfriends had secretly organized a mixed CD
that played throughout the party and featured their hand picked songs for labor & delivery with lyrics like,

"AHH, push it... pu-push it real good."
The mendhi artist spent about an hour applying designs on my belly with the same kind of bag you might see someone using to decorate a cake.

(Okay, a GYNORMOUS, gazillion pound female cake, but still...)

It didn't tickle and the henna paste felt cool on my skin.

When the belly masterpiece was finished, Rosie gave my guests their own
body paintings.


09 Mehndi Belly
The Day Before The Rooster Crowed


The Night Before Ruby
Because you can't get close enough to my navel.

I left the henna on for six hours and then rubbed it off like dried mud.

The resulting design was tea colored.

After the Mud was Off

The next day we went to the hospital for my induction.

The look on the labor and delivery nurse's face when she saw my belly was priceless.

I think she actually gasped for air.

She later admitted that she initially thought it was a permanent tattoo.

The henna design lasted for about three weeks and triumphed over my puckered and deflating whoopee cushion of a stomach.

Looking at the design on my belly made me smile and laugh every day of those first three weeks of Rooster's life.

(This was so much better than the sobbing as I did for three weeks following The Mayor's birth.)

Looking back, I am grateful to K for organizing the belly art party.

Music played, women gathered to eat and laugh together and
the coming of The Rooster was acknowledged and celebrated.

I'm glad for that.

Mom & Roo 2

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Land of The Lost

The other night K said that sometimes he thought I was "lost in the blogosphere."

He didn't mean anything by it other than "What are you doing on the internet when we could be gettin' nekkid, woman!" as commentary on how much time I spend reading blogs.

I've been thinking a lot about that what he said.

Am I lost in the blogosphere?


landofthelostbig


The question has me thinking about why I am so sucked in.

The first thing that comes to mind is that I am amazed by the community of it all.

I have "met" some fascinating, funny, honest, raw, smart, powerful, creative, hilarious, bold women and men through this weird on-line Mom-and-Dad-or-Not-O-Sphere.

There are some that I wake up and go to sleep worrying about, there are some who's every word I hang on and there are some that make me laugh at the simplest things.

I imagine meeting virtual friends in person and I wonder if it would feel like we had known each other for a long time.

Alternatively, I worry that the connection I feel with "virtual" friends would, in "real life" feel more like too much intimacy achieved too quickly so that everything would be awkward...

LOTL Sleestacks

Are we all just having a giant one night stand, going ALL THE WAY with each other before we've been properly introduced?

Would we like each other in real life and does that even matter?

I know more about many fellow bloggers than I do about my neighbors -- and I have great neighbors.

Should I be putting more time and energy into relationships with real live people?


landlost2

Hmmm.

Even though I would be a stranger in person, there are some bloggers whose personal space I believe I would simply not be able to respect if I met them.

lotl 4

I would be COMPELLED to get all up in their business with overly aggressive hugs, sloppy dog-lick smooches and all-the-way-up-to-the-nostrils loving.

I have found a ton of support and validation around parenting and motherhood in this forum.

Am I lost?

landofthelost2

I don't know.
I don't know.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Struggle

Here at House of Joy, where every day is the same, it feels like there isn't really any time for K and I to spend together other than parenting time.

Bleck.

Once the children go to bed there's about an hour that each of us can use to do whatever grown up things we want. (Like obsessively reading other people's diaries on the internet, watching TV, reading Tolstoy and making homemade jam.)

How is it possible to be a couple with two toddlers?

We're too tired to date each other... and even if we weren't...

On weekdays there's only two and a half hours between when we pick the kids up from daycare and put them to bed.

We feel like we should spend that time with them.

So if a babysitter came after bedtime, what does that leave us?

Movies don't start until 9:00... because movie theaters have no idea how much money they could make off of parents if they just started a show at 8:30 so you could watch, get home, get to bed at a semi-reasonable time so that your eyes didn't BURN when the children woke at 5:43 a.m. ready to start the day.

But no.

Dinner? Ha!

We ate that at 5:30 because the children were pounding their fists and screaming,

"SALAMI NOW! SALAMI NOW!"
(What is with our children's obsession with Salami?)

We think about getting into some kind of weekend babysitter routine, but it's hard. They spend a lot of time at daycare while we work during the week. We are torn.

Maybe we need to come up with a "date at home" strategy.

I have read various ideas on blogs before - twinkle lights in the bedroom, romantic movie picnics right at home...

It's not that my relationship with K is in trouble.

I think we both feel like we have a pretty solid foundation of love for one another.

It's just that right now one or the other of our children is throwing a tantrum at all times.

Having an 18 month old and a two and a half year old in the house is like living with two jack hammers.

One of them is constantly hammering away at the nearest road or sidewalk, breaking up the concrete and JANGLING OUR LAST NERVE.

The noise.

The constant, ceaseless, noise makes me feel like someone is rubbing my head back and forth across a cheese grater.

It is stressful.

It saps our energy for anything beyond simply getting through it.

When they finally go to bed we are zombies.

Before we had children we used to go out to dinner (and talk), go to films and then out for coffee (and talk), go to lectures (and then talk) or take walks (and talk the whole way.)

These days, talking to K has been reduced to ...

3:30 a.m.

"You get up."

"No, You get up."


6:47 a.m.

"Can you get Rooster some socks?

Oh, and her medicine?"



5:43 p.m.


"I CAN'T HEAR YOU OVER THE MAYOR SCREAMING."


6:17 P.M.


"I CAN'T HEAR YOU OVER THE ROOSTER SCREAMING."


8:14 p.m.


"bu bu bu bu bu bu bu bu bu."

I think both of us worry that we could wake up in five years feeling estranged from one another and not have even noticed it happening.

We want to be a little proactive if that's possible.

What do other couples do? How do they keep their relationship as a couple alive with little kids?

We struggle.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

I Don't Think He's Talking About Cats

Driving home last night we pulled up to the house and, as we usually do, we asked the kids,

"Who's house is this?"

The Mayor, without skipping a beat, answered,

"That... is THE PUSSY'S house."

Hmmm.

Perhaps a blog name change is in order...

"Oh, The Pussies."

We ain't no pussies

Monday, January 22, 2007

I've Got To MOJAMETIZE!!

My neighbor Aaron is a famous MacIntosh Computer Programmer and the Chief Big Nerd at The Big Nerd Ranch.

If you know things about MacIntosh programming you have definitely heard of him.

My blog was acting all crazy today and I called Aaron to ask for help.

(The blog sidebar was showing up at the bottom of the page when viewed in Internet Explorer -- and it may still be doing that -- but I have wasted enough time trying to fix it and no longer care...)

Aaron said he'd be delighted to help me, but neglected to say,


"but I'm leaving for GERMANY for a week in TWO HOURS."

Details, details...

Aaron usually wants to do the good and kind thing.

His wife, my friend Michele, is a big fan of Oprah.

She was particularly excited about the show where Oprah gave each of her guests $1,000 and asked them to do what they could to make the world a better place with the money.

Michele was inspired.

One night at dinner she told Aaron all about the show.

They imagined what they would do for the common good with $1,000.

The next day, Aaron was walking downtown in our small city.

He saw a local street musician in his usual spot, but for the first time in Aaron's almost daily encounter with him, the man was without his instrument.

"Where's your guitar?" Aaron asked him.

The musician told Aaron that he had recently suffered an epileptic seizure while playing on the street.

The paramedics were called, he was taken to the hospital and somewhere in the mix his guitar was stolen.


Spontaneously, Aaron drove to a local music shop, purchased a middle-range, totally respectable acoustic guitar, returned and gave it to the musician.

The musician was awe struck. He was grateful. He took the guitar... and he ran like hell.

Aaron couldn't stop smiling all day.

For Christmas, he gave Michele $1,000 and simply told her to do some good with it.

So even though he is in Germany and can't COME OVER TO MY HOUSE RIGHT THIS VERY SECOND AND FIX MY BLOG, it is o.k. because Aaron is a good egg.

He errs on the side of friendly and agreeable in all human interactions.


Like the time several years ago when he was on a business trip in New York City and, like anyone visiting New York, he got in a taxi cab.

He told the driver where he wanted to go and the cab driver said,

"I've got to mojametize."

Aaron smiled and blinked politely at the man trying with all his mental strength (and he has a lot - remember he's a famous computer nerd) to understand what the man had said.

No luck.

Aaron continued with the smiling and the blinking.

The cab driver repeated himself,

"I said, I've got to mojametize!!!"

Again, Aaron tried hard to understand.

He decided "MOJAMETIZE" must mean something like "Let's Rock and Roll!!!"

Not knowing what else to do, Aaron raised a fist in
solidarity and enthusiastically yelled,

"RIGHT ON, MAN!!! MOJAMETIZE!!"

Now it was the cab driver who blinked and stared.

The cabbie shook his head and tried again, but slowed way down,

"I've. Got. Too. Much. Air. In. My. Tires."

To this day, if you're at Michele and Aaron's house when they are trying to get the whole family out the door, you'll hear them say,

"C'mon boys, it's time for this family to MOJAMATIZE!"

Love, love, love the big nerds. They are the best.

cabbie

Friday, January 19, 2007

What Is The Return Policy On The Children?

Did you ever read that book, "A Prayer for Owen Meany" by John Irving?

Owen's voice is written entirely in CAPITAL LETTERS to illustrate his high-pitched, annoying tone and decibel level.

From the moment I picked The Mayor up from daycare until the moment he was put to bed, he talked NONSTOP ABOUT ANYTHING AND EVERYTHING!!!

NONSTOP!!!!

oy.

Rooster, on her SEVENTH ear infection, is more than pissed off. She is grouchy personified.

The hours between daycare pick-up and bedtime were a dark, pit of doom.

Once they were both bedded down it was all K and I could do to stare at the television and leak drool.

A commercial for toilet paper came on featuring an impossibly cute she-toddler.

The ad pitched the toilet paper as softer than baby skin but they can't fool me now that I'm a mom. There is nothing so soft as that... but I digress.

Watching the mighty cute she-toddler hug and fondle the package of toilet paper, I said to K,


"They sure are lucky they're so cute. Look how nice and sweet she looks!"

K threw his arm up, pointed an angry finger at the television and yelled,

"FALSE ADVERTISING!"

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Oh, The Moron

Uncle Joe made a birthday video for Grandma New York out of footage from the family trip to Lake George, New York last summer.

The Mayor likes to watch it over and over again.

Somehow this seems more acceptable than the endless stream of corporate characters and advertising directed at my 2 year old television therefore we are indulgent.


(Yeah, yeah, yeah... I'm one of those INFLEXIBLE, RIGID and COLD parents with freaky rules limiting my children's access to the television. So judge me now.)

Anyway, I watched the birthday video with The Mayor last night.

More specifically, I watched myself in the video (over and over and over again.)

The great, repetitive self-watching
caused me to have a powerful epiphany.

I realized that...

I am undeniably, a dork of immeasurable proportions.

Ya Think

So impossibly vast is my dorkitude, a deep crevasse of dorkism if you will.


A great voice welled up from the very center of my soul and yelled,

Yer a big dork copy

Luckily, my soul's alter ego shouted back,


"SO WHAT? WHO ISN'T?"

I am not alone copy

(...and it might be relevant to note that I am huge dork who just got Photoshop. Oh, the joy that layeth ahead...)

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

I'll Test Your Theory

K took care of the kids all day on Saturday.

That would be ALL DAY.

He Who Does Not Live In Spain kept whisking the short, crying people off to their next activity.

[Sing theme from Rocky with gloating undertones.]

I had to work in the morning, but for the most part enjoyed an unexpected day of leisure.

I wondered what I had done to earn my freedom.

Oh, right.

I got all nekkid.


When the kids went to bed, I asked,

"So, K... If I were to git busy with your bad self again tonight, would you take care of the short people again all day on Sunday?"

He smiled wryly and said, "Well, you should definitely TEST that theory."

bow chicka bow bow

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Rude Awakening

K went to see about The Mayor and Rooster Girl when random cries woke us this morning.

I shut my eyes tighter and tried to pretend that I was still asleep.

K will often let me stay in bed when only one of the kids is awake.

Half a second later, the bedroom door opened and K, The Mayor and Rooster Girl all stood in its frame.

“Mommy, I’m all wet,” The Mayor announced.

Welcome to the butt crack of dawn at The House of Joy.

Though every member of my family DESPERATELY NEEDED ME RIGHT AT THAT VERY MOMENT, I really had to pee.

I stumbled up and went to the bathroom and The Mayor followed.

I took his wet pants and pull-up off and asked if he needed to use the potty.

He said no, so I sat down.

The Mayor asked to sit on my lap and I pulled him up.

Perhaps in a few years I’ll be able to go to the bathroom without a child on my lap… ah, to dream.

The Mayor’s little, nude tush felt vaguely wet.

I tried once again to pretend little boy pee was great for my skin.

But no.

When he got down, I realized that my thighs were covered, not in pee, but in diarrhea.

CRAP

Sunday, January 14, 2007

The People's Front

You can't buy alcohol in Georgia on Sundays.

You can go to a bar or restaurant and order it, you just can't buy a bottle of it to take home.

It's the law.

Sunday is the Lord's day as far as the Georgia legislature is concerned.

You know, because we've got that 'separation of church and state' thing NAILED here.

Though we live in a deep blue pocket, Georgia is a red, red state.

It's rumored that this year the Georgia legislature will introduce a bill to lift the ban on Sunday alcohol sales.

K has been busily imagining how entertaining he'll find the arguments the new bill will likely incite at the Capitol.

He envisions protesters storming the Capitol with signs demanding the
Sunday alcohol ban stay in place.

He thinks it would be fun to join their ranks, wave a sign and scream about how it should be illegal to buy alcohol EVERY day of the week.

"PROHIBITION NOW!! PROHIBITION NOW!!"
K amused himself plotting the fun he could have acting like a wacko with a radical stance on the issue.

I laughed with him but I know he won't actually do it.

As I have mentioned before, K's decision making process is as slow as the shifting of the tectonic plates.

He won't be able to attend any protest rallies because he'll be too busy deciding whether his sign should say:

"THE PEOPLE'S FRONT FOR PROHIBITION,"

or

"THE PROHIBITION PEOPLE'S FRONT."


The people's front of judea 2

Saturday, January 13, 2007

One for King

On Monday, The Family Joy will join forces with our friends Michael, Elke and their kids to volunteer as a celebration of MLK Day.

While we are committed to honoring the legacy of Dr. King by serving others, it's also true that there's no daycare on Monday and I need a game plan.

I contacted the people at my local Hands On organization to find out what
family friendly MLK Day Service projects they had planned this year.

There was a long list and one was at a local fire station.

Fire station? Did someone say FIRE STATION?

Fire Twins


We're so there.

Friday, January 12, 2007

City Council Management

We walked into daycare at the same time as one of The Mayor's teachers yesterday.

I asked her how he had been doing lately and she said,

"Well... let's just say he's been having some trouble listening lately."

There has been virtually NO LISTENING at House of Joy so I was at least relieved to note that The Mayor treats all the City Council Representatives equally.

The teacher turned to look at him and asked,

"Are you going to use your listening ears today?"

Assuming quite the official tone of voice, The Mayor replied,

"I left my listening ears at home today, Ms. Lisa."

Whhhheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee. The joys.


Wheeeeeeeeeee!

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Children's Education v. Good Hair

Providing us with reassurance that we are raising him right, The Mayor said,

“Mom and Dad, when I get bigger I can drink coffee.”
Now that’s my boy.

And -- I’m proud to report that sixteen month old Rooster, who is acquiring new words at an exponential rate, has also completely mastered the word coffee.
I can officially boast that “coffee” was among both of my children’s first words and that my priorities around early childhood development are completely in order.


morning paper
The Mayor's early adoption of proper morning protocol.
November 30, 2005


However.

I may need to transfer some of my attention away from meticulously ensuring the proper sequencing of language acquisition for my children and focus on myself.

Because last night the children were NOT LISTENING and K and I were rolling our eyes back in our heads at 6:00 p.m.

The TWO HOURS until bedtime became a yawning cavern of doom.

[Oh, eight o'clock how I love thee...]

As a diversion strategy The Family Baboon Joy invited its-whole-self over to a friend's house.

While there a (single, childless) woman that I don't regularly see stopped by and said,
"Jessica, I see you got yourself a MOM haircut. When did you do THAT?"
[Oh, yes. She said THAT.]

I have mom hair.

Jeebus marscaponing Roberta Flack.

We are just going to have to put the word "espresso" on hold.

Mom Hair

"Mom Hair"

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

We're Gonna Break It Down Baby Now

Sunday morning at 7:13 a.m. I was dancing around my kitchen to that song "Shotgun."

I said, Shotgun shoot em for he runs now
Do the jerk baby
Do the jerk now
Hey!

The Mayor and Rooster had been awake forever already, breakfast was eaten, sippy cups were administered to all the right pie holes...

What else was there to do?

So I was shaking my tacos to Jr. Walker and the Allstars when The Mayor popped his sippy cup out of his mouth and said,
"Mom, is this digger music?"
I totally froze.

The next 10 seconds felt like they were going in slow motion as I tried to figure out what to do, what to say, what he might say, how I would respond...

A few weeks ago we were eating dinner at a local restaurant decorated with random memorabilia like washboards, old farm signs, a life-like statue of a traffic cop and assorted children's toys including a bulldozer that The Mayor likes.

[Only the classiest spots for The Family Joy.]

On this particular evening The Mayor approached an African American server and asked,
"Where is the digger? I want to play with the digger."
The surprised man did a bit of a double take, looked down at The Mayor and said,
"Excuse me?"
K and I were quick to say,
"The bulldozer toy!!! He's looking for the bulldozer!!!"
Though The Mayor uses the word 'digger' to refer to all construction machines – bulldozers, back hoes, etc, he took me by surprise when he asked about 'digger music' while I listened to Motown.

Finally, I settled on saying,
"What's digger music, Mayor?"
He rolled his eyes at me, like any COOL mom should KNOW this, and said,
"Mom, digger music goes GGGRRRRRRRRRRR and sounds like a big bucket shovel picking up dirt."
Right. Of course.

Who doesn't like bulldozer music? I am so not hip.

But seriously, what would I have said if he meant what I feared he meant?

He is growing up in America. He is going to hear hateful words.

I will need to find the right words, words that help him grow up to be a person that wants to embrace human difference rather than push it away.

I worry about this. I want to do it right.



Backyard

Monday, January 08, 2007

The Best One

Friday morning The Mayor, Rooster and I dropped K off at the commuter train station.

The Mayor watched K disappear through the station entrance, sighed happily, dreamily and said,

"Daddy.... he's my best one."

"My best one" is The Mayor's highest form of praise and is usually reserved for the color green itself and, by nature of their great, good fortune to be green, green-colored things.

The green sippy cup is usually THE ULTIMATE BEST ONE.


I have complained before about being second fiddle to the beloved Daddy, acknowledged why it makes sense that he is the clear favorite and occasionally been given my props, but c'mon.

Show the mother some love, kid.

I turned around to face The Mayor and asked,
"What about Mommy?"

His head rolled away from his window and he turned towards me. A slow smile spread across his face and he said,
"You're my best one too, Mommy... and Roo."

And I had one of those moments that make it all worthwhile.

Family. It can be so good.


On the way to daycare both children had lip locks on sippy cups so the car was quiet.

I heard the telltale 'hiss pop' of a cup pulling out of a mouth and The Mayor said,
"I am a fascinating boy."
Indeed.

You are to me sweet one.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Weekend Update

So Stimulating

Thursday, January 04, 2007

On Pounds

I was always 20-30 pounds over weight.

I am 5’6” and throughout my adult life, since my junior year in high school, I generally weighed somewhere between 150 and 160 pounds.

On the days that I delivered both The Mayor and Rooster Girl I weighed 204.

Sweet Fancy Moses on Buttered Toast!

TWO HUNDRED AND FOUR POUNDS!!!!!

Lard. Lard. Lard.

I heard that baby weight took nine months to put on and nine months to take off.

When Rooster was nine months old I still weighed 175.

Oh, the HORROR of the Fatty McFat Fat Lady Flabina.

In the middle of June last year, I started counting Weight Watchers points.

Since I started, I have lost 42 pounds and this morning I weighed 133.

For the first time in my life I weigh what the chart in the doctor's office says I should weigh.

I have NEVER even been in the neighborhood of the right weight range for that chart before.


Mom-O-Matic has a “Future MILF’s” Project going on at her blog and she’s gone INSANE and named me an Honorary MILF Mentor.

I’m not totally sure what that means, but if it means what I THINK it means then the next time I’m in Chicago Mom-O-Matic and I are going to get BUSY in that “roll, roll, roll in zee hay” kind of way.

[Roll porno music: Bow chicka bow bow...]

Mom-O-Matic asked me to reveal the “secrets” of the only successful diet I’ve ever been on in my life.

It feels like a complicated request.

Losing this weight hasn't been as simple as "diet and exercise."

It involved wrassling my own personal history and baggage, personality quirks, food obsessions, high performance at thrift stores, jealous competitiveness and a three pound boneless breast of turkey to the ground.

Are you with me?

No?


Well...

This post is going to be a long diatribe about my weight and my psychology of dieting.


I am writing this for the Future MILF’s and anyone else wanting to lose weight because all my life when I've asked people how they've done it they haven't really ANSWERED, at least not in detail.

Unless you are interested in a detailed account of my weight loss equivalent to sitting next to a stinky old man on an airplane who turns to you and says, "Lemme tell you ALL about hemorrhoids," you should give up on this post.

Still with me? Here goes...

My adult body never looked like it was supposed to look.

It was supposed to look like one of the computer enhanced media images American women are constantly bombarded with thanks to the beauty industry.

It didn't look like that.

Not ever.

I felt ashamed of my body most of the time.


Sometimes I could overcome feelings of shame and inadequacy about my body by imagining my extra weight as a political statement. My extra pounds were a revolutionary act against THE MAN and his oppressive, narrow definition of beauty.

Viva La Gordita!

But mostly I just felt fat.

I felt exactly the way Heather (from Yummy Sushi Pajamas) does in this post.

When the "Revolutionary" fat argument wasn't working for me, I was fat because of my mother.

It was HER fault.

CLASSIC.

My Mother (a.k.a. Grandma Seattle) was Miss Teenage New Jersey and captain of the varsity cheerleader squad at her high school.

I am the spitting image of my father.

Beauty was always very important to my mother and she has always taken great care with her clothes, her diet and exercise and her appearance in general.

Until recently, this pissed me off to no end.

For years I felt angry about her efforts to help me learn about diet, nutrition, healthy habits and exercise.

We finally came to an agreement some years ago that she simply was NOT to discuss or mention my body in any way at any time.

After I had children, so much of my “mommy baggage” packed up and left.

The ways that she invariably “pushed my buttons” before I had kids suddenly seemed trivial.

She came to stay with us to help out after The Mayor was born and I distinctly remember her arrival.

She was standing at my front door with her jacket on pulling her rolling suitcase behind her when I grabbed her, threw myself in her arms, started sobbing and said, “You can’t leave.”

She was only supposed to stay for three days but she stayed for ten.

The day before she left I started to cry all over again in anticipation of her departure.

It had been a long time since I felt so lost, anxious and afraid. It had been forever since I NEEDED my mom so much.

As I have grown to understand myself as a parent and absorbed that new piece of my identity, I have developed so much compassion for my own parents.

My mother was 19 when she had me. My father was 22.

At 19, or even 22, I would have won an award for THE WORST PARENT EVER.

Considering that they were barely adults, I think they did a very good job.

As a parent, when I think about my mother's parenting, love and motivation, it is impossible for me to continue to blame her for my struggles with weight.

Oh, I get it. It's NOT her fault.

(Dammit.)

As with anything, my weight has always been my own fault.

I initially added the pounds in High School when I started drinking and smoking. There is nothing like a few (thousand) alcohol and munchies calories to send you up the scale.

I also ate whatever I wanted and lived by the life philosophy;

“If the pie makes you happy, eat the pie.”
The thing is, the pie only made me happy in the pie eating moment.

I usually felt angry (and fat) pretty soon after the last bite was gone.

[Unless I was stoned... then I just wanted more pie.]

I stopped drinking and smoking in 1995 when I met K.

I might have lost weight then if I had not spent the next 10 years in a spoon-for-spoon ice cream and berry cobbler eating competition with him.

When Rooster was nine months old and I was still 25 pounds over my ideal weight, a few things happened that made me commit to losing it.

First, my neighbor, friend and parenting guru, Michele, joined Weight Watchers. She told me she was on a quest to be “hot by 40” (we are both 39) and that she didn’t want to be one of those dumpy moms that sit on the sidelines all the time.

The “dumpy mom” image resonated with me.

I am of solid Irish peasant stock and have tremendous potential to achieve the quintessential middle-aged thickness.


Thanks to female relatives that have gone before me, I can see a version of myself in a housecoat and slippers with whiskers on my chin and upper lip buying knee-high panty hose at Sears.

It is not pretty.

I hate the idea of just watching while The Mayor, Rooster and K run, hike, bike, swim or MOVE.

I worried that if I gave over to the sedentary lifestyle then The Mayor and Rooster would follow my lazy lead and join the ranks of the many obese children in America.


With all the junk food, fast food and television to entice them, they don’t need any help from me to learn how to lead an inert life.

I want to be a fit mom not a dumpy one. I want to move with my family, dance when they dance and run when they run.

Additionally, I sheepishly toyed with Michele's notion of being a “hot mom” -- or at least trying to be a "hot enough" wife to K.

Becoming parents and parenting toddlers has put an incredible strain on our relationship and while it is strong enough to bear the burden, we argue much more now than we did before.

Looking reasonable, rather than hilarious, in lacey underwear can't hurt given the circumstances, you know?

My resolve started to firm up.

Next pure jealousy and competitiveness worked their way in to my head.

So many of my female friends with children are thin and beautiful. I was tired of being the fattest mom and the fattest wife at gatherings.

It made me feel like a failure.

I was relatively new to blogging at this time and discovered this on-line realm of smart, capable women who were also hotty, hot, hot and I just wanted to be exactly like each and every one of their beautiful, amazing selves. (I need a lot more words in this sentence to even begin to come close to capture how many of them I am profoundly strengthened to have learned about here in Blogville... and her, and her.. and you get the idea.)

All of this combined led me to get my game on, so...

What did I do next?

I decided to cook a three pound boneless breast of turkey.

Of course.

I picked up this gelatinous mass of bird meat to put it in the roasting pan and realized
that three pounds of meat in your hand is a big, heavy, disgusting thing.

Then it struck me
that I needed to lose TEN TIMES that amount of flesh. I had TEN three-pound boneless turkey breasts stuck all over my body.

That just made me sick... but I kept thinking about that turkey breast.


Michele gave me copies of her Weight Watchers documentation and I read it cover to cover.

I didn’t join Weight Watchers.

I didn't join on-line and I didn't go to any meetings.

(The Weight Watchers CEO is so happy that I am posting this.)


I don’t think Weight Watchers is the ultimate diet strategy or a silver bullet solution, but I think their "points" system worked for me because it fits my personality.

If you give me $20 and tell me that is my whole budget to furnish a room I will end up with a room full of matching furniture and accessories because I am the Queen of the Thrift Store (though Marcie may want to fight me for the title).

I have a special gene for budgets and bargains.


The Weight Watchers points system plays into my strength here.

I get twenty points per day and I have to make them stretch as far as they will go – make them equal as much food as possible each and every day - because let’s be clear…

I. LIKE. TO. EAT.

Besides "budgeting points" the whole thing seemed logical to me. Nothing was off limits and I understood that I had X amount to eat every day and anything beyond that was too much.

I could never get my head around this insanely basic concept by counting calories.

(Maybe 1,500 or 2,000 or whatever is just too high a number for my pea brain to think about counting up to each and every day.)

Anyway, I wonder if finding the "right" diet isn't about finding one that triggers something in your personality...

So, now that I have waxed mercilessly on and on for pages and pages...

Here’s what I did:

The weight watchers “points” system allowed me a certain number of points per day, plus “floating” points.

Confession: I almost never allowed myself access to the floating points.

(See the Weight Watchers CEO frown.)

I did this because I assumed that I was going to miscalculate the total points value of the things I ate - more specifically, that I would miss things like an oil serving here, milk in a coffee there or loose butter sneaking around in my food.

I assumed that I probably used the floating points most days without knowing it.

That said, I was conservative and fair in counting the actual points I used to the best of my ability. I tried hard to be as realistic as I could about the portion sizes and the total points.

I did use floater points when I was in a situation that forced me over my allowance on a given day.

For example, I was at an all day barbeque event and pulled pork bbq and baked beans were the only options.

Baked beans? Beans are a vegetable, right? How bad can they be?

Oh. My. God.

Do NOT eat Baked Beans. You will PAY.

I wrote down everything I ate and the accompanying points value every single day and I am still writing it all down now.

I struggled a lot getting used to all of this, particularly because (I have learned) I eat when I’m bored.

To compensate for this, I looked up all the “zero” points foods and if I want to eat for the sake of eating, which I pretty much want to do every single day, I eat something with zero points.

I eat the zero point item (and eat it and eat it) until I am bored of eating.

Here are some examples of disgusting ways I over eat, but don’t use points…

I can sit and eat half a bag (the big bag) of the peeled baby carrots. (I will never need glasses.)

I chop and store celery in celery sticks right when I get home from the store. I eat an ungodly amount of celery with my favorite salsa and pretend the celery is a tortilla chip. It’s crunchy and provides a vehicle for the salsa.

Domestic Chicky recommended keeping sliced cucumbers (and I like to add tomatoes) in a container with a little vinegar. Excessive snacking on this gives me a little bit of an upset stomach – which means I have to wait a while before I eat more. The joys.

Beets have zero points. I actually like beets, but I tried buying canned beets and when I was bored-hungry I opened a can and ate the whole thing. The beet eating was a zero points experience and that is the best thing I can say about it.

Brussel Sprouts also have zero points, but as Moobs will tell you, they make you fart.

I am here to testify that all of the zero points food will make you fart.

The whole “five servings of fruit and vegetables a day” thing will make you fart.

Seriously, I have become a jet-propelled, cartoon woman zooming around the house from room to room fueled by the power of my own gas.

Al Gore would LOVE me.


-SIGH-

Moving away from the near and dear subject of my mighty wind, let's talk about breakfast.

I am a huge believer in eating protein in the morning and I eat scrambled eggs for breakfast every day.

K makes them for the whole family. He uses eight jumbo eggs and only three of the yolks, so the overall points value is very low.

Instead of toast, I have a “Kavli” cracker. This is grossly unsatisfying compared to actual toast but I have become used to it.

Kavli crackers seem to expand a bit if I eat one and then drink one of my ten thousand daily glasses of water. Sometimes it fills me up for awhile, other times I have to resort to a giant bowl of brussel sprouts, hence forth to be known as "jet fuel."


Yogurt has replaced ice cream. I like to eat it over fruit and have discovered that, of all the brands, Yoplait Light has the least points. Some of the flavors are truly nasty though. I like their vanilla flavor – especially over strawberries.

I did not cheat.

I did not take little bites of things I wasn’t supposed to eat.

In one of the Weight Watchers brochures it was actually suggested that you carry a zip lock back in your purse and every time you wanted to “take a small taste” of something you put a bite sized piece of it in your bag so that at the end of the day you could see how much food you “tasted.”

Ew.

The image of a nasty bag of food in my handbag was enough to put me off cheating through “little tastes” and I didn’t do it.

If I ate ANYTHING, I wrote it down and counted the marscaponing points.


Finally, I swam.

I swim a mile to a mile and a half three to five times a week and have I have done that for many years.

My friend Gary watched me swim one day and said, “Damn, Jessica. As much as you swim, you’d be thin if you didn’t EAT so much!”

(Gary is now dead.)

(Okay, he’s not dead, but WTF?!)


Swimming is an exercise that I love because it is solitary and non-competitive. I don’t race against anyone and so I don’t ever feel like a “loser” at swimming.

That said, I am competitive with myself and am always trying to reach some new goal.

Most recently my goal was to swim one mile of the butterfly stroke without stopping and I did this twice before
Christmas and then came down with the plague.

Lately, I've started thinking about what it feels like to be thin for the first time in my life.

The truth is that physically, in an every day way, it doesn’t feel that different.

Emotionally, it feels a lot different.

I am not depressed about my body every day.

When I look in the mirror, I am not dismayed. (I am sort of amazed at how old I am though. I am OLD!)


Clothes fit well. I don't have to try on 400 pairs of pants to find on that I can stomach.

I have discovered belts. Belts holds my pants up, a job formerly done by my wheat basket-y, kangaroo pouch of a belly. Belts?! Who knew?

My husband notices the difference. Definitely. There is much getting busy here at House of Joy... as much as there can be between two overly-tired, middle aged, parents of two toddlers.

It is a relief.

It is a life long dream that has come true.

If it is your dream too, I wish it for you.
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A Perfect Post – January 2007

Alpha Dogma nominated me for a Perfect Post award for this post.
I've never been nominated for one before so I'm humbled and blushing.
Many thanks !

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Stay At Home Sushi Pig

To survive staying at home with toddlers, everyone told me I had to get out of the house.

So...

I went to the All-You-Can-Eat Sushi Lunch Bar.

Wheeeeeeeeeee.

I am out-of-house-good-mom-so-much!

But, wait. What's this? Thwarted?

A sign at the front of the sushi table said:

"Please don't waste the rice when you eat the sushi."

Rules? Tarnation!

A girl might blow her
effing points for the day on a beer belly sized serving of fish if she must also eat ALL the rice.

Ever the CLEVER mother, I ate the fish and put the extra balls of rice on the plates of The Mayor and Rooster.

Oh, those RICE WASTING children!

I am Genius Cheater Sushi Pig Mom with daycare tomorrow!


Owen eats Japanese

Rooster at Japanese

We love sushi rice!
Arigato!

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Isn't Tuesday the NEW Thursday? (Please say Yes.)

Viking Fireman

K is way more fun than I am.

Which is probably why both children are sobbing and moaning.

He went back to work today, but The Mayor and Rooster don't go back to daycare until Thursday.

I am alone with them.

ALONE!!!

I am embarrassed to admit it, but the idea of two full days as a stay at home mom really scares the BEEJESUS out of me.

I am in awe of stay at home mothers. There is no way I could do it. At least not well.

It is my experience that to stay at home with the little guys you have to have a game plan or they will kick you in the proverbial shins all day long.

I go along swimmingly for a little while and then...

The next thing I know both children are crying at the tops of their lungs.

The very next minute I am in a physical struggle with a two and a half year old with his pants and pull-up at his ankles as he tries to escape from the bathroom and relieve himself of the massive cup of lemonade he drank in some other room.

Meanwhile, where is The Rooster?

What was that crashing noise?

How many more minutes until Thursday?