Auto-Sucking: A Life Skill

I'm sitting here in my stretchy Walmart-worthy yoga pants and reveling in the Alone-ness. Buttercup is asleep, The Husband isn't home from work yet, and the dogs aren't very reliable witnesses. So I take a deep breath, and as I exhale, I smile as I mentally turn off the auto-suck. You know what I'm talking about, ladies. Unless you're Kate Moss, there's a high probability you've got a belly pooch even if no one else thinks you've got a belly pooch and gets all pissed off and offended when you insist that you do because my left thigh is bigger than all of you so you turn off the auto-suck and at the same moment I do, too, and then we both marvel at the fact that we might not be able to rock a bikini but damn we have strong abdominal muscles if we can hold that in all day.

Spanx are not involved. Auto-suck is simply the ability to train yourself to breathe in such a way that your diaphragm moves up and down instead of in and out while performing what has to be the single longest standing crunch in the history of mankind. The upside is that when you pee you don't have to worry about painting yourself back into the sausage casing that is a pair of Spanx because that convenient crotch hole they designed is not convenient at all. The downside is that Spanx aren't affected by too much wine, resulting in a You've Had Too Much to Drink Obviously Because You're Pooching Out So Give Me the Keys rule initiated by The Husband, who happens to be a fucking genius. I never told him about the auto-suck. He just figured it out all by himself. And he still asked me to marry him.

Pretty snazzy.

So was the expression on one of the maternity ward nurses as I was waiting to be emergency induced almost five years ago when The Husband, who was bored, asked me to show her my mad abdominal skills to pass the time. I prepared much like a weightlifter getting ready to dead-lift something ridiculously heavy by closing my eyes, taking a deep breath, and focusing on my goal. Then I simply auto-sucked my 36-week pregnant belly into myself before gently letting my bump take up the three feet in front of me it had been before my little trick.

"Did you see this?" the nurse asked a co-worker who came in to join to prep for my delivery. "Do it again."

So I did. And The Husband and I laughed as both nurses stared in amazement and gushed about how I'd probably push the baby out on the first try with abs like these. And yes, they were wrong, which totally sucked.

My recovery time involved peeing out about 15 pounds of water retention and then getting pissed off when I realized I was going to have to work to lose the rest while consoling myself with something dipped in chocolate. Not once did I consider lacing up my running shoes and winning a marathon six-weeks postpartum like this mom did. Yay for her and her obvious lack of need for the auto-suck. I'm cheering for her, really I am. I'm also thinking it's over-achievers like her that make the rest of us look bad and calling her names which I know is evil and spiteful so I take a deep breath, close my eyes, and free the belly I subconsciously sucked in while reading the article about Marathon Mom.

Good for her. Now where's the chocolate?

Socially Acceptable Punchlines (Maybe)

 

*Ya know how I tend to gravitate towards list-style blog posts when my mind goes blank?

*There's totally a reason for that, but first let me tell you...

*That I stood on a scale backwards on Friday.

*Not mine. The doctor's. And I told the nurse not to tell me what it said.

*She was too confused to bother asking me why.

*I don't need the scale to tell me that I'm hormonal and in need of chocolate right now.

*So really, it's all for the best.

*Mainly because More Chocolate is totally not the answer.

*What do you mean, there was no question? Don't confuse the issue.

*I can do that perfectly well on my own. The naturopath I'm seeing now told me so.

*See, I went in with my notes and my story about being stiffed with the shallow end of the genetic gene pool, fully expecting him to nod his head, confirm my allergy suspicions, and tell me that all of my problems would be solved if I only drank water and avoided anything that actually tastes good.

*But before the allergy tests comes blood work and then another appointment to discuss the results from the lab. Oh, and it turns out that in the 60 minutes I've been talking with Dr. Naturopath, I've looked at my phone to check twitter or respond to an email no less than 15 times. Dr. Naturopath told me so before asking me if I always talk this fast and if The Husband is always accusing me of doing things the hard way and do I like coffee?

*Um, yes, yes, and yes. But how did you know that The Husband is an asshole and no I don't drink it because it's pointless when the caffeine doesn't affect me, Dr...So um, what's your point?

*I believe you have ADHD, says Dr. Naturopath. But I won't know for sure until you've tried the medications for a few days.

*Shut the front door, says I.

*I really want to look at my phone again.

*I twist my wedding finger hard enough to bust a blood vessel instead.

*Dr. Naturopath explains to The Husband all of the reasons he suspects I'm now allowed to use ADHD as a punchline with little revelations like my tendency to burn eggs while trying to boil them because I suddenly remember that the garbage needs to be taken out At This Very Moment and while coming back to the kitchen notice The Laundry Basket Full of Clothes Still Needs to Be Put Away Upstairs so I carry the basket up and set it at the end of our bed with every intention to follow through but first I Forgot to Respond to that Email and Oh Look It's My Turn on Draw Something and HOLY SHIT WHY DOES MY HOUSE SMELL LIKE BURNING EGGS?

*The Husband nods knowingly.

*I stare at both of them trying to figure out how Dr. Naturopath just read my mind. And also how I get a retroactive pass on all the times I used ADHD references in social situations as a punchline because I didn't wake up like this yesterday. In fact, it's all starting to make sense and...

*Oh look, a Squirrel carrying Something Shiny...

*What did you need again?

Weightless

The Husband has been uncharacteristically quiet lately. Not in typical, every day conversation, mind you. He's got plenty to say when Buttercup asks him to pretend he's five of her princess dolls at the same time. And we're managing to keep the texting each other from across the table to the times we are paying someone else to make our dinner, so, you know, the face-to-face thing is still good. And when he's talking on the phone he has this crazy annoying habit of pacing the entire length of the house because, apparently, it's physically impossible to sit still while unconsciously raising the volume of his voice loud enough that we never actually have to tell the neighbors we are going on vacation and need to collect our mail for us.

For those who are acquainted with The Husband, you'll know exactly what I'm talking about when I say that it's kind of unnerving. I said "I Do" with the full understanding that I was becoming Mrs. My God, You Can't Help Being An Asshole, Can You? And by Asshole, I totally mean Honest to a Fault. And that fault is named San Andreas.

The time I spent sixty bucks and half the day at a salon getting my kinky curls straightened into gloriously shiny and straight tresses for a family wedding?

He said: Looks good. Don't do it again. Translation? I love your frizzy curls even if you don't.

My response as I stood on tiptoe to kiss him? You are such an asshole. Translation? You are such an asshole.

Or the time I was pregnant and was crying about the size of my ass  and my freakishly short legs and said something about how I wished the baby would inherit his genes?

He said: Yeah, I do too. Translation: Oh shit. That's totally not what I meant. Except for the freakishly short legs thing. That? I meant.

My response as I tried not to fall down laughing: You are such an asshole. Translation? You are such an asshole.

And the time I was being sewn up by the hottest resident not cast in a television hospital drama because giving birth isn't exactly a fucking picnic and my little baby was snuggled up on my chest?

He said: She really ripped you a new one, didn't she? Translation: It would have been physically impossible for me not to say that out loud.

My response as I glared at him for the first time during the entire birthing process: You are such an...

Oh never mind. We all know where this is going.

The point is, he was born with a broken filter and prides himself on it. It's one of the things I love about him that drives me absolutely insane at the same time. So I guess I was a little surprised when I realized that he has yet to comment on my recent (read: since Christmas) lack of OCD-like strict avoidance of processed foods and that brief love affair I had the with elliptical. At least until I was brainstorming writing ideas out loud and mentioned how I've realized the scale can call me a fatass one time and it blows my entire routine and reason for living out of the water and drives me straight into the nearest source of sugar-laden guilt covered in chocolate. So, I said, what if I avoided the scale? What if I told society (and my own) obsession with The Number to fuck the hell off and instead focused on how eating right and being active is just plain old Good For Me and Makes Me Feel Good? What if I just trusted how I feel instead of what the scale makes me feel?

And then, because I was just thinking out loud and had a billion ideas in my head that were spilling out at the same time, I skipped right on to the next Thing In My Head. He listened. I threw more out and then he listened some more. And when I was finally done Not Thinking Silently, The Husband stopped being quiet.

He told me how I base my entire self-worth on what the scale says and the rising of the very sun depends on it not pissing me off and making me cry. He said that I can go months and months with respectable losses that keep me motivated enough to keep going and then the One Time I weigh myself and the scale politely asks me why I want to know what the average weight of a newborn baby hippo is, I give up instantaneously and then go months and months before deciding to repeat the whole cycle again.

Then, he told me to take the batteries out of the scale.

Why? I asked.

He said: Because even if no one reads whatever it is you turn this into, you need to learn that you are not a number and stop this professional yo-yo bullshit.  Translation: I love you.

My response as I stood on tip toe to kiss him: You are such an asshole. Translation: I love you, too.

And we put the scale away.

Updates, Britney Spears, and the Scissors in the Junk Drawer

It's been about a month since I went all My Life Sucks and Let Me Prove That Crazy Creative People theory, so I figured it was time for an update. Because asterisks make me happy, this one's going down List-Style, y'all.

* If black is the new brown, then anti-depressants are the new happy. And Siri has been a very good girl when it comes to reminding me to pop the happy every morning, especially when I get cocky and think my brain will manufacture visions of unicorns and rainbows without the pills.

*Of course I'm not seeing unicorns and rainbows because of the pills, you dumbass. It's not that kind of drug. I was simply illustrating the point that seeing a unicorn would make me as happy as taking the medication does. Probably happier, if I really stop to think about it.

*Dammit. Now I just want a unicorn.

* But since I'm pretty certain I won't be seeing a real live and in the flesh unicorn anytime soon I'm settling for the pharmaceutical definition of happy. Copay? $5.

*Insurance is a beautiful thing.

*Also? About that Calling You a Dumbass thing? You're welcome. I ignore the people I don't like. I save terms of endearment for the special people in my life.

*Of course that means you. And you...And...wait. No. I'm ignoring you. Everyone else here is cool.

* Humor is a wonderful coping mechanism, isn't it?

* Yes, I'm still a certifiable mess. But these rose-colored glasses are kind of making everything look a bit pretty, so I'm taking things slow in the Getting Back on the Wagon department.

* Forget the counting of calories, the number on the scale, or labeling of Good versus Bad for the foods I am consuming. Instead I'm focusing on how I feel and taking note of an acknowledging the setbacks as well as the steps in the right direction.

* How I feel is also a factor in deciding to take the plunge and make an appointment with a local naturopath because traditional doctors either don't want to listen to me when I tell them the tests stating I'm normal are all lying, or they want to help and just don't know what to do with me. I don't know how to describe it other than telling you that I am certain there are autoimmune issues and possibly serious allergy issues that need to be addressed. Like, yesterday.

* How do I know this? Because one day about six months ago I woke up to find out my Mexifro had decided to give up the cute curly look and instead opt for the Detroit Crack Whore look. I can say this because I'm from Detroit, so that makes me an expert. The soft kinky curls morphed into straight, flyaway pieces of straw and it was breaking off at my neck but the new growth was fine. Which made me realize that...

* That fluke thing that happened to me when Buttercup was a baby that lasted for six months and then suddenly went away and I woke up with normal hair and a smile wasn't a fluke thing. Still, my doctors think I'm crazy. And I think most of them are assholes.

* It's kind of a stalemate.

* Of course, me cutting off all my hair with the scissors in the junk drawer just because I suddenly thought it might be a great idea but mainly because I had so much break off it was either that or a wig might give some credence to the doctors' argument, especially if you focus on the Suddenly Great Idea and Scissors part, but since I don't have paparazzi hanging out in my garbage cans and my name isn't Britney Spears, I'm totally fine with that.

 

No Longer #Ashamed

It's a good day.

I've been avoiding Twitter and Facebook for most of the day simply because I couldn't possibly care less about who wore what on the red carpet and who won an Oscar for a movie I most likely didn't have time to see. So it was pure luck that I saw a tweet from Leah Segedie announcing that the Strong 4 Life #Ashamed ads will be coming down in March.

If you live under a rock and have no clue what I'm talking about, here's the short version: I wrote a column for Owning Pink that was read by Leah Segedie of Mamavation fame who got plenty pissed off that these ads were using shame to fight the childhood obesity epidemic so she organized a few twitter parties that got covered by CNN, Headline News, and other news outlets and now we all get to sing For She's a Jolly Good Fellow.

Because she is.

And so is every single blogger and community leader who spoke out against shaming our children and reinforced the idea that we need to fight obesity and not obese people and shared their own stories of childhood shame. Thank you. You're all jolly good fellows, too.

Please, if you have a moment, click here to see Leah's full update on the #Ashamed campaign and shout from the mountain tops (Or just use all caps in a social media update when you say) THANK YOU to all who stepped up to speak out against shame.

We made a difference, y'all. And that makes me smile.

Team Barbie

Let me preface this post by saying that we painted Buttercup's nursery a neutral shade of soft green, avoided All Things Pink until she decided pink was her favorite color somewhere around 18 months, and had a strict Anti-Barbie policy when it came to the dolls allowed in our home. Only three channels are allowed on the television (Nick Jr., PBS Kids, and Disney Juniorbefore all those mindless Hannah Montana type shows take over the screen) and Buttercup isn't really sure what a commercial is.

All Victoria Secret catalogs and other like materials that end up in my mail box go straight into the recycling bin and the other "F" word in our house is "fat." Conversations and freak-outs about the size of my own ass are limited to texts messages with the BFF or put on public display for the rest of the world to see. We focus all conversations about exercise and food and such around being healthy and strong and having good energy.

And when well-meaning strangers comment on how "big" Buttercup is for her age (she's about 49 inches tall at four years of age now) I always gently rephrase the statement by responding, "Why yes, she's very tall, isn't she?" I say it with a smile.

Always.

You also need to know that I was five feet tall when I was eight years old, wore my mother's jeans to save money on new clothes, and grew up constantly hearing how "big" I was while sitting in front of Univision or Telemundo watching skantily clad women with long legs and flat stomachs and big, white teeth strut in front of their studio audience of their televised children show. Anyone remember Xuxa? Yeah...she was a porn star and then children everywhere were singing the theme song to the show while our fathers drooled.

I was hiding in the pantry to binge eat by the time I was eight and bulimic by the time I was 15. And obviously, there are still issues I'm dealing with.

Barbie was banned not because I hate perky blondes, but because I thought having a doll like that in our home would undo all I am trying so hard to prevent. I was convinced that Barbie and her body would make my little girl question her own and set up unrealistic expectations and a lifetime of disappointment. And then one day I found myself cruising the toy aisles in search of a birthday gift for one of Buttercup's little girlfriends. Of course, we found what we were looking for on the shelves directly across the aisle from the Barbie display.

 

I saw ballerina barbies...

 

 

And Skipper and her sister...

 

 

And Odette from Swan Lake Barbie...

 

And (Hot for) teacher Barbie...

And then we saw Wizard of Oz Barbie...

 

That's when The Husband whispered something into my ear that sounded something like "no way in hell..."

And that's when I remembered all the Barbies I grew up playing with and how I never once compared my own prepubescent body to the plastic one I had in my hands and how Barbie was the furthest thing from my mind when I was throwing up whatever I had just binged on. Barbie, I realized, wasn't my issue. But Barbies skanky enough that the name could be changed to Exotic Dancer Barbie (the dancer's pole is extra, mom and dad) and her clothing would still match the description?

Yeah....that? I have a serious problem with.

We have a new rule in our house: no skanks allowed. Barbie like I remember from my childhood? Fine by me.

She may end up just as naked just as fast and tossed into the pile of other naked dolls once taken out of the packaging, but at least this way I don't have to explain a bustier, thigh highs, and stripper heels to a four-year-old.

Why Georgia Should Be #Ashamed

It's been an hour since I began attempting to write a new post summing up the #ashamed twitter party. So far I've started over four times and finally decided my mind is just too riled up to think straight, so I'm taking the easy way out and reposting the column that went live on Owning Pink yesterday about the aggressive anti-obesity ads and their connection to a rise in eating disorders. Last night's chat garnered more than 41 million pageviews with 450 participants, led by Leah Segedie (@Bookieboo), contributing over 3,500 tweets opposing the negative and shameful tone of the Georgia Strong 4 Life campaign.Impressive numbers. And yet, somehow not enough to spur Strong 4 Life into committing to a more positive approach to bringing awareness to childhood obesity.

Not yet, anyway.

 

***

SHAME CAUSES NEW EATING DISORDER?

I'd like to ask when it became mandated by society that the most obvious of details will be ignored/and or denied by the masses until experts step in slap us in the face? Because doctors are now reporting a new type of eating disorder in children attributed to aggressive anti-obesity campaigns.

According to this article, Australian doctors are now treating an onslaught of healthy children being driven to starvation. Victoria's three leading pediatric services are treating children at the upper end of the medically-accepted healthy weight range who have lost up to a third of their body weight so they can stay thin.

Let me repeat that for you: Doctors are now treating healthy children who have lost up to a third of their body weight because they want to stay thin.

And they are attributing aggressive anti-obesity campaigns as the cause.

Essentially, these children are suffering from anorexia nervosa symptoms such as distorted body image and the amount of weight actually lost but who, when all is said and done, have starved themselves down to the lower end of the healthy weight range. How long before the same trend is documented here in the United States?

Georgia? I'm Looking At You

We can't talk about children and body image and obesity without touching on the Georgia's Anti-Obesity campaign, aimed at children.

Mom bloggers are speaking out against the Strong4Life campaign, and rightly so, with some 23 million twitter impressions logged during a recent twitter party hosted by Leah Segedie of Mamavation, who believes the ad campaign will only mentally harm the obese children targeted. Another leading voice in the outcry is that of Sue O'Lear of Mrs. Fatass, who challenges supporters of the campaign and their belief that the absence of shame itself is actually the root cause of obesity to begin with.

You already know how I feel about the topic. I was an eating disordered child on the higher end of the healthy weight range who alternated between starvation and binging and purging who grew into a mother with the same issues who has a daughter whom I am determined will grow strong and confident and happy with her reflection.

Shame is not a part of that equation.

Focus on the Positive

In my home we avoid the words "fat" and "diet" and instead focus on positive terms such as "healthy and strong" and how nutritious foods and regular activity give us "good energy." When strangers comment on how big my daughter is (she stands about 49 inches tall at four years of age) I gently rephrase the statement by substituting the word "big" for "tall." She's four and thinks it's hilarious to arch her back after a particularly good meal to emphasize the happy little Buddha pooch and I love that.

I grew up listening to adults in my family cry about the size of their thighs, who was on a diet and which one, who in the family still hadn't lost the baby weight, and well-intentioned "You're getting a little big, aren't you's?" contradicted by sugar highs disguised as pinatas followed up with cake and ice-cream.

And we all know how I turned out.

I'm not vilifying my family. No one intentionally set out to shame me into eating disordered thinking, eating, and body image. Their intent was most probably the opposite: to help me grow into a woman without their weight problems. And I'm willing to bet that those behind the Ashamed ad campaign have positive intentions, as well. But, as the Australian doctors treating the newest form of eating disorder are stating, physical health cannot be the only consideration.

Emotional health and positive messages are paramount to addressing the issue of childhood obesity without creating a new generation of broken spirits.

 ***

Before I go, I'd like to share this. At one point in the chat, Strong 4 Life tweeted me directly and stated that the billboards will not be coming down. My response was simple.

"Why the hell not?"

But when I asked if anyone on the team responsible for the ad concept had ever suffered from an eating disorder or been an overweight child, I got no answer.

Not surprisingly, the  "so seriously, ever trained a puppy? how's beating them and making them cry working for you? Not so good?" tweet also was left without a response.

Why bother explaining yourself when you believe those opposing you are in the wrong? I'll answer that for you...

Because we aren't going away.

And for the record? Strong 4 Life has every fucking reason in the world to be ashamed.

 

What She Sees

Kinky hairOlive skin Big brown eyes Full set of lips

Mascara? No thank you. Tweezers? Yes, please. Eyebrows getting crazy Lady-stash? Pluck off.

Crooked smile Baby teeth Double D’s Holy hips

Hour glass curves softened by motherhood Body image altered Cellulite Muffin top

Doesn’t matter what I see What matters is How she sees I see me

Celebrate the kinky curls The crooked smile The lady-stash tweezers

Love the comfort of my soft curves Make way for me (and my hips) Cuz I’m coming into the me that was always there

Hidden beneath myself Insecurities I find the me Born this way

***

I wrote and published this poem on Aspiring Mama just around this time last year. I thought now was a good time to remind myself of what I saw then. I hope you are reminded of something beautiful when you glance at your own reflection, as well. Our daughters are counting on it.

A New Day

20120206-002208.jpg  

A strange thing happened after I hit publish on Friday. I didn't notice it right away, of course. There was no dramatic realization. No being struck by a figurative lightning bolt. It was more like the rising of the sun...

Slow. Steady. And something that, when you stop to think about it, shouldn't really come as a surprise.

Sleep was fitful on Friday night. After finally talking myself into throwing caution to the wind and publishing the inside of my head at midnight before falling asleep, I was lucky to wake up in time to get Buttercup to her morning pre-ballet/tap class. I didn't bother bringing a book to read. She upgraded me, you see. A few weeks ago, when she first started, I was timidly asked to remain downstairs in the waiting room while she danced. I'm embarrassed, Mama. Instead of allowing herself to fully relax and enjoy herself with her fellow dancers, I think she had been too focused on my opinion of her performance.

So I waited. And eventually, she asked me to leave my book at home.

I sat in the dance studio with the other mothers while the dancers sues-sused and tapped their happy little hearts out. We smiled and laughed as our daughters delighted in the movement their bodies allow and reveled in their own conspiratorial giggles. We clapped, as a proper audience should at the end of a worthy performance, when the teacher announced the end of the class. Then we helped our happy girls change out of their dance attire and into their street clothes and made our way across the studio to go on with the rest of our days.

That's when I saw my reflection in the studio mirror. I barely registered what I was looking at....there were too many things to do and think about to concentrate on the size of my ass or what my hips looked like. Buttercup was asking questions and we needed to go to Target and The Husband needed me to pick up a few things at the grocery store before we headed back home and I was trying to remember what they were and...

I met my own eyes in the mirror once more before leaving the studio and that's when I saw myself through the light of the new day and realized I had sat in front of a mirror for an hour and only concentrated on my daughter, her happiness, and how I hope she grows up stronger than me.

The woman looking back at me in the mirror was smiling now. Maybe because she realized feelings weigh so much less when shared with others who understand.

Am I fixed? No. But it's a new day. And that's a start.

 

Beauty and the Beholder

It seems the world is trying very hard to remind me of what I thought I already knew. Everywhere I turn I see a new reminder that body image, self-love and self-worth are the foundation on which our reflections are built. And once that foundation is shaken and cracked, it seems that the woman smiling back at us in the mirror is always a bit...unsure of herself.

My friend Janice posted this photo, which she found on Pinterest, and asked her blog readers a very important question and one that I am going to pose to you:

Which Woman Would You Rather Be?

That was the caption used with the image by the person who pinned it. Which woman would you rather be?

I can tell you which woman I'd rather look like. And I can tell you which woman I feel like. And then I can tell you that it's all a bunch of bullshit anyway and none of it matters because it's not about what we see when looking at and judging their bodies. It's what they see when they look in a mirror. It's how they feel about themselves. And who you or I would rather be doesn't mean a damned thing to either one of them.

Maybe that's the point. If beauty is in the eye of the beholder, why are we trying to tell everyone else that what they see is wrong?

My answer? I'd rather be the one who is happy and comfortable in her own skin. I'd rather be the one who loves herself and all that she was, is, and ever will be. I'd rather be the woman who didn't understand what it is to be eating disordered.

Your turn.

Which woman would you rather be?

 

Avoiding Commitment

* I resolved not to make any resolutions.

* So far, it's working out wonderfully.

* Not like the time I resolved to (INSERT EMPTY PROMISE HERE).

* That was a total disaster.

* And I still can't look at Ben & Jerry without blushing.

* Or the time I resolved to (INSERT OTHER EMPTY PROMISE HERE).

* Because my piggy bank is still empty and I may name my next child Starbucks.

* Then again, I was semi-successful that time I resolved to (INSERT HEARTFELT EMPTY PROMISE HERE).

* But that only counts if cupcakes don't have calories if no one is around to watch you eat them.

* Obviously, I suck at follow through.

* So I stick to beating around the bush.

* It's only January 2 and so far I've...

* Not eaten any of the chocolate chip cookies Santa left behind.

* Not even touched the pineapple upside down cake my mother-in-law was kind enough to leave in our fridge.

* Avoided any and all contact with HC Palmquist's pie. You know, the one made with apples.

* Pretended the breadsticks didn't exist at each of the nine restaurants my inlaws treated us to during their visit.

* Made a killer Christmas stuffing by smell and not even one little taste.

* Stuck to my grain-free, gluten-free, sugar-free, dairy-free diet LIFESTYLE CHANGE.

* Skipped the birthday cake for my special pumpkin mousse.

* Only had to talk myself away from the potato chips once in the last 24 hours (PROGRESS!).

* And only had to remind myself twice that how I feel is more important than what the scale calls me.

* But that probably has more to do with the fact that Sally is at HC Palmquist's place...

* You know...to save me from myself.

* I'd like to say I've matured and am ready to follow through on promises I make to myself.

* Instead I'll tell you the truth and admit that I've only made it this far because I've been going strong for two weeks now. All I did on New Year's Day to ring in the new was stay in my pajamas all day and celebrate not having to wear a bra. Obviously, avoiding commitment seems to be working.

That, and sending all the pineapple upside down cake to work with The Husband.

Consider This the Stunt Double for a Clever Title

*The Husband had a jacket that he loved. *It's mine now.

*His pillow? Also mine...until mine no longer smells like him and I steal back the pillow he is currently using.

*Seriously, it's like a never-ending game of keep -away.

*His robe? Mine.

*His old T-shirts as my new(ish) nightshirts? Done.

*His toothbrush? Hold up. I have standards, people...

*And sometimes? All that's left clean out of the three reusable water bottle pack we bought is the pink one (which he HATES taking to work) because I have lost and or/used both of the "manly" bottles I promised him he could have because the pink one was all mine.

*And I still have the nerve to look all What The Hell is Your Problem when he gets pissy because I have a habit of going all Winona Ryder with almost all of his belongings because it's how the game is played, okay?

*For reals and true. It says so right there in little fine imaginary print.

*I'm writing this post in list form because my brain is only capable of remembering how to properly format one sentence at a time.

*Shut up. It's been a long day, which I started by kicking my own ass on the elliptical before I ate breakfast.

*Again.

*Not kidding. I've been instagramming and tweeting my new addiction progress with shots of my total time and calories burned like it's going out of style.

*No, I'm not showing off.

*What I'm actually doing is building a case for myself to prove to the rest of the world that it is entirely possible to work out every fucking day because it makes you feel good and then have to get back on the elliptical to work out again (to feel good) after you forgot the scale likes to make you feel bad that you are working out every day and not losing a fucking pound.

*No, of course I'm not bitter.

*I'm actually typing this as I elliptical again (is that a verb?) so I feel just great!

*Funny thing....

*The Husband had announced a week before our ninth wedding anniversary at the end of September that he wanted to buy an elliptical because with his crazy work schedule he doesn't have time to join a gym.

*He hasn't been on the damned thing once yet and I've been on it almost every day since.

*Which brings me to the actual point of this blog post.

*The Bastard played me.

A Verbal Snapshot

Another re-post. But only because I passed out last night midway through revisions of chapter 20 of my manuscript. And I promise its a good one.

The post, I mean (The manuscript will stop sucking after I finish revising it.)

But right now, let's concentrate on my daughter and the things that she says that only sound totally cute because she's four but would get her Totally Grounded Young Lady if she was 16, shall we?

***

“Mama?” Buttercup’s voice is ending on an up-note. Her eyebrows are scrunched up and her lips puckered in that cute and pensive way three-year-olds are prone to when pondering Life’s Big and Very Important Questions.

“Yes,” I ask, as I throw my bra into the hamper in the bathroom-adjacent closet and step into the bath tub for the same kind of quality time I grew up with.

“Mama?” She hesitates as I sit down. This is unusual. I wait for it, her uncertainty almost giving it away.

“Mama, why are your chichis down there? They are supposed to be up!” She emphasis the statement by holding her upturned palms near her own baby-flat chest.

I want to say they used to be. I want to explain the everything in between then and motherhood. I want to say that DD’s and gravity aren’t meant to get along when silicone isn’t involved. But I can’t. She’s too young to care why bras exist. And I figure I should wait until she is at least 16 to start blaming her for my body doing the whole Softening of Motherhood thing. Which means that the bra is the only thing I can go with.

“That’s why Mama wears a bra, baby,” I say, trying not to laugh. “to help keep them up here.”

I demonstrate by lifting the girls back to their pre-Buttercup positions. While doing so, I make a mental note of reminding The Husband that he promised me a boob lift after I push the next kid out.

“Oh,” she says, still staring at my naked body. “Will a bra help your belly, too?”

The Reverse Sundae (Reappears)

I'm combing through my archives in an effort to maintain just a little bit of sanity while trying to do a massive revision of my manuscript, maintain the blogging schedule because I'm OCD like that, and do that motherhood thing. Santa may be receiving a letter from yours truly in the near future asking for a maid, a cloning device, or a one way ticket to Fiji (his choice), but until I actually have time to write it, it's all about the archived blog posts and a liberally poured glass of wine. Or five.

And because I am now officially dairy-free, may I suggest coconut milk ice cream as a nice alternative for The Reverse Sundae?

 

sundae

Sometimes, you just gotta live it up. No matter what diet or eating plan you are following, carrots sticks and chicken breasts are going to get boring if you don't treat yourself every now and then. So what's a mama to do?

Live it up, of course! But play it smart.

That's how I came up with what I like to call the Reverse Sundae. I was up late one night working on my book and decided I wanted to have some ice-cream. Six months ago, that would have meant a huge bowl, ignored serving sizes, and enough sugar to put an elephant into a coma. But things have changed. I'm working with a nutritionist now, eating as clean as possible and learning more everyday, and best of all, I no longer suffer from the All or Nothing mindset that used to doom me and my good efforts the moment I let a pinkie toe off the proverbial wagon.

So I went down to the freezer and pulled out my Haggen Daaz Five Vanilla ice-cream pint and prepped the counter to slice up some fresh berries and a banana. I also made sure to get my dessert bowl out of the cupboard...the huge bowls I used to use are no longer the first thing I reach for.

Once the berries were slices and nearing the top of my dessert bowl (about a cup of fruit, I think), I placed two smallish scoops of Haagen Daaz on top of my fruit. If I had to do this again, I'd probably say I used less than a serving size and may use even less when I make my next Reverse Sundae.

And that's it! I grabbed a spoon and headed back up to my computer, enjoying every single bite of cooled and creamy fruit as I wrote. I got my fix, a nice serving of fruit to go with it, and felt great about my decision, my new creation, and myself when the last bite was done.

Give it a try and see what you think!

This post originally appeared at Bookieboo.com!

This Versus That: The Rematch

I've had one hell of a week. Highlights included two trips to the emergency room and one doctor's visit that ended in an ambulance ride while Buttercup sucked on a lollipop the nurses gave her to distract from the chaos. No need to worry...I'm not the one who was racking up frequent flyer points with my insurance company. That honor goes to HC Palmquist. I was just the lucky bastard who got to play taxi. I'll be back later with more on the newly discovered lack of gluten free options and the obviously full stash of high fructose corn syrup filled juices that seem to the norm for emergency room patients (at least, at the two hospitals we ended up at), but for now I've called in an old favorite to pinch hit for me while I go try out this new fangled sleep thing all the kids are talking about.

***

@aspiringmama: And? 1 work call, work research, 2 toddler tantrums, and a last nerve in a pear tree…

I wonder how she does it. You know who I’m talking about. That mom. The one with the (work at home/boardroom/restaurant bartender/6 kids and no back up because Her Husband works all day and half the night to support them?) How does she keep it all together? How does she not…lose…her…fucking…mind? Her house might be a bit on the Martha Stewart Does Not Live Here list. Her meals are not always gourmet. And her kids might leave the house in yesterday’s clothing sometimes. But she’s okay with it. That’s the part that gets me. She. Is. Ok. With. Imperfection. And because she embraces the crazy, she has time for herself. And doesn’t tell the kids that Mommy Needs Another Minute as often as I do. Forget the dishes in the sink. They can wait. Let’s play make believe. Screw the laundry pile on the couch. She has a workout to squeeze in before her (deadline/husband gets home/kids lose interest in the movie she popped in the DVD player to buy herself some peace/roast needs to be pulled out of the oven.) Who cares about the dust on the blinds. The dogs need a walk and She has been meaning to make time to call her Best Friend on Skype so She and The Kids can catch up with Those That Matter on the Other Side of the Universe. That mom doesn’t eat, beathe, and live her To-Do List. It’s merely a suggestion for what she might want to try to accomplish today. Not the Do or Die that must be accomlished at all costs…including sleep and her sanity. She remembers to set up her bills on auto-pay so She has one less thing to have to try to remember in between Mommy and I wanna… She has learned the fine art of making it look like she understands the concept of that Balance thing. A few minutes on her (writing project/treadmill/call from The Boss) and it’s back to Quality Time with the Kids. That mom doesn’t have to remind herself that there are roses to stop and smell because she also happens to have her own garden, blooming and beautiful. And somehow, between dinners and bath times and reminders to brush teeth and arguments about which pair of princess pajamas must be worn tonight, between story time and sneaking out after they fall asleep and catching up on her favorite TV show, That Mom has managed to slip into her bed with a cozy book and a nice glass of wine (make mine a double, please). She falls asleep quickly, not worrying about how far behind herself she already is before even waking up the next morning and instead, savoring the moments she made for herself and her family that very day. That Mom would think This Mom is crazy for thinking she has it all together. And she would be partially right. I know she doesn’t. I know her life is her own special brand of insanity. I know she wonders how Other Mothers aren’t wondering where they left their last nerve because she can’t find hers. And Other Mothers are looking at themselves, asking themselves why no one told them the truth about that If You Can Handle a Dog, You Can Handle a Kid bullshit because dogs are easier, assholes. (and houseplants? Are just made of awesome.) All I want to know is, how did That Mom learn to love and live the crazy in order to enjoy the now? How many martinis, Serenity Prayers, and Hail Mary’s did it take for her to… Just Be? I won’t lie. Every night, when I drag myself to bed 3 hours later than planned because Just One More Thing needed to be done, I wonder… How does she do it?

Princesses Wear Hiking Boots

We were reminded of happiness and songs...

 

and admired the little things...

 

I was reminded that real princesses wear hiking boots...

 

because her pretty shoes simply wouldn't have worked while exploring...

 

discovering things like fairy trails...

 

whispering so as not to scare away the fairies themselves...

 

stopping to admire the flowers...

simply because we don't as often as we should...

 

we even stopped to smell a few, too...

and then we brought some home with us.

I am now the proud owner of my own spring mix planter for home-grown lettuce fresh from my bay window. Buttercup says she's got the strawberries covered for dessert.

*These photos were taken at Civano Nursery in Tucson.

A Letter

Dear Scale: It has come to my attention that you are feeling neglected and, quite possibly, suffering from depression related to a lack of purpose. Since I'm not speaking to you right now, I thought it best to address the situation with a letter. You know how to dish it out, so let's see if you can take it, as well.

Okay, that was mean. It's not your fault you are conditioned to be brutally honest and couldn't win a game of poker if you life depended on it. So maybe this isn't a case of you being heartless but rather a case of me jut well...needing some space.

It's not you...it's me...

See, for way too long I have been dependent on you to set the tone for my day. You told me in no uncertain terms how much of me there and depending on your verdict, I was either flying high on finding less of myself or diving head first into a pint of Ben & Jerry's to drown my sorrows. The clothes in my closet seemed to be in cahoots with you, too. It didn't matter if I woke up feeling like I had rainbows shooting out my bum if you called me a fat ass because that marked the exact moment that everything in my closet that fit me yesterday would magically shrink just to prove your point.

That's just not playing fair.

I have an idea what you would tell me if I decided to pull you out and put you to work, and I'm sure I probably wouldn't like it very much. Numbers aren't needed when I feel the softening in my belly from too much of what isn't good for me and not enough of what it. Numbers don't need to tell me that 35 minutes on the elliptical weren't this hard before I decided to kick my Lifestyle change wagon to the curb and hope it would be waiting for me when I finally got my shit together again. I'm not an idiot.  I know I stopped trying. And I certainly don't need you to gloat.

Which explains the silent treatment.

I'll come back to you. Not today. Probably not next week. But eventually. First, I need to get my head screwed on straighter than it's ever been because I'm not the only one along for this ride. I've got a kid who looks up to me for cues on how to relate to life, the mirror, and, when she gets older, the size of her own ass in relation to the rest of the world. The eating disordered thinking that still trips me up after getting myself on track forever ago creeps up and allows for self-sabotage more often than it should, the Prozac I get to cocky to take regularly is obviously something I shouldn't be getting cocky about so I can keep my shit together in the first place, and that whole focusing on health instead of the number thing is something I really need to get embedded in my brain for my kid's sake and mine. I might talk a good talk but, frankly, she's pretty damned smart and I'm quite sure she inherited her father's bullshit detector.

That means it's time to put up or shut up.

The wagon? I fell off. But then I wised up and starting popping my happy pills again and then I climbed back into myself and then I climbed onto the elliptical that's still stuck on the highest setting. I'm trying again. And as long as I try, I can hold my head up high no matter what you say.

But I'm not ready for you yet. I need to focus on the inside of my head first and the feeling of accomplishment after a workout and the example I'm setting for my daughter and the fact that numbers aren't as important as health or happiness. So just give me a little time.

Don't worry. I'm not kicking you out. I'll come back to you when I'm ready. Until then, let's just consider this a trial separation. Oh, and the Prozac is on the top shelf of my medicine cabinet. Help yourself.

Sincerely,

Me

A Fairy Tale, a Bunch of Asterisks, and a Reprint

I'm pulling this one out of the Oldies file, people. Edits on the Manuscript I Hope Will One Day Become a Book are sucking up a lot of time and since it's probably best to not start a new blog post at 1 a.m., you get to read this one from last January instead. I promise to return to my regularly scheduled program when I finish revising.

Did I mention I have 19 more chapters to go?

***

Once upon a time:

*I had a baby

*Gained 45 pounds

*On top of the 15 pounds I was so close to losing before I got pregnant

*Which is technically on top of the 35 I gained after college when my thyroid dumped me

*And blindly believed I would work it off after baby

*I may have peed off about 15 pounds

*Then I ate 10 of that back

*It could have been the Poly-cystic Ovarian Syndrome, the insulin resistance or the hypo-active thyroid…

*But then I would just be pointing fingers because

*Bottom line? I had a major mama muffin top

*And?

*It wasn’t pretty

*So I tried

*Weight Watchers

*Nutri-system

*South Beach

*Counting calories

*Working out till I was blue in the face

*Getting on the scale to check my progress and

*Looking for the nearest pint of Ben & Jerry’s to drown my sorrows in

*Life went on

*Buttercup turned one

*Then two

*And I realized I was still holding on to 35 pounds of pregnancy weight

*So I wrote a book

*And tried

*Weight Watchers

*Nutri-system

*South Beach

*Counting Calories

*Working out till I was blue in the face

*And?

*Looking for the nearest int of Ben & Jerry’s to drown my sorrows in

*Obviously

*Something wasn’t working

*Or maybe all of it wasn’t working

*Then again, the more accurate statement would be that

*My Body wasn’t working

*So

*I

*Tried

*Something Different

*Gluten-free

*Dairy-free

*Low-carb but

*Healthy grains

*Eating clean

*Which means bu-bye sugar!

*(I miss you Ben & Jerry’s)

*And even though I had

*An occasional run in with a bag of Doritos

*And walked into a Snicker’s Bar

*My scale and I made up

*Mainly because it stopped calling me a fat ass when I stepped on it

*But that also could be because

*I have lost 15 pounds since November

*And

*35 in the last year

*Which means

*I am five pounds from my pre-pregnancy weight

*12 pounds from weighing the same as The Husband

*13 pounds from weighing less than The Husband

*And?

*25 pounds from my wedding weight

*Which means?

*I am halfway to passing go and collecting my MILF card.

*And?

*Halfway to my very own version of

*Happily Mother After.

The End

Announcer’s voice: Don’t miss the next book in the Happily Mother After series in which Pauline throws the scale out the window after peeing on a stick.

Pauline’s voice: Can we clarify for the audience, please?

Announcer voice: Hmm? Oh Right. (Clears voice) No sticks were peed on in the making of this blog post.

Pauline’s voice: Thank you.

Announcer’s voice: You’re welcome.

Wait for the Punchline (Or: Does this Feel like Deja Vu?)

I originally posted this in June. And considering that Thursday is the day for Very Important Test at the Baby Making Doctor's office after a recent appointment that totally had me getting very well acquainted with a test tube , I figured this was as good a time as any to remind y'all what's at stake here (read: my sanity) while simultaneously pissing myself off with the reminder that addition sucks when the equation involves time passed and scales that hate you.
Wait, did I just digress?
Obviously.
***

Random Rambling with a point (which makes it not so random, but work with me, here.)

*I lost the baby weight.

*All 40 plus pounds of it.

*It only took me about three and a half years. But who’s counting?

*I am.

*Shut up.

My waistline is purty.

*Hello HOUR GLASS!

*Bu-bye, muffin top.

*Mama needs a new pair of capris! (Size 14 in the petite section at Coldwater Creek, please)

*Because?

*I am obviously the word’s tallest midget measuring in at 5’6” with legs that probably belong on an Oompa Loompa.

*Also?

*I outgrew (undergrew?) the selection at Lane Bryant

*Is that even a word?

*I am still waiting for the parade in my honor, people

*Still waiting…

*I have kicked my sweet tooth to the curb, embraced clean eating, and am all about embracing my inner hippy self

*Which? Means yoga for my insides and homemade soaps and lotions for my outsides

*Someone talk me out of opening my own Etsy store!

*No, really. I’m serious.

*Deadly serious.

*I have a cucumber and lemon habit.

*And an orange habit.

*Which is better than the mall pretzel habit I had when I was pregnant with Buttercup.

*And you know, for the two years after I pushed her out my hoo-ha.

*The Husband thinks I am HAWT.

*Like, for realz and not in that I love you no matter what you look like kind of way.

*Yes, I am only a little bit shallow.

*It’s okay. He is a lot a bit shallow.

*Yes, he freely admits this.

*Which is ironic because now that I am rocking my sexy self again

*He

*wants

*to

*knock

*me

*up

*again.

*Wait for it, because that isn’t the punch line….

*This is…

*I agreed to try and went to the fertility doc and started popping Clomid like Tic Tacs.

*And now? We wait…

*And practice.

*He likes it when I tell him we have, ahem, homework.

*And I tell my waistline I love her every night before I go to sleep.

*Just

*in

*case.

The End

What She Said

I've fallen of the wagon. Or the yoga mat, depending on which way ya look at it. The kicker? It's all under doctor's orders. Sort of.

I went in to see my doctor a few weeks ago convinced I needed testing for a bunch of crazy stuff and go all kinds of insane with the diet limitations like I did in November with no grains/gluten/dairy/sugar not because the scale is pissing me off right now but because, well, I felt better then. I wasn't bloated, moody, tired, as easily depressed, and I sure as hell wasn't craving sugar all the time. So whaddya think, Doc?

"Sweetie," she said slowly, "do you really think you need tests your insurance company might not cover if you felt better when you were eating that way?"

Well....when you put it that way, I guess not.

Doctor Obvious did clear me for celiac disease testing, though. I may have gone mostly gluten-free before the new year rang in, but I haven't always been strict about it because I don't get sick like my husband and daughter do. But, says Doctor Obvious, just because I don't have the same symptoms doesn't mean I don't have the same diagnosis.

Fair enough.

The twist is that in order to get an accurate test result, you need to eat the crap that might be the reason you're feeling like crap to begin with. Enter the breads and flours and baked goods I have avoided like the plague. Add in a few extra Since I'm Already Eating the Rest of that Craps, and you've got me sitting here counting down till Thursday so I can get tested and wake up on Friday the dieting equivalent of a born again Christian.

Was that all supposed to be capitalized?

The funniest part of this whole thing is The Husband's response when I relayed Doctor Obvious' unscientific findings.

"That's what I said, isn't it?"

Semantics, buddy. Semantics.