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Challenge week seven: the good, the bad, and the dumpy

            The good thing about joining the Y is that I got to work out one day this week.  Unfortunately, Lilah only made it 20 minutes before summoning me back to the childcare room, where she followed in her brothers’ footsteps by nursing around an unhooked jog bra.  I did my best not to drip sweat on her and wondered, as I had for the other two children, whether she noticed that her meal was a bit saltier than usual.  After she finished, I gave her back to the childminders and dashed back to the locker room for a shower, whereupon I discovered the bad thing about joining the Y.

            Three-quarter length mirrors.

            We do not have a full-length mirror at home, so I had heretofore been spared a view of what my midsection has become.  Also, I am usually accessorizing with a baby worn right over my belly.  Standing there, naked, in the YMCA locker room, I came face-to-face with reality: I am not longer a hottie.  Shit, right now I don’t even qualify as a lukewarmie.

            I’m damned lucky that I am married, because there is no way I’d let some stranger see me from just below my breasts to just above my knees.  If my husband were ever to leave me, I’d need to only date men who are into ankles.  Because those are looking fine.

             On the bright side, I’m down a pound.

Delurking day

Apparently, it is delurking day.  That means all of you who read but never comment.  C’mon.  You know you wanna.


See you on the flip side

Nothing is wrong.  We are all well, and my mood is fine.  I just need a short blogging break.  I should be back next week, but since you are used to five posts a week, I thought I ought to let you know  so you don’t worry.

Challenge Week Three: Sitting around on my ass

I cannot get much exercise because Lilah shouldn’t be out in the cold air right now.  Nonetheless, I lost half a pound last week.  How about you?  If you aren’t losing weight, try to remember that the babe eating ice cream every night is beating you. How’s that for motivation?

In other news, I am shouting out to No Strings Attached Toys,  a small, earth-friendly company.  I had trouble with my order and didn’t hear back for a few days despite two emails.  I went ahead and re-ordered, and got this email:

“Your order has been received and will be delivered guaranteed no later than December 24.  We had some inventory confusion which caused your delay.  We actually ran out of the Lace & Trace Farm but since you had such a difficult time getting in touch with us, we found a way to get one to you in time for Christmas.  Please accept my sincere apologies for our lack of customer service.”

I had not complained or anything.  You don’t get that kind of service at Amazon!

Quick Question

My real post is below, but I need a bit of advice.  I have signed up to buy a gift for a girl on a reservation in South Dakota who apparently won’t be getting much this year.  She also needs socks and hats and mittens, which obviously have to be WARM.  Any suggestions on a website where I can order warm socks, hat, and mittens for a 13 year old girl?  All I can think is Lands End and LL Bean.

Go below for my real post for the day.

Part three: Asymmetry

This is part three of a multi-part post.  Click here for parts one and two.  More to follow.

            Because it is in Brentwood, our pediatrician’s office is in a building with valet parking only.  On Friday, as I hefted my whimpering baby out of the car, I was quite happy to have someone else park the damned thing.

            “I can squeeze you in at 10:45,” the receptionist told me.

            “Sounds good.  I’ll wait right here in case someone cancels in the meantime.”  The receptionists at UCLA Brentwood are perhaps the finest in their field.  These ladies are, for some reason, always patient, pleasant, and efficient, which is no small feat for women who spend all day talking to insurance companies and irate patients.  They remember who I am every time I call or show up, although I guess they hear from me pretty frequently, what with one child or another.  They took one look at me and my baby and did what had to be done: they told a nurse of our plight.  I tell you all of this so that you know, should you ever have occasion to deal with these people, you had best mind your manners or I’ll be kicking your ass up and down the mean streets of Brentwood.

            Because the staff in the office is so fantastic, they got us into a room.  “In case the doctor gets here before any scheduled patients, so you are ready to see her,” said the nurse.  As it happens, that is precisely how things worked out.  Which is how, fifteen minutes later, Dr. Garvey was holding a stethoscope to Lilah’s chest and then telling me it sounded like pneumonia.

            That was when our day started to get interesting.

            First of all, I learned that our doctors’ office has an x-ray machine.  Second, I learned that one diagnoses pneumonia via x-ray.  Third, I learned that the best way to x-ray a baby’s chest is for her mother to hold her arms in the air while her tushie rests on a stool.  Before we get to the part when I learned Lilah had pneumonia, there is the moment when I stood in the hallway and saw my little girl’s lung x-ray hanging on the viewing screen.

            At that moment, I had a momentary memory of seeing a chest x-ray once before, almost three decades ago.  I was in my father’s house, and somehow I came upon a large envelope.  I have no recollection of how I found it or what I asked, whether it was shown to me or whether I stumbled upon it.  But, somehow, I was looking at an x-ray of a very sick set of lungs, and my father was telling me that those were the pictures taken of my mother’s chest while she was being diagnosed with the lung cancer that had already spread around her body.

            Yes, despite the fact that my father neglected to keep the home movies my mother made for her children before she died, he did manage to stow away the x-rays of her diseased lungs for our viewing pleasure.  He’s kind of a sentimental guy.  It was creepy, remembering her x-rays while looking at my daughter’s.  But, because I am a sucker for things like metaphor and allusion, I immediately started to wonder what was poetic about the moment.

            Not much, of course.  In this case, it simply was symmetry without meaning.

Part Two: Albuterol

Part two of a multi-part post.  Click here for part one.  More tomorrow.

            Zachary, properly chastened, was cooperative and quick about drop-off.  Frankly, he is never sad to see me go, once I have adjusted his wardrobe to his satisfaction and escorted him over to the activity of his choice.  Lilah was snorting like a pug in the Baby Bjorn while I escorted Benjamin to the bathroom, where he made his daily comment about the lovely pink disk that lives in the urinal and that he delights to pee upon.

            Unfortunately, the other parents who live near us were not yet at school, and I paced anxiously awaiting the arrival of one or the other.  When one arrived, I shanghaied her before she even got in the door.  Her elder child leaves school later, so she would have one spare car seat to buckle in Benjamin, and she was happy to drive him home if I didn’t make it back on time.

            There is a moment that a stay-at-home parent of more than one child knows all too well.  It is the moment after a frantic morning when one or more of the elder children has been deposited at school.  Although we hate to admit it, there is incredible relief in having checked him off the list of things to worry about.  For me, there is a “one down, one to go” phenomenon between leaving Zach in room one and leaving Ben in room nine.  As I leave one and then the other in the presence of his friends and classmates, as they run off with barely a nod back in my direction, I notice a marked increase in the oxygen around me.  I call it the Albuterol Effect.

            Yes, dropping my sons off at school some mornings feels like using my inhaler during an asthma attack.  Judge me if you will, but if you have more than one child, you probably know just how much of a relief it is to know you have a few hours to collect yourself and address the needs of the younger child.

Lookin’ for love

            Last year, I went onto the Bloggers’ Choice Awards and was pleased as punch to discover that Slouching Mom had nominated me for The Blogitzer, which means she thinks I’m way smart.  My confidence as a writer was awfully low right about then, and it meant a lot that she would nominate me.  So, imagine my chagrin when I posted a link and got only a handful of votes.

             The problem, it turned out, was technical.  The site wasn’t registering the votes for me, but by the time we had figured it out, folks were tired of voting for me over and over, to no avail.  I got a whopping 13 votes all year, and one of those was mine.

              Well, here we are again.  Slouching Mom nominated me once again, although you’ll note she did not nominate me for Hottest Mommy Blogger, a title I surely would deserve if I didn’t have baby vomit dripping down my cleavage.  Once again my confidence as a writer is circling the toilet bowl in the publishing houses that are ever so enthusiastically rejecting my work.  I could use a little lovin’.  (And, Slouchy, thank you for yours!)

               So, I know some of you hate these awards, but if the rest of you wouldn’t mind, please click here or on the handy little button to the right.

               And, if anyone thinks baby vomit is hot, you know where to find me.

Challenge: baseline

Today is the baseline weigh-in, people.  I am not putting my weight up not because I am ashamed but because there might be some who are heavier (and probably taller and bigger-boned) who have set this weight as a target.  This is not about comparing with others but rather about reaching personal goals and supporting one another.  So, as of today, we have all lost zero pounds.  Weigh in again next Sunday to see the progress one week has brought.

If you feel so inspired, please make a note in the comments of one change you are making this week towards healthy living.  It may help others make some changes, too.

My family has switched our one night out a week to an all-you-can-eat soup and salad place.  It has the added benefit of being cheap and having no wait for the food.  Fortunately, they have muffins for Zachary, who would otherwise starve.  They also have soft-serve, although Benjamin usually quits his frozen yogurt to return to his peas.  That’s one kid who definitely does not need to make any changes for healthy living.

Up for the challenge?

            I am starting to hate ice cream.  Ever since I realized the correlation between eating a bowl of ice cream with peanut butter on top (don’t knock it till you’ve tried it) at bedtime and my milk supply the next day, I have eaten it every night.  Sometimes I am not in the mood, but I eat it anyway because if I don’t, my milk supply will be trashed for two days.  Ice cream has now become an obligation.

            My bedroom at 3 AM is the site of a reverse manufacturing process where my breasts turn ice cream into milk.

            Needless to say, I am unlikely to lose the baby weight anytime soon.  I am 20 pounds up from my pre-pregnancy weight.  Before you pooh-pooh that, let me explain that I gained 30 pounds.  Since the baby was 7 pounds and you have to figure another couple for all the fluid, breastfeeding for the last two months has clearly not helped me lose anything.  I have resigned myself to the extra pounds right now, as feeding the baby is my top priority, and I went down to the local consignment shop to get myself jeans three sizes larger than I usually wear.

            In an interesting turn of events, my husband also wants to lose 20 pounds., although he does not have a convenient scapegoat for the gain.  He’s having a rough time sticking to a diet, so I have challenged him.  We are going to see who can lose the weight first: him dieting or me breastfeeding.  Over Thanksgiving, a cousin who also wants to lose weight joined the contest.

            Now, I’m opening it up to the larger public.  If you are struggling to stay on a diet, please feel free to join in.  If you only have ten pounds to lose, you can compete for the first ten.  If you have 30, stick with us for the first 20.  Weigh-ins are Sunday mornings before breakfast.  You do not need to tell your weight, just the weight change from week to week.  If we get any participants, I’ll post my weight change each week and you can leave yours in the comment section.  (You can also do it without telling the world your change, but please tell me if that is your plan so I know whether anyone is interested; if no one speaks up, I’ll not bother to post it.)

            December may seem an odd month to diet, but I submit that it makes a good deal of sense.  You don’t need to decide each cookie on an individual basis if you have sworn them all off.

            I want to also note that I only want people participating if you are doing this to feel healthier and more active.  If you are a swimsuit model trying to go from thin to emaciated, fuck off.  We don’t need your kind around here.  This is a friendly competition for people trying to support one another in a healthy lifestyle.

            So, anyone in?  After all, how hard can it be to lose more weight than the chick eating ice cream every night?