Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!

Yesterday, in preparation to scare my children, my 87-year old grandmother dressed herself in a white sheet and covered her face with a semi-transparent white hockey mask.

She then drove across town, parked two blocks away and walked to my house - fully costumed.

She then snuck in the back door and all hell broke loose. I'm quite certain Cameron will never sleep in her own bed again.

She might very well be crazy but if this is what crazy looks like - sign me up. Crazy is so much fun. 

Happy Halloween!

PS. Watch out locals - She's not finished yet. She'll be out on the town tonight - she wants to go 'spook' people. 

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Boot Camp

Jillian Michaels and I are breaking up. Maybe not forever but for now. She has taken me as far as she can. She has helped me take the baby-weight off, but now I'm stuck. 

I've reached what is known as a weight-loss plateau. Now, in terms of exercise, the idea of a plateau seems nice - it's flat, easy, and serene. If I were running, a plateau would would be my hands-down favorite terrain. However, I'm not running. I'm not doing much of anything. I'm stuck. Going nowhere. My weight-loss has stalled out. I can't lose an ounce. 

So I'm ready to abandon TVs toughest trainer. I'm ready to take serious action. Before the Halloween candy arrives, before the Thanksgiving celebration begins and before the Christmas festivities take up residence on my thighs, I've decided to take get serious. I've enrolled in a 6-week boot camp.

Typing those words - boot camp - makes me nervous.  Really, terrified is a more appropriate word. Just thinking about boot camp leaves me soaking with anxiety produced sweat.

I do not exercise in public - the humiliation risk is too high. I have mean angry fat. My fat, when I jump, slaps against other pieces of fat and produces a flap, flap, flap sound. My own fat mocks me. My fat isn't just fat - it's mean. Flap, flap, flap. 

Also, I am uncoordinated, overweight and have a leaky bladder.

I can almost guarantee the following things will occur: 

1. I'll pee myself

2. I'll trip

3. I'll fart

It is also almost guaranteed that all three of those thing will occur at once. 

In my greatest nightmare, I can not make it through the class, pass out, while peeing and farting. The paramedics then have to be called to pick me up, and my fellow boot campers will tell the them, "we're not sure what happened but we heard a strange flapping sound."

Perhaps boot camp will be like my now defunct Bunco dice game group. We always intended to play the game, however, somehow forgot most nights and ended up drinking and eating appetizers. Maybe I can lure the boot camp crew to abandon exercise for some Bud Lights and some spinach dip? I rock with Bud Lights and spinach dip. Now, while that will not accomplish any fitness goals, I'm pretty sure Bud Light and spinach dip can cleanse any stressed-out soul. 

As if public exercise weren't intimidating enough, this boot camp also requires weekly food logs and weigh-ins.

I won't tell anyone my weight - sometimes I can't even face it myself as I stand backwards on the scale at the doctor's office while they scribble something about needing a psych consult in my chart. Only in the midst of the most harrowing circumstances - child-birth - have I ever revealed my weight to anyone. And that was to the anesthesiologist because he held all the good drugs. In fact, I think I even added a few pounds so he would up the dosage. 

My food log will surely be disappointing to the boot camp sergeants - I hate dieting. Being hungry makes me extremely uncomfortable and well, I'll say it, bitchy. I've tried Weight Watchers twice and both times it nearly ended my marriage as I constantly bit my husband's head off - and then tried to eat it. 

So, yes, clearly I need to break up with Jillian and give this boot camp a go. However, I will begin this 6-week odyssey prepared with the necessary tools: a diaper, gas-x and a marriage counselor.

If my tools fail me, I'll throw it all away for some Bud Light and spinach dip. Flap, flap, flap isn't so bad. Bunco anyone?

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Okay With Being Done

Nearly every desperate and completely unoriginal parent (I include myself among them) teaches their children the lesson about jumping off the bridge. You know the story — the one where if all your friends jump off the bridge, you shouldn't follow.  There are a lot of problems with that story, like why are all of your friends suicidal? Was it something you said? However, despite the troubling example, the message is this: be yourself, go your own way and be smart enough not to throw yourself off a bridge.

This lesson has never been so applicable to my life as it is right now. I reiterate the bridge lesson every day in my head. I tell myself over and over "don't jump, don't jump."

You see, six — yes, SIX of my very closest friends are pregnant. Everywhere I turn, I'm hit with a swollen uterus. If pregnancy were a contagious disease, I'm sure I would have caught it by now and I'm quite certain it would have killed me. 

My general baby/pregnancy/labor stats aren't great. Take preeclampsia, for example — I'm two for three on my pregnancies. I'm batting 100% when it comes to gestational diabetes. Out of of three attempts with an epidural during labor, I've had just one success. And on the other end, two of my three children fussed and spit up for months with reflux and colic. As a bonus to all that fun, I gained 40-, 45- and 55-pounds respectively with each pregnancy, a grand total of 140-pounds that I gained and then had to lose. 

Yet, as my friends all plan for their new arrivals I find myself settled in a strange place between envy and relief.

Envy says: Awe, they're going to have a baby. The day the baby is born will be the best day of their lives. It really is so amazing. I want to do that again.

Relief says: Shut the hell up! Labor is awful. Do you remember threatening to jump out hospital window last time? 

Envy says: Babies are so sweet and tiny. I want to sit in the glider and hold another one on my chest as we both fall asleep.

Relief says: You're crazy. That happened, like, maybe once. Your babies don't sleep. They leave you in a half-crazed, semi-delusional state for almost a solid year.

Envy says: I love little baby clothes.

Relief says: That's just more piles of laundry to deal with every, single day.

Envy says: Watching them grow in the first year of life is so amazing. They change so fast and it really is such a miracle to see them become little people.

Relief says: Abbie, you have plenty of little people to care for and most days, let's be honest, you struggle.

In the end, there is only really one conversation that matters and it goes something like this.

Me: Justin, are you sure we're done? Are you sure there isn't just one more pair of little feet missing from this family?

Justin: Are you crazy? Have you seen the pile of shoes by the front door? If we have any more feet in this house, we won't be able to get out of the house  - ever! 

In the end, I know he's right. Someone stab a fork in this uterus — it's done. No really, someone stab me. I don't want to take any chances. 

It's bittersweet knowing there won't be anymore babies to bring home, or any more first words, first steps or first birthdays. But I'm at peace knowing that though I would do it all over again, I don't have to do it one more time. 

Monday, October 8, 2012

Be Still My Heart

* I found this in my drafts folder. I forgot to publish it. So - here is it - one year late. That sounds about right. *

Last year, Hadley was apprehensive about starting Kindergarten, and by apprehensive I mean she spent hours and hours sobbing in the days leading up to the first day of school.

My efforts to console and calm her were met with no success.

So I decided I'd have to bribe buy her a nice little back to school gift.
Hadley's Back-To-School Necklace.
She seemed to like it, but when the first day of school arrived, she didn't want to wear it. That was fine with me - I wasn't going to push it.  I would be thrilled to just have her walk through the doors.

I had forgotten about the necklace until recently when Hadley was showing me all of the jewelry in her jewelry box.

Hadley is a hoarder, um, I mean meticulous about her things - so, I was taken aback when her 'Be You' necklace wasn't amongst her treasures. I asked her about it...

ME: Hadley, where is your 'Be You' necklace?

HADLEY: Oh, it's in a drawer.

ME: Why isn't it in your jewelry box? Why don't you ever wear it?

HADLEY: Well, mom, it's uh, kind of embarrassing.

ME: What!?! Why is it embarrassing?

HADLEY: I don't know mom. It just is - its all like 'Be You.'  A necklace that says something? It's weird. 

ME: Oh ok, well you don't have to wear it. It's fine.

Secretly, I was crushed! She didn't just not like my gift - she was embarrassed by it. So embarrassed that she wouldn't even include it amongst her other jewelry - it had gotten shoved in the back of the underwear drawer. Sheesh!

A few weeks later, Hadley was playing with her American Girl Doll and asked me if I could be the teacher.

I said sure. This requires absolutely NO effort on my part. This is one of my favorite games. She spends a significant amount of time readying her doll for school and then "drops her off" with me, the teacher. Hadley then runs off to play while I "teach" the doll.

I set her doll up on the counter and opened up the backpack that Hadley had packed for her to find this: 

Hadley's note to her doll.

Even though her six-year old taste had deemed the necklace all wrong, the message was just right.

It had sunk in. She got it. 

She was sharing the message with her doll as she sent her off to school. Hadley probably figured she'd need some encouragement since she'd be facing such a mean teacher.

Hadley's little note of encouragement to her doll, in turn, encouraged me. The message being: Keep going. Keep trying. You're getting through. In small amounts and in small doses, she's hearing you. 

It was a small victory - but I'll take it and hold onto it and if I lose it, I'll know to check the underwear drawer.