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My Favorite Things

  • Naptime
  • Caffeine in various forms
  • Italy
  • The Beach
  • Family camping trips
  • The gym
  • Storytime at the Library
  • Rachael Ray
  • Running

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Judge Not...

In my late night (if you consider 9:00 late) internet browsing, I stumbled across this article on USA If you don't have time to read because you are not sticking your kid in front of Elmo like I currently am, essentially it's about moms judging other moms and the author questions why this is so. I've touched upon this before and I was glad to read the article and see that I'm not the only one who experiences this.

I think when Captain Destructo was born I expected a bit of judgmentalism from the older generation. My grandmother, for instance, has a habit of providing winter wear for my daughter on a regular basis, despite the fact that we live in San Antonio where it's maybe been below freezing once in the 4 years I've lived here. When I went to visit her on the East Coast, she brought a blanket when she met me at a restaurant "in case I forgot how cold it gets here." (side note: I love my grandmother and apologize for throwing her under the bus for the sake of humor). When Captain Destructo was a few days old, I took her to Target in a sling (thank goodness the recall hadn't happened yet; who knows what other comments I would have gotten). An older lady came over, I thought to admire the baby, but actually to tell me how many illnesses she sees at the hospital where she works and how I really shouldn't have the baby out in public (my husband said "really? There are sick people at the hospital?").

It was surprising to me that I felt I was being judged by my peers. I called a friend when Captain Destructo was a few weeks old to whine over how insanely tired I was and how my baby would only sleep in my arms or her car seat, confessing that I had let her sleep in her car seat in the house.
"(Gasp) You're not supposed to do that!" she said in shock.
"Why not?!" My insecure, sleep-deprived self said.
"I don't know. You're just not," she replied.
Helpful. Thanks.

I wonder how much of what I perceived was actually judgment and how much was projection. I felt like I was a bad mom so thought others must feel the same. After feeling insanely guilty about not breastfeeding a full year, I talked with a friend going through the same thing and realized that supplementing is actually pretty common. So if I hadn't reacted so defensively when questioned about it, perhaps someone would have sympathized with me and I wouldn't have felt like such a loser.

I'm off to rescue my peanut butter covered daughter who is done with Elmo and is eating a Kleenex. Don't judge me.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Toddler Discipline and Other Oxymorons

For the first year of Captain Destructo's life, she was an angel. If she crawled somewhere I didn't want her to, I simply turned her around and she would crawl away with nary a sound. Then, she turned one.

Now I know she's only one. I know all of you with two and three year olds are saying "oh, just you wait!" I know, okay? But oh, my, gosh. The switch from baby to toddler happened so fast and so completely that I'm still a little bit in shock.

Captain Destructo started walking the week before her birthday. I clapped and videotaped her first steps and was genuinely excited. For about 6 seconds. Then she toddled past my open arms and into the kitchen, and I realized my life was over. We had done our best to babyproof the house but she quickly proved that it wasn't enough.

Whoever designed my house has clearly never had kids or hates all moms, because the switch for the garbage disposal is on the side of the island about 2 feet off the ground, perfect Captain reaching distance. The first time she flipped the switch, I was across the room and heard the sound. "Captain Destructo, no ma'am," I said as I moved her to another room. 10 seconds later, I heard the disposal again. "Captain, NO." I said, and again moved her. You can imagine the rest.....the garbage disposal switching on about 15 more times and me saying no more forcefully each time. This scene happens nearly every day. I've tried taping over the switch (she pulls it off), clapping while saying no (she laughs), and even popping her on the hand (she looks at me, smacks her own hand while saying "no no no"). So basically I am at a complete loss. Now she will walk to the switch, look at me, turn it on and immediately hold her hand out to me, as if to say, "go ahead and punish me, it's worth it."

In my desperation I read the book The Happiest Toddler on the Block by Harvey Karp. Happiest Baby on the Block saved me during her infancy so I had high hopes for this one. The book likens toddlers to cavemen (which I totally get) and encourages you to growl at them to get them to understand no. Umm...ok. Willing to try anything at this point, I growled....and she growled back. The next suggestion is starting time outs at age one. I admit I have yet to try this as it confuses me so much. I was a teacher and a master of time outs for gradeschoolers. But I can't get her to stay in one place for more than 10 seconds, even when bribed with toys and snacks. How do you get an active 15 month old to sit in time out? Really. Not rhetorical.

So that leaves me where I am today. I am trying various mean voices/loud sounds while saying no to try and keep my daughter from grinding my fingers in the garbage disposal. Can't wait for her to turn 2.

Monday, May 3, 2010

And I Was Running...

This post is completely self indulgent and has nothing to do with being a mom, other than it happened to me. I will return you to your regularly scheduled programming next week.

My history with running is a torrid one. As a chubby kid with rheumatoid arthritis, it's fair to say that the only running I did was chasing the ice cream truck. Once when I was a teenager I was watching my younger siblings while my parents went for a walk (and I sat on the couch. Hence the aforementioned chub). My brother, who is severely allergic to bees, picked that time to walk into a bees' nest and ran to the house screaming, covered in bees. I threw him in the pool and attempted to run the 1/2 mile to find my parents and let them know that their youngest child was in grave danger. When I finally reached them, I was soaked in sweat and breathing so hard all I could do was gasp for air, point to the house and attempt to squeak out the word "bees." He turned out fine, in case you wondered. A bottle of Benadryl does a body good.

After I graduated high school, I learned that the most efficient way (for me) to shed baby fat was running, so I ran for 20 minutes a day on the treadmill. I hated it. I spent the drive to the gym thinking about how much it was going to suck and the entire 20 minutes staring at the countdown on the screen until it mercifully reached 0. I heard of friends who ran marathons and half marathons and laughed, putting them into the same category as friends who did yoga and were vegetarians-great for them, but that would never be me. I would have rather stuck pins in my eyes than willingly run for 4+ hours.

When my daughter was six months old and I still had 20 extra pounds hanging around, a few friends told me they planned on running a half marathon that was about 4 months away. Needing an extra incentive to lose the weight, I signed up. 4 months of training turned out to be really not that bad. There were times I even considered it to be fun. I got to leave the baby with Daddy for a few hours on Saturday mornings and run with friends. Then I got to eat an exorbitant amount of food and not feel guilty. Win-win. When race day arrived, I joined 30,000 other people and ran 13.1 miles. There were times that it sucked, but it was fun and I didn't die. Better still, I finished with a somewhat respectable time (2:07) for a novice runner, which lit a fire in me to continue training.

I kept up my mileage and 2 weeks ago heard about a half marathon in Dallas that looked like a lot of fun-totally laid back, 90% women, and only 1600 participants, so with my sweet hubby's blessing I signed up. I thought I for sure could break 2 hours and might even be able to break 1:50, so I planned on finding the 1:50 pace guy (dude with a balloon that would run the race in exactly 1:50...perfect for dummies like me who can't pace themselves) and sticking to him like glue. I got to the start of the race and discovered that there was no 1:50 pace guy, so I put myself in the front and just started running...quickly. I felt like a million bucks. I felt so good that I found myself on the tail of the 1:40 pace guy, introduced myself and told him I would just stick with him for awhile if that was OK. This seemed like a great plan, as I was thinking at this point that I was Paula Radcliffe and finding untapped talent. Suddenly, at the 7 mile mark, I got tired. Tired like a bus hit me and had dragged me around for about 7 miles. I started asking spectators if they would carry me for a few miles (they laughed....not sure why they thought I was joking). I was getting passed by a bunch of skinny childless girls in sports bras and tall Kenyan looking men. For 6.1 miles I plodded along, cursing myself for starting out so fast and deciding to run in the first place. I should have stuck to board games and Jeopardy...I was good at both of those. Finally, I heard the announcer's voice over the loudspeaker and realized I was almost there. I found a tiny bit of energy left, kicked it in and finished in 1:42. 1:42!! Some (non-Kenyan) people consider that fast! When the day was over, I ended up 20th overall and 2nd in my division (Moms of maybe the skinny girls passing me were not childless).

Today I feel like death....knees hurting and I could use about 12 hours of straight sleep. I'm hanging up the running sneakers for awhile, as it appears that my reproductive system doesn't like running as much as I do and Captain Destructo needs a little sibling at some point (to save from bee stings). But the moral of the story, Mommies, is (voice of Bela Karoli) You Can Do IT! Don't be scared to try something you think might be too hard. You might surprise yourself.

P.S. I hope this doesn't sound like bragging. I've never ever won anything athletic in my life so I hope this is what is considered an appropriate level of pride.