(adorable onesie from A’Dell)
Welcome to Stop Number Two on the Tour of Embarrassing and Stressful Things I’m Forcing Myself to Write About Which You Should Feel Free to Never Bring Up In Person If I Know You In Real Life:
There are a few things in life I find teeth grittingly unpleasant. Things like Bradley Cooper and left over chicken recooked in other food and blog posts from the point of view of the dog, and these are things I can’t do much about, obviously. However. At the very top of this list of unpleasantries is never being able to find a pair of pants that fit in the morning, and this? This I can do something about.
I used to talk about weight loss all the time on this blog. I’ve run three half marathons and I lost sixty pounds, and I had weight loss down to a science. I knew just what worked for me, and I talked about it a lot, as you do when you’re in the middle of it, but then I had two kids and I never got my weight loss mojo back. I find this disheartening because having to relearn something you’ve already learned, especially when it was as hard as figuring how to live my life so I wasn’t fat, well, that sucks.
And at the same time as I shrug my shoulders and admit I don’t know how to do this anymore, I wonder if I’m focusing on the wrong thing. I wonder if I should be learning body acceptance, if I should just eat the cheetos and tell myself this is how god made me and move on. Because I am not interested in being a size 4 if it comes with a side of self loathing, and it always has before, for me. I have never felt thin enough.
I don’t even know where I’m going with this business, but I had a few revelations of late, and so I thought I’d share. The first is that I have a GIANT stack of jeans and pants in a size 10 that ALMOST fit me, and I am NOT going to buy new pants. Right now I wear a size 14 ish and so my wardrobe is limited to two pairs of shorts I alternate between wearing and it would be SO NICE if I could wear the pants in that size 10 stack. I am 5’2″, so buying new pants in a size 14 means that the proportions will be all off and I am just not in the mood to do that much hemming, quite frankly.
The second thing I thought is that I am a big fan of body acceptance. I am, I swear. But it’s just not FUN for me to be me at this size. And really? Life should be fun. I love buying clothes and dressing up (current outfit of paint stained yoga pants notwithstanding) and it is not FUN to do that for me at this size. I want to be excited about buying clothes and dressing up again. The other day when I was at my mother’s house I saw a picture of me from a few years ago and yes, it’s a flattering picture, but I looked really pretty in that picture, and it just made me feel wistful. I want the me in that picture back.
So far my efforts at weight loss have been quite unsuccessful, and I point this out only because this morning in the shower (where I do all my best thinking), I had a final revelation, when I realized that if I do not make an actual effort, I will never actually lose weight. I am going to have to have to actually try to lose weight in order to lose weight. I know. It blew my mind as well. (But seriously, I hadn’t actually made that connection. I blame lack of sleep.)
I’m just really tired of feeling gross and awkward and buying t shirts in a size large. I don’t want to fret about my stomach for rest of my life. I am not certain that I’ll ever be able to wear the size 4 stuff buried in the back of my closet. In fact I am not certain I should ever wear that stuff again, because again, it comes with a huge pile of psychological weirdness that I’m not sure I am up for. But I am damn certain that I simply MUST get off my ass and do whatever it takes to fit into that stack of size 10 pants, and honestly, I don’t think it will be that hard. Although I might have to rob a bank because have you priced a double BOB jogging stroller lately? HOLY HELL.
Lately, around our house, we’ve been working on solving our problems with a little less full body tantrum flailing, and when our train tracks don’t fit together perfectly or our arm goes through the neck hole, we remember one of our favorite books and we take a deep breath and we say “I think I can. I think I can. I think I can!”.
So. I’d like to wear my size ten jeans again.
I think I can.
Oh you guys, you guys.
Today was a hard day.
We finally found a preschool for Eli and today was his first day. And I had so much anxiety building up to this day that I spent all of yesterday and this morning composing a blog post about how I probably should go back on anti anxiety medication. And as the stress and the anxiety built I started to just hate myself, to hate that I just couldn’t be a normal freaking person who thinks little of these things and then goes out and does them. Mr. E, for example, would be utterly unphased by the preschool drop off and the various logistics involved, but here I am, stressing about how to get there and what to say to the other parents and what time I should leave and also totally terrified that because I am so anxious, I am a horrible care giver for my son, who is also nervous and anxious and needs someone who isn’t stressed and worried to lead him into this. I just kept trying to tell myself “it’s not a big deal!” and I refused to let myself think too much about first day outfits or pictures or what to bring, and of course this strategy bit me in the ass when the other food allergy kid had his own snack in an insulated lunch box with his name on it, and my kid had nothing. Zip zilch nada.
People do the impossible every day. It seems ridiculous that I should need to fall asleep to a mantra of “I can do hard things” the night before something easy like taking Pants to preschool, but I guess that’s just who I am, and so I repeated my mantra and then we woke up in the morning and off we went, and it was fine. It was nice, even. We walked to the preschool and I wasn’t late and I didn’t get lost and I filled out the forms and Eli let go of my hand and even though there were some kids lying on the floor crying, he just stood there, a little bewildered, and I unwrapped his finger from my hand, and laughed when he said “Mom, let’s get out of this place!” even though I wanted to say “Let’s. Let’s just go.” and then I turned and I walked out the door. And he didn’t cry, and I was so pleased and surprised and proud.
And then I went and got a pumpkin spice latte, and read my book and sent some text messages and talked to other moms who were also sending off babies to preschool that morning and it was nice. It was really nice. Lightning and I sat in the park and she grinned her gummy smile at me and before very long it was time to go back and get Eli, and so we walked back through beautiful neighborhoods we can’t afford to live in and I turned the corner, early, and a line of children was snaking back into the classroom, and then there was mine, walking in a row of kids, with that bright blond hair and so small and perfect, and with such an earnest sweet look to him, like he was trying SO HARD to do it right and I almost said, quickly, just: “Oh!” because of the shock of seeing that one, mine, in a line, across the hall. Away from me.
They marched back into the classroom and sat on the mat around the teacher for final announcements and all the parents peered in the door, and when Eli saw me, his face crumpled, and he started to cry. And soon as he started he tried to cover his mouth with his hands to make himself stop crying, and he couldn’t, and I had to turn and walk away, because I didn’t know what else to do. I wanted, with all my might, with everything I had, to run in that classroom, to turn to the teacher and say “that’s enough of that, now” and to take my baby in my arms, and to run.
She let him out before the other kids because he was visibly sobbing, and he came right to me and then he was ok. He got back in the stroller and I tried to get him to tell me about the day, but he would only answer “yes” in a small voice if I asked him if he had fun. It’s obvious that while other kids ran and screamed and swung and rode various contraptions around the playground, that he sat and played in the wood chips by himself, which is the same thing he does at the park. And I asked him if he talked to the other kids and he said “No, I was too shy.”
Something about the fact that he cried at the end is particularly terrible, and it doesn’t help that I know exactly how he feels. New things scare me. I am often too shy to talk to people I don’t know. I was that same kid, sitting by myself at the playground, and now I’m the anxious mom who just wants to keep him safe and close and to spend my days with him cuddling, in a cocoon of safe.
I guess I am just imagining him holding it together the whole morning, and then not being able to do it once he saw me, and I hate that. I know how hard it is to hold it together through hard things. I do it every day. I didn’t want that for him. I don’t want that for him.
We’re going to try this through the end of October, to see how it goes. It’s only 5 hours a week, and he needs to be socialized, obviously. He needs to be around other kids and I’m hopeful he’s going to find some other shy little kid to talk about batteries with. I am going to try not to this one tiny experience into “what the rest of your life will be like and it’s going to be terrible and lonely” because even though I was that kid that wanted to read instead of talking other children, I also have a best friend and a husband and a whole group of people who love me so it’s as not as though he is doomed to life being friendless and alone. And he has to go to kindergarten in two years, and it’s not going to get easier, it’s really not.
I was not sure that I should even write about this, because maybe I am too in it right now, if that makes sense. One of my favorite quotes is “Never eat the food as hot as it is cooked” and I do think I will look back on this with a good nights sleep and from some distance and things will seem less dramatic, but the long and the short of it is that I need to hear that your kid was shy, that little Roger did the same damn thing, that it won’t always be this hard, that I am doing the right thing, that I won’t be hunched over a laptop crying in two years when Lightning goes to preschool. I need to know it’s going to be ok, and when it come to this kind of stuff, you guys are the ones I believe most. Please tell me it’s all going to be ok.
Because damn. He’s just the most wonderful boy. Just the MOST WONDERFUL boy, you guys, and the moment when he started to cry and then the hand went up to his mouth to try to make himself stop and he just couldn’t? Oh god. It was a moment of true and utter heartbreak, and man, I thought I knew heartbreak before, and no, no I did not.
WINE FOR DINNER! Am I right? Lord.
Here goes nothin’:
The truth is I wrote that post, about how I felt stifled here in this place where I write about all sorts of business, because 1. I left a comment elsewhere on a post that was asking for advice on how to get a cranky baby to sleep, and my suggestion of placing the baby on a running dryer, which we did ALL THE TIME with Eli, was followed by a comment about how you should NEVER DO THIS NEVER EVER EVER because somewhere once someone did this and the BABY DIED. And I just felt…slapped, and I reacted, because sometimes on the internet it seems we can’t do or say anything ever anywhere about something without someone chiming in about how they once knew someone somewhere who did the same thing and THE BABY DIED and it just felt rotten to be limited by that.
The other reason I wrote that post was because I was fighting with my husband and I really really really wanted to get online and blog about what a giant dillhole he was being, but I knew that was a bad idea, and I was extremely frustrated that I couldn’t write some ranty rant about dirty socks on the bedroom floor. However. Because I didn’t blog about it, I was forced to actually talk to my husband about the situation, and guess what? WE WORKED IT OUT. Crazy times, these.
So, end result – I am going to try to write about things that scare me, and that I am sure will piss some people off, and I am going to try not to write wondering if someone is going to leave me face slapping comments about how THE BABY DIED. However, I probably won’t blog about my husband and his charming tendency to leave a trail of crap for the maid (hint: we don’t have a maid) to pick up.
But to make a long story short, I went to Vermont last week, and when I say Vermont, I mean like, the middle of nowhere Vermont, and because in Vermont they don’t have Target!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! you have to make your own fun which means that people churn their own freaking butter from milk they get straight from the cow. I shit you not. I sat around and shook a jar of cream as ENTERTAINMENT, and although it maybe wasn’t the most exciting time of my life, I can’t really complain about any process that ends with butter. Obviously.
So the thing is that this milk that comes straight on out of the cow is unpasteurized, unhomogenized straight up raw cow goodness, and Eli drank this milk for three days and he seemed – much better than normal. He slept well and he ate more than I have ever seen him eat in his entire life, ever, and as I am the lady who wipes his behind on frequent occasions I can attest that things were better in the downstairs department as well.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Principessa Katerina is just the best baby, she seriously is, except when her stomach hurts, which is a lot. Arwen recommended infant probiotics and they worked, I think, but they didn’t quite cure the situation entirely, and we couldn’t bring them with us to Vermont because they have to be refrigerated. But after hashing it out with Mr. E and listening to his scientific mumbo jumbo about good bacteria versus bad and how it comes from milk and some other things about living organisms or I don’t know what, we gave her a dropperful of raw milk and dudes. She is CURED. I mean, straight up hard core no more gas no more screaming three months old SLEEPING THROUGH THE NIGHT CURED AS ALL GET OUT.
So yes, I am feeding my three month old (small dropperfuls) of raw milk, and my three year old is drinking it too. We get it at the co-op, it’s perfectly legal to buy in California, I am not discussing it with my pediatrician, and I would NEVER normally blog about this because I think it freaks people out but what the hay, I am throwing caution to the wind.
And please note, I know this is not for everybody. And it’s super expensive ($7 to $8 dollars a half gallon), but as long as it’s cheaper than the probiotic ($36 a month) I figure, why the heck not? The space is in my budget already. Oddly, I also use the fact that it’s liquid gold to allay my fears about the safety of unpasteurized milk – because if anyone anywhere gets sick from this milk, the company that makes it is going to lose their shirts. It is in their best interests to make sure that never ever happens. If I get sick from random milk I buy from Safeway, it won’t make any real difference to Safeway. They won’t go under if they make people sick, so they can afford to play fast and loose with cleanliness and sterilization. I am not saying they DO, I am just saying – I trust a small farm who depends on this milk to make their living more than I trust some huge corporation.
I know this makes me sound like sort of a raw food evangelizing hippie, but please keep in mind I could never be a real hippie because the smell of patchouli makes me want to hurl. And I probably won’t be going to any “Yeah, milk” rallies or anything anytime soon, but I can tell you that I got NINE HOURS of sleep last night, in a row.
The fun thing about life is that it’s possible to eat at McDonald’s and feed your kid raw milk in the same day. I know, because I did it yesterday.
I am shamelessly stealing this from Jennie at She Likes Purple. Also, please note that I had to limit this to five songs BUT I am listening to Taylor Swift (“Tim McGraw”) as I write it and I think therefore T Swift totally also counts.
Anyway, here’s the first five songs on my mix tape of all time best songs ever:
1. Brown Eyes Blue by Crystal Gayle. I just have to tell you, this is my favorite song of all time. I consider it perfection in a song. So there it is, number one.
2. My Girl – Eli and I dance to this all the time, and I change the lyrics to “talking ’bout my Eli” and now I can also sing it to MY actual girl. That’s pretty great.
3. All The Good Ones Are Gone – Pam Tillis. When Mr. E and I were first “dating”, I told him that I had to play him the best country music song of all time, and I am sure he was skeptical. Then I played him this song. Then he played it for everyone he knew, and they played it for everyone they knew, and more margarita infused 3 am discussions with various relatives were launched by this song than any other song since. I still believe it to be the greatest country song of all time, bar none.
4. Raspberry Beret -Prince. Don’t you just love Prince? For sure.
5. To Sheila – The Smashing Pumpkins. This was our first dance song, and we thought it was called “You Make Me Real” and then during our first dance song, Mr. E told me it was actually called “To Sheila” and for some reason (eight gin and tonics) I thought that was about the funniest thing ever. We still laugh about it all the time, actually, because we’re boring and old.
Honorary Mention: Crazy, by Patsy Cline. Which is one of my favorite songs OF ALL TIME but wasn’t like, my first dance song so it got left off the list and I am breaking all the rules and putting it on here.
So what are your top five life mix tape songs? Lay ’em on me.