Tuesday, January 27, 2009

My Mom Body

I haven't been blogging lately because it seems I can only concentrate on one thing at a time and this month it's been my mom body. I told myself I would lose the baby weight by the time Moxie was a year old and of course she's 14 months now and I'm still wa-ay past my weight goals. And my birthday is looming. I'm going to be 35-- I'm moving out of the 25-34 check box and into 35-4..... how high up into the forties does the check box go? Never mind, I don't want to know.

I remember once in high school looking at myself in the mirror and thinking, "if my stomach ever protrudes past my hipbones, just shoot me because it's all downhill after that." I don't know if my stomach protruded past my hipbones the day before I realized I was pregnant with Tallulah, but I certainly know it did the day after. The minute I became pregnant my body started retaining water, calories, and gas like I was a human bomb shelter.

I've been overweight since that first pregnancy and I keep vacillating between "enjoy life. It's only ten pounds." and "I'm overweight and middle age is creeping up on me." The thing is, I love to exercise. I'm pretty fit, I just weigh too much. And overweight has been linked to increased risk for diabetes, heart disease, sweat pants as formal wear...

My goals are modest. I no longer want hipbones that protrude past my belly button. I just want verification that my hipbones still exist.

Friday, December 19, 2008

The difference is shoes

Moxie has developed her personality. It is: opinionated.

Yesterday, while Tallulah was in school, Mox and I were hanging out at home. I was attempting to clean house and The Moo was attempting to destroy it. She was winning. First she discovered Tallulah's crayons, left on the coffee table, and decided to decorate the plain, boring old table. "No!" I yelled. "No coloring on tables!" Then I remembered my positive discipline (it always comes to me a sentence too late) and re-stated it.
"We color on paper, Moxie, paper." I dragged out a big roll of paper, cut a strip to cover the coffee table, and let Moxie at it. We colored together awhile, then I began tidying again. While I was tidying, Moxie crawled over to the shoe rack and picked out a pair of white dress-up shoes I had never put on her before.
"Moxie, those shoes are too stiff," I told her. "They'll hurt your feet."
"Blah," said Moxie, shaking the shoes at me.
"You need shoes that are flexible so your feet don't get gnarled and grotesque."
"Blah. Beeelaaaah!" Moxie said louder.
"Your arches haven't developed yet, and you won't be able to walk in those."
So I put the shoes on her. They were a bit too tight, but Moxie immediately grinned up at me and pointed to her feet. When we went to pick up Tallulah she wore the shoes and greeted everyone she saw with a grin and a point at her shoes. Everyone agreed her shoes were pretty and she was pleased.

Tallulah, on the other hand, is a black shoes girl. Her auntie Kimmie bought her some fancy black Mary Janes and, despite the fact that she has about seven pairs of shoes-- all of which are more appropriate for her everyday activities like running, climbing trees, and pretending to do Kung Fu-- she wears these Mary Janes every day. For every occasion.

They're getting a little beat up so I went to the Stride Rite outlet in Ellenton to buy her some new shoes. They had these:

Cute, right? I wanted to get them for her so badly. I can picture her running and jumping and doing fin stuff in these brightly colored cheery shoes. But I've done this before-- bought her shoes I thought were great only to have her continue to wear black Mary janes until the coating is flaking off and the smell emanating from them envelops the entire house. So I bought her these:


Both my girls-- apparently-- have huge opinions about shoes. And I thought, ok, they are opinionated and fiesty, that's cool. But they look different. Moxie is a little darker in her coloring, her cheeks are a little more bottom-heavy, their faces are shaped differently. They are totally different people with a similar strong opinion about shoes.

Then a friend came across some old pictures of Tallulah when she was about the same age as Moxie is now. Observe:

My children are identical!!! Can you even tell which one is Tallulah and which one is Moxie? Neither can I. I have started marking all the pictures with initials and dates because in about two years I won't know whose baby pictures are whose. The only way to tell them apart will be to look at their shoes. Black? Tallulah. White? Moxie. I have got to stop taking naked pictures.

FYI: if you're playing along at home, the answer key is Moxie, Tallulah, Tallulah, Moxie. Mixed them up, didn't you.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Ah, sweet mystery of love at last I've found you

Moxie won't sleep with me. For the most part. What I mean by this is: Moxie will sleep only if she is attached, Hoover-like, to my nipple and even then she is restless and easy to wake. With Kent, she falls asleep and stays asleep. I tell him all the time it's because he's boring, but that only amuses me a little bit and the rest of the time I feel helpless at not being able to get the baby to sleep.

Kent has gotten in this routine of taking Moxie after her middle of the night nursing and getting her to sleep in the crook of his arm. If she doesn't settle immediately, he takes her downstairs to the living room couch and for some reason snuggling together on the couch puts her to sleep 95% of the time. A couple nights ago this didn't work and I gave her some more midnight snacking time. While I lay there with the baby kneading my tummy with her feet, pinching my breast, and slapping my face, I realized that Kent hadn't come back upstairs and was still sleeping on the couch. Aw, hell no!

Then yesterday it's 11am, I'm still in my pajamas, the kitchen counters are displaying a dirty-dish replication of the Swiss Alps, breakfast shrapnel is still littering the floor under Moxie's highchair, and I'm running around the house with a naked poop covered baby searching for a diaper when Kent breezes in from a meeting, announces that he's taking a shower and then proceeds to take one. The nerve!

I was thinking about this today when a friend told me she and her husband are 'taking a break'.

"We're not really separating. We just need to take a breather from 'us' right now," she explained. To which I replied, huh? Because this is not in my world-view. Sure, we'd all like to take a break-- from our spouses, our kids, the bills, work...all of it. I often, when Tallulah was little, complained that if only I could put the baby on pause for a week, a day, the length of a long nap, I'd be just fine.

But it doesn't work that way. Kids and life and stress and joy just don't wait. In fact, just this week Moxie has been walking, said two new words, Tallulah's tooth got loose, we rediscovered the joy of smoothies... not to mention the regular, everyday stuff like reading the bedtime story and having the following conversation after school pick-up: "How did your day go?" "I don't want to talk about it."

And I know this isn't what my friend was talking about. Grown up relationships have a different pace and rhythm, but I feel it works the same way. We-- all of us, the whole family-- are in this together and becoming each other's strengths by being present for all the little, everyday things. Through sleeplessness and stinkiness and piled up dishes and feet to the abdomen -- all of it. I just can't see how, once you become a parent, you can ever separate the everyday stress and joy from the relationship.

Kent and I have developed a marriage so far removed from the breathless wonder of falling in love. It's messy and loud and spends way too much time talking about who ran the washer last. We spend no time actively being romantic or discussing our inner selves or musing on why we love each other. We don't think about the mystery of love or where our relationship fits into it. Yet somehow, here we are. In the middle of it.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

The zenith of cute

We were at the bookstore and Moxie was pulling everything off the shelves and giving me the baby equivalent of "Whatchu gonna do about it?" so I picked her up, set her on her feet four feet away from Kent and said, "Walk to Daddy." And she did, thus ending her babyhood and propelling her on the path to sullen adolescence.

For the past two weeks Moxie has been developing new toddler-esque tricks. She kisses (only Tallulah gets the drooly ones. Moxie is content to give everyone closed mouth kisses, a fact for which Kent and I are extremely grateful, but attacks Tallulah open-mouthed and dripping. Tallulah is underwhelmed with baby kisses), she finally has some sign language (she touches her fingertips together to say 'more', but since she does it only after shrieking at the top of her volume and pitch levels it comes across as more Dr. Evil than Baby Einstein), and now, walking. There is no way to avoid the movement out of babyhood and into toddlerhood and, frankly, I wouldn't want to prolong babyhood.

We've been making a big deal about Moxie's new abilities and Tallulah had been noticing. "I think I'd like to be a baby again so I can be cute," she told me. So I lied to her and told her she, as a five year old, was just as cute as a baby. This is a lie, not because Tallulah isn't the cutest five year old in the history of five year olds-- she is, obviously. (anyone reading this who actually owns a five year old may take offense to this statement. And I'm sorry for that. I'm also sorry for you for not having the cutest five year old in the history of five year olds. For real-- sorry.)

But it's a lie to say any five year old can match a baby for cuteness. It's a biological impossibility. Babies are designed to illicit protective responses. Those big eyes, the impossibly large and ungainly heads. This is thousands of years of human evolution and we are helpless in the face of it. By five, milky sweet breath has developed into morning breath. Poops are solid blocks of stink. Cute helplessness has given way to incessant attention seeking behaviors.

So, as much as I'm ready to exchange baby lugging for toddler hand-holding, ready to see Moxie's personality change and develop and grow, I know that at some point I'm going to really miss the sweet cuddly baby stage.

But not today.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

My name is Kellie, and I am a self-torturer

There was no desperate housewives last week, thus no streaming episode online, the fug girls took the WHOLE WEEKEND off just because it was Thanksgiving, and I'm all caught up on Hulu's episodes of Bones, Kitchen Nightmares, and Battlestar. So you will excuse the fact that I read Dooce and now am wallowing in Mom Envy.

I don't usually read Dooce. Sure, she's funny. Yeah, she's figured out how to a.) write daily and b.) make a living from her writing. And I suppose that if I were to rate parenting insight and humor 1-10 with 1 being I'd rather be in that part of labor where my hipbones get wrenched apart from the inside, I'd rate her writing as a solid 15. But I'm on a self torture diet and reading Dooce is like an alcoholic sitting across from a Long Island Iced Tea sipping a glass of water. I started my diet, by the way, after attending a yogurt and kefir making class with a friend who does things like make her family's kefir and yogurt from raw milk produced by happy local organic cows. And I came away from the class believing firmly that I must make my family's yogurt and kefir if I want them to grow up healthy and happy. Until this class I had felt pretty good about getting kefir into my family on a regular basis. But now, the shame. The kefir my family drank was from the store. And sweetened. And pasteurized. I might as well just punch my baby in the face. Which is what my husband almost did when I told him about my plan.

Actually, what he did was laugh at me. Then gently reminded me that we'd just moved, had a six month old baby, and I was starting a new job. Store bought kefir was GOOD ENOUGH! Since then, I've had many opportunities to repeat that lesson to myself. I say it like a mantra whenever I start to stress myself over the little things. Dishes piled up in the sink. Moxie finding-- and eating-- Cheerios on the floor. Laundry going straight from the clean basket to my children's bodies with no stops in folded piles or dresser drawers along the way. It's GOOD ENOUGH!

So I kind of prepped myself before I opened up the dooce website. She's going to be funny and entertaining, I said to myself. I want a giggle. Even if she writes about an experience I've written about only she does it funnier and with greater insight. that's fine. What I do is good enough.

Only, dooce is pregnant in the first trimester and still writing every day in funny and witty ways. She's writing upbeat observations about pregnancy and parenting her older daughter. Tra-la-la, life is great and well-scripted. And I can't help but compare it to my own second child pregnancy. I spent week 6 through week 24 lying in the middle of my bed clutching the edges so i wouldn't fall off. It was my boat in a sea of nausea. The only sentences I put together were to tell Tallulah, when she crawled gently beside me, to stop breathing so hard, she was rocking the bed.

The other thing I did which REALLY made me fall off my self torture diet was weigh myself immediately after our second Thanksgiving dinner. Why? Why did I do that?

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Sick in the head

I'm sick, my head is pounding, my nose is running, and Moxie has decided that screaming is the best form of communication while Tallulah has chosen conversationis interruptus (it sounds better in latin) which means that every two seconds I start to ask Kent if he's seen the tissues or the tylenol to which Moxie responds "AAAAGGGGGHHHHHH!" and Tallulah says, "I was TALKING!!!"

Tallulah forgets about having conversation with anyone other than her imaginary superhero friends until either kent or I begin a conversation. Then she remembers, only, instead of beginning a conversation with us or joining our conversation, she just continues her superhero imaginary friend conversation and gets furious with us for not realizing that she is now speaking to us and how do we dare interrupt her train of thought.

And Moxie has decided that sign language, which I've been trying to teach her for the past four months, is totally lame and for suckers and she never sees us using it so why the hell would she? And instead, she's using imitations of the sounds she hears us making, only at a Much Grander Volume.

The only person making me happy in my sickened state is Kent, who just finished cleaning the kitchen after lunch while on a break from his work. I keep trying to tell him how happy he makes me, only I keep getting interrupted. Or out-volumed.

I want to leave the house to replace the tissues or the tylenol that have now mysteriously disappeared (why is it that these things sit on a shelf for months during health and the minute a cold comes on, poof, they scurry away to dark corners until you're healthy again) but I can't because I would have to take my children to the store with me and I'm afraid that some well meaning little old lady or young woman with ticking biological clock will stop me to gush over how cute my kids are and I will start weeping and warning them against the dangers of biology.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Moxie and the curse of the second child

The alternative title to this post is: Damned if you do, damned if you don't

Moxie is turning one on November 28th. Can you believe it? It seems like only ten posts ago I was blogging about being pregnant. Umm, err, ahem. This might have less to do with the passage of time and more to do with my lack of blog entries. However...

Since it's her first, we haven't had to deal with the whole, birthday-near-a-major-holiday thing and I'm figuring out how to negotiate this. We celebrate Thanksgiving typically with my mom and family on the actual Thanksgiving holiday. Then, because Kent is ruthless when it comes to eating good meals as often and in as much quantity as possible, he's convinced his parents to have their Thanksgiving dinner on the weekend so we can eat with them, too. Next weekend is also Moxie's birthday so we decided to have a birthday celebration tonight, a week early.

And here's where being the second child is both a boon and a curse. On Tallulah's first birthday, we invited three babies her age, their parents, Tallulah's cousin, his parents, my parents, my sisters, Kent's parents, our neighbors, and another family. Tallulah was totally overwhelmed and in every picture she is looking dazed, confused, and on the brink of tears. For Moxie's birthday dinner, we invited grandparents. Period. And my set can't make it which means Grandma, Grandpa, Tallulah, Kent, me, and the birthday girl-- just a quiet family celebration. I think this will go over so much better with Moxie and we'll be able to really gush over her and laugh at her little fingers in the homemade carrot cake smashing it around messily. But when she is eight years old and trolling the photo albums for a final score in the game "Who does mommy and daddy love best," I believe she will hold up the first birthday pictures as proof of something unintended.

Plus, Kent decided to get Moxie a present today after he finished work, but she hadn't napped and he rocked her to sleep and inadvertently fell asleep himself. So now they are cuddled up together on the bed looking adorable and sweet. This is, of course, Moxie's preference in life right now: daddy cuddles rate way higher than toys and presents. But, again, an eight year old Moxie is really going to get some points on the scorecard since Kent's nap-share is taking up his shopping time.

This is probably a good time to even out the score: Tallulah, when you were two weeks old, I put you down on the couch and got up to make some coffee. I wasn't more than two steps away before you rolled off the couch and landed smack on the floor. I think this is proof that you should be playing the game, "why did we get stuck with these parents?"

Oh, and here--finally--is a picture of Tallulah's bangs. I took the picture that night, but the red wine made me too lazy to upload. And, no, I did not give Tallulah any of my red wine to dull the pain of her haircut. Who can spare the wine?