Monday, May 23, 2011

Seaside dreams

We're headed to the beach again this summer and I am just starting my favorite beach preparing planning!!

I think there will be lots of room for tasty salads like this yummy Poppyseed Chicken Salad from Real Simple:

And this delicious Crab Salad Sandwich setup from the latest Martha Stewart Living Magazine:

And who could resist a Tomato Caprese salad. YUMMMMM!!

Of course, the thing I'm most looking forward to is an indoor clambake with lobsters, steamers, corn on the cob, potatoes and sausage...just like the one we had at our wedding back in '07 (photo by: Kate Whitney Lucey)

And it just wouldn't be vacation without some freshly baked zucchini bread with chocolate chips.

Do you see why this is my favorite part of planning the beach vacation?

Friday, May 20, 2011

Monkey Jumpin'

Every morning when I go to get Little G from his room, I hear him jumping vigorously in his crib. His enthusiasm is pretty contagious.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Fat Girl

Picture this. You have a daughter. She's in school - maybe 6 or 7 years old. The town you live in has a mandatory BMI testing for the kids in your school. So the whole school is tested and then they send the results home to the parents...pinned to the outside of each kid's back pack. While waiting for the buses or to be picked up, your daughter, along with every other girl, and some boys, in the school, is traipsing around comparing BMI numbers that are prominently displayed on backpacks and grouping themselves accordingly.

This happened last year in a town near mine.

Here's another scenario. You're a previous Olympic-hopeful swimmer. You're in amazing shape. You and your husband are both active, strong, sturdy and athletically built. You have a son who is five. At his pediatrician appointments, the first thing they do is weigh your son and tell you his percentages compared against other kids his age. They tell you right in front of him that he needs to lose weight - even though he's just as active, strong, sturdy and athletically built as you are.

This happened to a woman I know from one of my mommy groups.

How about this scenario. You're a new mom. You are overweight and feel unattractive. The attention you give your body is focused on losing weight and looking prettier so you will feel better about yourself. You talk about it with your friends with your baby in tow. You fester over it in front of your children. You focus on it for years and your children grow up thinking that in order to be happy, you have to meet a level of beauty defined by popular culture.

A woman came and spoke to the mom group I attend at a local church and it was eye opening for me. She spoke candidly about the eating disorder she had as a teenager that was started after she realized she looked different than the other girls at school. Her family didn't talk about feelings, so she lost herself in her need to feel happy. She has been recovered for over twenty years, but it opened her eyes to the messaging we give our children and she's doing something about it. She runs several support groups for women with eating disorders and speaks often to groups about the importance of the messaging we give to our kids.

I am a new mom. I am overweight and I feel unattractive. I feel like if I lose weight I will feel better about myself. I make fun of myself in front of my son. I fester over it and if I am not careful, I will raise my children to think that the popular culture's ideal of beauty is the only way to be happy. I want my children to love themselves. Because when you love yourself, than you give yourself the power to be a healthier person.

Changing my attitude towards my appearance is going to be the hardest change I have ever made in my life. I am going to have to work on it every day. Especially because I am NOT healthy. My first inclination is to think, 'If I were healthier, than I would be happier; I would be a better person'. And while part of that statement could possible be true, the real truth is believing that 1) I am not a bad person or a bad mother because I am not healthier and 2) if I allow myself to be happier, than I will be more empowered to be healthier.

The messaging our kids receive from popular culture, from peers, from insurance companies that send home letters to kids with high BMI's, and from our own inabilities to love our bodies is daunting and unhealthy. As a parent, I can only hope to release my children from the shackles of insecurity, but the only way to do that is to let myself be free too.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Still not the way I thought it would be

Back in January of 2009 I wrote a post called Not the Way I Thought it Would Be; about what happened when I found out I was pregnant with Little G. The short version is that I tested five days out and the test came back with one pink line and one very faint pink line and when I rushed downstairs to ask my husband what he thought that meant, he sort-of brushed me off and suggested we wait a few days and see.

This time was a little bit different and yet STILL surprised me. Even though I had warned the masses not to test early because it's a recipe for going stir crazy; I did just that. Tested early each and every time during the months we were trying to conceive. And every time it would come out negative and every time I would think, "well, maybe I am and it just isn't strong enough yet." Inevitably, I would test again the day my period was due and then the next day my period would show up. It was a great way to waste money.

So in January, when it was coming time for my period to show up, I promised myself I would not test early. Except we were going away, and if I WAS pregnant, I wanted to know before we went away (I seriously can find an excuse for everything). So I did test. 6 days early. And it was negative. And I was crushed.

So I went to Pennsylvania. Remember this post about Extreme Toddlering where Little G was hurling himself down the slides at Monkey Joe's...yeah, it was THAT trip to Pennsylvania that I was headed to. While I was there, the date of my period came and went and I started to realize that since I tested six days early, I could very well have tested too early which meant that if I waited until a couple days past my period that I could test again and it would make perfect sense that my first one had been negative. (I know...CRaaaZZZZyyyy lady!!).

So the morning after that fun day at Monkey Joe's, when I woke up slightly feverish and feeling quite squicky, I decided to get myself to a CVS and get a pregnancy know...just in case. Little G went down for a nap and my mom headed out to walk the dogs and I hemmed and hawed and went back and forth and finally decided to just do it. So I peed on the stick and refused to look at it until three minutes had passed. And there they were. Two. Pink. Lines. As clear as day.

I sunk to my knees in the middle of the living room and cried and cried and cried while repeating, "thank you, thank you, thank you" over and over again.

Soon my mom came home and I was able to show her the test and she was super excited. I was heading back to Massachusetts that afternoon after Little G got up from his nap and I couldn't wait to tell my husband. But this time, I wanted it to be different.

Not too far from my mom's house is a mall with a Gymboree. I called and asked if they had any shirts that said Big Brother on them and they had one in a 3T so I quickly raced to the store before Little G got up from his nap. Soon it was time to head to the airport, so I changed Little G into his new shirt...
...and put his jacket on and headed to the airport. It was cold when we arrived and my husband met us, so we never took his coat off before getting in the car. It was SO HARD to not spill the beans while riding the 1/2 hour home from the airport. Then, when we got home, my husband busied himself with something while I was still trying to get him to take Little G's coat off!

Finally, I pretended I forgot something outside and said, "I'm going outside, can you please take his coat off?"

My husband unzipped Little G's coat and got it halfway off before saying, "What are you wearing?" cutting himself off halfway to look up at me and exclaim, "ARE YOU PREGNANT?!"

It was totally awesome to tell him that way. He picked up Little G and hugged me and we both laughed that this was much better than last time.

We used the shirt a few weeks later to tell my in-laws while we were talking to them on FaceTime and I took a picture of Little G in the shirt and sent it to my sister when we told her, so it's gotten a little bit more use. And since it's a 3T, I'm hoping it will fit when the bean finally arrives in November.

So...anyway...long story, but still fun. If you made it this far, thanks :)

Friday, May 13, 2011

On the Road

I have an observation that makes me uncomfortable.

Every Monday and Tuesday morning when I take Little G to day care I notice something. The closer we get to his day care, the worse the driving habits of those around me. Little G's day care is not in a great neighborhood and is surrounded by even more less-than-even-mediocre neighborhoods. So I have started to associate bad driving with the type of people that I see in the neighborhoods while driving Little G to day care.

A few examples of this are:
  • blatant disregard of red lights - as in, being stopped at a red light, but once seeing there is a space for a car to get through the traffic, just blazing right through the red light.

  • passing cars while JUMPING OVER EMBANKMENTS - just to get to the next intersection faster

  • speeding up as fast as one can to make the left hand turn arrow; running out of time, and instead of stopping, plowing through the intersection missing oncoming traffic by mere inches

  • Or my personal favorite, pulling out in front of full speed oncoming traffic and just stopping and blocking all lanes of traffic so no one can move anywhere
What the heck, people?! I'm as much of a yellow light running, 5 mph above the speed limit (10 on highways) driving rule breaker as the next guy...but this is out of control.

And why exactly IS it so blatantly worse the further into the hood I drive?

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Benefit of the Doubt

A few years ago, before I was pregnant with Little G, there was a story in our local news about a couple who were headed to the hospital to give birth to their third, maybe fourth, child. They were trying to get into the city from a town up north and were traveling down the break down lane to get past the rush hour traffic. The couple was stopped three times by state troopers for travelling illegally in the breakdown lane. The first two troopers let them go, but the third ticketed them. Apparently, the trooper told them they could have an ambulance take them, or they could get back into rush hour traffic. They eventually made it to the hospital and she didn't end up giving birth until at least six hours after her arrival.

At the time, there were so many opinions strewn about on the local news board; most of them blaming the couple. If they were that much in labor, they should have taken the ambulance; and if they weren't, than what right did they have to bypass all the other people in traffic? If it was their third kid, than they should have known exactly how long it would take to go through labor. Why were they going so far away from home, anyway? People with kids think they own the world. etc., etc.

I hadn't had a child before. I had no idea what my opinion should have been but I do remember myself wondering if she didn't have the kid until 6 hours later, than what exactly was the big deal waiting in rush hour traffic.

Then I got pregnant. And the time came that I was so pregnant that I had to go to the hospital. I wasn't even having contractions; I had to get to the hospital first before I would get the prostaglandin that would eventually start my labor. And yet, as we drove to the hospital and I was as pregnant as a person can get without having contractions yet; I remembered the couple from months prior and 'got it'.

I wasn't even in labor and every teeny, tiny bump of the car was excruciating. Just sitting there was painful and I wasn't dealing with contractions! I couldn't even fathom how that poor woman would have been able to sit in traffic trying to get downtown no matter WHAT stage of labor she was in. Yet, I could totally understand that the last thing she would want would be to get in the back of an ambulance. Totally unnecessary, ridiculously expensive, not to mention the logistics of meeting up again once her husband finally made it.

It was a lesson in not making blanket assumptions when I had absolutely no experience with the subject.

So the other day, when I saw a friend post a tweet about a parent stopping on the side of a major highway in Boston so their kid could get out to pee and how wrong she thought it was; it really got me thinking. This friend is not a parent in the typical sense of the word. (She has a dog; which can have its entirely own set of logistical nightmares. But she doesn't have children.) So I know that our initial reactions to the situation were completely different.

As a parent, I see that situation and think to myself that 99% of the parents out there would NOT want to be the parent who has to stop on the side of the highway and let their kid out. So if they are, my guess is it is for a pretty dire reason. Whereas my pre-child self would have been just as indignant that my commute was that much more obnoxious; I find myself post-child thinking of that poor mother and how stressed out, frustrated, mad, embarrassed and concerned she must have been.

There's no right or wrong reaction to these types of events that happen. There's no way we can ever know every single detail behind every single situation. But if I have learned anything in the last few years, it is that sometimes the benefit of the doubt is the best way to lean. Because if it were me trying to get down the highway in rush hour traffic with a baby on the way; or if it were me stopped along the side of the road at the most inconvenient time because my child needed to get out. right. now. than I would need to hold onto the belief that someone out there was kind enough to give me the benefit of the doubt.