Monday, September 28, 2009

My Number

Every female knows their number. Your number isn't necessarily how much you currently weigh, but it is the number you once weighed or the number you've never weighed but always wished you'd weigh, or the number you think your friend who is your height weighs so you figure you should weigh that, too. Maybe your number was your weight in high school or college or at your wedding. Whatever the significance, I think most of us are always on a quest to get to that number.

So my number for a long time was 130. I don't think I've ever weighed 130. I may have briefly weighed 130 on my way from 129 to 131, but I've never actually held my weight at 130. Why did 130 become my number? I'm not exactly sure. It seemed to be a healthy weight; not to fat but not unattainable. 130 was the weight my Mom was (maybe is right now) and she seemed slim and pretty, a good role model as I grew up. 130 is toward the bottom of my range as provided by Weight Watchers. 130 seems like a number you could have on your driver's license without fear that the bouncer carding you might think you're a fattie.

When Shawn and I got engaged, I went back to Weight Watchers, hired a trainer, and set my sights on 130. If I didn't get to 130 for my wedding day, I figured, I would never get to 130. So I worked out, lifted weights, saw vast improvements in my fitness level, ate a very healthy, balanced diet, and never saw 130. I felt great on my wedding day, despite being many pounds heavier than I had planned. My dress fit beautifully, my arms didn't jiggle violently, and I was head-over-heels in love with my fiance. Had it been a different time in my life, had I not lost my Dad 3 months before my wedding, I probably would have obsessed over the number on the scale. But that spring, those awful weeks when we helped my Dad leave the world with all the dignity he could hold onto, really put the number in perspective. I was surrounded with all the people who loved me the most and people who gathered to celebrate a milestone for me and Shawn and 130 seemed irrelevant. So, that's how I gave up on 130. I guess after seeking it so long, there is still a part of me that believes at 40 I will become one of those late-blooming triathlon athletes and maybe then I'll see 130. But that's a pretty small part. Like maybe only a pound of me.

The bigger part of me, like the other 145.8 pounds of me, figures this weight is about where I shake out. (If you are a between the lines reader and also good at math, you may be able to figure out how much I weigh. When my number was 130 I NEVER would have released that info to ANYONE without MD following their name. And even the MD's usually got the -5 estimate.) I'm eating relatively healthily, lots of greens, leaves, and fruits, no red meat, and the breastfeeding allows me more sugar than I'd probably get without it so my sweet tooth is satisfied. I've felt compelled to offer Violet fresh food, including lots of veggies and fruits, and I think it has rubbed off on me. Wine is a regular part of my diet as is pasta, and I put butter on things that need butter. I feel happy after meals, though I still occasionally overeat, I feel more relaxed about it. Truly no guilt.

There are improvements I could make, must make, to be as healthy as I want to be. Mostly, I need to get back to exercising regularly. Around this time last year, when Violet was 5 months old, I found an elliptical trainer on Craig's List for 80 bucks and convinced Shawn we HAD to have it. This piece of equipment, I knew, would be the end of my puffy, jiggly, post-baby body and the only route to shedding the 25 pounds that stood between me and my pre-pregnancy weight. So, we bought it from a chubby lady, jury-rigged it in the CRV, and drove home with it sticking out of the back end.

Our tiny bungalow was filled to the brim with baby paraphernalia and had no space for the machine except for a corner in our leaky, 90-year-old, basement. So it wasn't exactly the most appealing place to spend 20-30 minutes sweating off baby weight. I had worked out on the machine 4 or 5 times the morning I saw a mouse in our kitchen and then never used it again. What is the mouse-elliptical connection? If that mouse ventured to the bright, cheery, kitchen to fuck with me, imagine all his creepy, skittering, mouse friends darting around the basement waiting to drop down from the ceiling onto my head and down my shirt while I was on the elliptical listening to my ipod so I couldn't hear them coming. See? Case closed, workouts over.

A year later, through no herculean efforts on my part, I've gotten back to where I was when Violet was conceived minus and extra 3 pounds (have I sung the praises of nursing frequently enough on this blog? If not consider me belting it out right now)! The oft-neglected elliptical made the move to the new place where it is waiting in the garage to find if and when it will be allowed in the house. I know I need to initiate and stick to a regular workout schedule; the things that are most important to me in life rely on it. I actually love working out once I establish a routine and I know that fitness will be key if I want to have a successful VBAC with our next baby. The lung disease that killed my Dad as well as his siblings is showing disturbing familial ties and I suspect cardio-vascular fitness won't hurt my chances of avoiding or surviving it should (God forbid) Pulmonary Fibrosis be in my genes. And, not as tragic, but definitely worth a mention, I have the beginnings of Mom-Ass and I would like to nip it in the bud before Lee is the only brand of denim that fits me.

So, I'm moving the elliptical in today. It will sit in one of the spare bedrooms and I have my fingers crossed that it will fit in a spare closet when we have guests or parties. If it doesn't fit and has to sit out, I suppose that there are worse things than having people know that Shawn and I own a piece of exercise equipment. Like, for instance, wearing Lee jeans.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Snot Nose

As if on cue, Violet and I both got our first colds of the season this week right as the official last day of summer cashed out. Shawn has, thus far, remained healthy. It's not the Swine Flu, thank Christ, but a mild runny-nose-itchy-throat-pain-in-the-ass-cold. Mine is only a figurative pain in the ass, but Vi's virus was accompanied by a diaper rash, too. As if having a raw nose isn't annoying enough...Poor Chicky!

Violet has been in beautiful spirits, though, just running a bit more slowly. The most heartbreaking thing is that she's too congested to nurse, so when she wants to snuggle in and just totally relax, she ends up unable to breath. Tonight as I put her to bed, we repeatedly tried to find a position where her nostrils might clear enough so she could get a breath while she nursed, but didn't have any luck. I sat up and cradled her, we tried to nurse side-lying, I laid down and laid her on her side on my belly but nothing worked. She's such a trooper, though, she didn't get mad or cry a bit. In fact, she let me give her face tickles (a Bill Schroeder specialty) while she got cozy on my lap and zoned out.

We even crawled into the rocking chair in her room, the chair we never use, and rocked off to sleep. This rocking chair is not the uber-cush one Grammy bought us before Vi was born. It is the wooden chair that I was rocked in as a stuffy-nosed kid after my Dad gave me a sip of a horrible hot lemon-whiskey concoction that probably would have gotten me to sleep if I could have choked it down. This is the chair that is pretty to look at, but not quite as great to sit in. But, you know what? It did the trick. In about 4 minutes, Little V was sound asleep and easy to lay down. She was sooo ready to sleep, just needed a little help getting there. What a pleasure as a parent to be that helper.

I am listening to her mouth-breathing on the monitor right now, bless her little snot-filled nose. Hopefully, this is our first and last cold of the season and this will be as bad as it gets. That would be fantastic. I know we can't have summer weather all year round in the Hoosier state, but is summer health for my kid too much to ask?

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Sing A New Song

It really is a wonder that there are not more love songs written about babies. The romantic love that everybody is always crooning about is awesome, but it is so overdone. I can only think of a handful of songs written for babies. And, really, that love is just as kick ass as the kind of love between man and woman (or, I assume, man and man or woman and woman).

Maybe it is just because young lovebirds have nothing but time on their hands to sit around and ruminate about their mates finer features. When you're 23, spending 4 hours laying in bed leafing through photos of your crushes seems like a legit way to spend an afternoon. And, if you're the creative type, maybe you jot down a verse or two when you feel inspired and-- Voila--Brown Eyed Girl is born.

Then, you knock up the Brown Eyed Girl and she spawns a Gray Eyed Girl and suddenly your love multiplies. But your time is divided. The four hours you used to spend with the photo album strumming a guitar in your room becomes 1 hour shoving baby snapshots in an drawer before the baby shreds them. You've probably had to hide the guitar in the closet because she keeps dragging it by the neck down the stairs. So, see, it isn't that the emotion for song isn't there, it's just that new parents are robbed of the creative process they need to create something memorable. The creation is the baby, and like a new song, she requires a lot of attention and tweaking in her infancy. So you have to ignore the rest of the catalogue to get this one right.

But, honestly, the emotion is there. It is a fierce love, more constant and certain than anything I've ever felt before. I wish I could do Violet justice in melody and verse, but the best I can do is hum You Are My Sunshine to her when she's falling asleep. I don't think that she's any kind of Baby Bono or anything, but the kid does love music. Unfortunately for her, the songs that usually come to mind for me to sing to her are from my 12 years of Catholic school. She hears a lot of Eagle's Wings and Were You There When They Crucified My Lord. Neither age nor season appropriate but I'll be damned if I can't sing all those diddies start to finish.

We took her to her first concert two weekends back. It was Old Crow Medicine Show and she was tapping her toe and doing her twirls all evening long. She even got to meet Ketch, OCMS's lead singer after the show. You can see, she (or at least her Daddy) was thrilled! Then, at Uncle Jeff and Aunt Steph's wedding last weekend, we had to pull her off the dance floor. And, I swear, she was clapping along in perfect rhythm to Play That Funky Music White Boy. Later Labor Day weekend, Violet took in the 54th Street Jazz Festival with Patrick as well as a televised Metallica concert late that evening and followed each with equal gusto. I'm glad that her musical taste is broad. I'm sure she'll find her own favorites soon enough and never believe she gave the crap we play for her the time of day.

Tomorrow she and Grams are hitting their first Kindermusik class of the new season taught by none other than Auntie Aly. If possible, Vi will probably fall more in love with Aly after she sees her singing all her kiddo friendly tunes tomorrow. Maybe Aly would even throw in a verse of Play That Funky Music White Boy or a tune from Glory and Praise Volume 1. Either would be a big hit with our girl!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Kool-Aid Mustache Required

Shawn's best friend and roommate for years, Pat, had these words of congratulations for me upon learning Shawn had proposed:

"Well, that's a mighty nice ring he got you. Just remember, you marry him and you are in for a bunch of kids running around wearing nothing but diapers, cowboy boots and Kool-Aid mustaches."

Once I mix up a pitcher of Purplesaurus Rex, the Prophesy will be complete.