workout buddies

Today I’m landlocked at the house. We are a one car household *until next week when our one-car status will cease after nearly 7 years of marriage!* and it worked out for my husband to take the car to LGA for just one night.

In the past, this was never a problem. I’m used to not having a car to drive, and now with two babies to lug in and out whenever I want to go anywhere without my husband around, I welcome the excuse to not drive for 24 hours.

Except – on this particular day, Monday, it meant I couldn’t go to my Monday morning fitness class. And it immediately stung me.

I have made no secret of my love of group workout classes. It’s my “me” time and it’s gotten to the point where I can’t walk into the gym and workout by myself anymore because I feel so lost and bored without an instructor and other women working out beside me.

Anyway, I got over my loss of Monday’s class by putting a trusty, well-worn Jillian Micheals DVD in this morning. I used to spend hours every week with Jillian, and it was like seeing an old friend after many years. I get oddly obsessed with the personalities and quirks of the background fitness people on workout videos; I can clearly bring to mind the two women in the first Tae Bo video cassettes I ever owned (short-haired young woman who made everything look easy and the older lady with long blonde hair in blue who struggled just like me) and seeing the gang back together again made me all nostalgic. For a workout video from 5 years ago. I need to get a life….and stop being such a sap.

So I’m in my living room, testing the limits of our floor joists by jumping up and down with vigor, and my kids are proving to me just why having a babysitting option at our gym is invaluable. L made me stop about three times just for snack upkeep, and little H demanded a feeding exactly halfway through the 45 minute DVD. I sat on our couch, sweaty and gross as I fed him and longed for the peace of an uninterrupted workout.

I’ve obviously gotten very spoiled and need to check my workout “privilege”. What struck me as funny today, though, was how my little obsessions and admiration for the people on the TV sort of correspond with my real-life gym workouts. Generally, it is the same women in each class, the same instructors. You get to know the quirks of everyone, and you have those women who you aspire to work as hard as, plus those you make you roll your eyes all the time. Before I joined my local gym, I was an avid at-home fitness DVD connoisseur, and I think it’s messed me up mentally. When I see the instructors or other women outside of the gym, the fourth wall is broken and I get very shy.

The other day at work I saw someone I recognized from classes and found an excuse to go hide in the back until she had her coffee and left. I can’t really explain my awkwardness, I suppose I just want to keep people in “boxes” and if they aren’t where I expect to see them it’s one of the few times of my life where I’m bashful. But breaking that fourth wall as it relates to my workouts just doesn’t work for me.

 

mirror bookends

My baby is already six-months-old. I’m trying hard not to resort to tropes of “Stay Small!” and “Stop Growing!” because, obviously, a growing and thriving infant is a healthy happy baby; but, in truth, my mind is boggled when I really think about how fast time has gone by. Not that I want it to slow down, but, it is causing a bit of mental whiplash to me.

H and E are bookends to each other. My two boys, six years apart, and in between I have changed so much as a person, and especially as a mother. At night, when my older two kids are slumbering away and I’m curled on the couch with H nestled in my arms, I wish the me-seven-years-ago could witness the happiness, the ease one can have taking care of a new baby.

Because MeBefore parented the exact opposite from MeNow.

MeBefore parented nervously. MeBefore worried incessantly about ‘bad habits’, especially in regards to sleep behavior. MeBefore slept trained baby E at four-months-old and sobbed in my husband’s arms as I listened to him wail, thinking “this is what’s best for him”.

MeBefore googled everything, from poop color to rashes to the best toys. I knew E’s age down to the week number and day- I remember in group discussion boards writing, “Ok, so E is 16 weeks and 3 days old, is it too early to start solid foods?”

Above all, MeBefore worried way too much about what other people thought, their opinions, and how my mothering would stack up compared to anyone else.

MeNow, with the experiences of raising both E and L, knows you can’t spoil a newborn. And it’s pretty hard to spoil a baby under the age of one, too. MeNow follows my instincts, not what I read online or what other people tell me. This confidence allows me to enjoy the small moments, the snuggles and cuddles and just being with H so much more. In turn, H is an easy, happy, flexible baby.

On the flip side of this bookend, some of the obsessions I had with parenting the “right way” with E have slacked in regards to H. For example, a few weeks ago I read a book exclusively to H. He was awake and the other kids were out of the room, so I picked up a baby board book, and started reading. The poor kid’s eyes bulged with joy. He kicked and cooed and reacted as if the book were a dose of Molly and he was raving at a cool Brooklyn dance club.

I realized at that moment, I’d rarely read just to him. Like, ever. Sure, he’s there when I read to L or E, but he’s sort of just in the room or environment. Basically all I did with baby E was read to him. Poor H obviously loved and appreciated me reading solely to him. I regret the reality that H is often toted around as a baby accessory as I chase the older kids around, and since I wear him in a carrier or wrap he literally becomes an accessory on my person. I know his big baby brain is absorbing all the stimulus and he’s learning just by being with us, but that one on one attention is something I need to strive to give him.

Also, I have a hard time remembering how many months old he is, let alone the week number.

I think I’m getting all introspective because H is the last baby. I look at him, trying to remember to savor every moment, but then L starts screaming from the other room or E demands a snack and before I know it I have to put H down on the ground to go solve the crises of the older kids. I guess what I’m trying to say is, even though I’m a better mother now than before, I also am aware H is facing a much more distracted and harried mother so maybe I shouldn’t feel too sorry for E and his clueless mother of MeBefore.

This six-month milestone is a big one, and I know six months from now I’ll have a walking toddler in H, who will throw fits and have opinions and my baby will no longer be a baby anymore.

 

IMG_0522
Hey, Mama, Stop taking bathroom selfies and read me a book, why don’t ya?

 

responsibility

It’s 8:20am. I am on the floor of my living room, pumping milk. H is near my feet, L is scampering around as she does, and E is by the front door. Tieing his shoes. His hat is on, his coat is zipped up, and his backpack is already on his back.

School starts at 9:05, and we generally leave the house somewhere between 8:40 and 8:50. We can see the school from our front yard, it isn’t far.

Besides the fact I worry this anxiety he has about “being late” is unhealthy for his psychological health, I have to laugh because E has me pegged. Every school day morning he’s my motivator, my morning-life-coach, urging me to get out of bed- the transcript of his morning looks something like this:

it’s time for breakfast mom,

mom, you gotta dress the babies,

you gotta get yourself dressed, come on mom!,

we only have 10 minutes left, you haven’t moved in a while, mom!

Mom! Mom!!!

This morning, at about 8:40 as I put in my contacts and put on my workout clothes, his little voice reminding me we didn’t have much time left, I realized this walking-alarm-clock that is E is this way due to my own lack of motivation and responsibility in the morning. Heck, on weekends when I don’t have to get out of bed by a certain time, the kid gets his own breakfast, feeds his sister and even completes some household chores all while I snooze in bed with the baby.

(in my lazy defense, I have a young infant who still wakes up 2-3 times a night to nurse. According to my FitBit, I haven’t gotten over 8 hours a sleep in a single night in well over a month. Heck, I barely get 7 hours on average)

So this responsible little time monster that is my six-year-old, it’s a monster of my own creating. And I depend on it.

How pathetic is that?

On the otherhand, he is insanely competent and responsible at such a young age so those are skills I’m glad he possesses. Maybe this slack lazy parenting in the morning is a good thing, right?

color me wrong

In my last post, I dreamed of an app on my phone that would keep me accountable for how much time I spend on my phone.

THIS APP EXISTS AND IT IS FABULOUS.

It’s called “Moment”. It even has sound alerts if you’ve been on the phone too long in one sitting (I have mine set for 10 minutes). If you pay $4 you can set daily time limits and even goals for how much time you want to spend on each application on your phone. “Moment” is still in Beta so it’s realitively new, but I already am loving it.

If you, like me, want a tool to help you better manage your time and stop that stupid, endless scrolling, look into Moment and put your phone down!

https://inthemoment.io

paging elon musk

I’ve got some silly million dollar ideas, that I’m too lazy or too incompetent to bring to fruition. Please springboard these ideas into reality and I will gladly buy them and help you become a zillionaire.

  • SOFT ON THE INSIDE INFANT PAJAMAS 
    • It is very common for baby pajamas to have that buttery fleece on the outside, but if you feel inside them they are scratchy and not nearly as comfy as the outside. The manufacturers make it so us, the caretakers, are snuggly and comfortable when holding the baby, ignoring the actual baby’s comfort! I think I’ve solved some colic causes right here. Think about it. You are a month old, in a scratchy pj set, and then your parents swaddle you so the fabric is tight against your skin? I’d cry all night too.
  • SMART PHONE APPLICATIONS FOR THE ADDICTED
    • IDEA ONE: an app that has a running ticker of the number of times you check your phone. Everytime you pick your phone up and check the notifications, it tallies it up. This application also gives you a reminder of how long it’s been since the last check-in. I bet it’s shocking how frequently the majority of look at our phones.
    • IDEA TWO: I’d also love an application that tracks the running time of how much time you’ve spent on websites – and locks you out of websites after you’ve reached your daily allotment. We can all agree you don’t need to scroll longer than 30 minutes a day, so if you are like me and have issues with self-control, having a computer lock you out sounds like a great idea.
    • IDEA THREE: An annoying reminder, a la Netflix’s “Are You Still Watching?”, pop-up that could knock some sense into mindless scrolling: “You’ve Been on Facebook 12 Times Today…Are You Sure You Need To Ignore Your Kids Right Now?”
  • KEEP DREAMING MAMA BUT MAYBE SOMEHOW…
    • A way to accurately predict my kid’s appetites for the day. So less wasted food, translating into less excess calories going into my mouth because of said wasted food and me feeling guilty throwing away perfectly good chicken nuggets.
  • YOU KNOW THIS WOULD BE AMAZING…
    • Fart resistant sheets. They somehow exude Febreze the moment someone *ahem husband* passes gas so the other spouse doesn’t gag as they are in the middle of a nighttime nursing session with the baby. Sometimes it’s super hard not to scream “so unfair” when my spouse is snoozing away, happily, in the middle of the night while I’m up with a hungry baby, but then when he farts in his sleep? Ugh.
  • CRUNCHY PARENTS WOULD KILL FOR THIS…
    • A perfectly sized pillow for co-sleeping. A smart pillow that actively avoids baby faces yet mommy can sleep on it comfortably and doesn’t wake up with a weird crick in her neck.
    • A washing machine set up for cloth diapering. It lets you set two washes in a row so you can avoid going downstairs .. ok now I’m just getting lazy.
  • EXERCISERS THE WORLD OVER WITH KIDS KNOW WE ALL NEED…
    • a Fitbit that accurately counts steps taken while pushing a stroller. I mean, come on! We manage to get the kids outside, go get exercise and come home to find out we’ve only counted a fraction of our steps? Not Fair!

Elon Musk! You know you can do this for me, and trust me, a vast sea of consumers will reward you if you can bring these things to life. Thanks!

what we can learn from #aprilthegiraffe

I tuned into the live feed of April, the expecting giraffe, out of curiosity over a week ago. It really worked as a distraction from writing in here, plus I kept reading “breaking news” about it. I searched through the Facebook and once the stream was set-up, found myself somehow calmed by April’s presence.

She’s just a giraffe, in a pen, pacing around. Every once and a while she lifts her tail to poop, and you think— “oooh is this it?” and of course it’s not. She seems to eat a lot. It’s a silent feed so that adds to the zen magic of April. Watching this beautiful creature walking in clockwise circles around the pen (every time I watch her she’s pacing clockwise, not sure if that’s accurate 100% of the time or not) is hypnotizing. Plus, there’s the added bonus of her possibly giving birth at any moment.

So, I tune in now and again, not in any obsessive way, but just to have it on. When I first watched it through the Facebook, the comments were running aside the feed, live and quick.

One should never read public posts like this. It just depresses you. The grammar, the idiocy of people (who tend to be the loudest) and just the misinformation. But, like I said, the video is a quiet still camera shot of a giraffe in a pen, so I read along with the other 90 thousand people watching April and what they all had to say.

“OMG have the baby already”

“That poor giraffe why isn’t the baby here?”

“She seems in pain”

“When are they gonna have the c-section already”

Pretty much all comments had one of those themes.

And I can relate to it.

Two of my three kids came over a week “past due”. Being “past due” in pregnancy is hard, but, having everyone you know comment on it just piles on the stress. I had complete strangers sending me pitiful looks of sympathy at the end of my last two pregnancies. “Oh – you poor thing!” they’d say. “Waiting for updates!” I’d read online. And the absolute worst: “You haven’t popped yet?”

We live in an “on demand” society and it’s totally ok for a woman t0 schedule an elective induction at 39 weeks pregnant because they are “sick of being pregnant”. Somehow, the idea of a due date has led us all to believe anything past said due date is automatically overdue, a term that brings up images of rancid food, moldy dairy and at the very least, a super grumpy librarian charging you late fees.

I watched a video the manager of Animal Adventure Park, the home of April, posted this morning. He seemed tired and annoyed as he patiently explained they had only estimates of when exactly April conceived, and also that she was fine, just pregnant, they weren’t causing her harm or the baby harm by letting nature take her course. And watching April on the live stream, you can tell, the beast is happy. She doesn’t seem bothered by her late-term pregnancy at all.

My pregnancy days are past now, so I don’t have to worry about dodging “whens the little sucker coming already?” comments from everyone ever again, but I will make a valient effort to not bug my friends and family over their upcoming due dates. We need to take a page from April and her caretakers and just let nature be. Baby giraffe will come when it’s ready, and maybe I’ll be lucky enough to see it happen live.

Expecting mothers, be they humans or giraffes, deserve patience and kindness during the last days of pregnancy, not constant reminders of how “miserable” they must be. Pregnancy is tough enough without all the opinions from the peanut gallery.