Monday, June 29, 2009


Gil is sick. I think he has Roseola (a fever that if I'm right will be followed by a nasty looking rash that will cause people to look, look twice, then move away thinking that my child has Leprosy). He's such a good guy though that he's hardly complained. I know fever and sore throat makes you feel crummy, but Gil's still smiling and making friends wherever he goes. He went with me to Isa's dentist appointment this morning (no cavaties! good brushing, girl!), and spent some time looking in a handheld mirror and talking to himself. "Ba, ba, bay bay, guh guh." I love that guy.

Gil's illness is another reminder of how different his life is than Javi's was and how much I've changed as a parent. If Javi had a fever we wouldn't leave the house. Gil had a fever and we went to Javi's Taekwondo testing, Athfest in 100 degree weather, Isa's dentist appointment, etc. I alternate between feeling like a bad parent (see previous post - it's all the rage) and feeling like the show must go on. When you have two other children, baby illnesses simply take a backseat to life! Javi only tests for his black belt once (well, actually he tests for black a half dozen times - what are we up to now, red-black?). Athfest only comes around once a year so we couldn't miss that. I mean, who doesn't want to stand around getting sunburned and sweaty while making oragami and listening to nasaly kid songs? Come on! And then there was the pediatric dentist office that informed us that Isa would be kicked out of the practice if we missed another appointment. Nevermind that the reason we missed is because we didn't get the reminder call after disconnecting our landline.

On with the show!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

My daughter is five

Tomorrow my daughter, Isabel Margriet, turns five years old. And this time it's for real. She's already had two "fake birthdays" as she likes to call them because, well, she's a diva. Before bed tonight she asked me if her friends would be bringing her presents (again) tomorrow. "WHY NOT?!" she wanted to know. Well, because it's not your party day, sweetie, it's just the anniversary of the day that you were born.

Oh and what a day that was. On that day, my life changed forever. I went from a mom of one to a mom of two - and now that I am a mom of three I know that going from one to two is the bigger trauma. I went from being a mom to a boy to a mom to a girl and I still don't think I've come to terms with that. See, I always thought that I'd have a girl or two, but when I learned that my first child was a boy I settled into the idea of being the queen among my men. I had a dream one night that I would go on to have three boys and it felt just right. Then along came my spunky daughter who quickly became the queen of the house and kicked my puny throne to the corner.

Isa tries my patience, pushes my buttons and turns my hair gray, but she also makes me so proud with her boundless creativity, social ease and sharp wit. Isa is a singing beauty with new bruises appearing hourly over her fading tattoos. Sometimes I think I should have named her Maria - She'd outpester any pest
Drive a hornet from its nest
She could throw a whirling dervish out of whirl
She is gentle! She is wild!
She's a riddle! She's a child!
She's a headache! She's an angel!
She's a girl!

She's my girl....and she's five! Happy Birthday, Angel Cake!

Real Housewives Finale...

HOLY cow! I think the silicone has leaked into Theresa's brain! What a hilarious episode! Can't wait for the reunion :)

Sunday, June 14, 2009

apparently bad parenting is where it's at - (aka mom's are to blame again)

According to the following CNN video segment:

and according to Ayelet Waldman who wrote her story in:

Bad Mother: A Chronicle of Maternal Crimes, Minor Calamities, and Occasional Moments of Grace

bad parenting is apparently all the rage. The point of the CNN piece (and I suppose Waldman's book, though I haven't read it) is that parents (mothers primarily, and as usual) had over scheduled their kids to death and now because of a number of factors (rebellion, the economy, the ominous swing of the cultural pendulum) parents (read: mothers) are now going to the other extreme...letting their kids have free time (gasp), encouraging them to use their imaginations (gasp again) and engaging in forbidden behaviors (the article quotes a mommy blog here where the author admits to leaving her children unattended in the bathtub, spanking them, etc. - it's the end of the world as we know it).

Mommies can't win. Just being a regular old mom, the kind that does the best she can, sometimes better and sometimes worse, is now to be referred to as "bad mothering." Right now it's all about the media buzz words but historically it will come to be known as the era when mothers rebelled against what they knew they "should" be doing. Dammit! Why can't we just let mother's be?

I have more to say (no surprise there) but I'm going to rebel against the pressure to be a bad mother who ignores her children to pontificate on the issue of the day to go be a regular old mother who occasionally takes her kids to play at the pool.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

homemade falafel

Tonight I made my first attempt at homemade falafel. I found this site on the web called Allrecipes (probably not new to you real chefs out there - in other words, I am not a real chef nor do I play one on tv, or in my kitchen) and decided to work my way through the list of "Twenty for Twenty: Vegetarian Edition." The idea is that you purchase 20 ingredients and then they give you 20 recipes that you can make with those ingredients. Sounded easy to me, so today was Day 1, recipe #1 (Okay, I skipped over recipe #1 because it was for an omelet and I decided not to make that for dinner - cheating already, a very bad sign): Jeanie's Falafel.

So, after spending about an hour and a half searching through the neighborhood Publix for ingredients that I never buy (tumeric? anyone??), I proceeded with my laptop on the counter next to the stovetop - risky I know but I was trying for efficiency. First up - mash the garbanzo beans. I know garbanzo beans so I quickly opened the can with my handy-dandy Pampered Chef can opener (LOVE that thing - no edges to cut you!), poured them into a collander, rinsed with cold water, dumped them into the requisite large bowl and began trying to mash with a fork. Uh, no. Okay, so lets start again....I got out the rarely used Cuisinart food processor purchased with credit card points back in grad school :). MUCH easier to mash with the propper kitchen utensils.

Okay, now it's a lot of dicing up onion (would help if I had sharper knives - I think I've had those since grad school too. Yes, I know I have), mincing garlic (THANK-YOU Pampered Chef!!), chopping cilantro - mmmmmmmm, and a bunch of spices (this is where the tumeric comes in) and bread crumbs. Oh - and during this time I'm heating up the oil. Stop. Panic. I don't own a deep fryer so this part always gets a bit dicey for me. I feel my temperature rising and my heart rate increasing. Oil frying - not my strength. I knew this too - so in the store I purchased a temperature gauge - what's it called? Oh yes, a cooking thermometer :) And I used it to check the temp before gently sliding my falafels into the steaming bath of oil. My little round balls of falafel. I made them round like they said in the recipe but then decided to make them flat like they usually come. They looked lovely and little with lots of fresh cilantro poking out like stray hairs on bald baby's head. And then. came. the oil....

Oh my.

It was awful.

They dissintegrated.

My lovely falafel.

I let what was left brown and then fed it to my husband who ever so sweetly exclaimed, "Falafel! I LOVE falafel! This is WONDERFUL!!" god love him. Isa, on the other hand, took one look and said, "THIS is our PASTA??"

What was left after the great canola disaster of 2009 was actually not bad - the onions were devine, but in the end the kids had bowties.

Friday, June 12, 2009

the revolutionary road leads to the library

I know it's cliche (and someone tell me how to put an accent on that e), but the book Revolutionary Road is far superior to the movie. I had high hopes - I mean, Kate Winslet? Come on! But for some reason she was really fighting her accent this time around, and she just didn't seem to be capturing April Wheeler the way she did in my mind as I read her dialogue. Maybe it was having sex with two different men while being directed by her husband - talk about unnerving! I can't relate (lol), but I can imagine.

Now, I guess my expectations should not have been so high. How could the movie capture a book that spends so much time in the minds of the characters - particularly Frank (Leonardo DiCaprio) whose real motives, I felt, were almost entirely missed by the movie adaptation. Oh well. I can't fault Leo really, the expressions on his face during the scene near the end at the breakfast table were exquisitely painful.

But old Shep Campbell (who I later read in an interview with the author, Richard Yates, was supposed to be the only character who learns anything during the book) really did not make the leap to the big screen. Poor guy. Oh, and insane asylum John - I really was thinking more of a "Brad Pitt does crazy ala 12 Monkeys" for this guy, and the choice by the casting director was off the mark in my opinion.

Ah well - just reaffirms what we all know - the book is always better. This book in particular will stay with me for a long time. Plans aborted by an unexpected pregnancy - now I can relate to that. (love you Gil) :)

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

pet peeve #348

Okay, so I have a pet peeve to complain about following a night out with some mommy friends. Why is it that women of a certain education level feel the need to preface all allusions to television shows with the caveat that they only VERY RARELY allow their children to watch any t.v. whatsoever. For example, one mother might say, "We spend all this money on cable and never turn the damn thing on, but the other day we decided to dust the cobwebs off our set in order to briefly watch a program on historically accurate depictions of blah, blah, blah and we just happened upon an educational PBS cartoon of all things." Another mother might say, "Oh we never watch t.v. either, only allowing our children to watch 30 minutes of French language videos per week, but we just so happened to turn on Noggin for our daughter the other day because we needed something to distract her for 10 minutes while we pulled the cat out of the toilet." And another might comment, "Oh we don't watch t.v. at our house either, in fact I'd get rid of the thing altogether if I didn't need her to watch one of her Dora videos for the upteenth time so that I can prepare dinner in peace, but she did accidentally get hooked on Sponge Bob - I blame the public schools for that one!"

Blech. Watch t.v. Let you kids watch t.v. By all means, do other things too, but for Christ's sake stop explaining how little t.v. your kids actually watch when you want to share a "t.v. moment." It's okay. I won't turn you in to Child Protection Services for letting your kids watch Hannah Montana! And I won't tell anyone that you have never missed an episode of Flavor of Love. Peace out.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Mommy, the dog just licked up the baby's puke

Now in another lifetime that utterance would have grossed me out to the point of engaging my gag reflex; however, this is not another lifetime. In this life, my life, the dog gets a cheese stick reward for cleaning up the mess so I don't have to. In this life, the one that includes a post-vasectomy surprise child, something that comes out of the baby's nose may wind up on my pants...because I put it there. In this life, the blurry-eyed one that I find myself in at 40, spit-up on my shirt doesn't constitute an outfit change unless it has a strong odor attached.

Granted I wasn't a stickler for cleanliness before the third child arrived. He just gives me a higher mess-tolerance, a stronger stomach to endure the foul and a better excuse for turning a blind eye to my canine Swiffer.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Reading Lolita in Mommyland

I'm in a monthly book club with a bunch of moms, and our book selections have been all over the map of literary genres, but our most recent selection, Lolita, chosen in fact by yours truly, has me feeling a bit dirty. It's not inconsequential that the copy I received from a seller on Amazon - a man that I'm sure found it titillating to pass along his "used" copy - is yellowed and stained and earmarked in all the right places.

I sneak peaks at the suggestive prose throughout our day - while waiting for my son's karate class to finish up or while my daughter is napping in the other room - and all the while I feel the urge to conceal the torn cover of that fetid paperback for fear of being discovered skulking in Humbert's sullied mind. I fortify myself with the knowledge that this is "real" literature and that I'm "modeling" being a devoted reader for my children while I forage for redeemable substance Nabokov surely embedded in the perverted thoughts and deluded reasoning of his protagonist.

Unfortunately, I'm well versed on the frighteningly misguided logic of the sexually deviant. Before having children one of my professional positions allowed me unfiltered access to reports of the most unthinkable of acts and transcripts of the warped judgement that allowed them to occur. The experience left me contaminated with an uneasiness that only a monitored home security system and a stack of "good touch/bad touch" books can abate.

And so it is that Lolita slinks around Mommyland, sickening me with her faithful portrayal of debauchery, shocking me with her graphic descriptions of forbidden lust and yet somehow still luring me in with her sensual passages that I read guiltily and dutifully every spare moment in my mommy day.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Moving Miracle: A Story of Kindness

A five-foot high maze of cardboard boxes all labeled “Toys” blocked my view to the hallway where a disturbing noiselessness emanated from my daughter’s direction. A growing awareness of a missing permanent marker brought tears of exhaustion to my eyes. I started planning out my mommy resignation letter in my head as I attempted to come to terms with the probability that she was writing on the wall (and possibly her legs, but hopefully not her face) with indelible ink…again.

Last May, my husband and I along with our two children (ages barely four years old and 13 months at the time) relocated from the Midwest to the Deep South. Although I was initially seduced by a fantasy that revolved around wearing t-shirts in November, my packing fire was quickly doused by the unrelenting waves of accumulated junk. My husband’s new job offered enough compensation to pay for the moving truck and the men who loaded, drove and unloaded it, but the endless search for the perfect box to temporarily house every single tiny little Batman action figure accessory was my cross to bear.

Children do not enjoy, nor do they accelerate, the packing process. Before any item was put into a box, my four-year-old son, acting as quality assurance inspector #1, would need to carefully examine the item, recognize its potential for immediate play options, and subsequently wail in despair at the thought of not having access to it for the foreseeable future. My one-year-old daughter, in her role as vice president of stress enhancement, was enjoying her newfound skill of “dumping out.” Her greatest joy in life was to unload open boxes of all of their neatly packed contents and then move on to repeat the process in another room. My children’s job description during this time clearly included, “Helping mom inch closer to insanity.”

Attempting to actualize the adage that “Slow and steady wins the race” I had diligently packed four boxes a day for about two months, but the afternoon before the “big day” my turtles pace sprang to jackrabbit panic as I took notice of the neglected cupboard of Christmas china above the refrigerator and peered faint-heartedly into one large forgotten linen closet that had served as a sort of baby-item depository for the past three years. I consoled myself with the recollection that I had three empty boxes left that could be filled after the children went to bed. Then my husband uttered four words that will undoubtedly cause trauma flashbacks for years to come, “We forgot the garage.”

As we pathetically willed ourselves to open the door to the garage we were overcome by images of multiple late-night trips to dark, smelly alleyways located behind grocery stores, all the while praying that the “good boxes,” untainted by the goo of rotting fruit, would not yet have been sent on to the demonic recycling center. “We’re going to need some help,” I moaned as I punched the button to the automatic garage door opener.

Just then a barefoot strawberry-blonde angel descended on our driveway taking the form of our neighbor Barbara who was being walked, her arms tugged almost from their sockets as she paused to see us, by her two enormously muscular dogs. “I’d love to help,” Barbara smiled cherubically as she was whisked away by her canine companions, “I’ll be over after dinner.”

So began an evening that, as predicted, included many trips out to scour stores with “good box” potential, another revelation that the photos, mirrors and framed posters on the walls still required that custom-made boxes be built to accommodate them, and two very whiney children who refused to stay asleep amidst the packing frenzy. All the while Barbara, referred to on that fateful night as our fairy godmother, alternated between entertaining my disoriented children and bubble wrapping everything in sight. She not only brought her energy and organization skills that night, but she kept our spirits light with laughter during a time of great stress and near-exhaustion.

What did Barbara have to gain from her act of kindness? Before coming upon our desperate faces in the garage her plans for the night had been to watch tennis on television and get some sleep. Instead she endured cardboard paper cuts on her hands and irrepressible playmates. Knowing Barbara, however, she would likely tell you that the evening was a celebration, a sendoff of sorts for a family whom she had grown to appreciate having in her community.

What did we gain from Barbara’s act of kindness? It’s immeasurable. We were able to prepare ourselves for the mover’s early arrival and make it to the house closing on time. My husband and I were able to get through the last strenuous mile of a moving marathon with our marriage intact. My children had an evening of hide and seek with a good buddy to help them remember their old home with some fondness. We were eager to meet our southern neighbors so that we could start establishing a supportive network in our new community. Karmically, we went on to help a family member with his move armed with the tools (e.g., patience, perseverance and box-making skills) that Barbara had shared so freely with us. Most significantly, we walked away from the experience with a lifelong friend who has written this beautiful story on our hearts…with indelible ink.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Grandma's story

The excitement brewed in me like coffee in a percolator as we made our way through the Columbia Gorge, often fighting severe side-winds over the bridge at Hood River. Sometimes black ice on the roadway threatened to keep us from our destination, but Dad drove on with the concentration of a brain surgeon. The skies were usually growing dark and the overhead lights sparkled through the wet windshield as we held our breath through the Portland tunnel.

We held our tongues from asking, “Are we there yet?” for fear that one more question like this would push Dad over the edge of his concentration cliff. April and I stayed quiet while our insides were aching to yell out with every passing mile. The snow had turned to slush and ultimately it was only cold rainwater that sprayed off our tires, but we had already grown weary of the white stuff at home.

As kids we felt on Christmas Eve as if we were crouching clowns biding our time in the jack-in-the-box. The spring was wound tight just waiting for Christmas morning to set us free with a lunge into a world of noise, bright lights and children’s laughter.

Christmas morning we were up in time to see the deer mother and her grown twin fawns that had long lost their spots and were now the color of the tree bark that offered them protection in the sunlight. We squirmed away from the compulsive teeth of Mom’s comb and the icy cold water that dripped off of them to tame our waves. The time for silence and patience had passed, and the questions were now repeated and increasingly agitated, “When do we go?”

Finally we are in the backseat of the truck, heater blasting, and driving up the long, steep dirt road lined with overgrown Black Cap bushes that hadn’t had the strength to even consider berry blossoms after their vines hung heavy with the juicy fruit in the heat of August. We bounce on the seat more from our eagerness than the rocks in the road and crane our necks to peer over the front bench seat. “There it is!” we both shout with gaiety as the doublewide trailer with the custom-made wrap-around porch comes into view around the bend.

We jump from the truck and ignore the chilly mud as it squirts up onto the back of our tights. We run for the wooden steps and wipe the mist from our foreheads as we pull open the sliding glass door.

The scents reach out to pull us in before anyone even notices us. The smell of warm dinner rolls hugs us with stick-of-butter arms. Peeking through the open kitchen and into the dining room we can already see rows of avocado-colored Tupperware and white dishes with yellow designs filled to their brims with jell-o and marshmallow salads, cheesy noodle casseroles, and brown sugared sweet potatoes.

Grandma, surrounded by busy, chattering children and boiling pots, doesn’t notice us at first. Someone says our names and she turns to look us each in the eyes. Her blue eyes sparkle like she knows a secret she’s bursting to share, and her cheeks flush pink like the peonies she’ll tend in the spring.

“Ooooooohhh,” she coos, “Amy-girl, you’ve gotten so grown up!”

Her embrace is warm and soft like a pillow next to the fireplace smelling of rose water and cinnamon. Yet, her arms are strong from kneading a lifetime’s worth of bread while carrying a houseful of babies into toddlerhood. She is the picture of ‘grandmother’ if you look in the dictionary, and her hug is there too in the definitions of safe and accepting.

As she releases me to take in my sister I make my way through the other cooks and tasters in the kitchen, allowing myself only a sniff or two of the home cooked banquet on the dining room table as I look toward the sofa.

The worn tweed sofa has sunken to welcome Grandpa’s burly brown body as he snickers at the wrestlers prancing and taunting on the television. A grimy gold spittoon relaxes on the floor beside him and a hint of minty tobacco fills the space between us. When Grandpa sits up to see me coming and pulls me to his barrel chest with his brawny arms I brace myself for the whiskered kiss on the cheek.

“You got yourself a red-headed boyfriend?” he chortles.

“No, Grandpa,” I blush.

“Well, here,” he says as he digs into his pants pocket and shows me a quarter from the palm of his creased hand, “I found this big nickel the other day, and I saved it just for you.”

I take it and smile, and he pulls me in for another hug while chuckling and looking back to the television.

As I start to take a seat beside him I hear the sliding door open and wait for the relief of cool air to push through it. The windows are damp with moisture now and the trailer is a fragrant tropical biosphere.

Aunts and uncles and cousins come in throughout the morning all carrying gifts to put beneath Grandpa’s Charlie Brown tree and food enough to feed the entire Northwest to set upon Grandma’s table. After hugs and news of babies still to come the plastic floral plates are dispersed and everyone makes the slow mouth-watering circle.

We eat and open gifts and giggle as Grandma exclaims that every gift is exactly what she wanted. We stretch out our satisfied bellies and listen to Grandpa tell us funny stories about his war buddy’s dubious antics.

I breathe it all in and let it seep into my pours, the air in that trailer and all the warmth and gentleness it holds.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

The March of the Mommies

I took my four-year-old son to see The March of the Penguins yesterday. I was concerned that he would be bored and asking to return to the videogames in the lobby soon after the opening credits began given that, as far as I knew, the penguins weren't digitally animated, possessed no unique super-powers, and most importantly, didn't brandish light sabers. So although I was slightly embarrassed at Javi's litany of questions that rivaled the volume of Morgan Freeman's narration, self-consciousness was abated by relief that he was at least attentive and trying to understand.

Javi's questions might serve as an alternative commentary track on the upcoming Preschool Edition DVD of the movie, suggesting talk-points for parents to help their children appreciate the circle of life. "Where are the penguins walking to?" "Why did they stop walking?" "Why is that penguin on top of that other penguin?" "Why is the daddy penguin sitting on the egg?" "Where are the mommy penguins going?" "Why is it taking so long for the penguin to get out of the egg?" "Where is the sun going?" "When are the mommy penguins coming back?" "Why is the mommy spitting in the baby penguin's mouth?" "Why did that baby penguin get frozen?" "What's going to happen to the frozen penguin?" "Where are the mommy penguin's going?" "Why are they leaving their babies?"

I, along with my inquisitive son and about a dozen other mommies/nature-interpreters, watched in awe as the postpartum mother penguins marched approximately 70 miles through excruciatingly frigid conditions to retrieve nourishment for their fragile infants. With even greater amazement and unmistakable anticipatory anxiety we mommies listened as Mr. Freeman somberly related that after enduring many harrowing trials to ensure their children's successful development the parent penguins leave their babies to fend for themselves one last time, possibly never seeing each other again. As the mother penguins made their final march away from their babies, conceivably feeling that their job was complete and perhaps trusting that their offspring were prepared for independent survival, Javi asked, "Mommy, do the penguins have any super-powers?" to which I responded, "Yes, Javi. Apparently they do."

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

So this is the South

I grew up in the Pacific Northwest where you can pass by a church and not necessarily notice it. The mountains and forests surrounding us were our sanctuaries that drew awe from their majesty. In the South churches take up entire city blocks, and sometimes they take up the space of a small forest. They are huge, and I’m sure that my husband (who grew up in the South) has grown weary of my continual awe at their shear mass, “Did you SEE the size of that church?” Now, a community that allows that much building space (and destruction of green space) for a nonprofit building that is primarily used only one hour (if you’re lucky) per week, must be the most pious people we have in our country. And to be honest, this much reverence freaks me out.

Don’t get me wrong I have had Christian moments in my grunge-laden background. But in my experience the separation of church and state (and separation of church and most anything else) is usually for the best. Imagine my surprise then at my first religious encounter in the South. Shortly after our move I took my one-year-old daughter to a pediatrician for follow-up after a double ear infection and the croup that she so conveniently developed the day before our cross-country move. I was expecting standard health questions that assist in the assessment, diagnosis and treatment of my child, but instead I was asked, “Do you belong to a church?” and “If your child becomes excessively ill would you like the doctor to pray with your child?” Well, no and no, but what bearing will this have on the medical care that my child receives? And how will the shadows of these mountainous Southern churches envelop our lives in this unfamiliar place?

Apparently Southern pediatricians prescribe antibiotics too.

Ouch! And other 4-letter expletives for weaning

I'm afraid the time has come. With my son I dragged out the process for months, returning to full-blown nurse-athons with every sniffle and elevated temperature. This time around I'm determined to get it over in one clean swoop. Like a SpongeBob bandaid that has bonded with my four-year-old son's leg hair after two weeks, 14 baths and three trips to the pool, I expect the separation to be painful, but I hold out hope that the agony will subside quickly if I give it one big tug and be done with it. In my son's case, I walked around smelling like an Irishman on St. Patty's Day with flattened cabbage leaves in my bra to ease the discomfort. I've got a couple of heads chilling in the crisper as I write this.

My daughter LOVES nursing. She loves everything about it--especially my nipples which she refers to lovingly as "me-me."(a.k.a., "Mine, all mine"). Like a heroin addict waiting for her fix, the preparation has become as much a part of the high as the drug itself. Her body twitches and her fingers tap with anticipation while I pull her into our special hold, lift my shirt as descretely as possible, unsnap my bra with the ease that only comes from years of experience and present my breast for her enjoyment. She loves the minutes (many, many, many of them) spent suckling for milk that's often spiked with chocolate (okay, and an occasional beer) and staring at (and fondling) the fleshiest part of me. "Me-me," my daughter girgles in her drunken daze and grins with a love few of us have ever known. My guilt is palpable.

My Mac-OS-X dictionary provides the following definition for "wean": accustom someone to manage without something on which they have become excessively fond, as in the doctor tried to wean her off the sleeping pills. I try to imagine life without nursing my insatiable baby girl and the thought hurts me, both with anticipation of the physical repercussions and the emotional loss of what both of us have become excessively fond, but I'm afraid the time has come. Ouch.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

One-arm Workout

I cringed as I drove past the newest fitness club that just opened down the road from our home. I can honestly say that I don't remember the last time that I "worked out" (i.e., sweating and grunting and feeling ridiculously inept on a mechanical contraption while attempting to make it all look effortless and fun). Since having my children, Javi (age 4) and Isa (age 1), I am lucky if I manage the "one-arm workout" that consists of the following weight bearing/cardio exercises:

1) The mealtime sprint: while holding a whining 1-year-old in your strongest arm (usually your non-dominant hand) run rapidly from the fridge to the micro to the pantry to the cabinet to the table and back to the fridge, the toaster, the micro and the silverware drawer before your 4-year-old reminds you that he needs water with ice and while the wiggly 1-year-old's whining strengthens in decibles. Work up to 3 times daily, combine with the toy lunge (see exercise #2) as needed.

2) The toy lunge: while holding a wiggly 1-year-old (who is now screaming everytime you attempt to put her down) bend at the hip (or at the knees when your back is sore) grab as many toys as your free hand can hold before having to empty your load into the nearest toy basket. Increase (exponentially according to the age of your child) up to 250 times daily. For a more rigorous workout, have your husband call to say that he's invited guests for dinner.

3) The bathtime stretch: while holding a wet 1-year-old (who is now slippery and exhausted but enthusiastic) reach forward for the shampoo then back for the cup of water then forward for the baby wash then back for the cup of water then forward for the 4-year-old attempting to fly like Superman off the side of the tub then back for the baby who is attempting to turn the hot water faucet on then forward to release the plug then back to scoop up both shivering children. As a cool down quickly diaper the now screeching 1-year-old before she pees on the bathmat and run for another set of pajamas when your 4-year-old decides that it's not cool to be Superman anymore.