Archive for the ‘Health’ Category

As all the mothers who read this blog will know, your belly is just never the same once your precious little one stretches it out.  And if you can’t relate because your belly is now the same as it was pre-pregnancy, I hate you.

So I’ll tell you about my belly.  It is not the same as it was before, although it is much improved in the last year.  I’m pretty sure, though, that my belly will never be flat again (unless of course I decided to dedicate hours every day to working out my core; that is just not going to happen).  I’m more than a little self-conscious about my stomach’s appearance, which would explain my heavy investment in Spanx.  My favorite is the higher power line, in case you were wondering.  (They make maternity Spanx, though I’m not sure why you would want to wear them.)

Anyways, I worry about my belly, I obsess a little about it, I do my best to conceal it, as most of us do.

All of my efforts are for naught though, given my son’s current obsession with bellies.  That’s right, C’s current obsessive phase is with the human body, particularly the belly.  This means that when it’s nap time or bed time, C usually lifts the hem of my shirt to reveal my non-flat, very white, heavily stretch-marked belly and gently pats it.  (Odd or affectionate? Hmmm…affectionate with me, odd when he starts trying to examine other people’s bellies, which has happened.)

The first few times this happened I was self-conscious.  My poor belly was exposed!  And it did not look its best.  So I would gently remove C’s hand, pull my shirt down over my tummy, and try not to think about my former two-pack in high-school.  Sigh…

Yet C is persistent.  For whatever reason, rubbing my mommy tummy made him happy.  If I tried to stop him, C just got upset.  He was insistent that he snuggle next to me and rub tiny strokes across my belly button!  Why this makes him so content, I don’t know, but it does.  Meanwhile, nothing about my white flabby belly sticking out of the bottom of my t-shirt looked attractive.  Nothing!  It didn’t matter though, it made him happy to do it, so I let him.

I was initially hoping this was a phase, some kind of momentary obsession to emerge and pass.  In his infancy, one of the only ways I could get C to calm down was to undress him down to just his diapers, strip myself down to just my intimates, and hold him, skin to skin.  There was something magical about that direct skin contact that soothed him.  It didn’t last long though, fading with time, as I was sure this would too.

But as days and weeks went by, C continued to love on my belly.

I knew that no matter how flabby, how white, how covered in stretch marks, C just loves my tummy.

Or I should say, he just loves me.

And there’s something more than a little liberating in that thought.


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I enjoy cooking.  I honestly do.  Granted, none of the dishes I make are particularly complex, but I enjoy the time I spend making the meal and I think my concoctions usually turn out pretty darn tasty.

Usually Little C agrees.  But for whatever reason, he does not like stew.

I don’t get it! It’s one of my favorite things to make (and eat).  Who doesn’t like a slowly simmered pot of tender beef, delicious carrots, tasty potatoes, savory onions and mushrooms?  No one, that’s who!  Yet, no matter how delicious I make it, even when I up the ante by adding bacon, he just refuses to eat it.

It makes me crazy!  It’s so simple to make, I just can’t give it up.  I love cooking it in my slow-cooker.  It literally takes me only 15 minutes to set-up and voila! dinner!

But I am not about to force-feed my son, so I need to change it up.  Does anyone have any kid-approved slow-cooker meals they would like to share with me? Or you know what? ANY kid-approved recipe would be great.  Seriously, it’s getting dire around here.

Here are my requirements: no seafood.

That’s it.

Help please.

If I eat chicken nuggets or peanut butter and jelly for dinner one more time, I will scream.  Or if I actually cook and lovingly make just one more meal my son won’t eat, I might just set my kitchen on fire and be done with it.

Please, save my kitchen.  Send me a recipe.

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While C was sick, he was extremely unhappy.  So much so, that C upgraded his normal fussy tantrum to the ULTIMATE tantrum.

It was crazy, over-the-top toddler behavior.  It was so bizarre that I had to completely focus my face so as not to laugh.

Let me paint a picture for you:

C would get worked up because, well, he felt terrible.  But he was so sick and tired and frustrated that his fussiness just kept escalating into tantrums that got worse and worse.

He would begin by whining.  Then he would move on to crying.  Then C would graduate to wailing, complete with big open mouthed howls and giant crocodile tears running down his cheeks.  He would toss his head back and forth, shaking it furiously as if to deny some fact I was forcing him to accept.  NO! NO! He seemed to be saying.  I won’t accept evolution! I am a creationist! You are making me so upset by forcing this “science” on me!  (Or at least that’s how I re-imagined his reaction to make sense of it since his denials and tantrums made not logical sense, much like creationism.)

I (or some other loved one) would attempt to soothe him.  I would pick C up, rub his back, gently hushing him as I rocked him to and fro. It was a true example of mothering patience and comfort.

For this I was rewarded with kicks to the stomach and thighs, accompanied by piercing shrieks in my ears, as C violently threw himself around, trying to break free from the prison of my arms; though minutes before he had begged to be held, rushing at me with open, upraised, pleading arms.

In response to his violence, I would put C back on the ground, to which C’s immediate response was to amp up the screaming.  C would stamp his feet, usually making himself turn in a small circle.  So mad!!  He would then turn and run the opposite direction from me, finding some boxes or pile of blankets to hide behind, throwing himself on the ground, crying and crying and crying.  He would sit there and furiously kick his little legs up and down on the carpet, screaming in frustration (It was extremely difficult not to laugh at this since it was just so ridiculous!).  Finally, C would look up, see me, and get up and run away from me again, repeating the whole thing all over again.

When C had sufficiently bruised his heels from kicking at the ground or was simply tired of being alone in his box forts, he would seek me out, arms upraised, face wet and red from crying.

If I was lucky, C would simply rub his snotty, tear-stained face into my shirt, snuggle into my shoulder, sigh and eventually sleep.  If I was not so lucky, well, then….let’s just not think about that again.

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In all the aches and pains of motherhood (sometimes literally painful), it’s easy to forget the wonderful feelings being a mother brings.

These last few days I have been laid up with a bum big toe, a result of my sesamoiditis and possibly a build up of uric acid due to the high protein/low carb diet I’ve been on for the last 9 months.  Essentially what this all means is that my foot was achy all week, then suddenly I woke up Thursday morning unable to move my big toe, with some serious swelling and pain happening.

Now I know this doesn’t really sound like a bright spot in motherhood, as I’m partially holding chasing after my active toddler responsible for aggravating my injury. Just hold on, I’m getting to it.

The treatment for my foot injury was to rest and get a cortisone shot right into the inflamed, painful joint (yes, ouch!).  My podiatrist was very adamant that I devote myself to rest at least for one day, meaning my foot was to touch the ground as little as possible.  In fact, he said, I should elevate it and relax (he gave me a very pointed look when he said this).

Luckily, it was thursday and one of the two days I lampoon my cousin A to watch C so I can actually get some stuff done, like laundry, grocery shopping, etc.  Yesterday, I don’t think I got anything done, but she was good enough to keep C busy while I rested, even going above and beyond by helping me put him to bed (we then celebrated by having a mini-True Blood marathon and ice cream).

Today, my mom came to help for a few hours, leaving me time to rest my foot and take some pain-killers.

Yet, during my “rest” time, it was as if I had a magnet embedded in me, since C was constantly drawn to me.  No matter where I was, trying to keep my foot elevated, C would find me, run in and quickly climb on to whatever surface I was laying on.

And every time C saw me, his whole face would light up in a smile.

He’d run to me with his arms open, laughing or giggling or joyously repeating “Om, Om, Mom!”

Every time he sighted me, it was as if it had been years since our last meeting.  He was so enthusiastic in his love!

And, I must admit, I felt exactly the same way.  My heart, and I’m sure my face, lit up the same instant I saw my little boy.

Though his climbing on to my sick-bed was bound to mean pain for me, I couldn’t tell him no, as I was just as happy to see him as C appeared to see me.

When he climbed into my lap, sending my pillows cascading to the floor, skewing my bed rest entertainment by crumpling pages or kicking laptops, I actually, truly didn’t mind.  I was too happy to cuddle my little man.

So maybe motherhood can be a pain in the….toe, sometimes, but everyday my baby reminds why it’s the best job I’ve ever had.

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Of the many thing motherhood means, it often means time management.

I know, exciting!

But seriously, an hour here, 20 minutes there, can mean the difference between a good day and a no-good dirty rotten one.

Let me give you an example:

In my never-ending quest to turn Baby C (now Toddler C) into a better sleeper, I am constantly obsessing about time:

nap time

bed time

the duration of sleep

wake up times

the time between nap and dinner

the time between dinner and bed

the time it takes to fall asleep

the time left before I lose my mind….

My ideal day with Toddler C consists of an 8 am wake up, 12:30 lunch, followed by a 1:30-3:30 nap, ending with a 7-8pm bedtime.

If things go even slightly off schedule, my whole day seems to go slightly off kilter.

If we get up too early, C tries to sneak in a nap before lunch or simply becomes unbearable with the extremely tired whining.

If we get a nap too early, C won’t go down for a second nap and then becomes unable to hold his head up after 6pm.

If C tries to go to bed at 6pm, he’ll wake up at 9pm thinking he’s just had a great nap (ya!) and try to get up.

If I somehow keep him in bed after he wakes up at 9pm, he’ll wake up at 3 or 4 am feeling completely refreshed and ready to start the day.

If C tries to get up at 3am, I then take him to bed with me, hoping we can sleep until 6am, praying he’ll take 2 naps that day so I can get some dang sleep, and close my eyes.

You can see how things sort of snowball, all stemming from just an hour off schedule.  Just an hour!

Imagine what happens when things get really off schedule.

And people wonder why I look tired all the time!

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This past week, C and I began a “Parent and Me” (so as not to offend the daddies in the class) swim class at Goldenwest College in Huntington Beach.

It is not exactly close, or convenient since I have to schlep my dogs down too so my real estate agents can show the house while I’m gone, but it is roughly halfway between me and my cousins in South Orange County.  Yes, that’s right, I’m forcing my cousin to bring her beautiful baby girl all the way up from Ladera Ranch to Huntington Beach four days a week so the little cousins can swim together.  I know, I’m really too thoughtful (especially since C spends all their time together just trying to hold her hand and she would prefer if he didn’t touch her)!

On the plus side, the class at Goldenwest is only $50 a session, which, compared to private pools (like the one by my house which charges that much a week for only one class!), it’s a steal! I’m hoping that all the money I’m spending on gas doesn’t negate my savings.  I think that my math is correct in saying I’m still on the winning side of this money equation, but I’m really not great with math any more, so here’s hoping!

The class is 30 minutes long and aimed at getting your baby comfortable in the water, as well as teaching basic skills like floating, kicking, and blowing bubbles.

At this point, we’re pretty much still at level zero on the basic skills, but C’s comfort level has improved.  We went from both C and his cousin L crying for roughly half of the class on the first two days to not crying at all on the fourth day.  Hurrah! I call that a victory.

Ok, maybe C whined a little, but he did not have a meltdown, so it totally counts! It DOES!

It’s been an unexpected work out for me, too, though I’m a little embarrassed to say so out loud.  Apparently I haven’t been working my quads enough at home.  My first evening at home after our first class I was surprised to find my thighs were a little sore.  I didn’t think about it too much until the next morning when I got back into the pool and found my thighs protesting as I squatted in the water for half an hour.

I was shocked! Ok, not really shocked, but I honestly didn’t think about how the swim class would affect my personal fitness. An unexpected bonus or a nasty wake-up call?  I’m undecided.

Another point I’m proud of is that I managed to keep my lily white, precious, soft skinned baby just the same as he was before we started swim class.  No burns, no redness, no sun damage at all! It was the same for me until I sat outside in my bathing suit for two hours after the last lesson without reapplying sunscreen.  Smart, that’s what I am.  I did keep my baby boy covered up and burn free, so I’m choosing to ignore my sunburn and count the week as a win for skin care.

Overall, week one showed promise. I’m excited to get back in the water on monday.  I’ve signed C up for the whole summer, so we’ll be out there, 4 days a week, until August 21st.  Somebody is going to benefit from a summer of swimming.  Whether C develops some basic swimming skills or my quads become rock hard, we’ll really both be winners.

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When of the horrible upsides of my recent aggravation is weight loss.  I’m not yet to my weight goal, but I’m inching ever closer, in part thanks to my anxiety and psuedo-single parenthood (it’s hard to eat a whole meal when your baby is a fast eater and immediately wants to get down as soon as he finishes).  I have about 12 lbs of my final 15 to go.

Many mornings I curse the scale as it stubbornly insists on showing me yesterday’s weight, or last week’s weight.  Argh!  Why won’t you show the numbers going down?  Why do you hate me?  Sometimes you taunt me by going down to the smaller number and then going back up with a final flicker.  That is just cruel!!

So today, as I stood on the scale and read Tuesday’s weight (boo) I said a few choice words under my breath and then chased my son away from the dog’s water bowl.  It slipped my mind that I wasn’t actually sporting my lower weight as I later got dressed and in searching for something to wear to the aquarium, I unhesitatingly pulled out a skirt from the back of my closet.  It was perfect for the aquarium in a very kitschy kind of way: a bright orange knee-length skirt with a school of white fish swimming across it.  Yay! What else would I wear to an aquarium?  (I also made C wear a shirt with Dr. Seuss’s One Fish Two Fish on it because, yes, I am that cool.)

Before I put it on I didn’t even think about its size or the last time I wore it.  I was just too excited to exhibit my nerdiness in a very bright orange skirt.  Just as I zipped it up I realized that I hadn’t worn the skirt in roughly four years! FOUR YEARS!!!!

I’ll admit it, I did a little happy dance in the closet.

Hurrah!!  The scale may not show it, but at least my clothes are.  And just like that, I felt a little better.

Sometimes it’s the little things, you know?

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