So, this is the only recent head-to-toe shot I have of myself – mostly because setting up my tripod has not been high on my priority list these days. It’s also a lovely photo of The Whuff playing in some leaves, so there’s that. The main point though is that it’s quite clear that I’ve… expanded. To note by comparison, my mama standing next to me used to be a size or two bigger than me, before I got preggers.
This winter was not kind to me. I gained quite a bit of weight while breastfeeding (unlike the fabled women who lose weight – my body took the massive outpouring of calories as a signal to hoard whatever excess it could) and as soon as I started to lose it… then came the IU-DON’T. I knew ahead of time that weight gain was a possible symptom, I just didn’t realize how much or how fast. I was almost at my pre-pregnancy weight when I got it in at the end of January and by the time I got it out a few weeks ago… I weighed what I did when admitted to the hospital to give birth. Only, y’know, with chub instead of fetus.
So, here I am finally hormone-free (or at least hormone-neutral) after two years of pregnancy, breastfeeding, and birth control. And it would appear that there’s quite a bit more of me. So much more that I very much need new clothes as the only ones I’ve had at this weight were maternity and no, I’m not putting on maternity shirts just to cover my expanse of baby-less girth. This leaves me right in the land of womanly esteem peril: either push myself to lose weight quickly to fit into my clothes better, or buy larger sizes.
There’s always so much pressure on moms to get back to the “pre-baby” weight and you know what? I’m not interested. I’m not pre-baby. I’m post-baby. My body has fundamentally changed. My body has been through some shit, y’all. I admire it for that. If it means that here on the other side, I need bigger pants, then screw it. Bigger pants it is. Well, skirts. I don’t wear pants. It’s sort of a policy. Not one rooted in any kind of religious affiliation other than the affiliation of believing that skirts look incrementally more “put together” when leaving the house in a hurry and also that dresses/leggings provide better coverage of the plumber’s area when one is constantly crawling on the floor after a certain land squid. Anyhow. Whatever it is, it needs to be a size up.
And for the first time in my life, this means that I’ve sized out. I bought the largest size dress at H&M a few weeks ago and truthfully, while it fits ok, a size bigger would have fit better. Only it didn’t exist. I’ve now hit the realm where I can either choose to view myself as too big for normal clothes… or go the road that I’ve chosen and embrace my pudge as the “skinny fat girl.” I’m now at the low end of the plus-size spectrum and that’s fine and dandy with me. I used to model for a short while, and at a size 10 I was considered “plus size.” Didn’t bother me then, and I actually was in higher demand than quite a lot of smaller girls at my agency, and now…
I feel so much better about myself now at a size 16 than I did pre-baby at a 12 or even breastfeeding at a 14. It’s like I’ve passed some sort of invisible barrier that I’m big enough that I’ve gone over to the other side. I don’t need to worry about “looking fat” because let’s face it, I’m more than a little bit doughy. I’m not trying to look thin – or thinner than I am in any case – I’m just trying to look good. And man if that’s not easier on my sanity.
Lest you fear that I’ve also given up on myself and will just keep eating donuts and buy bigger pants, I’ve also (thanks to a Mother’s Day gift from my mama) invested in a bigger swimming suit (as my old one would be like a sausage casing at this point) to get my lard butt back in the pool. Not to try to diminish the amount of said lard, but just because moving more sounds like it would feel good. I’ll probably never fit into that old suit again and the one and only reason this bothers me is that old suit has skulls on it and I’ve yet to find another Speedo with skulls. But perhaps the good people of Speedo will make another one and I can buy a bigger size and be perfectly happy.
So here I am, the skinny fat girl. Feeling so much better than I did as a bloated “normal” sized girl.
I’ve written on the blog before about my own food issues and how, well, foodie I am NOT. I cook by necessity, not for enjoyment, and while we eat healthy food – Nuno and I are not gourmet eaters. I’m pretty content eating a rotation of the same five or six dinners and Nuno… would be eating ramen out of mixing bowls if left to his own devices, so he truly has no cause for complaint.
The Whuff, however, is defying his parents’ middle-of-the-road attitudes towards food and demanding the good stuff. No more baby food for him. Baby food is right. out. It’s amazing for me to watch. I’d anticipated possibly having a picky eater or a baby who didn’t like more “adult” tastes – but the kiddo who will eat curry but not spaghetti-os? Didn’t see it coming.
He’s been eating table food for a long time now – we started introducing baby friendly bits around 9mos and he immediately stated a preference for “real” food over processed. Can’t blame him there. Still, he would eat a few pre-made things – specifically, a few Sprout pouches. He’d get a pouch for lunch or dinner when time was of the essence and it was both very convenient for me and also just about the only way I knew of to get vegetables into him. He won’t eat plain veggies and Nuno won’t eat veggies in the food that I cook… so… the pouches really helped fill that gap.
Until he started refusing them. No more pouches. This Hungry Man wants his dinners fresh and home cooked. To the point of hilarity. As seen here: The Whuff will happily chomp down ravioli (these are covered in pesto, making them extra messy!). He’ll also happily nom pasta with tomato-based sauces. So, I thought perhaps some canned ravioli for kiddos might help fill in a few gaps where I’d been using the pouches. No dice. He put one of the Elmo ravioli in his mouth… and spit it back out. I’ve never seen him do that with “grown-up” food. He absolutely will not eat the kids’ pasta. No dice.
(Which, is also hilarious in a family history kind of way as my mom lovingly tells the story of how she fed me all sorts of hippie wheatgerm-peas-yogurt type gross sounding baby food and then at a babysitter’s house I had my first spaghetti-o and it was like I saw the face of G-d.)
So, my little man is pushing me out of my comfort zone and into the kitchen. I’ve certainly cooked for toddlers before… but not toddlers who didn’t want to eat toddler food. And not all three meals. Breakfast and lunch, I’m pretty good with. And now, I get to add dinner to my tot-meal repertoire. I’m trying to look at this as an opportunity to get better at cooking, which I wouldn’t do on my own. It’s also going to be a fun challenge to see if I can also get my husband to eat a veggie here and there so I don’t have to cook multiple meals.
Part of my strategy, for sure, is going to be cooking ahead of time. As it is now, P gets our leftovers from the night before as we don’t yet eat dinner as a family being that Nuno isn’t home from work at the time when Whuffles need to eat. The only downside to adding more things to the cooking I already do is adding more dishes in our tiny, tiny counter-less kitchen, but we’ll make it work.
Tomorrow during the day, Oma’s going to be here and we’re going to cook and mash up some butternut squash and we’ll see if I put enough butter and brown sugar on it, maybe I can get both of the men in my house to eat it. If not, hey, I like squash. Thank Gourd (GET IT. SQUASH. GOURD.) for Oma, who is herself an amazing cook. I guess the food appreciation genes are recessive as she has them, they mostly passed me by, and now… here’s the Whuff. Oma’s little gourmand.
Truly amazing how inherent some of these personality traits are and how very little they have to do with the preferences of one’s parents.
There was a surplus of manhood in my house this weekend. I’m usually the only one with a pair of ovaries in this joint (sorry, spayed kitties) and this weekend the testosterone level was multiplied by several orders of magnitude with a visit from Nuno’s BFF, Mario. (Also known as “Uncle Mario” to the Whuffles among us.)
Mario brings with him inexhaustible energy, the ability to win at any and all board games, and bad weather. Yes, the lovely spring we were enjoying last week has turned into a more typical New England April (read: cold, rainy) upon his arrival. I’m just grateful he didn’t bring a tornado like the week he was here for our wedding… he’s also been known to have things like Hurricane Irene happen when he’s visited the States, so really, we got off easy with a bit of chilly rain.
Having Mario around also meant watching hockey and having that little extra glimpse into typical boyhood – imagining Paulo joining a team someday and wondering which sports he would go for… I seriously hope he swims like I did, or plays soccer because if he goes for football or hockey, I’ll just spend my whole life worrying about head injuries.
The number of baby boys in my circle of friends vastly, VASTLY out numbers the girls and on the one hand – I wonder how all of these young men are going to find prom dates – on the other, I’m quite happy to be part of a sort of Sisterhood of mothers of boys. I’ve always wanted boys and I admit, I get a little giddy when I hear there’s another little man coming into my own extended world. Likewise, when I hear the sort of wistful disappointment that sometimes comes with the announcement of a boy – my heart breaks a little. I know that as feminists, we often feel like it’s our priority to raise strong daughters – and if I have a daughter some day, I know that will be a huge issue for me – but for myself, I think it’s even more important to raise strong, feminist men. I know Paulo is part of the patriarchy, but I hope he tears it apart a bit from the inside.
Another boy-mama and I were chatting about the gender differences in young children and exactly how much is societally imposed and how much is just… there. As a former nanny and preschool teacher, I’ve seen it over and over again. Kids have innate preferences and even though it’s not entirely consistent, the preferences for exploratory play and nurturing play generally break down along gender lines. It’s amazing to watch.
Paulo’s toys are for the most part gender neutral – blocks and balls and stuffed animals and such – and we gave him a truck for Christmas just to see if he liked it. Now the few trucks and cars that he has are by far his favorites and he loves, loves, LOVES anything with wheels. He turns his trucks over to play with the wheels, like a proto-mechanic looking “under the hood.” He grabs my car wheel when I’m trying to put him in the Kokopax in the grocery store parking lot. At the park, he crawls over to the stroller and starts spinning the wheels. No one ever demonstrated this or told him to do it, he just figured out that wheels spin and it’s amazing. As for his stuffed animals… they’re all chew-toys. No snuggling or nurturing. Just… chewing on their arms. It’s seriously gross, and yet, it soothes him to sleep so we just keep washing them.
It’s really fascinating to watch – there’s absolutely no pressure on him to be a typical “boy” – and that’s the direction he’s going in, wholeheartedly. He’s much more motivated to move than he is to talk – he chit-chats and says a few syllables, but he feels pretty ok with communicating by pointing and would much rather spend his energy leaping tall staircases in a single bound.
I’m incredibly lucky to watch this sweet natured little boy-tornado on his journey to become a man someday, whatever form that takes.
Reading: Double-fisting The Bloggess‘ book – Let’s Pretend This Never Happened and Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. We recently started watching the HP movies (I was given the box set for my birthday which was… y’know… *a while* ago. The fact that they had sat for six months without being watched was making Nuno twitch.) and I’d never gotten around to reading books 6 & 7 because Harry during Book 5 was such a whiny whining jerk who whined a lot that I couldn’t deal with him anymore and threw the book down in disgust at several points because of his whiny whining. Now, I need to continue my streak of reading the books first so… we’re currently on movie #4 and given that it takes us an average of three nights to finish a movie and it’ll probably take me a week to read each book… well, there’s some math to be done there somewhere. As for The Bloggess: her memoir came out this week and I pre-ordered it and HEY! BOOK AT MY DOOR! There’s something great about pre-ordering a book that by the time you get it, even though you know you ordered it, it’s still like “SURPRISE!” Or maybe that’s just me.
Watching: *mumbles under breath* swthchtbrf. OH FINE. Switched At Birth. I adore Marlee Matlin and I watched Season One and… hooked. I’ll confess to a huge fascination with ASL and deaf culture. I’m such a visual person that the language is really beautiful to me and I would absolutely love to learn it. In the meantime… I just watch cheesy teen dramas featuring deaf/signing characters.
Working on: I got back into my artistic groove post-weaning. And then I got the IU-DON’T and lost it again when I started seizing. And now, I’d like it back again please. I have motivation but no muse whatsoever. I finished a painting I’m apathetic about and have done a few drawings that I flat out hate. So it goes.
Thinking about: Lots of stuff upcoming in the next few weeks/months. It’s getting really busy all of a sudden. We have a trip to Indiana (to visit family of mine) planned for the first weekend in May, so I’m doing the typical “worrying about which suitcases to pack” pre-gaming before doing actual productive things like acquiring a portable high chair. I’m good at planning ahead, but where I REALLY excel is the kind of manic planning-to-plan-ahead that not only do most people not do, but no one ever should do because the details you get focused on and the details that end up mattering in the end never, EVER overlap in the general Venn diagram of life. And yet. I can’t stop myself.
Anticipating: Playgroup tomorrow. Already mentally gaming when we’ll sneak in nap time to be done by 1:20 so we can eat a snack and get there by 2… Oh yes, I pre-game the pre-game. Though this doesn’t really help in any concrete way because the mental exercise of “When can I get you to nap?” and the reality of “When you will actually *sleep*” only coincide slightly more often than blizzards in hell.
Listening to: Love Love Love by Of Monsters and Men (oh man, Iceland. You do produce way more amazing musicians than you have any right to. Makes it hard to stay mad at you. Which I am. Vexed. At Iceland.)
Eating: Y’know. Food. Like you do. I’m doing a lot more cooking and meal planning than normal as I have someone who has decided that he will eat prepared food exactly 0% of the time. As cooking isn’t my favorite thing ever, this is really pushing me to expand my horizons. I’m no foodie, but it appears my son IS.
Wishing: My weight has yo-yoed so much since getting pregnant. Up. Then down immediately postpartum. Then up again when breastfeeding made me so hungry that I ate for small armies. Then down a bit post-weaning. Then up again with bloating from the IU-DON’T and concurrent appetite increase. And what I’m wishing for isn’t necessarily to be back to my pre-pregnancy “normal” weight, but maybe to just have some underpants that fit properly. Either through magic or just a chunk of money in an envelope that says “underpants” because I bought my son too many cute summer tshirts to have extra money in the budget for new underpants this month.
[ Playing along from Sometimes Sweet. ]
To lighten the mood after yesterday’s temporary bout of the sads (I’m better now – I can even read that silly poem and not tear up!), here are some photos of Paulo enjoying himself after removing his pants.
I’m just grateful that it’s warm enough around here that this is pretty ok behavior. If this was January… or even a typical April… we’d be having the all out Pants Stay On Your Butt Wars. As is, ok fine, don’t wear pants. I don’t wanna wear mine either. We’re even.
(Also: that Kindle is his. I broke it by accidentally stepping on it a bunch of months ago and got a replacement. I saved it to give to him when he was old enough to enjoy playing with it, which he very much does. Just wait until he gets my old tangerine iBook…)
The Whuff, one year ago today. Of all the things that are unbelievable about this photo – the hoodie stands out just as much as the binky. He only took that binky for about the first two months, and even then inconsistently. And today… 90F. No hoodies in sight. No pants in sight either for that matter, especially as someone has become Pants Houdini.
One of my friends posted this little poem on Facebook today, and while it is the simplest thing in the entire world, something about it… it didn’t hit me right away. I read it and smiled. And then when I walked away from the computer to go and lie down while P napped, it hit me. The sads. And I sobbed like I haven’t sobbed in months. I don’t even have hormones to blame. Just yesterday I wrote about how awesome it is that Mr. Whuffles is getting so big and how I’m not in any way ready for Eventual Second Baby to be moved up on the grand schedule… still… oh, time. Time, you are a cruel, cruel mistress.
cleaning and scrubbing / can wait until tomorrow/ for babies grow up, as we’ve learned to our sorrow / so settle down cobwebs / dust go to sleep/ i’m rocking my baby / and babies don’t keep
Oh man, even just typing it out… that last line… “babies don’t keep” and the tears are welling up in my eyes. For it’s true, they just don’t keep. And by and large, I’m ok with that and I accept every moment with a little man who – while no longer fitting into one arm, still fits in my lap – as an amazing gift. But man, those moments. They just go too freaking fast.
That one simple line and man, I’m crying again. Going any further into the iPhoto archives would be an exquisite torture – remembering those tiny, tiny fingers and the smell of his head – the downy hair that looked like it could be dark brown someday. Milk drunk baby falling asleep on top of me and how I wouldn’t always move him right away. Holding him tight and whispering “You don’t have to grow up. You can just stay my tiny baby.” to which he’d smile as if to say “Oh, mom.”
And he didn’t. They never do. Babies don’t keep.
And this toddler won’t keep either. I love every moment of him, and some day I’m going to have to give him up. Some day, I’ll have emptier days – days when he goes to school and I am shared by other babies. My babies and then… then back to wrangling babies I don’t tuck in at night. I waited so long for this season of my life and it’s so, so fleeting. Babies just don’t keep.
I’m just going to stop there and grab my man and scoop him up and kiss his dirty fingers and scuffed knees and listen to him babble and let him make raspberries right in my face. Soak him up before I blink and I’m waiting for him to come home on the bus… waiting for him to come home from college…
Oh babies. Why can’t you keep just a little longer?
While I’ve been having a tough month climbing out of my brain fog – though I must say, since getting the IUD [more like IU-DON’T!] removed, I’m 1000% better – Whuff’s been doing amazingly well. We’re finally getting the nap transition smoothed out, which is good for both of us. The difference between 12 and 13mos has been much greater than the difference between 11 and 12mos in terms of how much he’s just this… little MAN now. It’s incredible. He babbles and waves “bye bye” and “reads” to himself and he’s just… incredible.
Yesterday, he got his first joke. Which is to say, my mom and Nuno and I were chatting in the kitchen and things got absurd and we all started laughing… and from the high chair, Whuff let out this big throaty laugh, just amazing, like he was in on it and thought it was all the height of hilarity. He’s participating in everything in his own Whuffle way and it’s so, so wonderful.
He’s been spending a lot of time with my mama lately as she’s come down twice a week to hang with The Whuff so I can rest my poor brainz. He loves her so much that when he hears her downstairs, he gets all excited and can’t wait to see her – he even reaches for her when I’m holding him. Same with daddy – can’t get enough of daddy! Daddy’s the best! He still has his moments when only mom will do, but in general, he’s very social and loves his family and his kitties and is just the happiest, sweetest natured little man ever.
As you can tell from these photos, we’re spending more time with the stroller than we have in months past. It’s spring-y here in New England after the mildest, driest winter ever. The grass around here is already brown and dead and looks like that’s going to be how summer shakes out given that there isn’t any snow to *melt* and saturate the ground as usual. Whuff doesn’t care. Dirt’s fine with him. We’ve been going on a lot of walks now that he no longer falls asleep in the stroller. That used to be tricky because five minutes asleep in the stroller meant he wouldn’t actually sleep for his nap. Now, it goes the other way – ten minute walk means that he’s generally “aired out” enough to take a good nap later. We average a half-hour walk on windy/cool days and an hour on days that are warm enough to hit the swings at the park. And oh man, he loves the swings. The swings are the greatest ever.
So many of my friends have either had babies, are due any day now, or are expecting August-October babies that I feel surrounded by wonderful, amazing new life. I feel like I should be getting the baby itch… but no. I’m so, so happy enjoying every new and amazing thing that P is doing. I think fondly on baby-nugget Whuffle and am amazed at how fast he’s growing, but I’m just so excited about what he’s up to now that I don’t miss it. Yet. Some day, it’ll hit and I’ll be ready to get on the baby train all over again, but for now I’m happy living vicariously through these amazing new people around me and spending my days with a gigantic Whuffle who claps and giggles and sings.
I still haven’t been in to see a neurologist, but I was able to get an appointment with my primary care doctor this week and lo and behold, the news that I’ve had seven seizures this month after being seizure-free for an entire year was enough to get a prescription for an increased dose in my medication. Halle-effing-lujah.
It’s been so long since I’ve had a medication upgrade that the side effects have taken me a bit by surprise. I had to actually hunt down the medication information sheet that I get from the pharmacy (and usually throw away because hi, I’ve been taking this stuff for YEARS) and double check to be sure that headache was indeed a side effect and that I wasn’t hurting in the brain – as opposed to in the head. Seeing as I’m not plagued with daily headaches and had indeed forgotten about them entirely, I’m sure this side effect will taper off in a few days.
The main reason for the appointment was to get my IUD removed. Which, given that I just got it at the end of January, the doctor was notably reluctant to do. Though under the circumstances, she was understanding as to my rationale of “let’s eliminate as many variables as possible.”
So the IUD (alternately known by confused male members of my family as my “IED” or “UTI” which are both bothersome things of entirely *different* natures) is gone. And never to return. Even if not for the seizures, I’m quite glad to be rid of it. I chose the Mirena, which delivers a low dose of progesterone as the Paragard promised more intense cramping and heavier periods and well, no thank you. I can’t tolerate the hormones in the birth control pill – they really make me psychotic – but I tolerated Depo Provera for years, so I was assured that I’d be ok with Mirena.
And without the seizures, I was ok *enough* that I would have kept going. But getting it out means that I’ve stopped spotting (which I’d been doing for an entire month solid – 30 straight days by the time it was removed. Totally normal for the IUD and in of itself didn’t bother me, but… y’know… the total package…), my hair will start growing back (my shower drain thanks me), and I can stop eating like a ravenous warthog (my appetite wasn’t quite up to breastfeeding levels, but my eating pants are a bit tighter than they used to be – let’s leave it at that). Bleeding, hair falling out, and weight gain. Yep. That’s VERY effective birth control. All of those things make me feel like Eddie Izzard’s comment on puberty – looking in the mirror thinking “Well, *I* wouldn’t shag me, that’s for sure.”
If I do decide to get an IUD again later on (which would be post-Eventual Second Baby), I’m girding myself with bottles of Aleve and getting the Paragard. My system clearly can’t handle its hormones being effed with.
None of the research I’ve done brings up seizure (specifically amongst epileptic patients, not new-onset seizures) as a possible side effect of the IUD, which is why I was really, really skeptical to get it taken out and it really took the seizures crossing the line into disruptive for me to do so. Of course, my medication dosage has been upped so I’ll never know for sure if the IUD contributed to the breakthrough seizures, but I will put it out there that I don’t think it helped and if an epileptic woman were to hypothetically ask my recommendation, I’d recommend the non-hormonal IUD. I do also know epileptic women who have really loved the Mirena, so, y’know. Crapshoot.
It’s only been two days that I’ve had the new brain-control regime, but I’m already starting to feel better. One of the things that happens to me when I have seizures on a regular basis is that I lose my ability to think clearly. Hence my also losing my ability to blog regularly. I know that I was foggy for a while there – especially when I wondered whether one of my husband’s standard one-line emails (because why write an actual paragraph when one line will do? The man is totally into the whole brevity thing, to a fault.) was passive-aggressive. Which… would be so out of character it would be like Batman deciding to take tap dancing lessons. So. Putting THAT behind me is for the best.
I’d like to put in a shout-out to said husband for being really amazingly wonderful while I get this sorted out. He’s come home from work a bit early, skipped social things, hung out around the house with The Whuff while I nap or lie on the couch and moan… just amazing, amazingly helpful. Even more kudos go out to my own mama who has been coming down from Vermont (a little over an hour away) to manage the Whuffle a few times per week for me to get extra naps in to try and soothe the brain. The number one thing that helps me get back on track after a period of increased seizure activity is increased nap activity and between the two of them, I’ve been able to do that even if Mr. Whuffles hasn’t been completely compliant. I’m amazingly blessed to have them and amazingly lucky that we ended up living so close to my family this year.
In the spirit of increased nap activity, we’ve postponed Easter until next Saturday. We’re still going put The Whuff in a sweater vest and give him some stuffed bunnies to chew on, but he’s young enough to have absolutely no idea what’s going on – so he doesn’t know that his peers are getting their own bunnies today. He also has no idea that things like jellybeans and the Cadbury Eggs that mama’s been eating like the madness are even options. So, we’ll go up to Vermont next weekend and put bunny ears on the baby and take ten thousand dopey pictures. This weekend has been devoted to Nap-a-Thon 2012, which I must say has been going swimmingly.
I’m going to take advantage of the fact that for once, Whuff’s napping and I’m not, and perhaps eat something other than a Cadbury egg. Or maybe, more accurately, something in addition to a Cadbury egg.
[Late with the Recap again… still in a bit of a fog, though things are starting to gradually lift up a bit. Which is a post in and of itself.]
I’m totally, totally in love with this 365 Collage Project.
How Not to Kill Your Baby Growth Chart. The Whuff is currently at risk for being drafted into service by tiny dairy farmers. Good to know!
Why I Hate the Myth of the Suffering Artist. Oh gourd do I ever agree with this. I was nodding my head furiously and remembering vividly my relationship with my ex-husband, he the writer who insisted that depression was good for his creative process. Also: the work that I’ve done when “suffering?” Total crap.
But You Chose to Do This and Other Helpful Magazine Titles for Parents. I so want a subscription to Choking Hazards Monthly – or perhaps more helpfully Hidden Electrical Sockets And the Toddlers Who Love Them Quarterly.