Monday, August 15, 2016

Not Quite Write

I have a day to myself. I went to the library to write, thinking I'd sit in the quiet with other people writing (and reading and studying and working) and write.

When you write nothing except the occasional e-mail or stream-of-consciousness journal entry (on paper! With a pen!) for a year, trying to write anything feels... Well, it feels exactly how ballet felt when I started taking classes again after a 20-year hiatus. My body sort of knew all the positions still, but I couldn't quite get into them, and things hurt in ways I didn't remember them hurting before.

The woman on the computer next to mine kept making sinusy mouth-snorting noises, and I had to bail on my writing errand. Anyway, there was leftover birthday cake at home, rapidly becoming stale—the perfect lunch, along with an iced coffee.

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Saturday, August 13, 2016

The Lost Year

Ivy turns four tomorrow. Trying to remember the year, all I can think about at first is food and my body.

It's ugly and selfish. Even memories in which she plays a part (holding her on my arm for the entire six-hour flight home from Miami) are mostly about food (binge-eating chips and granola bars to stay awake and give myself something to do while two heavy-as-lead children sleep on top of me).

Ivy started preschool. She stopped napping. On Picture Day, she wore her "kitty tunic" said "seaweed" instead of "cheese." Her favorite food is cheese.

I binged. I purged. I dieted and portion-controlled and ate strange protein-powder/egg-white concoctions in the name of "preserving my muscle" while dropping weight and inhaling normal-looking dinners around my family. I counted my green beans and baby carrots (ten each) on Thanksgiving.

Ivy is very sensitive to noise. She's afraid of dogs and hairdryers. She can read, write, and spell her name. Today, she is wearing a Frozen-themed nightgown that Grandma bought her. She's been wearing for two days straight, except that she takes it off to sleep.

I threw up chocolate and peanut butter and sushi rice in the middle of the night.

We made coconut macaroons to give out as Valentine's Day gifts to Ivy's teacher and preschool classmates. Ivy couldn't say "macaroon." She called them "pepperoni."

I got leaner than I have ever been in my life by being perfect on my perfect plan of perfect portions. For eight perfect weeks I was perfect and I finally almost liked how my midsection looked in the mirror. I was always hungry and my legs felt like they were filled with sand. I have no record of my "perfect" physique, apart from some clothes that no longer really fit. I was holding out on pictures until I reached my goal weight.

Ivy makes friends wherever she goes. At elementary school pick-up, she regularly inserted herself into a group of middle-school-aged older sisters and struck up conversations. When the girls scattered to collect their siblings, Ivy would lament, "Oh, I miss my friends."

I miss my friends.

Ivy is so unlike me. She's tough. Rob and I kept the kids up past their bedtimes for a "Weird Al" Yankovic concert, and on the way home, I bet out loud that Ivy would be asleep when we got home. Her voice from the back seat was firm: "You're wrong." And I was.

The feeling that I couldn't open up to the people around me started creeping in slowly I'm-not-sure-when, but it really settled in a year ago. When I couldn't open up in real life, I stopped opening up at all. I had a long list of thoughts, but "nothing to write about," so I just stopped writing.

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Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Last Weeks of Two

Last Weeks of Two

Lately whenever I come into a room where Ivy has been playing on her own for a while, I find a perfect little row of something: robot blocks arranged neatly, side-by-side, according to color. Tiny plastic pigs standing in an expectant row. A stuffed-animal kick-line.

She's in no hurry to be a "big girl" (if you use that phrase with her, you're likely to hear, "No, I'm a baby!"), and when you ask her to do something for herself, she comes back with, "Can you do it?" On the other hand, she's more than happy to help me with my work: she unloads the dishwasher, puts the soap in for the next load, and pushes the "Start" button. She can set the table, and even remembers to put the forks and napkins on the left, knifes and spoons on the right. Her idea of making the big bed is flopping down in the middle of it and rolling around while giggling. Her idea of making her brother's bed is gathering up as many of his stuffed things as she can carry and making a beeline for the living room.

Last Weeks of Two

Ivy's favorite thing in the whole wide world is mothers and babies. If there is a Big Something and a Little Something, Big is the mama and Little is the baby. And she is Mama's baby. Always.

Last Weeks of Two

She's in a Storyteller Phase. Everything she says and does, she narrates. It's a little bizarre, this tiny human walking around and talking about herself in the third person: "'Can I have some milk?' said Ivy. Ivy is askin' to nurse." (She still nurses. Frequently and fervently.) And then, lying across my lap: "Ivy is lookin' up to her mama!"

Last Weeks of Two

* * *

On Friday, she will be three. I want to say "time flies," but it hasn't. This past year has stretched out to twice its rightful length. Ivy has been two forever, you guys! I know threes are supposed to be more challenging than twos, but I'm not so sure that will be true with this girl. From the very beginning, I feel like I've known some things about her for sure, but I've been surprised (and often blindsided) by so much more. My intellect, my gut, my memory all say "three is hard." I'm holding out hope that three, with this child, will be awesome. Regardless, I know she'll surprise me. In fact, I can't shake the feeling that she has something up her sleeve.

Whatever it is, I'm ready. And I know she is, too.

Last Weeks of Two

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