Saturday, January 31, 2009

A Sincere Disussion of Panties

I bought underwear at the drugstore today. Because I'm classy.

For bikini-style options, it was a choice between either a pack of your standard, run-of-the-mill white cotton undies, and a pack of assorted-color "sporty" bikinis. I don't know what makes them "sporty." Nothing about them seemed especially befitting of a sportsman to me. According to the package: "Sport-inspired style that's made to be as active as you are." Okay. So sporty means athletic. Now, not much about me is athletic at the moment, and I'm not sure my underwear needs to be active (whatever that means). But I'm right in the middle of my period and brand-new, bright white underwear kind of seems like asking for trouble in the form of more laundry. Sporty bikinis it is.

Can I just take a moment to say what a revelation it was when I discovered the existence of bikini underwear? Well, it was. My mother picked out and purchased my underwear for me into my teens, and it was always briefs. Huge, little-girl/old-lady briefs, which I actually requested if you can believe it. I was overweight from about age 11 on, and of the two panty options I knew about at the time, briefs were preferable to the hi-cuts insomuch as my hip- and lower-abdomen-flab didn't poke out below the leg-opening. When I finally got my hands on, and my ass into a pair of bikini underwear, I was briefly (heh) astounded. Nothing was being weirdly bisected or constrained! And if I had to have a belly roll, at least I finally appeared to have just the one, instead of two or three. I'm a fan of the bikini underwear, even (especially!) for plus-size girls. (Now, as for an actual bikini: that's another matter entirely. I've worn one maybe three times in my adult life, and one of those times was in a birthing tub.)

So here I sit, "sporty" bikini underwear underneath my not-quite-skinny jeans, and I'll be honest with you: I am not nearly fit enough to qualify as "sporty" in the eyes of the Hanes company. In fact, they really might as well print You Must Be This Athletic to Purchase on the packaging. Instead of a nice band of stripey elastic lying smoothly across my hips, I have a nice roll of flab on either side of the allegedly wide elasticized waistband. It's super flattering, and kind of flabbergasting.* Why can't something just fit like it's supposed to fit, regardless of what size you are?

Fortunately, as much as I'd like my body to be stronger and thinner, I'm also pretty okay with it and all the stuff it can do. It also helps that I live with a man who loves me for thinner or for fatter, in firmness and in flab, and truly believes that the top is the best part of the muffin. However, the point of buying new underwear was to, uh, get some new, not-stretched-out-by-pregnancy underwear. Not to remind myself that Sporty Spice I ain't.

*flabbergast (tr. v.) - To cause to be momentarily overcome with astonishment at one's flabbiness.

This post inspired by true events, and GGC's fabulous state-of-the-belly address.


Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Changes I Forget

My dad stood Westley up against the wall today, put a book on his head to use as a level, and drew a line in pencil. It turns out that "Westley 1-28-09" is a good five or six inches taller than "Westley 7-8-08."

It's not just his height that has changed, of course. Everything about Westley is just so different now. He talks. He toddles. He goes into his room on his own and looks at books by himself. Just a few months ago, it took more than an hour to soothe him to the point that he could fall asleep. Now, it's only a few minutes before he asks to be put in his crib at night. I don't really remember when any of this happened. If I sit and think about it (or look through my archives), I start to remember the changes as they happened. Small things at first, which turn into developmental milestones. But on a day-to-day basis, it feels like someone just flipped a switch: at first, there was this little baby, and now a little over a year later, here we are!

There are also the occasional moments when it's like the switch gets flipped back again, but only in my brain. I suddenly forget, or fail to notice how much has changed. Yesterday I caught myself nursing Westley in this somewhat awkward position I used to use when he was tiny and didn't understand that whole breastfeeding thing yet. My arms were starting to ache a little before I realized that I don't have to cradle him so securely or squeeze my breast into a "nipple sandwich" for him anymore. He's an old pro. I still refer to him as "the baby" all the time, but he's really "the boy" these days.
Sometimes I need a pencil mark to remind me.

Such a serious boy.


Monday, January 26, 2009

A Nice Day for a Walk

Five or six steps at a time will no longer do. He is now officially a toddler. A sideways toddler, that is.

(Next time, we'll rotate the camera 90 degrees before selecting "video.")


Thursday, January 22, 2009

Married Life

Phone call #1.

"Hello. This is Rob."

"Hi, it's me. I'm going to the store. You need anything?"

"Yes. New socks."

"Um, OK. I just bought you new socks."

"Yeah, those are dress socks. I need regular socks."

"Regular socks?"


"As opposed to--what? Athletic socks?"


"So...dress socks."

"No, regular socks. This is because you don't wear socks."

"Uh-huh. So when I get to the store, it'll be like: athletic socks...dress socks...and socks?"

"Don't worry about it."

"OK. I'll see what I can find."


Phone call #2, later that afternoon.

"This is Rob."

"They're called 'casual socks,' for the record."

"So you found some."

"Yes, I looked and there were dress socks, athletic socks, and casual socks. I guess as opposed to formal, upscale, planned socks."

"Or as opposed to committed, monogamous socks."


Tuesday, January 20, 2009


This morning, watching television with my parents while my son played on the floor, I felt truly proud to be an American for the first time in my life. Proud, because my son will grow up with today's inauguration as part of his history. He won't remember this day, but he will remember this president.

I got goosebumps seeing all those American flags and secret service agents and men and women in uniform. I prayed along silently, said "Amen" out loud. Westley didn't look up from the empty teacup he was playing with, but he stopped to grin and clap when everyone applauded. We all said "Yaaaaay!" together.


Monday, January 19, 2009

Pictures and Books

After putting it off and putting it off, I finally uploaded a bunch of pictures to Flickr. I would probably still be putting it off except that my camera's memory card was full.


On Saturday, we took Westley shopping for a birthday gift for Rob's mom. Third Place Books-shoppers take note: children's department employees = very nice and friendly to babies. Cashier guys? Not so much. "If he drools on that...," threatened the half-hipster, half-geek kid behind the counter, as though I should know better than to bring a child into a bookstore in the first place. I said nothing, and took Westley to play in a photo booth while Rob paid.

On my way out, however, I noticed that the title of my imaginary, not-yet-written memoir is the title of someone else's real, already-published memoir. Well, except for the long subtitle part.

I was going to go with something slightly shorter, like "Getting Everything I Never Thought I Wanted."

What baffles me is how I didn't know about this book. I didn't read much during my pregnancy and Westley's first year, partly because my brain just wasn't perky enough at the end of the day to deal with pages and words, but mostly because I didn't find anything that really spoke to me. I didn't want experts or how-tos. I wanted to read other mothers who could articulate the emotions, doubts, heartbreak, and humor that go into bringing a tiny person into the world and doing the best you can with him. Two books that began to fill that literary gap for me were Anne Lamott's Operating Instructions and Rebecca Woolf's Rockabye, but there's room for so much more.

I'm glad to have found Mary F. Pols (and interested to read that she loves Lamott and also yearned for something more) and her writing, even if it means rethinking the title of my own book, if I ever get around to writing it.

If you know a good memoir by someone who happens to be a mother (I refuse to call them "momoirs"--blehblehyuck), please comment! There has to be more out there for those of us who crave literary "parenting" books.


Wednesday, January 14, 2009

This Time

I never know what to do with this time.

Westley is asleep, and there are at least half a dozen things I need to do. Several more that I want to do. The bed's not made starts butting heads with the bathroom could use a good wipe-down, except that I haven't checked my e-mail in a few days and no time for a work-out, but 60 crunches is better than nothing. Pretty soon, I'm should-ing all over the place and italicized commands are everywhere. And then there's writing, which can feel like both a should and a want at the same time.

I take a deep breath.

What one thing would make a difference? Will I feel like I have slightly more mental clarity if all of my clothes are re-folded and put back in their drawers, or will it just be a waste of time because when he wakes up, Westley will quickly discover that his "work" has been undone? If I got started on the dinner preparations now, I wouldn't have to rush around the kitchen like a crazy person later, wondering how much longer I have until the hunger alarms start sounding.

Everything I can think of to do sounds like too much work for someone who just finished schlepping her hungry-crabby-tired boy all over Whole Foods, trying to feed him beet salad and marinated tofu while he arched away and ooh-ed at the flower-shaped pendant lamps. Someone who is hungry-crabby-tired herself.

I eat a snack, and think about taking a nap. It occurs to me that by the time I managed to get relaxed enough to fall asleep, Westley would probably be waking up. So I should really start the dinner, or at least figure out what I'm going to make for dinner.

This is one of the hardest things about motherhood, for me. This time, when the boy is sleeping and the house is relatively quiet, and it seems like there are an infinite number of little things to do. I have this glowing, golden opportunity To Accomplish Something. But all I want to do is rest. Drink some tea and see what's been languishing on the PVR for weeks. Procrastination disguised as self-care.

I know that as Westley gets older, the naps will disappear, and I won't have this time any more. And I know I'm going to miss it, even when I spend it wondering what to do and being certain I hear Westley crying every few minutes. This time, when I can tidy up a little. Or think about tidying up while flipping through the day's junk mail.

Because even if I waste it, at least it's my time to waste as I see fit.


Saturday, January 10, 2009

Or So He Says

"nnn!" - all done!"ba" - ball
"ba" - anything that looks like a ball (basically anything round)
"ba" (occasionally "ba-OOOH") - balloon
"ba" - banana
"ba" - bottle
"ba" - bowl
"BA!" - look at that cool thing over there!

"buh" - book
"brr!" - it's cold here!
"da" - Daddy
"ga-da" - Grandad

"ma" - Mommy
"mum?" - hey, Mom?
"ma" - milk
"ma" - MaMay (my mom)
"ma" - this sucks
"ma" (while pointing) - take me over there
"mmm!" - this is delicious!
"kee" - kitty
"at" - that
"at" - hat
"ot" - hot
"up" - pick me up

"ha!" - that's funny!


Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Self-Portrait at 26

Nothing good happened today. Except for this:

Happy Birthday to me. Twenty-six years, and a little dude to grow on. Kick-ass.


Friday, January 2, 2009

Size Matters, or "The last time I weighed this much, I was thinner"

There is something very odd going on in my closet.

I have several pairs of pants that I purchased after Westley was born that all claim to be the same size as my pre-pregnancy jeans. In fact, I'm wearing one of those pairs of pants now. But my pre-pregnancy jeans don't fit. Not even close.

Okay, that's not true. They're perfect around my calves.

Seriously, though, it's making me a little crazy. I know about variations in sizing from designer to designer, I know that different cuts and styles and rises can mean going up or down a size, and I know that what I'm really supposed to care about is keeping my body healthy and being as good a mother as I can be to my boy. But at the end of the day? I just want to fit into those stupid fucking jeans again, dammit!

I'm about seven pounds over my pre-pregnancy weight (on a good day--and 23 over my goal weight) and I feel like it's not only in the usual places. I suddenly have these hips and thighs that were never really there before, and I've got a lot more Meow Mix goin' on in the back. I want to call it "baby weight" but my baby isn't really a baby any more. Really, it's just weight. Weight I still have to lose, because I ate lots of French fries while I was pregnant. And because being tired and depressed and snowed in and nursing a boy who loooves to nurse and cuddle don't add up to much in the way of exercise.

Fortunately, I feel like I'm finally getting on track. I started carving out 30 minutes to walk in the evenings. It's not much, but at least it's movement. Occasionally, I even manage to sweat. It's only been a week, but I seem to be sleeping better, and I think I have more energy during the day. And not wanting to undo any progress I might have made in my 30 minutes of aerobic iPod-listening and magazine-reading keeps me from snacking in the evenings. Of course, it's way too soon to see any progress in the jeans department, but I feel so virtuous after going for my walk that it's a real temptation to try them on (again).