Friday, May 27, 2011

Last Dance

The good news is that we spent three hours yesterday out of diapers and there were no accidents. The bad news is that at the end of those three hours, she was crying and pleading and screaming for me to put a diaper on her. She even got one out and sat down on it for me to do up the tapes.

I think I've been pretty cool on the subject of potty training. All of the parents that I have talked to, particularly those that have 3, 4, 5 kids, have said that it happens when the kid is ready. It's like AA, they're never gonna give up the diaper until they're good and ready to quit. Some kids that's 18 months. Some, like mine, that's 42 months. SIGH.

I remember when she was much, MUCH, younger and she showed interest and I was so excited that she would be an early adopter. Alas, that was not to be the case. Despite constant encouragement and more than a little cajoling mixed in with a healthy dose of peer pressure from all, and I do mean ALL, of her potty-using friends, that interest dried up faster than you can say "tinkerbell underwear." Except when stalling bedtime. Then, why she's all about the potty. Even cries in mock distress that the "poopie is coming!" Which, of course, it never is.

When she's sitting on the toilet, and we do a fair amount of that, I'll run the faucet and make the appropriate facial expressions associated with the activity, maybe even throwing in a grunt for good measure. But still nothing. We sit there, read a few books, maybe do a puzzle as it teeters on her little knees, and then she declares herself done and we go about our day.

I've been patient, but I am so done with changing diapers. More importantly, I am sick to death with BUYING them. Mama needs a new pair of espadrilles and they cost about the same as a box of diapers. I want to do a three day commando bonanza where diapers aren't even an option, but I feel like if she's screaming and crying for a diaper that she's not really ready. I was never good at "cry it out," in sleeping or anything and it goes against my nature to do it now, but am I doing her a disservice?

So I put it to you, friends and denizens of the interwebs, do I force it on her? Or do I wait just a skosh longer and see if the lightbulb goes off? But the bigger question is should I go ahead and buy those espadrilles? They're really cute. Parenting is hard.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


There's a lady at my gym. She's 85 if she's a day, her back is hunched, there's more hobble than walk in her gait, and I have never seen her without a smile. I've spoken with her briefly on a few occasions as we came or went in the locker room. She's quick to laugh and easy with a story in her thickly German-accented speech.

She makes me smile. Even when we don't talk. Just the sight of her working her way across the main gym floor makes me happy. I've always been intrigued by older people. I love their feathery skin and crinkly eyes. The personality in their hands. There are those that will bend your ear as long as you'll allow to detail their many ailments and there are those that will regale you with tales of tragedies or victories of days long gone.

I see this lady, with her smile, and I wonder about her. Is it a magic of biology that she survived the sorrows that any lifetime will dish out and still finds so much joy in every moment? Is it sheer force of will? Are there tears hidden away when others aren't looking? I see so much unhappiness. For every person like my smiley gym lady, I see a dozen sour folks. Faces pinched. A lifetime of sucking on life's lemons.

I lie in bed at night, the day's events running through my head and I find myself too often having to relax my tightly pursed mouth into a more natural pose. They say kids laugh a hundred times a day but as we grow up that diminishes until we're lucky if we get even a couple belly laughs out of every day. Do I laugh enough? Do I spend too much time frowning, yelling, scowling? I don't want to be one of those pinched face old ladies and I'm afraid that's the path I'm headed down.

So I'm making a choice to be happy, to smile as much as I can. Life is just too short, no matter how long you live, to be miserable. And you know what? Laugh lines? Are gorgeous.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


If you are watching your weight now, you will be watching it for the rest of your life. 

The leader of one of the first Weight Watcher's meetings I went to said this. Maybe all WW group leaders say this at some point, I don't know. At the time, I heard it, but I was too busy taking in my surroundings for it to really register. In the weeks since then, it has marinated in my brain. I have said the words out loud to myself on a number of occasions driving in my car or looking in the full length mirror in our bedroom. I have rolled them over in my head a hundred times. Dissecting each word.

When it finally sank in, its simple profundity took my breath away. The fact is that without voicing it or ever really even thinking about it, I had fully expected that once I lost the weight, I could go back to my carefree life. I could eat whole pizzas and super size Big Mac meals. Drink Dr Pepper by the gallon. And when I realized that this really did have to be a lifestyle change, that I could NEVER do that again, that is, if I wanted to not weigh 200 pounds, it was the quintessential come to Jesus moment.

But for this instant gratification junkie, the real surprise is that the last eight weeks haven't actually been that hard. In fact, easier than I ever expected. I think the divorce from McDonalds has been harder on my child than me. We drive by almost every day. She will look upon those golden arches longingly and say "freeeench fries." At first it was with expectant suggestion and then enthusiastic hope and now it is mostly in sad remembrance, tasting the salty words in lieu of the actual thing.

But that meeting leader's words were rolling around again in my head tonight as I tried on pair after pair of pre-baby pants and they were fitting. Not just fitting, as in I could get them on but I would never leave the house in them because they were really too tight, but FITTING, like my regular pants are just too big now and these smaller ones are the ones I should be wearing. Anyone who has ever struggled with their weight, and how many of us haven't at one point or another, can appreciate the jubilation of fitting into the next size down.

I am the lightest I have been since before Sophie. I am looking in the mirror and not cringing. In fact, some days, I actually even think I look good. I'm a long way from skinny. In fact, I was this size when a former friend told me REPEATEDLY that I was a BIG girl. So I'm not letting this go too much to my head, but I am trying to revel in my success just enough to keep me motivated to push on further.

My goals when I began this journey were modest. But now I'm starting to think bigger. Or smaller, as the case may be. And I will meet them.