April 28, 2015

quadrophenia, magnolias, and the puzzle box

I flew out to Orange County, CA to stay with my dad for three days while my stepmom has been in the hospital for a couple of weeks. I wanted a chance to keep him company and make sure he's okay. Mission accomplished. I fly home tomorrow.

This is the first time I've been away from my husband and son overnight. I thought it would feel like a vacation, but instead it's been a quiet journey, inside and out.

My flight got in Sunday morning, and we spent that day doing nothing but talking and hanging out together. I went to the grocery store. I cooked dinner. We enjoyed the first one-on-one company we've kept in about 15 years. We went to visit my stepmom today and hung out with her for a couple hours before the impending doom of traffic sent us back to home base.

Early this morning, I went for a walk before my dad got up. Not knowing the area, I just headed north (uphill) and kept going until the street ended. I found The Who's Quadrophenia on my phone and decided it was the perfect soundtrack for my journey through the wilderness of my youth. You see, I grew up around here and moved when I was 18. From the magic of childhood through the torrents of the teen years, I lived for Disneyland and the beach and parties. But I was ready when I decided to migrate to Colorado with my mom - away from the crowds, the peer pressure, and the culture of pleasure and plastic. I've never looked back.

On my walk, I swooned at the constant wafting scent of magnolias and jasmine. I stared at the succulent trees and bushes (!) of poinsettia. It was like walking on a different planet.

Meanwhile, the lyrics from the album sank into my head: "The heat is rising... the past is calling. Is it me, or a moment?" Memories of the things I enjoyed most about this place came back and filled the corners of my psyche.

Nothing like the grounding of your past to lend perspective to who you are.

My stepmom told me about a box she'd packed for me of some of my deceased grandmother's collector plates. I found the box and, in addition to the plates, found the most interesting assortment of things. Pictures of me. My dad's birth card with date and time hand written, plus his resume from about 1964 (a different time in the Los Angeles area, that's for sure). A plastic hinged box with one gold ring -- presumably my (divorced) grandmother's wedding ring. Together, they are pieces to a puzzle I know little about.

Tomorrow I'll fly home to kith and kin, working and family, punch and grind. But I have decided that I do not want to stay away for years at a time anymore. Not when my dad's body is 20 years older than it should be, and not while I can give my son a chance to know him as well as where my side of the family comes from.

April 22, 2015

random thoughts on perfect parenting

Even perfect parents can't raise perfect children. So don't bother trying to be perfect.

April 15, 2015

my son's first lie

Yesterday morning was a battleground. At stake: an unearned potty treat (fig newton). Somehow the boy rationalized that, since he peed in his diaper, he gets a treat. Um, no son, that's not how it works.

We went back and forth several times, but I held my ground even as he wailed endlessly through breakfast and toothbrushing. I went on about my business, getting ready for work.

As I was about to head for the front door, he asked again for the treat. I asked him point-blank if he peed in the potty. He said he did and, knowing this was probably not true, I gave him the treat. A few minutes later my husband asked whether he'd used the potty and he said no. We took this opportunity to explain the difference between telling the truth and telling a lie, and emphasized that this is wrong. I did not take the treat away from him, believing that to do so would set him off and he'd just forget what we were trying to say.

We caught him in a lie.

So now, when he insists on a potty treat I really have my hands full helping him to answer wisely and truthfully. That, and I don't think this reward system is having its intended effect. Ah, parenthood.

April 9, 2015

week 1 on the weight loss journey

So apparently I cannot have beer for dinner. That is my first lesson. The second is that, to avoid starving to death, I am buying every fruit and vegetable in the plant kingdom so I don't have to look at bagels with puppy-dog eyes. (mm! mmm! she whines)

I still don't know how I'm going to feed my notoriously finicky 3 year old who's idea of the perfect meal is anything beige. I put the veggies in front of him. I make sure they're at least somewhat delicous. That's the best I can do. I thank God he loves milk and green smoothies. At least I've found out that I can make the box of mac & cheese with just pasta water instead of milk and butter, and add salt to the boiling water. It honestly tastes every bit as good.

The journey of wellness/fitness/whatever you want to call it is meant to last a lifetime, so I am working on reframing my mind and habits. At least I can still have beer for dessert.

April 7, 2015

sleeping in is not an option

I took a sleep aid late last night. I slept WAY past my alarm this morning. What ensued was undercaffeinated insanity with bad attitudes. When will I learn that the whole freaking household falls apart if Mommy sleeps in?

On a good day, I'm showered and dressed with hot cereal cooking on the stove before my son gets up. How often does this happen? Maybe twice a week. Other days I'm playing catch-up, juggling the morning rush with my husband while trying to pack a lunch. He's actually pretty hands-on and helpful in the morning -- it's me who has a hard time asking for what I need to get us out the door. I have this stubborn independent streak that guides me to acting like a single mom instead of communicating what I need when I need it. Ahem.

Today I weighed myself. I am trying to push away the shame and feelings of unworthiness that come with being overweight. Lord help me.

April 6, 2015

weight loss and the working mom

I haven't weighed myself for a month or more, and though I'd rather not know what the number is I will weigh in tomorrow morning. I finally rejoined Weight Watchers (WW) an hour ago and have already used most of my points for the day. Ahem. I think I need to lose 30 pounds.

I've resisted joining the program for more than a year. Just thinking about measuring portions and consciously seeking healthy foods has felt like more than I can handle. Exercise has been easy to excuse myself from due to mental, if not physical, exhaustion (despite the fact that I know good and well that exercise gives a person energy). And excess consumption has been all too easy in a constant pursuit of stress relief.

Between working, mothering, wifing (not a real word but it should be), and being the meal director of the household, weight loss and fitness have been on the backburner along with many other kinds of self care. However, I have finally reconciled with this part of me and I accept now that my whole approach to being in shape is different than before I became a mother. It's about being the best 'me' I can be so I can also be a better wife and mother (and meal director).

Back to WW. I chose them because I've been successful before and they have a comprehensive set of mobile and website tools that make it easier to pursue wellness. I don't want to bother with meetings since there aren't any good times or locations near me (and I honestly don't want to take the time).

This morning I cranked on the stationary bike for 30 minutes and then grabbed a nasty fast food breakfast combo on the way to work. Oh well. Morning has passed and it's a new day.