Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Weighty Matters

I'm not really a bitch. I'm just small, and right now I don't fit into my clothes.

Before I had my baby I was fine with myself. And I want to be back to my physical self, or at least some semblance of it. If for no other reason than I can't afford a new wardrobe right now. And if it takes me 45 minutes a day to find something I can fit into, I may as well be using that time at the gym.

Let's face it, we all give up a whole lot of ourselves to become mothers. And, speaking for myself, I hadn't exactly been planning on doing so when I got pregnant. Some of the stuff I gave up was good for me to have quit: the stress smoking, the indulging in, shall we say, "artistic" moods. But some of it I really miss: the social and cultural events, the extra hours it takes to excel at a job I love, the ability to take a nap or read a book when I want to, the serious running I used to do.

So I decided, let the crocheted striped salsa pants go, let the running go (for now), and the beer-and-poetry group,the social smoking (yes please) but I will NOT let my figure go. Superficial as it sounds. No way. Anyway, it's only about 10 lbs.

I'm doing weight watchers on line (no time for meetings), and for that I had to buy a scale.

It nearly stopped my heart when my baby stepped on it and then said, "now your turn," to me, then insisted on stepping on it again and again. The second morning after we acquired the scale, she asked me, "Ima, you gonna step with the scale now?"

Like many, many, many women my age, I was anorexic as a teenager. For me, it was from about the age of 12-20. I didn't even menstruate until I graduated from high school.
Yes, I learned it from my mother, the earliest memories of whom involve (besides hours of reading to me), two-week fasts, scales, and a rather sensible swearing off of all processed flour and sugar for fifteen years.

Sure, my mother was 19 when I was born. At 22 she gave birth to her third child. I must remember her when she was that age. It makes total sense she would have been concerned about her figure.

But I don't want to do this to my baby.

It's already bad enough that she plays "exercises" with her friends in the park (sit ups).

I think that, dependent as weight-watchers is on, well, weighing in, I won't do that part. I am making a concerted effort to sit down with my darling when she eats breakfast. But that is an effort. I have no television, so breakfast is my equivalent of sitting the child down in front of a dvd to buy myself 10 minutes.

I praise her gorgeous round tummy (and her manners, and her ability on the potty, and her helpfulness).
Luckily weight watchers is pretty normal eating. But I need to watch what I do and say in front the two-year-old audio/video recorder that is my daughter.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Where have all the Imahot gone?

I for one am hiding.

I feel lots of guilt for not posting, but it is certainly a significantly smaller and less significant kind of guilt than the guilt I feel on a daily and even minute to minute basis about all the rest of the stuff in my life. What would life be without some all consuming guilt?

Case in point. I fell asleep with my darling boy tonight. After we said the Shema, he went played with his babydoll in bed for a while, and I went straight to sleep. In his bed. Woke up half an hour later because my not so darling husband was poking my foot to try to wake me up. I missed doing the dishes, cleaning up from dinner, finishing my work for the night, and now I'm wide awake at nearly 11pm knowing that I'll be pulling another late nighter to get ready for the rest of real life.

I definitely can't handle it all. Won't even pretend about it. Whoever said that you could be a supermom didn't have a cape and was just totally wrong. I work full time, have a small child, and do a million other things I totally should have said no to because I'm a sucker and I like to try harder than "anyone else."

My bellyaching doesn't make for good blog posts. Neither does the challenge to my marriage and my waning physical and emotional stamina because of my lack of sleep and inability to focus on any one particular thing. So crazy that I ended up in the hospital a few weeks ago with a GI something that had STRESS written all over it.

Plus, damn it, I got a REALLY bad haircut a few weeks ago and my hair looks awful. My toenails look great, though, because I snuck out of work early (packed my flipflops, it was totally premeditated) and went and got a pedicure. I am not feeling that I'm at my (as Betty Crocker would say) moist, delicious best.

So I'll stop typing and try to go to bed by 11:30pm. Maybe I won't be so paranoid tomorrow and will have some time to write more. Or maybe not. Maybe I'll need a manicure instead!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Party on the Potty

Every day, many, many times a day, my girl is showered with applause, hugs and kisses. She has received by mail a package of frilly underpants from Grandpa-Grandma. A friend hand-delivered two miniature rabbis reclining upon a pair of groschen, along with a pink and white necklace. She is permitted to eat bamba and cookies and to drink juice boxes while completely naked.

I figure it will be easier to teach her that normally we don't eat and drink our favorite delicacies on the potty than it is to potty train in the first place.

Anyway, my mother's method of training little boys by having them "water the flowers" wouldn't work in the downtown apartment we've got.

And so it goes. It's life altering. It's cosmic.

And I get a kick out of how excited and happy this little-big activity makes her. She's so proud of herself she can't stand it.

She stops neighbors coming and going through the apartment building to inform them that she went on the potty today. She greets complete strangers in elevators, on trains, with information about her potty, and inquires whether they, too, go potty and wear big girl panties.

I'm not worried about spoiling her. The other day we brought home a big box of hand-me-down clothing. After examining a few of the pretty dresses together, my girl paused--you could see all the gears turning in her mind--then suddenly exclaimed, "It's my birthday!" Then she sang happy birthday to herself out loud a few times, waving her "birthday dresses" around.

Don't you wish we could save up all this credit for when such useful activities aren't so exciting anymore? I'd like to cash my potty-training treats in right now for a nice pair of shoes or a bouquet of flowers, a day the beach...

We're starting to slack off now that she's becoming regular. Now she can have a juice box the first time she goes. Then we clap and hug. Soon, I guess, we'll stop even clapping. I'd like to hold on to the hugs for a little while longer, though.

Friday, April 17, 2009


This was a terrific Pesach!

I usually like Pesach anyway. Since I'm a vegetarian and I don't like processed foods, it's usually a cleansing time. A salad and vegetables and fish time. I've usually got much more energy and am happier, as a result.

But this Pesach was even better than usual, even though I turned my kitchen fleischig in honor of my baby carnivore. Breaking out in horrible hives as an allergic reaction to detergents and spring--certainly not an auspicious beginning. But my lovely love took over the bulk of the cleaning and prep. The near-freezing temperatures and rain weren't so fun, but it meant I got to stay home and read books with my girl (among them our rabbi's manuscript, the blank back pages of which my girl "decorated for the rabbi.")

I know it's not good to let your child draw during chag. But it bought me some precious quiet (and after last week with ear infections and screaming, I needed it). It was gefilte fish for the brain. For instance, did you know that the Shema originally contained the ten commandments? That, in some circles, the first Pope, Simon Peter, is attributed with writing the Nishmat col hai? I didn't.

The reading/drawing technique also allowed me to cuddle and converse with my daughter for at least two hours each day.

As for the second days: At first I thought it was a disaster that the Dean of our college at the university where I teach invited an Irish poet to my graduate class--during second days of Pesach. But I invited the students and the poet over for dinner. It was amazing. The poet, a single mother of a nine-year-old, had never had an encounter with Judaism. I'm pretty sure she's drafting a poem about gefilte fish as I write, and she flies back to Ireland. Imagine serving people who are excited about matzah ball soup. The two Jewish students in class were happy. The conversation was charged, since the poet writes quite a bit about the encounter between Christianity and Paganism in her native West Kerry.

My love rolled with it all pretty well. Since he's accustomed to having the entire time of Pesach off in Israel, I know it was stressful for him to have to accommodate my work schedule and the unusual touches I added to a normal celebration. But it worked pretty well. And that's good enough for me.