Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Gnawing Off My Own Arm by 2:15

Every once in a while, I decide I'm going to eat healthy.

This usually last about as long as it takes me to remember my innate love of gas station taquitos, or when I remember that fried chicken is a real thing that I can really eat whenever I want because I'm an adult, damn it.

You can see the problem, here.

So anyway, I decided that I would be putting more effort into getting healthy. I'm terrible at remembering the "be more active" part of "eat better and be more active", but I've at least (mostly) trying to stick to the "eat better" part.

And I'm starving.

I mean, not really.

I'm only starving until about 5 pm every day.

I'm not really eating significantly less than I was before. I just replaced unhealthy snacks with healthier ones, cut down on my caffeine consumption, rearranged my breakfast to match all those "what you should eat in the morning for sustained energy" articles, basically did everything you're supposed to do.

So now I get up in the morning and eat a healthy breakfast. I get a cup of coffee. I should be fine, right?

Nope. Starving by mid-morning.

I eat lunch at 11. My lunch right now is a lot of homemade chicken salad (made with twice the vegetables the recipe calls for, lots of chicken, almonds, greek yogurt in the dressing, grapes and apples, the whole shebang) with two slices of bread. It's actually really good. It's filling! It has lean proteins and healthy fruits!

I'm gnawing my own arm off by 2:15!

I come home and share a snack with Audra, usually some cheese crackers and fruit or something.

Starving by 5 pm.

We eat dinner, and usually I'll be good for the night after that. Tonight we had chana masala. The other day I did a healthified chicken and dumplings.

After 5 o'clock, everything is A-OK.

Until that, I just never. stop. being. hungry.

I'm not eating less than I should. I literally just replaced my diet with roughly the same amount of healthy food instead of unhealthy and water instead of coffee.

It's becoming increasingly obvious to me what my real problem with food is:

My body doesn't recognize any recipe that doesn't involve either frying my food or covering it in cheese as actual food.

I'm pretty sure my body thinks I'm eating grass.

And I really, really want some fried chicken right now. Or taquitos.

Or taquitos with a side of fried chicken.

I feel like if I tried to do that 'shake' diet, I would literally murder someone for their tacos by day three.

Monday, February 22, 2016

At Least She's Verbal?

We're going through a little bit of a bedtime rebellion these days.

It's not all the time, but more often than not in the past couple of weeks somebody's stubborn little daughter will "go to bed" just fine. Obviously it can't be my daughter, it must be Jason's daughter, as I have absolutely no stubbornness in me whatsoever. None. It is in no way the defining characteristic of my life.

She'll have her bedtime drink, get her teeth brushed, maybe play quietly for a few more minutes, then go right to bed after our bedtime song.

Approximately an hour later, the crying commences. Sometimes it's half an hour. Sometimes fifteen minutes! She likes to keep us on our toes.

It doesn't even sound sincere half the time, the half-hearted sort of good-natured wailing of a toddler who absolutely knows that sooner or later she's going to have to go to sleep.

Lately, she's been adding a truly pitiful little "Moooooommeeeeeee" or "Daddeeeeeee" at the end, her unerring child instincts telling her how much it physically hurts not to immediately run to her rescue.

She won't stop there. At first, she'd push herself up to a sitting position. Eventually, though, she'll end up laying down and falling asleep anyway.

Now she's gotten clever.

She forces herself to stand, arms draped over the side of her crib to keep herself that way, managing to do the one thing she knows will keep her awake.

After so long, of course, we do go in. We count the minutes or the amount of times she cries our names as though about to eaten by ravenous wild beasts, and eventually we go in.

Sometimes, if we don't go in fast enough, she switches things up and attempts to take her clothes off. She can't figure out how neckholes work right now, though, and ends up with one arm sticking through it and the other stuck halfway through the wrong sleeve.

Then she'll sob extra dramatically until we come to fix it.

Which we eventually will.

Because we are suckers.

Of course, then she needs some milk to drink to calm back down. Oh, and snuggles, and maybe a few more minutes of playtime.

Last night, rather than do the general dance of turning off all the lights and the TV in the living room and having one of us sort of hide so she doesn't know that we're still awake and have the temerity to be interacting with one another without her presence, I just picked her up and took her straight to our room to lay down in the dark.

In a span of about seven minutes, she cried piteously, sat up on top of my stomach, bounced until I was about to throw up, laid back down and snuggled, sang along with me, cried again, sat back up, rolled over to lay down next to me, kicked the blankets off of both of us somehow, cried some more because now she was cold, pulled the blankets back up but somehow over both of our heads, climbed back on top of me, attempted to stick her finger up my nose, and finally rolled back off and laid down next to me again.

Then she sat back up.

"Mommy mommy mommy," She said cheerfully.

"You are obviously sleepy," I said, I thought reasonably.


"Are you sure you don't need to sleep?"


"I'll give you a choice. You can lay down in here next to Mommy or you can go to bed in your room. Which one would you like to do?"

She was lost in thought for a long time.

"Audra? Do you want to lay down with Mommy or go to bed?"


So I picked her up and said, "Nope, that's not one of the answers, so you're going to bed."

I carried her into her room, laid her back down, and sang one more song.

She had a cheerful conversation with her stuffed animals and then went to sleep a few minutes later.

It was 8:30.

I was exhausted.

Friday, February 5, 2016

5 Things - The Sleep-Deprived Self-Acceptance Edition (Sort of)

I mostly just wanted to use all those S's.

photo credit: passing time via photopin (license)
1. This post on learning to accept how life has changed your body from Addie Zierman.

Addie is a writer I've only fairly recently gotten into. Her first book, When We Were On Fire, is a searingly honest look at what happens when everything you felt was certain in life (marriage, faith, community, and family) start seemingly tumbling away from you.

This new post of hers, "Size Up", is a post about buying a new pair of blue jeans. It doesn't necessarily seem like something to turn into poignancy; no one likes having to admit they've gone up a size or three from the clothes they used to wear.

Addie turns this moment into a rumination on how life changes us inside and out, and there's something to the acknowledgement and acceptance that your body must evolve alongside you, and sometimes that means accepting that the number on the tag is going to change, too.

It's a beautiful post, and I highly recommend it.

In fact, go click and read it now.

I'll wait.

2. This dress.

I haven't ordered from Boden in a long while, for a variety of reasons, but this. dress.

I don't even wear dresses, and I love this dress.

I love the color, and the longer arms, and the drawstring and and and and.

Love it all.

So I'll go back to staring wistfully at it.

3. This post from Sarah Bessey, "The Nightwatch", on the way that parenting a non-sleeping baby is horrible and also simultaneously full of perfect sweetness.

The thing about parenting is that to have a baby who just. won't. sleep. is to have everyone tell you that you just haven't tried the right thing, yet. And it doesn't matter how many things you have tried, and it doesn't matter how many times you tell people you have tried everything, they will all try to tell you that the problem is just that you haven't tried hard enough.

Audra isn't a good sleeper. And neither is Sarah Bessey's girl Maggie, who is nonetheless a smile-all-the-time pile of happiness, the fourth child and the subject of no small amount of sibling adoration.

Reading this, I just kept nodding my head.

We are tired, in our house, and have been tired since she was born. (I've been tired since I was four months pregnant, granted, but it became a team effort in August 2014.) She sleeps through the night usually only just enough to throw us off guard before three more days of waking up again.

Sarah writes so well the way that sitting with your little one at midnight... and 3... and 6... can involve such moments of exhausted desperation and simultaneously be so full of happiness. Which I suppose is parenting, in a nutshell.

Exhausted, desperate happiness.
4. These shoes from Target, which would just go perfectly with that Boden dress above, right?

... right?

I don't do much window-shopping these days... or at least not for me. I do a ton of window-shopping for toddler clothes, but when it comes to my wardrobe I'm basically just living on blue jeans and cardigans out of the back of the closet. But I think with the dress and the shoes? I could be pretty damn adorable this spring.

You know, the two weeks of spring South Carolina has before it's suddenly blisteringly hot and summer.

In April.

5. I'd like to end with a post from my friend Rachel, "Snapback". I've already shared it ALL OVER Facebook in like six different places, so a lot of you have probably already seen it.

Here's how it starts: "I look rough these days. That's not fishing for compliments, I promise."

Rachel has a little one a few months younger than mine, and we've been kind of right alongside each other in becoming first-time moms. We even both live in the South, although she's a bit further down there than I am.

Her thoughts on postpartum bodies meaning more than just "get your body back six weeks/six months after baby" and being a little more of acknowledging how you are changed, and no Insanity workout takes that change away. About accepting the bit of stomach that is perfect for your little one to rest on, about acknowledging that maybe you have become that mom, wearing yoga pants and a T-shirt while your child is impeccably dressed.

About acknowledging that that's just part of the journey.

If you haven't read it, I suggest you do. It's just perfect. I know all my "reads" in this roundup have been parenting-related, at least somewhat, although I think Addie's resonates for anyone going into their thirties or forties and facing the changes in our bodies and in the mirror.

But I adore Rachel, and I saved her post for last for a reason. Go read it, and get to know her, and you'll adore her frank, honest take on motherhood, too.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

In Which Dreams Are Weird

Last night, after a night of Audra waking us up every two hours like horrible magical clockwork, I had this dream that Jason and I were back in Illinois visiting my hometown.

It wasn't exactly my hometown, not really - this version of it was full of bustling shops around a busy Main Street, a place where the grain elevator was never torn down and there was still a grocery store next door to my childhood church, with a tanning salon on the other side that I think maybe isn't a tanning salon anymore and that was, once upon a time, a bank.

It wasn't a dream that took place in a true past or anything - McLean was never so busy in my lifetime as it was in this dream. There were shops that have never existed there, so far as I know. But I guess it was kind of the town we all would have liked it to be.

We were walking, all of us - my husband and I and my parents, glimpses of my siblings and my little niece, too, though they are fuzzier. We turned a corner where a barber shop used to be, the barber inside always seemed eternal until he suddenly wasn't.

He used to give me Dum-Dum suckers sometimes.

We were talking about the barber, who waved at us while working on an older customer. I think I remembered them both perfectly, far better than I do while awake.

I think Audra was with us - but maybe not.

Dad and I were joking about the Highlander movie, how 'they can only make one', laughing about the ridiculous joke. I remembered feeling sort of flushed with warmth at this great moment. We waved back at the barber and moved on, walking past an empty spot of grass where a library currently stands, next to the post office, which of course is exactly the same.

I said something to Dad, and he replied, and I remembered quite suddenly within the dream that he was dead.

I remember looking at his face, really looking, to see if he had noticed. As though perhaps he just didn't know it yet. He was laughing, something about the Highlander movie again. I was startled and deflated and just so mad, in the dream, that I couldn't just have a little bit more time where I didn't know.

He looked away from me, over across the town square, and he was still laughing.

I woke up. I had slept right through my alarm.

Or, to be more exact...

The alarm had gone off and I actually moved to pick it up off the floor next to the bed, physically turned it off, rolled back over, and gone right back to total sleep, apparently without a break in the dream. Or maybe the alarm had been the break, the point at which I realized something was off, and I just... didn't want to wake up just yet.

Despite it showing that I was thirty minutes later getting up than I should be, I wondered if maybe I just rolled over again, I could go right back to the dream.

Audra made a noise from her room. Not awake, not yet, but her psychic awareness of times that I want to lie in bed for just five more minutes was prodding her towards it.

So I got up and made myself a bowl of Cheerios, fed the dog, and squinted outside into the grayish dawn.

I still kind of wish I had been able to just keep sleeping.

I'm still pretty mad.