Tuesday, April 5, 2011


I had my first appointment with a personal trainer today. (KB bought me a gift certificate for Christmas and it took me this long to make this appointment.) In discussing my goals, I hardly needed to finish the sentence, "I had a baby 6 months ago..." The goal? Transform from cow to gazelle. I watch The Biggest Loser. I want this dude to go all Jillian on me and break me down, to build me back up. To borrow a term, I want to get all Eye of the Motherfucking Tiger on this.

One of the things I haven't mentioned much here, and that I think often gets buried in the avalanche of life that having a baby brings, is fucked up body image. I remain convinced that it's only magnified by pregnancy through, not after, infertility. I spent a year and a half faithfully popping pills, injecting syringes, avoiding aerobic exercise, taking and upping doses of thyroid medication, and basically using my body as a roving laboratory for attempts at babymaking. So, the experiment finally worked, but it left the facility a little trashed. I was already up about 20 lbs over my comfort level when I got pregnant, and proceeded to gain over 50 lbs in less than 10 months. I didn't eat like pig; I was too nauseous to do that. I had a few crave-inspired cheeseburgers, but I generally tried to be reasonable. I just gained. And gained. And swelled. And it didn't stay confined to my belly (though plenty settled into a new home there, where it continues to be a squatter even after the baby moved out). I lost some of it postpartum, but not all. In fact, I had cankles for 3 weeks after I got home from the hospital -- big, pitting edema-filled cankles. I dreaded having people come over, for fear of more assvice AND because it meant I had to find clothes to put on. I've been moping around the house in leftover maternity pants all this time because they are still way more comfortable than the post-IVF pre-pregnancy clothes (which were still a little bigger than what I used to wear, when my body was a temple and all that). I know it's contributed substantially to feeling bummed out so much of the time. I've been walking the fine line between apathy and motivation to do something about it for -- let's see -- 6 months minus the 6-week postpartum period now. And really, it's about more than my body image now -- I have to set an example for my son. I want him to grow up understanding that responsible food choices (both in terms of nutrition and environmental impact) are important, and that physical activity is better for you, for its own sake and versus couch potato-ing. And as for the body image part, I have craftily avoided being in pictures and going out where I have to wear fancypants because I HATE feeling like a fatty lumpkin. And it makes me sad that I don't have many pictures of me with Jackson. So, it can't go on like this. Self-loathing aside, I have to work at this and feel better. Anyway, I really hope I see some initial results SOON from this personal training business. I could use the pick-me-up.

And I hope the weather takes a turn. I've never thought of myself as having seasonal affective disorder, but DUDE a little sun and a nice 60-degree breeze does wonders. I am OVER the cold weather, the freezing rain, the gloom. I'm really, really looking forward to taking Jackson out for walks in his stroller, or in his jogging stroller (listen to me talk the big talk!) and getting some fresh air.

I also need to work out details for babysitting for all the summer weddings and whatnot we have to attend this year. KB's mom still has this vague notion that she will babysit, overnight natch, so we can go out of town. It doesn't help that KB sort of promised her this many months ago, well before we knew as much about how far she'll go to undermine our parenting decisions and how his sleeping and eating habits would shape up. I'm leaning hard on the fact that he still nurses at night to keep the overnight babysitting dream at bay. The truth is, I don't want her to babysit AT ALL; I want for her visits to always include me being around. Control freak much? (Believe me, this is a recurring theme in therapy sessions.) My concerns are myriad. 1) Her food issues. She shuns healthy food choices and makes a HUGE deal about how much better her white bread, white rice, sugar-coated-everything treats are to my 7-year-old niece (whose parents, like us, prefer wheat pasta, wheat bread, organic, etc.). I don't think she's trying overtly to do this, but the end game seems to be to convince the kid that Nonna offers you GOOD food, not that garbage your parents force you to eat. It's already begun with Jackson, who is hardly out of the gate eating solids. She's asked about giving him ice cream, and when I say "no" she mumbles under her breath (but audibly) "well, he can have it at Nonna's house." Um, no, he cannot, if I already said so. (I won't even give him off-the-shelf jarred food; it'll be either organic or homemade.) I think it's part of a larger issue of wanting everyone to love her best. And food is her weapon of choice. 2) Her everything-else-parenting-related issues. I should let him cry more. Holding him all the time spoils him. Daycare ruins kids. We're wrong to not have him christened in the Catholic church (oooh, there's a topic we can get into another time. Controversy!). And so on. It's all come up off and on over the past year. I imagine him under her care, crying his eyes out because she lets him (to "teach" him something, I don't know what), being taught the rosary (against our wishes), being spoon fed ice cream and who knows what else, and generally being a sugar-addled, napless mess when I return home. Not to mention that she's well into her 70's and has a bad knee and our house is like a boobytrapped obstacle course of steps and furniture. We're putting baby gates and door safety latches up soon, so it will be even more challenging to navigate this place with a 16-lb sack of squirmy potatoes in your hands trying desperately to wriggle free every moment. KB is on the same page as me, but he's more willing to look for "compromises" -- let her babysit for a few hours, let's say. I say "no." I've watched her claim dominion over our niece and sneak food to her, undermine or badmouth her parents' rules and routines, and make passive-aggressive color commentary on their parenting choices in general, and I am not cool with it. She can see Jackson whenever she wants, but I will be there. She's already begun asking about our trip to South Dakota in September, to attend a friend's wedding, and the bottom line is: Jackson is coming with us. My sister has volunteered to fly out for a couple of days to babysit (which is full of the awesome), so we're all set (notwithstanding the travel nightmare our recent trip to Chicago became -- we're planning another go at it this summer, to somewhere closer. Live and learn!). My mother-in-law handily forgets our choices for Jackson where routines and parenting are concerned, but can easily recall minute details of every trip outside of the city limit we have planned for the next year, during which she might swoop in*. Hunh.

And speaking of the wedding...KB is IN the wedding, and I am singing a couple of songs in the ceremony. Yeah, little ol' me. Here is one that I'll be doing, a lurvely Dylan tune (that will be performed more like the Adele version). Listen to this, think about your baby (or the one you're working on), and TRY NOT TO CRY. I don't know how I'll get through this song without bawling.

* I always feel the need to apologize for bagging on KB's mom for her behavior, but it is SUCH a hot button thing for me. I take parenting choices very, very seriously (that'll happen when you grow up in an impoverished and abusive home). I simply can't stand for that to be disregarded so easily to satisfy her fragile ego. *le sigh* Hopefully she'll start to see a trend and get with my program. Hopefully.


Lauren said...

Well, I pretty much get anxiety thinking about anyone but DH watching my son. And he doesn't even do it that often, because I just don't go out and do things by myself. Plus he still nurses on demand all day long. My mom has watched him for maybe an hour on just a few occasions as I ran errands. Other than that, it's just me, or me and DH. So I don't think you're being a control freak!

And from the sounds of things, I wouldn't want your MIL watching my kid either!

Esperanza said...

Oh, it drives me CRAZY when my MIL says things like, "well she can at Grammy's house" or "my baby is going to this and such school" or things of that nature. I literally feel my toes curling in my shoes. It's rough, rough, rough. Luckily we agree on most of the things that happen at home so I'm not too worried about her actually watching Isa. But I've really noticed how much more respectful of my mothering my own mom is and I'm kind of surprised. It's really refreshing. At first I think I saw that as my mom being less interested but now I see that she is just respecting me as a mom. It's nice.

I hope the MIL stuff gets better. It probably won't but I here's hoping... ;-)

bunny said...

I always thought any mother in law could be tamed with open communication, until I actually had occasion to disagree with mine about something baby-related. Now I know the truth. For many of us there's just an unbridgeable abyss. My only thought is that when we are grandmothers, we'll arrive at a new understanding of how crazy parents are and how only WE know the proper way to raise a child. And then perhaps we'll be sympathetic. Or not.

As for the Gazelle program, I know you can do it, but ugg, it all sounds so easy and turns out to be so damn hard. I'm really glad you have the personal trainer--that's got to make it seem more reasonable.

Trinity said...

Well, I just love the Adele cover, and I am so impressed that you're going to sing it. In front of people. At a wedding. (Pssst...your badassery is showing!) I imagine you singing it in a gorgeous dress that highlights the fruits of your personal trainer's delicously brutal ass-kickings. :)

I wish you lots of sweaty luck with your personal training! My problem with working out is that I seldomly hold myself accountable. I am totally lacking self-discipline as it relates to fitness. Yeeeears ago I used to go to classes after work with a couple of my friends, and that made it much more palatable and whenever I tried to bail there were two other people strong-arming me into going. Those days (and the resulting lovely thighs) are long gone though. Sigh.

I have zero plans to ever leave Arlo with my parents. Not only do they both smoke (BLECH!), but my mother has a track record of undermining my sisters' parenting. My younger sister to this day (and rightfully so) has not forgiven my mom for sneaking formula to my exclusively breastfed niece. Now THAT is some fucked up shit. Anyway, good for you for sticking to your guns. No apologies necessary.