August 29, 2008

Every Saturday, after waking leisurely, watching cartoons and enjoying a few (dozen) cups of coffee, our whole family heads to the gym. The girls love the Kid's Club which is full of climbing and bouncing and everything playful and fun. While they play, Kurt and I work out.

We start with abs, groaning our way through crunches and whatnot and I can never do as many as he does. I usually end up giggling at the focused expression on his face and pretending to stretch. This may explain my continuing battle to conquer the remains of my baby belly. Or it could be the ice cream, I may never be sure.

After the ab fiasco, Kurt runs me through a weight training routine. He is more of a task-master than any personal trainer I've ever experienced. I often end up with a heavy bar hanging over my head, my face turning red and my arms trembling near collapse as he smiles and says, "Come on, just one more, push through it." He always saves me from dangerous skull crushing with the barest hint of an assisting lift with his fingertips, grinning all the while. I am positive that he enjoys these moments as pure vindictiveness. I should also mention that he always, always lifts at least three times the weight that I do, the whole while pretending that I am not a huge wuss.

Afterwards, we head over to the cardio "theatre", a ridiculously named section that would more aptly be described as "The Zone of Sweat and CNN". On adjacent machines, we huff and puff our way through 20 minutes. The entire time, I keep a close eye on his calorie count. It is a matter of my deepest pride to always and without fail stay at least 5 calories ahead. Kurt finds this hilarious. I think he lets me win on purpose.

When all this masochist effort has come to an end, Kurt leans in to kiss my sweaty cheek and says, "Good workout, honey, you really did great!". I roll my eyes and tell him he's lucky my legs are too shaky to kick his ass. We pull the girls away from toys and babysitters they love more than us and head immediately to Jamba Juice for a smoothie treat. My body is usually totally spent by this point. I always have to sip my drink sitting down and I usually succumb to a nap by mid-afternoon.

All things considered, it is my absolute favorite time every week.

August 25, 2008

Effects of sleep-deprivation from watching the Olympics

Squinting at each other through sleep-fogged eyes, we kissed briefly, careful to turn our heads ever so slightly to avoid the wrath of morning breath. That particular tilt of our heads is an unconscious habit, like so many things in marriage, born from years of daybreak kisses.

I splashed my face with cold water and reached for the towel. I wasn't going to mention it if he wasn't. But he turned to me sheepishly, shaving cream dotting his face in spots.

"Sorry about last night." A self-deprecating grin hid just at the corners of his mouth, ready to jump out at any moment.

"Hmmmm?" I looked at him, not sure exactly which part fell under the apology and so not sure which part to bring up. The sheepish grin won out, leaping across his features and carrying a light blush with it.

"I, well, sort of... fell asleep, didn't I?"

Ah. That part.

"Mmmhhhmmm. Yes, well... it was a bit slow-going there. I noticed you faded in and out." I put on my best attempt at a diplomatic face while trying not to laugh. It was really funny. We both knew it. "Still, it all ended well, for the most part, I suppose. And you were really tired."

But then...

"It did? End well, I mean? Really? I don't-", he stopped as Anna ran into the room. Glancing down at her and walking towards the closet, he finished, "I don't really remember an ending."

Silence fell. Then, after hugging my 3-year-old ball of energy, I asked her, "Sweetie, do you know how old daddy is?"

An indignant laugh sounded from behind me.

"Daddy's 39, mommy! He's older than you!"

"Good girl."

August 22, 2008

Mommy Moment

A while back, at a particularly low point in my life, I learned that sometimes it's the most disgusting things that can renew your self-esteem.

It was my birthday, actually. We'd just pulled through some of the most harrowing moments of our marriage and craved some kind of normalcy like balm for a wound. With the girls in the stroller, we slowly walked to a local restaurant. The evening breeze cooled our anxious minds, bringing us down slowly from the past days of excruciating adrenaline.

Of course, that peace lasted about two minutes after we were seated. Silvia wanted out, then in, then out of her high chair. Anna wanted grilled cheese, no, spaghetti, no, why didn't they bring her grilled cheese!? We ate quickly, each of us thinking that we had been idiotic to venture out in the first place. Finally, Kurt headed up to the front to grab the stroller. I went to lift Silvia out of her chair and realized very quickly that she was awash in... yuckiness. Of a personal nature. To whit, poo was oozing out all over her, up her back, down her legs and covering her tummy.

And, oh yes, let's not forget. I had no diapers, no wipes, no spare clothes and there was no changing table in the bathroom. We had left the house completely unprepared. Without thinking about it, I whipped into action. Pulling off my sweater for her, I laid Silvia down, stripped her, tossed the whole mess (including her clothes) in the trash and popped her in the sink, rinsing her off as best I could. During this swift maneuver, in walked a woman mid-sentence, head turned to tell her daughter to remember not to touch the door, put the seat cover on the toilet and hold herself up to not come in contact with anything in the public restroom.

She stopped dead in her tracks at the sight of my poo-smeared baby sitting in the sink, surrounded by suspiciously murky paper towels. Anna, ever helpful, piped up, "There's still poo-poo's on her back, Mama. And there's poo-poo's on you elbow."

"Sorry," I said to the germaphobe, shrugging my shoulders in a isn't-motherhood-fun-we've-all-been-there-right kind of way. Her eyes wide and appalled, she backed away, trying to smile around the look of horror of her face. She pushed her daughter away as if the room had been filled with well... feces.

I dried Silvia off, pulling my sweater over her head and wrapping it all around her like a full-body diaper, washed my hands with her propped on my hip, tossed everything else in the trash, grabbed Anna, and headed out. Disaster averted.

We found Kurt standing out front, looking puzzled. "What took so long?"

"Oh, nothing. Silvia had a little diaper issue."

"Where's your sweater?", he asked, referring to my chilly figure clad only in a thin tank top (thankfully. It would have been embarrassing to walk home in my bra). I pointed at our giggling offspring, who flapped the huge sleeves up and down, trying to find her fingers. In that moment, I felt my confidence return in a rush. I knew that Kurt would not have handled the situation with anywhere close to the equinamity I had exhibited. This was a moment that had required me, specifically.

I stood taller, my face cracked into a long-unused smile. With nothing but a stack of paper towels and my own clothing, I had completely and skillfully defused a toddler bomb with mere seconds left on the poop timer.

I was the MacGyver of moms.

Shoulders back, I grinned at my husband, finally feeling that maybe, just maybe, everything was going to work out just fine.

"Come on. Let's go home."

August 06, 2008

A New Baby to Welcome!

Ha! Gotcha. Bet you thought I meant ME! But no, (HELL no, to be perfectly clear)...

Wayne's little boy, Benjamin, was born this past Saturday. Which, in turn, leads to an incontrovertible fact. That is to say... Wayne is now a dad. For those of you who know him, that's... well... WAYNE!
WOW. I'm so excited, I'm about to pop! Not have-a-baby kind of pop, just so-happy-for-longtime-friend kind of pop. The child in question, is of course, incredibly cute. Adorable. Small and floppy.
Congratulations, my friend! I hear birth is the hard part, from here on out it's a cake walk.

August 04, 2008

It's all part of the show, folks!

Equivocation: A technique by which a magician appears to have intended a particular outcome, when in actuality the outcome is one of several alternative outcomes.

The part where I differ from your standard illusionist is, I don't know which of the alternative outcomes are coming, either. Makes for an even bigger surprise, right? Still, I can't resist attempts at the whole deceptive appearance part. I am constantly forcing myself onward without ever having any true idea if it will play out. As usual, I know there are several possible outcomes to any given situation. As a true performer, I do my best to prep for each. Pulling it off, however, is another trick entirely.

Take this weekend, for instance. I've been agitated for the past week or so; reclusive, easily flustered. Phase 1 of 2 for my special needs. I knew, however, that we had a close friend's birthday party to attend for their 3-year-old daughter. We had the gift, we had an excited 3-year-old of our own, we even had the time and date straight (two years ago, we showed up a full day early, this coming weekend we were planning to show up a full day late for a wedding).

What we didn't have was me. I was in a never-leave-the-house-again-and-talking-to-people-is-so-overrated kind of mood, though I was pretending the opposite. Kurt saw right through me, as usual, and kindly offered up several opportunities for me to back out. But I was all about putting on the show. Must not appear weak! Go! Socialize! Put a smile on that pretty face, dammit, and get in the ring!

This party was a triple-threat, actually, and I should have known better. There were people there who knew I'd had The Big Breakdown this summer but that I hadn't seem since Before. It was a pool party so I was nervous about the swimsuit exposure as well as the kids who can't swim thing. And (here's the biggie) my oldest child is Queen o' Drama at parties. There's cake, there's presents, there's kids, there's a pool, etc. She twists herself up like a rubber band and then, just at the most inconvenient time, let's all that suppressed tension fly free.

Just like her mommy.

I think I pulled it off fairly well, actually, though with some flops. As soon as I had my swimsuit on, I felt like I was walking naked through the halls of Congress on national television. I changed back into street clothes less than 10 minutes later to confused looks from my husband. I hid my discomfort with concerned acquaintances by simple means- misdirection and disappearance. Ah! Magic! Look, over there, a baby with cake-face! *slink away*

Where I really lost it was with Anna. Every time I take the kids out to an event, the more stressful the situation becomes lately. I don't know if she's feeding off my nerves or vise versa, but together, we are a MESS. She starts with the defiance, pouting and tears. I start with the harsh-but-under-the-breath threats, control freak demands and excessive time-outs. This sets her off, which sets me off, which sets her off...

And through all my (not so) inner-drama, there's Kurt, holding the baby, smiling and chatting, totally oblivious to the impending firestorm from his wife and daughter. I was so envious in that moment of his gracefully comfortable demeanor that it burned a hole in head. Honestly, I heard the sizzling. I'll have to wear hats for months.

"It's. Time. To. LEAVE." My teeth gritted as I failed a smile completely. Anna hit the floor, tantrum in full swing because, "that girl said "no" to me!". Something to do with bubbles, I believe; nothing more than the last straw, for certain.

Gathering up, screaming child et al, I felt embarrassed and defeated. I should have known. All my attempts at equivocation were in vain. There was ever only one possible outcome to this situation. I knew it, I always know it, but I can't quite accept this change to my social skills. So I pretend, beforehand, that it will be different.

But in hindsight, I always know, I'm no good at this show, folks. I need to stick to what I know; reading, writing and hiding out until the tents are down and the crowd's gone home. No more circus tricks for me.