Sunday, August 28, 2011

It's funny. I really need a break. I need time to myself. I have always needed this; I recharge best alone.

But when I get a break, I spend most of the time thinking about getting back to Elle.

Everything changes, indeed.

(And I still need a break.)

Friday, August 26, 2011

Elle is not great at sharing. Yet. I believe this is typical for just-over-one-year-old toddlers.

Apparently this week at the sitter's, the sitter gave another little girl a cracker. Elle leaned over, smacked the little girl's hand, said "No," and took her cracker.

"Where did she learn that?" the sitter asked me.


Well, she learned that from me. Except for the stealing the cracker part.

Let me explain. No, there is too much. Let me sum up. (Gratuitous Princess Bride references always welcome in my house.)

Elle has a tendency to hit at my face-- not hard, but more flail-y kind of hitting. 99% of the time I take her hand, enfold it in mine, and say sternly "No. We do not hit Mama. We are nice." And then I take her hand and demonstrate "nice" face touching. Which she thinks is hilarious. I have no idea if she's actually learning anything from this, but it's how I respond almost every time.

A couple of times, though, I have tapped my fingers firmly on the back of her hand, said the same thing, and shook my head. It is not by any stretch of the imagination hitting her, but it is physical contact.

But she has clearly retained what happened and is duplicating it in her own social interactions. Something that has happened to her only a very few times-- and she's doing it herself. There are probably a zillion other things that have happened to her, and she's not duplicating them; this clearly made an impression on her.

I do not plan on using any kind of corporal punishment. (I am pretty sure, however, that I'll slip up and there will be the occasional swat on the butt.) No face slapping, no spanking, etc. It's not what I want to teach Elle. I was spanked and turned out fine, but those memories are not ones I want to duplicate with my daughter. I think every family needs to make their own choices, but I just don't think corporal punishment is necessary for mine.

It would be a stretch to say that Elle's memory of a back-of-the-hand tap is damaging or unpleasant for her, but again, it clearly made an impression. These little things that we don't even think about are soaking into children's brains and coming out in what they say, do, and think.

We are their role models, for better or for worse. Getting that lesson this early is sobering and (to be honest) scary.

She learned that from me. May the next time I see that happen, it be something better and more positive.

Thursday, August 25, 2011


My parents visited this past weekend. They adore Elle. She adores them. She will have precious little (blood) family as she grows up, so I want her to spend as much time as possible with her grandparents for as long as she can. My parents are not young, so all these moments are precious.

They don’t live in the area, unfortunately. I never thought I would want my parents nearby, but now I do-- for Elle, not for me. While they are still healthy, I’d love for them to be able to spend time with her. They talk about moving but just haven’t done what they need to do; some of that is because of the economy, and some of that is that I think they are in a bit of denial about the fact that, if they want to really know Elle, they will need to live in a major metro area that they (well, my dad, at least) doesn’t much care for. I'm not leaving anytime soon. This is where my support network is, and barring some kind of relocation relative to work, this is where I’ll be for a while.

(Someday, I’ll be in Colorado. But that’s a long way away, and my parents will be gone by then.)

What is funny is that when I talk to one of them about it, they each blame the other. And they believe it. Heh.

So they come, and they adore Elle (in their own ways, anyway; my confusion with how my mother interacts with her is a topic for another post). And I end up doing all the heavy lifting to enable them to spend time with her.

I guess that’s my role, maybe? I guess I don’t feel like they’re guests, exactly; they’re family, and I’m used to pitching in when I’m a guest in their home. That same thing doesn’t happen here, although my mother will usually cook at least one meal, which is nice.

I do wish I'd had a child when I was younger. I wasn't ready, though. And if I'd done this five years ago, I wouldn't have Elle; there's a reason for everything. Another advantage of younger parenthood is that my own parents would have been younger, around for more of Elle's life, and probably able to do more with her.

Regrets are natural, but a waste of time in the long run. You can't go back. I don't want to, anyway.

Friday, August 19, 2011

I would give you the moon

We’ve been taking swimming lessons at the local Y. (“Swimming lessons” consists, at this age, of splashing around singing. Elle loves it, and so do I.) I’ve enrolled us in both summer sessions, and just went to enroll in the fall session.

The price for fall went up by about thirty bucks. Thirty bucks. That's half again as much as it was. The session’s a couple of weeks longer, yes, but not that much longer.

I am not poor by any means, but I hate the way I feel when something like this comes along: there’s a moment of “oh, crap” and I have to think quickly about whether or not I can swing it. This is important to me, so I make it work.

But I wish I didn’t have to think about it. I wish thirty bucks wasn’t a big deal. I wish I could give Elle everything and anything, because she deserves it.

Quality parenting does not equal "giving the kid everything they want." I know that. But I also know that kids are smart, and if their parent(s) is constantly worrying about money, they figure that out early. I wish Elle wasn't going to have to figure that one out.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Will you be my friend?

I am on Facebo.ok, along with half the universe. I post the bare minimum of personal information on there. I don’t even post pictures, because I don’t trust it. (I have been told by someone in the know that while they call themselves a social networking site, all they are really there for is to gather your personal information whenever they can and then turn around and use it to sell you to marketers. I believe this, and nothing that they have done throughout all the various privacy issues has caused me to revise this opinion.)

Anyway, I enjoy it for keeping up with other people’s lives. It’s kind of like people who post pics of their kids on the internet—I don’t do it myself, but I get a huge kick out of OTHER people doing it. Double Standards R Us! I’ve reconnected with some people from my distant youth, and am able to keep in touch much better even with some of my local friends. It definitely has value, especially if you’re careful how you use it.

One thing that consistently causes me agitas is the whole friend request thing. If you were my sworn enemy in high school, why the heck do you want to friend me now? If we had a bitter, painful breakup, why in the world would I want to keep up with your life? If we barely knew each other, you are trying to friend me... why?

Now, some people collect friends like they’re going to get a prize for the highest number. That’s totally fine. Me, I try to have people on my friends list that I actually like, and would like to keep in semi-regular contact with. After the early days of my FB involvement (where I friended at least a couple of people I regret friending), I adopted what I call my no guilt policy: if I don’t want to friend someone, I hit “ignore” and feel no guilt. No "obligation" friending, thanks.

I had someone from college send me a friend request this week. This was someone I always liked and wanted to be friends with, but she was much cooler than I could ever be. So we were mostly friends by association-- through another person, D. D and I are no longer friends and haven’t been for ages, so seeing the friend request from this third party felt a little odd. We weren’t really friends, after all.

I thought about friending her, then hit ignore. I probably take the whole thing too seriously, but I figure as long as I’m consistent, it all works out OK in the end.

I must admit I’m glad I grew up in the days before FB and e-mail and all that. It’s never easy to be a kid, but it was certainly simpler before you had to be “friends” with everyone in your high school class. Oy. I suspect having a no-guilt policy is difficult, if not impossible, when you’re 15.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Scenes from a life

  • Elle, sitting in front of the gate that’s over the stairs to the basement, each hand gripping a bar and shaking with great force and intensity. All she needed was a tin cup, really, and you’d have one heck of a prison movie.
  • The other evening, she didn’t want to leave the playground, so she howled all the way home. And it’s a considerable way home. Of course, if she saw a dog or people, she stopped yelling long enough to check them out, then resumed the noise once they’d passed on by.

    While it may have sounded like I was torturing her with a hot poker, periodic checks over the sun hood of the stroller made it clear that she was absolutely fine. She was being a Drama Mama.

    Girlfriend has very definite opinions, and if she’s not getting what she wants (already!), she lets the whole world know about it. Ditto this morning, when I wouldn’t leave the pantry door open so she could pull everything off the bottom shelf and fling it across the kitchen floor.

    I am SO MEAN. She needs to get used to that. Hee.

  • Monday, no afternoon nap at the sitter’s meant by the time we got home Elle’s eyes were little more than bruises in her face, and everything that happened was trauma. She got a second wind after dinner and a bath, but wouldn’t drink much of her before-bed bottle even though her dinner wasn’t much (as usual).

    She crashed hard a few minutes before her regular bedtime, and I heard her wake up at least once in the early evening (rare these days). About 10:30, she woke up, and her crying wasn’t that angry come-get-me-now crying so much as it was a pathetic, things-are-not-right crying.

    She doesn’t wake up often, and when she does, I generally don’t go in unless I’m worried something is wrong; she'll fuss herself back to sleep. But something about her crying last night was different, so I got up and pulled her bottle out of the fridge.

    She was warm and soft and sleepy. She was also hungry, and after a few ounces of milk, some cuddling with mama, and a diaper change, she went back into her crib and fell asleep for the night without another peep. My sweet girl.

    I’m fine with cry it out. Sometimes, though, it’s nice to hold your baby in the night, when she’s a warm, barely-moving weight on your chest, and her hair is soft against your cheek.

(And yes, she still has a bottle before bed. I don’t put it in the crib with her, ever. We brush her teeth after the bottle and before bed. She puts herself to sleep just fine; goes into her crib awake and plays until she falls asleep, and the only thing she reaches for as she goes to sleep is her dolly. She drinks from a sippy cup or a regular cup during the day, not a bottle. She doesn’t use a pacifier.

It’s another case where “they” tell you there should be no bottle after one year. I’m so tired of “them” telling me about my baby. She still needs that evening milk. Eventually, she won't.)

Monday, August 15, 2011

If I add vegetables to the Easy Mac, does that make it OK?

Feeding toddlers: a total nightmare, or a total nightmare? YES.

Today, I'll eat blueberries! Tomorrow, I'll act like blueberries were sent straight from Satan and smell like dirty feet. I will whip them off of my tray as fast as you put them on it, so don't even TRY.

Today, I think chicken is disgusting. Tomorrow, when you don't make any for me, I'll eat all your chicken off your plate and whine when there's no more.


Processed crap YAAAAAAAY.

I used to get all judgey towards parents who gave their children lots of processed food. Now I know why they do it: they can get the kids to eat it, and at least they're taking SOME nutrition into their bodies. It may be swimming in fat, nitrates, and preservatives, but at least there are some calories and perhaps a vitamin or two.

When Elle was about six months old and venturing into solids, two mom friends both shook their heads and told me the same thing: the first year is so easy. You throw a jar in your diaper bag and poof, that's lunch. You don't have to do much outside of finding jarred food your baby likes.

(I'm aware that there are lots of moms who make baby food from scratch. Good for them, and I mean that. I did it sometimes, but not consistently. My mantra as a parent is "no one gives you an award for doing X," and that applies to everything from cloth diapering to making baby food. If buying a jar of healthy baby food saved me time in the kitchen, yay. If I had time that day to make and freeze sweet potatos, yay. Whatever works for you as a parent. If you're looking for judgey, there are plenty of other blogs out there that will give you judgey.)

At a year, magically the baby is supposed to give up bottles, and get all their calories from food they feed themselves. As usual, Elle is taking her own sweet time with all of these milestones, and I'm fine with that. She's always had a good appetite, but it's less predictably good now. "They" say you have to introduce new food to a toddler many, many times before they'll accept it, and I'm here to say: yes.

I thought I was all set because Elle was willing to eat anything I put in front of her, but I didn't realize that just because she was willing to eat it once, that didn't guarantee she'd eat it twice. Or ever again. My fridge is a graveyard of leftovers, some of which have no chance in hell of ever being consumed by this toddler. My dinners have often become whatever bits of food Elle doesn't eat (which is not contributing positively to the size of my ass, that's for sure).

The biggest challenge is getting vegetables into her. Fortunately, I'm not the only parent who's had this challenge, so there are lots of helpful hints out there. This is why I'm still buying baby food and using it. The other night, I stirred squash into her macaroni and cheese. She thinks it's funny to eat from those squeezy pouches, so I buy the Happy Tot pouches that are fruits + vegetables-- there's one that's pears/peas/green beans, and another that's apple/carrot/sweet potato. Having tasted them, I can say they're pretty darn yummy. And she will EAT IT, giggling as it gets squeezed into her mouth. It’s hilarious, I guess.

Sweet potatoes in general are pretty OK with Elle, and they're healthy. This week, she's willingly eaten butternut squash as well; I found one of those microwave steam pouches that was butternut squash in a cinnamon sauce, so I'm pretty sure she thinks it's dessert. I do not care. She ate it.

Carrots (unless cooked to mush in red sauce), green beans, broccoli, corn, cauliflower, tomatoes-- none have yet met with her approval. But I'm giving it time, because she's a toddler, and she's going to do what she wants to do whether I like it or not. I do need to try feeding her some veggies I don't like. Just because I dislike lima beans and brussel sprouts doesn't mean she will too-- after all, she likes mac and cheese, and I think it's gross. (I know, I'm weird.)

Fruit can be iffy, but she'll almost always eat that freeze-dried fruit you can get in pouches. It's not the most cost-effective fruit out there, but for now, it'll do.

Those toddler meals they sell are pretty disgusting, I think, but I have a few on hand as backup. And I have some frozen meals as well, for nights when I'm in a hurry. But I am trying, when I can, to give Elle relatively simple, fresh, healthy options to choose from.

She eats better with her sitter (she'll eat what the other kids are eating), and I can almost always get her to eat yogurt, cheese, crackers, freeze-dried fruit, Cheerios, Goldfish, pizza, and oatmeal (and I stir fruit into the oatmeal). That's not a bad array for this age. I can think of at least one SMC whose daughter barely eats anything due to severe feeding issues, and I'm sure she'd be ridiculously happy if she could say her daughter ate even half the things on Elle's list. So I shouldn't be too crabby about it, I guess.

As a friend told me: don't think of balanced meals. Think of balanced days. Sometimes, think of balanced weeks.

Hard to do, when it seems like an entire day has gone by and your toddler is subsisting on milk, two slices of banana, and a handful of Cheerios.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go look for crock pot recipes that might feature vegetables hidden in some kind of Elle-approved sauce.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

There is nothing wrong with you

Since becoming a mom over a year ago, I’ve been regularly surprised by the things that you don’t know, regardless of how much you read or how much you talk to other parents. I was luckier than some—I knew that breastfe.eding wasn’t always a walk in the park, for instance. I had a pretty good idea of some of the common challenges.

But one of the things that’s represented in nearly every movie and television show I’ve ever seen, and is certainly something my own mother told me over and over, is how the minute a baby is born, you (the mother) are transported away by a love that’s nothing like you’ve ever known. It’s magical! Nothing matters! You forget the pain of labor! Blah blah sparkles coming out of your eyes! Every moment is perfection!

I know that may be the case for many women. I'm so glad for those who get that. However, if it isn’t the case for you, please know: there’s nothing wrong with you. You are not a bad mother, nor are you a bad person, if you are not transported by ecstasy the moment you give birth.

I’m not talking postpartum depression here. For a frank, helpful discussion of PPD and how one woman is dealing with it, visit Erin’s blog. I’m talking about those of us that certainly love our baby (or babies) right away, but are waiting for the Hollywood soundtrack to start playing and... it doesn’t.

34+ hours of labor and a failing epidural meant that by the time they had to take Elle, I was absolutely toast. And she was born in the morning, so there were a lot of hours to go before I could rest. And if you’re bfeeding, they leave the baby in-room with you overnight-- which I understand and totally agree with, but as a single parent with no one else to take Elle and let me get some sleep, I maybe should have asked them to put her in the nursery that first night.

(Also, when you go into labor, TAKE A SHOWER. Immediately. This is my advice. I didn’t do this right when my water broke, and ended up not being able to take a real shower for one hell of a long time. It was gross. My postpartum photos are not exactly attractive—I know they aren’t always, but had I been a little cleaner, it couldn’t have hurt. Also, eat something. There. That’s my advice for women about to have a baby: shower and eat. I’m nothing if not practical.)

We parents don’t do anyone any favors by being less than honest about the parenting experience. My mother may have been ecstatic every moment of her mommyhood—but I doubt it, and conveniently “forgetting” the tough patches means I feel less than when she says something that invalidates a rough patch I’m going through.

And that’s why I’m being honest here, and I’ll refer back to an old entry in this very blog: I loved Elle from the moment she was born. It took me a while longer to fall in love with her.

There’s nothing wrong with you if you don’t bond instantaneously. Some women do. Some women bond on the second or the fourth or the twentieth day. I know one mom who’s very honest that she really didn’t feel bonded to her son until he was six or seven months old. It probably happens even later than that for some people.

THAT IS OKAY. It is all okay. It’s going to be different for all of us. There’s no template for mother love. Anyone who tries to tell you otherwise is full of it. Each path is different; let yours unfold however it unfolds, don’t compare yourself to anyone, and take it day by day (or hour by hour) if you need to.

I still don’t hear that Hollywood soundtrack. That’s OK. That’s not how I’m wired. But I feel a powerful, protective, often overwhelming love for my daughter, and I would do anything—anything—for her. I think she's awesome.

I’m pretty sure that’s the point.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Downward what?

When I went back to work after my leave, I was skinnier than I'd been in years. I was still kind of strung out in terms of lack of consistent, predictable sleep, and was still breastfe.eding; I could eat pretty much anything, any time, and it didn't matter. Nervous energy and providing food for Elle-- however minimal my production was-- apparently took care of my weight issues.

Right about 12 weeks, when I went back to work, was when Elle's sleep schedule normalized (mostly) and when I stopped breastfe.eding (not by my choice; the girls just gave up the ghost, and I wasn't in a position to work hard at upping my supply). And my weight issue holiday was over.

Let's just say that I am no longer skinnier than I've been in years.

I'm not at my heaviest weight ever, but... I'm far closer to that than I'd like, and a good 15 pounds heavier than my usual resting point has been. A desk job + stress eating + no longer able to get to the gym have all combined to put me at a weight where I'm simply not comfortable any more. Not to mention I'm going to need to buy new clothes if I don't lose weight now, and that's just not in my budget.

I realized I've become really out of touch with my body. Pre-Elle, and even during pregnancy, I was far from a gym rat. But I was at the gym at least a couple of times a week, regularly, and I liked it. During pregnancy, I was a regular at my weekly prenatal yoga. I walked regularly with my little Vertigo Dog for many years, summer and winter. So while I'd never make the cover of Shape, I was certainly healthy and active.

Now, even when the weather's good, I have so little time when I get home from work that I don't necessarily want to spend it strapping Elle into a stroller. I do sometimes, but in the 1.5 - 2 hours I have when we get home at night before Elle's bedtime, she needs dinner and a bath, and we both need a little time to decompress. (And play. Always play.) And then when she goes to bed, I have another 1.5 - 2 hours in which to do all the things around the house I need to do, including cooking and cleaning up the kitchen. Plus, Mama needs a little time to screw around on the internet, go through her mail, and maybe (SHOCK!) read a book or watch a movie.

There's precious little time in there to exercise.

I did mention that I have an exercise bike now, and I am trying to use it. I just don't like the bike very much, so it's not motivating. (If it was an elliptical, now...) I can watch a movie while I cycle, so that's something.

The other night I decided to pull out an old yoga tape. Yes, tape. Not even a DVD! After ten minutes, I was completely exhausted, and went upstairs feeling like a complete failure.

My goal now is to up the yoga time by ten minutes each practice until I can do the entire tape (which I believe is about 40 minutes). Once I can do the entire tape, my goal (of course) is to simply improve in my practice each time. Hopefully, if I alternate the bike and yoga, I'll help both my heart and my flexibility... not to mention my state of mind.

Ten minutes. Seriously. Pathetic.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Baby's first vacation

My sitter had a few days off, so rather than get someone else to cover, I took the time off as well. It was a treat! For three of those days (two nights) last weekend, we went with friends to a little beach town about an hour and a half away, not far over the border to a certain mitten-shaped state that we're close to.

It was lovely. My budget doesn't allow for a lot of vacations, but this was ideal-- not a long drive (Elle HATES car rides at the moment), a nice casual town (i.e. not upscale and pricey), and a BEACH.

Because baby girl is still on two naps a day-- and hoo boy, she still needs both of those naps-- it definitely made the schedule more awkward, but we had a good time regardless. We wandered around the town, hung out at the beach, and lazed around on the porches at the lovely B&B.

The B&B was ideal for several reasons. It was right in town, had the aforementioned porches, and best of all the room I was in had a little separate room, with a door, for Elle's pack and play. This was terrific, because it meant we didn't all have to go to bed when Elle went to bed. The first night, after Elle went down, we hung out on the front porch (attached to the room, so within hearing distance) drinking whiskey lemonades and talking. Quietly, but talking.

The second night, my friend's husband stayed with Elle while the girls went out for a drink. We were still in bed by ten-- beach living is tiring, man. Also, I'm old.

Elle loved the beach. Loved it. When I put her down at the edge of the water, and the waves rolled in, she immediately started scooting towards the waves, even when they were big and splashed her. That's my girl.

We spent a lot of time under a little canopy, playing in the sand (I managed to forget her hat, so no matter how much sunscreen I lathered on her, I wanted to limit her amount of time in direct sunlight), which was also big fun. She dug in the sand with her sand shovel, and especially liked it when her bucket was filled with water and she could splash in it. Also, dump the water out. Over and over. And over. The only thing she didn't like was when sand got stuck on her wet hands-- she'd hold them up and look at me and whine. Cause and effect, sweetheart. Cause and effect.

We're definitely going back. One of the friends who went on the trip is already researching places to stay and houses to rent.

I should also note that I feel very lucky that I have friends who not only don't mind going on vacation with a toddler, but who really enjoy said toddler. At this age, there's almost no way I could do this kind of trip solo. The gear alone is more than one person can really handle. And, until Elle is better in the car, it was nice that one of my friends sat in the back seat with her for the latter half of the drive home. (On the drive there, she just lost her mind for the last 25 minutes or so, and I grimly drove as fast as I safely could. NOT FUN.)

I've lost some friends since becoming a parent, absolutely. But the people who've stuck with me are amazing. You really do learn who your friends are when you set out on the single mother journey, and I couldn't be more blessed.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Kids are smart

When Elle came along, I’d been alone and single for fortymumble years. All of a sudden I had a roommate with poor communication skills who didn’t contribute a dime towards the rent or the (considerably increased) utilities, who left her stuff all over the place, and who didn’t care much about what time it was when she wanted to make some noise.

My daughter is fabulous, but like it or not: it’s an adjustment.

There are many reasons why it’s better to be a partnered parent than a single one. One big reason is that, theoretically, with a partner, there’s someone to pick up the occasional slack. If you’re sick, or in a terrible mood, or just don’t feel like you want to engage with that noisy little roommate at the moment, you can (hopefully) look at your partner and ask him/her to take that on.

Not much of an option when it’s just you.

By the time Friday night comes around, sometimes the last thing I really want to do is have to entertain a toddler for a few hours before she goes to bed. (Hopefully, she goes to bed.) And there’s no way to punt that to someone else.

If anyone wants to post “Honey, you signed up for this, so don’t complain,” feel free. But you know what? Just because I signed up for this—and I did—doesn’t mean I have abdicated my right to whine occasionally.

What struck me the other day was the thought that I hope Elle never feels like she’s a burden. I hope my tired face at the end of the week doesn’t somehow communicate to her that I’d just rather not engage, or that she’s anything but a blessing. I’m not much of a poker player, and children are far smarter and more perceptive than we often give them credit for.

“Tired on a Friday night” does not equal “too tired for you” or, God forbid, "tired because of you." It just means that as she gets older, maybe Friday night we watch movies and have pizza, and it’s a way to be together that’s lower-maintenance.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Travel, not leisure

I was out of town on business last week. It was my first time away from Elle overnight, and I went two full days without seeing her; I left for the airport before she got up on day one, and I got home after she went to bed on day two. I had great support from friends on the front and back end, and she stayed overnight with her regular sitter.

For her, really, it probably didn't feel all that different. When I came into her room the morning after I got home, she was as happy to see me as she usually is in the morning-- no more, no less.

She is a happy, adaptable little thing, who is clearly secure in the fact that she's loved and well-cared-for. That's exactly what I want her to be, so I ignore the intermittent pangs that I would like her to be slightly more dramatically attached to me. That's just feeding my ego; that's not what's best for Elle.

At the end of the day, I'm her mom. And it's far more important that I raise a happy, social, well-adjusted child than it is to raise one that feeds some occasional need for validation.


While I was out of town, I was able to use the little hotel gym. It was decently set up, and featured my favorite exercise machine of all time: the elliptical.

I can't possibly explain how much I love the elliptical. I love it so much that I should be skinny and muscled. Sadly, I can no longer get to the Y (yes, they have childcare, but I leave Elle for 11+ hours each day; I'm not going to get her home and turn around and leave her with yet another sitter several times a week), and there's nowhere in my house that has high enough ceilings to accommodate an elliptical.

I did recently get a used exercise bike, and have been doing at least a few miles on that 4-5 times a week. This is significantly better than nothing at all, but not nearly as much fun as the dearly beloved elliptical. (And I'm watching season three of Slings and Arrows while I'm on the bike, a Canadian series that has not gotten nearly the attention it deserves. Highly recommended if you like theatre, Shakespeare, or Shakespeare and theatre.) So getting to exercise at the hotel was, believe it or not, a huge treat-- I even gave up additional sleep to go exercise that second morning, before I showered and checked out of the hotel.

It felt wonderful.

There are two questions I get, fairly often, as a single parent. One is if this is what I expected, or if it's easier or harder. The other (often from other single women) is asking what I miss about my single non-parent days.

I answer, honestly, that there's very little I miss. The two things do I miss are:

1. Being able to go to the gym
2. Being able to stay in my pajamas all day and sit on the couch and watch movies and be lazylazylazy.

That's not really much to miss, is it?

The nice part about it is that both those activities can return one day. Someday, Elle and I will do pajama days together (I hope we have the same taste in bad movies!). And someday, I'll get back to the gym on a regular basis.

Meanwhile, there’s plenty of other stuff to do.