Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Yeah yeah yeah

I am not feeling good about myself lately.  I feel fat and tired and old; the 20 pounds I have gained in the nearly two years since Elle's birth are not good for me either physically or mentally.  (Also, I'm short.  Short people can't gain 20 pounds with grace.  We get very round, very fast.)

I have noticed that I carry myself differently.  That I interact with people differently.  I am not happy in my own skin right now, and that leads to a lot of negative things.  It's a horrible Catch 22.

There's no question that I need to do something about it (I can't afford an entirely new wardrobe, for one thing), but today, as I tried to force myself to stand up straight instead of slumping, I had one of those moments where my brain was full of dislike for my body.  FULL of it.  It was just a really horrible self-bashing moment.  At the end of a long string of thoughts hating on myself, I thought "And Elle deserves a mother who's not a horrible cow!"

(This gives you an idea of what I say to myself in my own head sometimes.  It is not pretty.  It is not healthy.)

But as soon as that mean, nasty, self-hating thought went through my head, it was followed by another:  Elle could care less what I look like.

That thought stuck with me all day.

She could care less.  She doesn't care if I have fat rolls, or my skin needs a chemical peel, or my roots are showing.  She doesn't care that I have one pair of jeans left I can get into, and they aren't especially comfortable.  She doesn't care that I probably need to size up on my bras.  She could care less how I feel about my body.

To Elle, I am beautiful.  I am her mom.  I am the arms that hold her.  I am the hands that wash her face.  I'm the chin she tucks her head underneath as we read books before bedtime.  All that matters to her is that I'm there, every day, doing what I need to do.

I need to lose the 20 pounds, yes.  Elle deserves a healthy mom.  But I also, perhaps, need to stop letting the negative run the show, and give myself a little bit of a break.

I need to remember that the truly important voice is not the nasty one in my head.  It's the little one shouting "Squirrels!  Where are you?" as she runs ahead of me.

Sunday, April 22, 2012


(Wow, this new Blogger interface sucks.)

Related to my earlier question about how Elle behaves in church...

This morning, I continued my post-Easter focus on keeping Elle away from the center of the action.  No wandering near the altar (it's a modified altar for the children's service), no wandering in the front of the aisle, etc.; I'm keeping her on the sides or in the back.  Or, for a little while, with me in the pew.

At coffee hour afterwards, one of the dads asked me "So where was Elle today?"  I explained I was trying to keep her in some less-distracting areas during the service.  "Oh," he responded.  "I missed seeing her.  I get bored when she's not around."

Now, one can take this any number of ways.  But man, I laughed my ass off.

Monday, April 16, 2012

More precious than gold

When I went in to wake Elle up this morning, she looked every inch the poster child for a precious, healthy toddler-- tousled curly hair, flushed chubby cheeks. She wasn't crabby I woke her, either; she was just sort of sweet and fuzzy, happy to see her milk ("mi-uuuk") and her bunny ("bunny," no enunciation issues there) and me.

I leaned over the edge of the crib and rested my hand on her curls, and thought "You. You are my treasure."

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Behave Yourself

I have about five readers (and I love each and every one of you) but today, I'm soliciting opinions from those of you with older kids.

At what age did your children sit through a church service? Or, perhaps more accurately, at what age were you forcing them to sit through a church service?

Some background: I was raised Catholic, but am now Episcopalian. (That describes half my congregation, actually. I only know a few "cradle Episcopalians"-- most of us are ex-Catholics. Although, as my dad says, being raised Catholic is kind of like being a recovering alcoholic-- you're always Catholic, even if you're not practicing. Heh. Anyway, I digress.)

Our church is small but warm and supportive, and it has an active kids' program. We go to the children's service; it's short, and no one minds noise or activity. Elle is about as far from a shrinking violet as it is possible to get, so we spend most of the service walking around the church. She's quiet and well-behaved, and comes back for communion and part of the pre-communion stuff (she likes the Great Amen, and is a fan of bells), but mostly, we're active. She'll also stand in front of the little low altar (the space is customized for the kids' service) and watch, or dance if there's music.

My parents think "children need to learn to sit still in church." And I agree with that. I also think, however, that an under-two toddler is not likely to sit still yet, and I don't care-- as long as she is quiet, and not disturbing anyone, it doesn't bother me if she wants to walk around.

My mother actually said that she's quite sure that Elle is "bothering the crap" out of everyone at the children's service by her behavior.

Now, I wouldn't allow her to do this at the full-fledged adult service. That's why we don't GO to the full-fledged adult service. There's a nursery, but right now she's in her clingy mama phase so she won't stay there. Our church also has a little side area for kids, with books and soft toys, but she's not really at the age where she has the attention span to stay there for more than a little while, so an hour-long service is just not a great idea right now. I absolutely agree she'd be a problem at that.

But for the 30 minute children's service? Where kids are handing out communion and babies are on the floor?

Opinions, moms, please. (If there's a dad out there, he's welcome to chime in as well.) Do I need to start forcing Elle to sit in my lap? Because I can do it; I'm a stone bitch if I need to be. I just feel like if she's quiet, and not getting in anyone's way, that it's all right. She goes to church every Sunday. She's starting to learn the songs. She knows many of the other kids and parents. We are part of the community there, and she looks at this as part of our life, and she will grow up with this community and this faith woven into her childhood.

Isn't that my priority?

If I'm off-base, please tell me.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Wordy girl

Only a parent can truly understand how it is possible to love someone so much, and yet still want to drop them off at the nearest orphanage.


She can identify all the letters-- she sometimes gets confused about V and J, for some reason, but otherwise she has it down. She knows basic shapes. She knows most of her numbers through nine. She has absolutely no idea about her colors, but clearly, she's brilliant.

Her language is also through the roof. She puts together intelligible full sentences now on a regular basis. Sometimes, it's babble, but more and more the babble is understandable. This past weekend my parents were here for Easter, and my dad was in the basement watching TV. The stairs are gated off, and Elle trotted over to the gate and called down "Papa! Where are you?"

Sometimes, I think I'm mentally putting words into her mouth... and then I realize I'm not. She truly is just that verbal.