"The Tightrope Walker"

"The Tightrope Walker" by Jean-Louis Forain

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Small Successes

I've been at the gym now two to three times every week for the last 6 weeks.  My trainer is really great!  She has a great sense of humor and wants me to succeed - even if it hurts!  Finally, I have started to see some results.  I've only lost about 5 lbs, but I've lost 3% body fat which is a big deal because it means I'm building muscle and strength.  The most interesting changes are the ones that can't be measured.  For example, I have had to tilt my rearview mirror higher in the car.  I couldn't figure out why until I realized I was sitting straighter and taller.  A few people have also commented on my height.  I obviously haven't grown, but my posture is much improved.  I can carry Molly higher on hip and for longer distances before needing to switch sides or carry her with two arms.  I'm sleeping longer and better at night.  Although I still have a LOT of work to do I'm even noticing small changes in the shape of my body.  All very motivating and exciting!

The amazing part is that being physically active and going to the gym has never really been a part of my life, but suddenly it is just the norm.  Even Sophie asks me now if today is a gym day or if we are going for a walk.  Things are changing and to my surprise I like it.  I like being at the gym, working with the trainer and the sense of pride I feel as the weights get heavier and my strength improves.  I really was worried when I made this commitment that disaster was afoot, but these baby steps to success mean so much to me that by extension the process has become an enjoyable life line!  Who knew?  Me at the gym and enjoying it.  Maybe pigs can fly!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Kids Say and Do the Darnedest Things.

Discussing a fire drill at school that saw the kids standing outside for 25 minutes on the coldest day so far this fall.

Me:  Were you allowed to take your coats?

Sophie:  No, and it was cold.

Me:  How did you keep warm?

Sophie:  We tucked our hands in somewhere cozy and then jumped up and down.

Me:  Thinking:  Really? For 25 minutes.  The image of a school yard of 450+ kids with their hands tucked in their armpits while jumping up and down is priceless, even though I know she didn't mean everyone.  Saying:  Did you still have two recesses after that?

Sophie:  Yep, and you know what?  The best part was it was snack time as soon as we went in.

Kindergarten and already our priorities are straight - snack and recess a MUST.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Back to the Beginning.

I've just spent some time reading my very first posts from March 2010.  Reading about how I was feeling, what I was expecting and how I perceived my life about 8 months ago is very interesting.  It has highlighted for me how much changes and how much stays the same in short period of time.  For example, Molly is still big trouble and more bold than Sophie ever was as a toddler.  I'm still struggling to figure out how to include ME in MY life, and time is still speeding quickly by.  However, things are changing.  I've spent more time in the last few months doing little things for myself than I have in a long time, and although I haven't lost the "10 lbs" yet there is progress to report.

At the beginning of the September with the routines of school coming back into our life I decided it was a great time to add something new to the routine.  I have had a gym membership for about four years and used in periodically at best.  So, with membership in hand I marched my sorry-self into the gym had a fitness assessment.  Talk about an eye-opening experience!

The only thing I can compare the fitness assessment to is a professional bra fitting.  (For any woman who has ever had this experience you will understand the shock and awe I am about to describe, and for any woman who hasn't had a professional bra fitting - DO IT!  You will be shocked and awed.)  Everyone I know,  including myself, who has had a bra fitting has been utterly surprised by the outcome.  It is my understanding that most of us oversize our band and undersize our cup.  And if you are anything like me you were shocked by the actual cup size you needed, but awed by your new and improved smaller band size.  I remember leaving the lingerie store feeling empowered by my new found size, excited to wear my properly fitting and comfortable bra; but hesitant if not slightly disturbed by the actual size.  I actually remember thinking, "Really, they make cup sizes that big!"  Followed by, "I realize I've got big boobs, but this is verging on embarrassing."

Leaving my fitness assessment left me with similar feelings.  I was shocked by how poor my actual state of health was, yet awed by some of my own abilities.  For example, I discovered that my percent of body fat was quite high meaning that the strength I perceived myself to have was exactly that - perception.  However I also learned that I am quite flexible, perhaps more so than the average person.  I felt crummy afterwards, but empowered to take action.  I was excited to perhaps take real action and at the same time scared of the choice I was about to make.  So, with trepidation, anticipation and muscles that ached at the thought I committed to a large number of personal training sessions.  Yikes, what the heck was I thinking!  ME?  Non-athletic, happy to sit and read book or cuddle through multiple movies, lazy, un-motivated Me, was going to see a trainer?  Yep!  And, with about 12 sessions down progress is slow, but I'm doing it and that is the most rewarding part.

So, in about an eight month period I've come back to where I started.  Trying to include something in our weekly schedule that is for me and about me while trying to lose weight.  The interesting thing is that in the end my whole family is likely going to benefit from me taking a few hours every week to be without them.  Seems that walking the tightrope is all about ironies!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Baby Bully.

Molly is a bully.  Yep, I said it.  She really and truly is a bully.  Yesterday for example, we had only been up for a half hour and she had already made her big sister cry three times.  First, she deliberately picked up a baby doll, walked over to her sister and then slammed it across her face.  I know you think I'm crazy, but her actions were very intentional and clearly she was hoping for a reaction.  Sophie cried and Molly satisfied by the reaction walked away.  Of course I jumped in, made everyone kiss and moved Molly to the other side of the room.  I thought I had distracted Molly so I went on getting things ready to leave for the day, but Molly saw her opening.  For the second time in less than ten minutes Molly whacked Sophie over the face with the doll.  So doll went up high, Molly again was diverted to another activity and Sophie was kissed better.  Again attempting to get bags packed and everyone out the door I dropped everything I was doing at the sound of Sophie's screams for the third time.  Molly had twisted her fat little fingers into Sophie's crazy curls and was yanking and pulling with all her might.  Every time Sophie yelped Molly tugged again.  All of this in the first half hour of my day! 

Thankfully the babysitter reported a quiet and uneventful day with no more battles, but back at home all hell broke loose again at dinner time.  The short version - Sophie ended up with lovely baby teeth marks in her back.  Ouch!  Poor kid gets attacked when she least expects it!

JD and I are bewildered.  We never experienced this type of behaviour with Sophie; I suppose because she had no one to pick on.  Even stranger though is that Molly has the guts to be so aggressive towards someone bigger and stronger than her.  Thankfully, Sophie screams and cries which brings us running rather than taking matters into her own hands and fighting back.  I find myself wondering how much more Sophie can take and if she will reach a breaking point that causes her to hit, bite or pull back.  I obviously want to put an end to this behaviour so we don't reach that point, but I just don't know what to do. 

Clearly the old-fashioned divert and distract isn't working, time-out isn't an option at this age and Molly is too little to understand the concept of hurting someone.  We've told Sophie that she needs to do her best to move away from Molly as soon as she starts being mean, to keep her hair out of Molly's reach and to always tell us when Molly hurts her.  But, at the same time it is clear that Sophie expects some sort of justice.  She doesn't understand why Molly isn't punished in the same way as her. After all if she hurt Molly she would sit in time out and likely face other consequences, but here is Molly pulling her hair and then being offered a toy to distract her.  So, Molly the Baby Bully needs to be reigned in.  How?  I'm not sure, but the sooner the better!  Ideas???

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Turkey Tales.

It has been a while since I have had a chance to post; mostly because I was busy prepping, agonizing over and hosting my first family Thanksgiving.  I know you are likely wondering two things: first how it is that after being married for six years I have never hosted a large family function and second how it is that after being married for six years I was suckered into hosting a large family function.  Well, where do I begin?

We live in a relatively small townhouse and so for a long time now that has been my excuse for many things.  Christmas? We couldn't possibly.  Thanksgiving? Oh no, not enough room here?  Birthdays?  I guess, but only if we have just dessert.  And so I managed to wiggle my way out of hosting anything larger than a small family birthday party or a casual "lap" meal.  That is until now.

This year happened to be my in-laws 40th wedding anniversary, and so there seemed to be a need to celebrate the occasion.  As the scheming began a bit of a family brouhaha ensued, and I somehow found myself trapped in a family emailing drama that seemed to have no pleasant end in sight.  Finally (after six years of marriage), JD stepped up and took control of the party planning.  I think I mentioned in a previous post that usually I am the one responsible for all the planning and scheduling, but having had enough of his family's crazy antics JD put his best effort forward and planned what was to be a lovely evening out.  Despite his efforts and through not fault of his, JD's plans fell apart.  Before I knew it he was talking about hosting the Thanksgiving-Anniversary party at our house.  What?  Our house?  Yes, at our house.  Really?  Yes, really.

And, ta-da! Everyone was invited, food was purchased and plans fell in to place before I even had time to say, "No, no way, are you crazy, forget it, I'm not cooking for 10, STOP NOW!"  So, I quickly got on board with the plan and of course found myself in the "Party-Planning Drivers Sit".  In my crazy, type A, uptight, worry-wart way I schedule a cleaning or prep event for every day of the week leading into the party.  (By the way, sticky notes are truly the most addictive drug of choice to an over anxious, type A personality.  Buyer beware.)  I made coleslaw, cranberry relish, mashed potatoes, and more; while JD scrubbed toilets, moved furniture, washed floors and vacuumed.  I kept wondering if we were really doing this and how many members of JD's family would call Sunday to share their tales of post-dinner illness.

To my great relief Saturday went off without a hitch.  No one was made ill, there were no arguments, no one was inappropriately intoxicated, there was lots of conversation and very little leftovers!  The turkey was delicious, if I do say so myself!  I even received a lovely thank you note from a family member.  Score one for me!  Or at least until I thought about it for a minute.  Wait, does this mean my excuse is now invalid?  Am I going to have to do this again?  Oh, crap!  In hindsight I should have burnt at least one dish, cursed a little more in the kitchen and broken a serving dish as aggressively as possible without looking deliberate.  But with the party come and gone there is nothing I can do to correct my errors; and so with reserved pleasure I'm enjoying the aftermath of success.  All I can do now is hope that come Christmas I'm not hosting a party of 10 again, and if I am I will be sure to make many overt references to my sister-in-law's lovely hostessing abilities.

Okay, so I'm kidding.  It was a great day.  I enjoyed hosting my in-laws and even though my house is very small I would do it again any time.  Just don't tell them because I need at least a few months to rest up before doing it all again, and Christmas is only about 10 weeks away.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Kids Say and Do the Darnedest Things.

JD was encouraging Sophie to practice her new sight words that the teacher sent home.  She was getting frustrated and quickly forget that she was practicing words, and not letters.

JD held up a card, "What does this one say?"

Sophie guessed in whiny voice, "F........U.......Dad!"

And, we laughed while Sophie looked at us with an expression of both wondering and frustration.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Now entering the Twilight Zone...

...otherwise known as Parent School Council.  Sophie started at a brand-spanking new school this year which has many pros and cons.  One of the most obvious cons is the big empty school yard screaming for a playground, or even the large, barely stocked library desperate for more books to fill its shelves.  In an attempt to be a committed and dutiful parent I started thinking about joining Parent School Council over the summer months, and as the school year approached it occurred to me that joining council could serve me well as a supply teacher.  Since I am hoping to one day be lucky enough to be hired as a permanent, full-time teacher council seemed like a great way to build contacts with the principal, vice-principal and other teachers.  One month in and a few meetings down I've not only become a general member, but I belong to the fundraising committee and I'm making excellent parent and professional contacts.  Success!  Or is it?

I've always known that Parent School Councils are an interesting social phenomenon in and of themselves, but I completely underestimated the social dynamics of adults "doing what is best for their children".  Council is sort of like kids in the school yard being limited to a small 10 by 10 fenced area, required to pick teams for dodge ball, and all the while eating cotton candy and drinking litres of soda.  Everyone comes to the table with an idea of "what is best for their kid", but many people forget that the goal is "what is best for most kids".  As a result, their is agenda pushing, side choosing, and even a little bit of bullying.  I'm not saying that the adults on School Council actually argue or call each other names, but there definitely are "cool kids" who steer council in the direction that all the "cool kids" agree on.  I've yet to determine if and, or how I fit in with the "cool kids".  I'm not even sure if I want to fit in!  However, I'm committed now so with eyes squeezed shut and my blinders on I'm joining the game.  I've never been very good at dodge ball, but I love cotton candy so maybe the other kids will like me!

All that aside, I am adding one more challenge to our already busy family schedule but I'm very hopefully that joining council will allow me to help make Sophie's school experience the best it can be; while giving my professional life a little boost.  Be a joiner, go to Parent School Council!  ;-)

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Kids Say and Do the Darnedest Things.

JD:  What letter is this?  (Holding up a flashcard.)

Sophie:  Hmm....

JD:  Look at the picture.

Sophie:  An upper case fox.

JD:  I've never heard of an upper case fox before.

Me:  What do you mean Dad?  Aren't you an Upper Case Fox.

Sophie:  And, this is a lower case fox.

JD:  This is an upper case F and a lower case f.

Sophie:  That's what I said, f for fox.