New Veg?

I’m a little scared by how easily I learned to like (love?) cauliflower. It was basically albino dirt a few months ago and now it is a tasty replacement for rice and pizza crust.  What? The broccoli slaw at Carowinds is raw broccoli and I eat it willingly. Huh?

Now I’m side-eyeing any other veggies I’ve dismissed in the past. I used to hate hate loathe cabbage and now slaw is my go-to topping. I’m a little scared to go down this path because of decades of gag-reflexes and forced eating.

What veg should I try next? Maybe a little brussel sprout action? Perhaps a hit of snap peas? Experiment with some eggplant?

Last night I found instructions to make *the perfect* sweet potato fries. I was intrigued because every attempt ended in burnt ends or flaccid fries. This one had potential, but it wasn’t quite there.

homemade sweet potato fries

Basically you cut the sweet potatoes into 1/4″ matchsticks. Soak them in water for 30 minutes, then dry them out as much as you can between two kitchen towels. Toss them in olive oil, then cornstarch. Bake at 425 for 12 minutes, then flip them and bake again for 12 minutes. When they come out hit them with salt.

The instructions I found said to wait on the salt until they were done to make them as crispy as possible, but you could toss them in seasoning mixtures before baking them. I tossed mine in a Bojangles fry seasoning mix before baking, and that mix was heavy on salt. I think that was the issue. I’ll try again another day. No sense in eating a bunch of potatoes just to perfect a recipe, right?

Lowering my Expectations

Knowing that I won’t get to the gym for the next 2 weeks, I’ve lowered my expectations for what I should see at my weekly weigh-ins. Until September, I’m mainly aiming to not gain any weight.

I’m a little frustrated that my kid is the reason why I can’t go to the gym for these next couple weeks, but I can’t dwell on it or I get mad (mainly at how much you have to sacrifice for your kids and they’ll never know). Taking away most screen use has had a dramatic change on his overall behavior. He’s still 4 and a challenge, but at least now he isn’t having violent tantrums. I’ve enjoyed the better attitudes around the house, and I know two weeks off isn’t all that much time in the grand scheme.

Declaration of Reclamation

When in the course of human events it becomes necessary for one person to dissolve the bands which have connected them superfluously with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature’s god entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the cause which impel them to the separation.

From this day forth I declare that I am my own person, of sound mind and body, who can choose to serve others but is not a servant.

Thirsty? Get yourself a glass of water or ask for it politely.

Bored? Find something to do. I’m not the entertainment manager.

Fighting bedtime? You can do it from the quiet darkness of your own bedroom. You’re not holding me hostage in your room until you decide it’s time to sleep.

I am approaching 40 and fear that by giving my all to my kids and my household that I am sacrificing my wants and needs on the altar of family. And it is backfiring. So today I make the choice to reclaim myself.

Hobbies. Quiet time. Friendships. Marriage. Health. All of it.

My kids need to see that I’m a human, with human emotions and interests. I need the ability to be a person who can hold a conversation about things that I enjoy without talking with the sentimentality of times of yore. They need to see that they can’t use me as an emotional and physical punching bag. If I want them to stand up for themselves in toxic relationships, they need to see me do that.

I don’t want to look back on their childhoods and remember the frustration and the anguish. I don’t want to think back at how it felt like a prison sentence at times. I want to enjoy it. I want to share joy with them and my husband.

I’m not putting up with the ugliness any longer.

Taking a Break

Bubs threw another tantrum today. Before going to the gym I prepped him. I said when I pick him up he can’t get mad at me because he wants to keep playing games on an iPad. It isn’t OK and I don’t want him to get mad today. Then I dropped him off. An hour later I go to pick him up and he’s in the middle of a game of Minion Rush. He finishes and hears me call him. His face falls. I tell him he can play one more game, then we have to go. Smiling, he turns and starts a new course. Finishes it and his face falls again. It is time to go. He doesn’t move. Do I need to tell the child watch ladies that you can’t be on iPads any more?

Now he’s embarrassed. He runs to me crying and flops on the floor. He doesn’t want the child watch ladies to see him. I pick him up and we go. On the walk to the car I tell him how I tried to be nice and let him have one more game before we left, but he still got mad and that’s not OK. When we get to the car I put him on the ground so he can climb in the back door. He turns and kicks me in the shin. I bend down and pick him up and put him in the back seat. It is not OK to kick me I say as he swings a foot up and connects with my cheek.

 

 

Wondering why everything is looking so blurry? Keep reading…

Cutting the Triggers

The meltdown today shows me that screens are an addiction. He loves playing video games, whether it is Minion Rush at the gym or Mario Run on Hubs’ phone or Mario Kart on the Game Cube at the house.

When we got home I took the Game Cube controllers and stored them in a secret location. He starts preschool in 2 weeks, and I can’t ask the gym’s child-watch staff to keep him off iPads while I work out, so I am going to stop going to the gym for 2 weeks. Once he’s in school I’ll go back. When Hubs gets home I will request that he not allow the kids to play games on his phone for the forseeable future. His 4-year-old brain just can’t handle that kind of stimulation right now so I am going to cut it out.

Timing

I write these things in this blog as part of my fight against PCOS. Parenting is stressful. Had I written this blog 6 years ago I would have had similar tales about Peanut because she was a handful at Bubs’ age as well. Look at her now. I take it as a personal victory that I not only survived her FU 4s but that she seems to be a pretty decent human.

I don’t write these things in my blog because I’m asking for advice or because I need you to see my kids and lecture them on the behaviors I shared. Not only is there a timing issue — most of the things published here happened (at least) days earlier — but it also isn’t really anyone else’s place to insert themselves when not asked. Sorry not sorry on this one. If I need to omit my parenting struggles as part of this documentation of the journey, so be it. That’s why the top of this entry is blurred. I originally shared in full detail the ugliness of my morning experience. 

Now I’m off to scan my fitness app for workouts I can do around the house for the next few weeks…

Behind the Scenes Epiphany

They’ve finally done it. They’ve finally shown themselves in front of their dad. For the first time — the first time — I feel like he truly sees why I am so frazzled so often.

It isn’t me trashing them. It is a grown-ass, highly-educated woman attempting to communicate that their under-developed brains are sucking the good energy out of me. That I have not only read parenting experts and not only discussed with licensed child development professionals, but I have worked so hard on controlling my emotions and reactions and there are days when it just doesn’t work. In fact, my communications with Peanut blow up in my face when she uses the I just have to be so good at school that when I get home I want to get out my real emotions concept as an honest-to-goodness excuse for why she’s being so bratty.

We don’t make excuses in this house. You find out the “why” behind an emotion and you work out how to get it under control. There are days when I want to spank Bubs. Like when he head-butts me in the eye or throws an empty cup at my head while driving. But I, as a grown-ass, highly-educated woman, know that there is a big difference between “want to” and “going to.” I’ve also actively practiced willful ignorance of behaviors I want to nip (like whining) and how to use quiet time and time outs to curb outbursts.

This is my season of life and my stubborn nature is determined to outlast their stubborn natures.

Yesterday they had their good moments. But they also had their moments of sibling strife and whining. They had their moments of tween sass and preschool whine. And by golly Hubs saw it all. He not only saw but he was over it before lunch.

In the past I would talk to him about how I just need a break from them. I would complain that I feel like I’m in a prison and can’t escape and I just don’t have any more to give to them that day. He’d try to be helpful and remind me of how blessed we are that I am able to stay home with them during summers and how many kids must go to daycare or daylong summer camps all summer. He’d remind me how Bubs is such a sweet kid and Cady is getting so old. All good-natured attempts to lift my spirits and not feed the negativity.

Then he saw what I’m dealing with on a daily basis.

Again, I love my kids. Most of the time — probably 95% of the time — they are great kids. But they are also human and sometimes they unleash ugly. I have a running tally in my mind of all the places nearby that will take them off my hands for an hour or two for free. Now it feels like he understands.

That alone is invaluable.

1 Buck Club

Back in the early 2000s, when comedy movies used words like “retard” and fat jokes were standard, there were a couple that stuck with me. In Shallow Hal I remember reference to something about a woman being “2 bills.” Then in There’s Something About Mary the PI refers to a woman as a “deuce, deuce and a half.” Back then I was at my thinnest — between 160 and 170 pounds, but those phrases stuck with me through the years.

I remember as I crept closer to 180 I started to freak out, and when I was pregnant and I topped 200 for the first time my self-worth plummeted. Legit ::poof:: tanked.

So why did these phrases stick with me before I ever knew that I would have PCOS, before I ever knew how hard it would be to get rid of pregnancy weight? Because I knew that would eventually be me. See my mom has struggled with her weight my entire life. She was a fit and trim, beautiful woman of the 1970s and early ’80s with the Farrah Fawcett feathered hair. But then she had kids and the weight just kept coming. I remember all the ways she’d try to fight it, and I know that to this day she still struggles with it.

It wasn’t until a few weeks ago that I mentioned that perhaps she, too, suffers from insulin resistance. That conversation didn’t go much further because I just don’t have that kind of relationship with my mother.

I’m closing in on the lower 200s. After my weigh in today I have 9 pounds until I’m back in the “1 Buck Club.” I never thought I would get back there and I’m pushing hard for it. I’d like to say that dumb comedies from 20 years ago don’t have much affect on me or my self-worth, but they obviously did. Those messages where men are dismissing a woman’s attractiveness by guessing her weight in such a casual way laid a groundwork within me. That stinks.

I’d like to say that dumb comedies from 20 years ago don’t have much affect on me or my self-worth, but they obviously did.

I watched a late-night commentator talking about how we, as people, evolve. About how each generation is like a newer version of human with updates and improvements, and how we can’t expect that we are the best and final version. The comedies I grew up with were flawed, but society doesn’t accept that kind of talk any more. As Peanut and Bubs get older, they won’t have these notions planted in their heads — hopefully. Without those seeds they will — hopefully — be newer, improved versions that don’t use dumb labels to denigrate others. Most of all, I hope without those notions they won’t someday apply them to themselves and their worth.