Run Lola Run

It’s important to me that my kids play a team sport. I think it teaches them a lot of good things. And hopefully they don’t wind up afraid or embarrassed to ever try anything athletic, like their mother is. Tee ball practice started this week. Lets just say it was …entertaining!

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Now, I’m trying pretty hard to let the VERY PINK PINKNESS of all of this go. But I do have to say, when I found out it’s not coed (really? Four year olds playing tee ball and already we have to other-ize the girls?) and their jerseys are pink and their team is Stars, I was a touch …peeved. But of course, I’m a whackadoo, so you’ve got to keep that in mind.

And Lola’s only bummed that she’s not wearing purple, lol. In fact, Brian took her to pick out her mitt, and she picked the pink one (as did 99% of the others, natch.) He was tempted to suggest a less cliched look, but she definitely has her own strong opinions on matters such as these. And, well, okay I admit it! I liked it better when she was like a doll for whom I got to make all styling choices! Darn personal autonomy! (She also picked a pink hat, by the way.)

By the end of the first practice, she was finally starting to learn not to run with her arms straight down at her sides, so that’s good. ūüôā (Really, picture it, it’s funny!) And she is in HEAVEN with all those other little girls to talk to!

Corbin, on the other hand, took the entire hour as an opportunity to scream and cry. Awesome. Here are the two seconds where he wasn’t completely unbearable:
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We have another practice tonight. Do you think if I just bring, like, a whole gallon tub of ice cream, it will last him at least most of the hour?

Oh, BUMmer.

So over the last few weeks I’ve actually had the courage to check out the ol rear view. BAD IDEA! So now I, Cakesy, am going to have to face the truth: I’m pretty sure that I’m showing the beginnings of the dreaded SBS. Sagging Butt Syndrome. No!!! But I’m still young! Excuse me, karma, have I really been that bad?

I am now thinking about body image in general. And specifically MOM body image. On the one hand, I’m wrecked. I’m happy to report that I did a pretty good job of enjoying my fabulous body back when I had it. But if I had known how bad it would get and how quickly, I would’ve appreciated it even more.

Seriously, it’s tip to toe. Of course I am too tired, broke, and busy to do things like use nice hair and skincare products, wax/tweeze/shave as often as I’d like, get regular haircuts, spend an hour with the curling iron, buy stylish and flattering clothes, eat and exercise in a healthful way, etc. Hell lets be real, I don’t even get a chance to put on lotion half the time.

But that’s nothing compared to the big things. I am covered in stretch marks from my breasts to my thighs (I call it my stretch mark minidress). My hormones have betrayed me to the point that I have insurmountable acne (what kind of cruel joke is acne and grey hair at the same time?) The exhaustion combined with the busyness make losing weight so hard, so I have a nice extra layer of flab all over, and while I’m slowly losing a little weight, that flabby layer just isn’t budging. This defies logic. My poor boobs are too sad to speak of. But I think my favorite part might be my protruding hernia and permanently ripped apart ab muscles.

Although, here’s what I can’t get over lately. I am not a great beauty. This is not me whining, or fishing for compliments, or being too down on myself; this is just facts. We can’t all be Salma Hayek. However. It used be that when I put in some effort on the hair/makeup/clothes, I could look in the mirror and feel pretty good. ūüôā so I don’t know if it was the second kid or the 30th birthday that did it to me, but no matter WHAT lately, every time I pass a mirror: fair to middling. Every time.

So that’s weird. It’s weird to think that I’m never again going to be the girl that makes a man’s head turn. Except maybe to think, “Is she talking to herself? Is that dried peanut butter on the back of her sleeve? Didn’t that girl used to be kind of pretty?” Huh, I guess I didn’t realize my level of vanity.

Honestly, I’m a lot more at peace with these things than I ever thought I’d be. I’d really like to lose a bit more weight, because that seems like something that I actually CAN control. But my boobs, they’ve sustained LIFE! Twice. I don’t wanna be too down on em. And the belly flab? Well, it seems to make fun for Corbin. He really likes to grab at it like it’s play doh or something, makes him smile. ūüôā My husband vehemently swears that he thinks I look great. I still feel a little bad for him, boy did he get hoodwinked in this regard, but his always complimentary reaction makes it all a lot less depressing.

And here’s the most important thing: I have a daughter. I don’t want my daughter to grow up thinking that her female body is something to be criticized, loathed, picked apart. I don’t want her to grow up believing that her value is in her physical appearance and that the only appearance that is worthwhile is thin and nubile. She’s already got a good start at healthy body image with Brian for a dad. Now I have to fight my demons and do my part!

But I also have to fight my laziness and do some squats. Seriously.

All Boy

When I found out at Corbin’s ultrasound that I was having a boy, I had mixed feelings. I was surprised- I had been certain it was a girl. Which puts me at 0 for 2 on guessing my babies’ sex. I was relieved- I was already thinking that we were probably going to have to be done after two, and I knew Brian was hoping to have a son at some point. But also, though I HATE admitting it, I was trepidatious.

I am a girl with a sister and like 15 girl cousins. Not only do the mysteries of raising boys make me uneasy, I sort of felt bad that Lola wouldn’t have a sister. So, in a moment of great wisdom (#sarcasmfont), I turned to random blogs and message boards to get me geared up.

“Things that are awesome about having a boy.”

And that leads me to today’s post. I turned up a lot of irritating stuff!

There were the mildly annoying: “it’s so fun to go to their sporting events and cheer.” “You get to buy cute overalls.”

Well, excuse me but Lola is already on her way to being a volleyball star (meaning we pretend to play in her bedroom and sometimes she hits it back to me), and she has often looked A-FREAKIN-DORABLE in a pair of overalls, jerks! What else you got?

Then there were the fairly offensive: “girls are whiny divas! Boys are way more loving and laid back.” “If you have a girl you’ll spend every day of your life choking to death on glitter and pink, prissy crap.”

Okay, who are you trying to convince there, jerk!? I have yet to walk into my daughter’s room and trip on all the tutus. Also, for the record, in my limited experience, the little boys I personally know are way whinier than the little girls.

I’m also not wild about when people say their son is “all boy” because what they almost always mean is that he likes to be rowdy and get dirty. As though those are things that are entirely exclusive to the male gender.

Now that I HAVE a boy, you know, on the outside, I wonder whether there are real differences. So far, they seem very few. I mean, beyond the things that we sort of push on them. Corbin does enjoy his dump truck, but Lola probably would have too, I don’t think I ever bought her one. And just when I was wondering yesterday whether I had pushed her into gender roles too much, she BEGGED me to play a Chuck the Truck game with her.

So, I guess we’ll see. I think the gender differences are sort of what you make of them. Well, you and everyone else. And sadly, the “everyone else” probably don’t share your thoughts on the matter.

But I will tell you one thing regarding Corbin that is ALL BOY! The penis handling obsession. Which was my biggest fear! And it’s come around already! The other day he got so into his penis in the tub that he fell over and bumped his head. And diaper changes!? Forget it. I want nothing to do with this stuff. When moms of boys laugh about how much their five year olds play with their pirates (that’s how Lola says privates), I AM NOT AMUSED. I hope I’ll come around to being less horrified soon, because I believe I’ve got a long road ahead of me on this front.

Lastly, the kids will be having a joint birthday party, and I was trying to think of a way to combine themes, but Corbin’s so young that its hard to say what he’d really be into. But now I have it! I’ll be sure to report back to you all on the success of the Strawberry Shortcake / Penis themed party. ;-P

Oh, what’s that you say? You want pictures of Lola’s overall cuteness? Well, I MIGHT have some.

None of your beeswax is over here!

Wanna hear me rant about something that really makes me mad?¬† Well, you’re in luck!
 
FOR THE LOVE OF EVERYTHING HOLY, WHY are people who are not related to me or my baby (and by this I mean to include¬†you¬†and your baby, and anyone not reading this and THEIR babies) so concerned about¬†our¬†childcare arrangements!??!¬† This makes me mental to a degree that I am having a REALLY hard time restraining the F-bombs (it’s an official ¬†word now, btw) and other profanities.¬† So, here is a proclamation:
 
When someone you work with, or live near, or are otherwise somewhat friendly with but not related to tells you they are expecting a child, among the first things you have to say about it should¬†NOT be “Are you going to keep working full-time afterwards?”¬† Or, in the case of my male coworker, “Does your wife work full time?¬† Is she going to keep doing that?”¬† Because first off, it’s none of your fucking business.¬† And second of all, you don’t IN ANY WAY resemble someone who is just curious and making conversation!¬† You much more closely resemble what you are: a judgy¬†busy-body who is overly¬†self-righteous about¬†the welfare of children that aren’t yours.¬† And when I say you shouldn’t say that within the first few hours, I am being very generous.¬† More likely, you shouldn’t bring it up at all.¬† NUNYA!
 
Furthermore, the next person who makes a VERY VERY¬†POINTED show of asking me in an obnoxious manner, “so, who watches your kids while you’re at work?”¬† Or even better, “Do your babies go to DAYCARE?”¬†said ALWAYS in church lady fashion, I am going to probably tell you to go to hell, and possibly kick you in the shins.¬† Or, if I’m feeling magnanimous, I might just give you one of my fave Scrubs quotes: “If you’re looking for your beeswax, none of that is over here!”
 
My childcare situation requires a long explanation, anyway, that, lets be¬†honest, you’re not at all interested in.¬† I work full time.¬† So whatever answer I have for your question, you’re just waiting for it to start so you can shame me.¬† (For the record, I work 4 days, so Wednesdays I’m home, Fridays my mom watches them, and Mondays Tuesdays and Thursdays they go to daycare partial days depending on my husband’s school schedule.)¬† My favorite is the other day when someone at work pulled that, “So, who’s watching your kids right now?”¬† (Seriously, is there a way for that sentence to NOT sound obnoxious?) And I responded, “Their dad.” (I left off the “asshole” part that I wanted to add at the end.)¬† I SWEAR TO GOD, her face fell when she realized she couldn’t give me that judgy “your poor, unloved kids go to daycare because their parents don’t want to make time for them” face.¬† But without missing much of a beat, she then said “Oh, he’s unemployed?”¬† I am not lying, this conversation actually happened.¬†At this point I should have just stuck out my tongue at her and walked away, but instead I said, “No, he works nights.”¬† You ASS!
 
Now, I don’t work full time¬†by choice, believe me.¬† I would LOVE (literally, more than anything else I can think of) to be able to be home with my kids more.¬† But I also would love to be able to provide food and shelter and the occasional fun outing to my kids.¬† And if I stayed home, we would have to be on government¬†assistance.¬† And boy would THAT be a fun time for those same judgy-pants who don’t want me working.
 
But even if I did WANT to work full time¬†at a fulfilling¬†career, or at a gas station for that matter, there would be many good reasons possible for this, and I would still be raising my own damn kids.¬† Some women actually enjoy having careers.¬† And it makes them happy, healthy mommies.¬† Which is of course good for their kids!¬† There are myriad good things about moms having careers.¬† I won’t extol¬†them right here, because this post is getting out of control already.¬† But also, daycare isn’t the devil!¬† GASP!¬† Lola engages socially there; she learns things.¬† From her letters, to how to sit quietly for circle time, to what happens if you stick your finger in someone’s face when they don’t want it there (It gets bit.¬† Last week.)¬†¬† Etcetera.¬† (Okay, in the future I will try to do a piece on Good Things About Working Moms and Why Daycare Can Be Great, because I don’t have much space left here after my hysterical ranting above.)
 
So to sum up: presumptuous jerks¬†should stop inquiring judgementally into the childcare arrangements of parents whose lives are none of their business.¬† Not least because IT IS IRRITATING THE EVER LOVING SHIT OUT OF ME!¬† Plus, you’re likely to fall off your stupid high horse by constantly trying to stick your nose into all the business down here among the rest of us.¬† And with all the parents staying home, good luck finding someone to bandage your stupid face!

Grrrls Raising Girls, vol. 2

This weekend, Lola was showing her Beauty and the Beast Squinkies¬†(AKA Little Brother Choking Hazards) to her grandpa.¬† She said “This one is the princess.”¬† And Grandpa said “Just like you are.”¬† To which she replied “I’m not a princess; I’m Lorelai.”¬† And it made me feel a little bit proud of her.¬† How nutsy is that!?

There are several sides to the whole Princess¬†thing.¬† And I know that just typing that makes me sound like the world’s most obnoxious parent.¬† I can hear people everywhere saying “There don’t need to be any SIDES to the ‘whole Princess thing’ you wack job.¬† Find something more important to over-analyze.”¬† And well, that’s definitely one side that I can see some merit in.¬† But I’m gonna talk about it anyway.

Why does everyone seem to assume that the pinnacle of happiness for little girls is to be princess-like?¬† I’m sure this was discussed ad nauseam when the book Cinderella Ate My Daughter came out.¬† I actually haven’t read the book, and I probably should.¬† I also missed all the hoopla, so I didn’t read all of the much more eloquent discussions of the topic.¬† I only know my own feelings and experiences.¬† And I see several sides.

Now, part of the reason I haven’t read the book is that I can see where some people can be a little psycho about this.¬† I mean, little girls like to play princess; grown ups like to encourage it; what’s the problem?¬† It’s just silly stuff.¬† Have we REALLY come to this, now, with parents being in a huff over every flippin thing?¬† I can see that side.¬† I really can.¬† I am not going to dress down every poor well-intentioned person who calls Lola princess or buys her princess stuff.

But I am biting my tongue.

Here’s why.¬† Try not to roll your eyes too hard.¬† Your face might stick like that.

Basically, I don’t think princesses are particularly good role models.¬† I mean, in pretty much every instance I can think of, they mostly spend their time being rescued by men, or told what to do by men, or looking for a man, etc.¬† Tangled¬†is a big hit in our house.¬† Which is not entirely Lola’s doing; I love that movie and that damn “I’ve Got a Dream” musical number is INFECTIOUSLY HAPPY!¬† But even that one- she needs a boy to come along to make her realize she can leave the stupid tower.¬†¬†Princesses are also representative of a very narrow view of beauty and femininity.

There’s something more to it for me, though.¬† Something to do with the assumption that all¬†girls aspire to be princesses and that’s it.¬† It’s the stereotypical gender role thing that pisses me off.¬† I have had people dismiss my suggestions of, say, pirate books as “for boys” in favor of something pink and princessy.¬† But Lola likes pirates.¬† She also likes many many other genres of toys and books and whatnot.¬† Some of them are “girly,” some of them are not, but she is much too complex to be reduced to Girl = Princess.

Now, Lola certainly has princessy stuff.¬† It started with a hand-me-down Cinderella dress.¬† My very generous cousin passes on a lot of her girls’ things as they outgrow them, and when she gave me the Cinderella dress, I told myself to stop being such a weirdo and just give my kid the damn gown.¬† And then Lola repeatedly begged to wear it.¬† I’m not going to tell her No, obviously.¬† I just want her to make her own choices.¬† And sometimes she chooses princess stuff.¬† Maybe she is just inherently drawn to it.¬† Maybe her sizeable brain power is still no match for the marketing evil geniuses.

Over the years, mostly via gifts, she’s acquired some princess things, and she really likes them.¬† (It’s cute, too.¬† When she hangs out in her Princess tent with her Cinderella dress on and her hair in a bun?¬† Holy Super Adorable!)¬† Fortunately, she’s also been gifted¬†lots and lots of other toys.¬† She hasn’t been pigeonholed.¬† My favorite is that two separate people have now given her swords.¬† This particular thing warms my heart, because the whole “medieval” thing is FULL of troubling gender issues, and I love that her loved ones are subtly telling her she can enjoy¬†wielding a sword just as much as wearing a gown.¬† She can even do both.

We went to Disney World last year.  Lola was just as content having lunch with Pooh and friends as meeting Snow White. 

Also, see? Piracy and swordplay:

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Not sure that the Dread Pirate Lola is going to be very successful with TWO hook hands, but don’t tell her.

I hear those days are numbered.¬† Apparently, if I take her to Disney World again, I should be prepared for the ENTIRE trip to be about princesses.¬† Those damn Disney marketing people are RUTHLESS.¬† So maybe she will want to spend half the day at the Bippity¬†Boppity¬†Boutique, and she’ll shun Donald Duck.¬† I suppose that I will bite my tongue.¬† But I’ll silently beam with pride if she tells them she’s not a princess, she’s Lorelai.

Exposed midriffs no longer a job requirement

I’ve always enjoyed baseball.¬† Beyond that, I’ve never been much of a sports person.¬† And then I caught on television one day the coolest thing!¬† Women’s beach volleyball.¬† Those women are AWESOME!¬† I was COMPLETELY sold when I saw this commercial.¬† Can any girl watch that and not want to be them!?¬† Not I, I’ll tell you that.¬†

Sadly, my athletic capabilities fall somewhere just short of mediocre.¬† Okay, I’m actually even worse.¬† Daria¬†would kick my ass at volleyball. (Please tell me I’m not the only one who remembers Daria.)¬† So, sadly, I’ll have to force my daughter to play volleyball.¬† I’m just kidding about forceing¬†her; why don’t we say “suggest.” Strongly.¬† Okay,¬†I MAY have considered what would suit a professional volleyball player when picking her name (and almost went with C.J. instead because of it.)

So when¬†my homepage came up this morning mentioning an article about women’s volleyball,¬†I clicked on it right away, slow computer be damned.¬† And 6 minutes later, when the article finally loaded (y’all have no idea how long it takes me to do stuff on this computer.¬†¬†You should feel VERY SPECIAL when I bother!) it was this one.¬† Apparently, for our Olympic athletes, bikinis are no longer required.¬† I didn’t know they were REQUIRED before, but it made me a little miffed to learn.

Now, don’t get me wrong, if I were one of those women, I would LIVE in a bikini.¬† Seriously, grocery shopping?¬† Dining out?¬† Taking in a movie?¬† Bikini. Bikini. Bikini.¬† But I would do it because I WANTED to (have you SEEN these women?)¬† I’m not sure that¬†basically requiring women to wear a bikini to work* was something that should have lasted as long as it did, meaning right up till now.¬† I’m sure most of them want to, but REQUIRED?¬† For a job that doesn’t inherently require it?¬† That’s kinda sexist.¬†¬†¬†

But, we’re past that now, and other cultures who couldn’t compete due to ideas about modesty are now more likely to participate.¬† Yay.¬† The world needs more kick-ass, Amazonian women for me to look up to.¬† And since my ONE apprehension about forcing¬†encouraging Lola to be a volleyball player was the shorty short shorts, I now can rest assured that “Shorts of a maximum length of [1.18 inches] above the knee” will be accepted.¬† And I know she’ll be DYING to be the only one in the Amish-wear.¬† ūüôā

*Dear Employer, my coworkers would like to sincerely thank you for not requiring me to wear a bikini to work.  Love, pasty, flabby mother-of-two with copious stretch marks.

Why I’m Jealous of My Husband

Yesterday, Brian said, “I know what you should blog about.”¬† Of course I paid him¬†no heed, figuring his suggestions for posts were “How my husband is like a superhero” or “10 Reason’s I’ll be Putting Out Tonight!”¬† But then he kept talking and my jaw dropped.¬† Repeatedly.¬† See, yesterday, my clearly insane dear husband decided to go grocery shopping with BOTH kids.¬† Just to shame me, I think, for being completely unable to accomplish such a feat.¬†

Yup, he was supposed to grocery shop while the kids were at daycare (he’s off of school this week, but they have to go at least 2 days anyway because them’s the rules.¬† Well, they don’t have to GO, but we have to pay for it, so they might as well go.)¬† And then, at about 4pm, I get a call at work; it’s¬†Brian: “do you have any tips for using this Peanut Shell?”¬† Excuse me?¬† My husband has NEVER worn the baby in his life.¬† Despite the fact that this:

is so hot.  And this:

is his hero.

So, I stutter out a “where are you going?”¬† him: “I have to take¬†both kids to get groceries.”¬† me: “are you high?”¬†

He was still in his previously mentioned¬†Valium induced coma while the kids were at daycare (good thing they were at daycare!), and he knew how disappointed I’d be that he didn’t get anything accomplished.¬† So, despite my FIRM protestations that he should just wait until I get home, he was heading to the grocery store where he planned for Lola to ride in the cart while Corbin¬†was in the Peanut Shell because I had the Ergo in my car and the Moby¬†scared the crap out of him. (that’s not even HALF my babywearing¬†devices by the way, I’m kind of a¬†fanatic.)¬† I would like to note that by the time he called me to ask where the oatmeal was, Corbin was no longer in the Peanut Shell.¬† Did I mention my husband’s not much of a babywearer?

But here is the REAL point that he thought I should share here:  Everyone and their brother bent over backwards to be helpful and supportive while he wrangled those two children.  He is aware of the disapproval that I and other mothers tend to get when we have our kids out in public and they are not pretending to be perfect angels.  So he was primed to take notice of the fact that if he dropped something, someone quickly picked it up for him, and other such niceties. 

He went on and on while I sat there feeling cheated and jealous.¬† Here is my favorite: at one point, Corbin lost his sock (baby socks!¬† whole other rant!), and when Brian found it, he stuck it in his pocket (because dads don’t care as much about things like babies having warm, matching feet.)¬† Well, at the checkout, a woman noticed the adorable One Sock Wonder and, get this: VOLUNTEERED TO SEARCH THE STORE FOR IT AND BRING IT TO HIM.¬† That has NEVER happened to me.¬† In fact, I’d probably have to sit through disapproving comments about how his poor little tootsies must be cold.

I think I must have had a bitter look on my face, because Brian was sure to tell me “I’m not trying to make you mad, I just thought it would be a good blog post.”¬† Oh, indeed sir.¬†

Seriously, when did all those judgy other women get so nice?¬† Why are our experiences so different?¬† I could hypothesize.¬† I suspect it has something to do with the idea that a man getting groceries with two children is novel and delightful, while a woman doing the same is just expected.¬† I don’t really know.¬† What do you think?¬† I’d love some thoughtful words on the subject.¬† Mine can mostly be summed up as: WTF?

ETA: Funny things Lola mispronounced yesterday.  m&m = neminem* and Barack Obama = Rockabumma

*PS- another difference in dad v. mom grocery shopping with the kids, Brian bought and let her eat and entire bag of m&ms.  And if I remember right, we forgot to brush her teeth last night.  Doh!

 

I don’t really know how this using photos thing works, so FYI- Brad¬†Pitt is courtesy of mamma’s milk, and¬†Galifianakis is courtesy of weekly world news.