Monday, May 21, 2012

Mama Bean believes she deserves it

We've all heard the cliches that change is inevitable. Of course it is. Time passes, inertia science et cetera...things change. 

We change. Be it for good or bad, maybe small but meaningful, maybe shallow and inconsequential, maybe deep but silent. 

I don't know about you, but I want Good Change. I want things to get better, I want to be better. Better body, better worker, better friend, better housekeeper. Better wife, better mother, better Christian.

When we look at lists like that, it's easy to flip it around, and see it as a list of the things we're not. At least that's what I do. And what it boils down to is these awful things I tell myself about the way I am: I amfat and lazy. I tell myself these things about the Present as though they are so True and Real that nothing can be done about them. And I've stopped looking at that list like it's something about the Future. Because my (untrue-but-true-in-my-head) Present is all I see.

The thing is, I can't hate myself into being better.

We can't hate ourselves into being better.

I can't tell myself I'm lazy, and then expect myself to believe I'm strong enough to stick to a diet, or go on another run, or lift another weight, or put the cookie down. (Or finally clean the bathroom, or stop yelling at my kids...)

I have to believe I deserve it. I have to believe I am beautiful and strong and worthy right now. That's the great paradox about Good Change. I have to believe I am already good enough in order to follow through on the behaviour that will create the good change. If I don't believe I am already good enough, guilt and doubt will blind me, and the change I want will become the same inconsequential or damaging change that happened last time. And the time before that.

Now that I see the paradox, I can't unsee it. That doesn't mean I love myself all the time, all the way. But, when I start thinking The Nasty about myself (my self! my own beautiful self!) at least I know how to shut it down. And that means I eat fewer cookies. And I go on more runs.

(But I don't have a cleaner bathroom... yet.)

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Mama Bean's little boy thinks everything has two syllables

It's pretty darn adorable.

I don't know where it came from, but for a week or two, Bean's been turning one syllable words - usually those with two vowels "walking together" - into two distinct syllables. I first noticed it when he was eating a meal, and calling the protein mee-yat. "Mmm, 'ummy mee-yat." Then I noticed he did it with eat, too: ee-yat.

He does it in this very toddler way, where his mouth moves extra lots, because little kids don't know that English is basically the laziest language in the world, we barely move our mouths to talk. So he's pursing his lips right together for the "first syllable" of shoes... "Mummy, put on shoo-ez? Put on shoo-ez, go ow-whut?" He looks like he's going to swallow an egg when he makes the ow sound of out :)

I'm sure this is a normal phase of language development, though I do repeat the word with an emphasis on its single syllable after he says it. But mostly I want to get it on video, because it's so darn cute!


I have a word story for every member of my family, I just have to remember them. Sprout has learned her first sign, for "more." In my world, this is the word/sign that is most useful, because she can tell me what she wants. (I guess "please" is along the same lines, I'll teach her that next.) So mealtime is easier now, I'm gradually convincing her it's more effective to quietly and calmly sign, instead of screaming-grunting-rubbing-her-sticky-hands-in-her-hair-with-frustration. In fact, instead of please, I may teach her "all done." We'll see. Bean caught on to "milk" the fastest, but Sprout is not quite as addicted to that substance as my son was/is. Is. He is a milk fiend.


On a recent car trip, Papa Bean and I were talking about Sprout pulling off her bib, to which The Precious (her soother) is clipped. I said he should have put on a bib with a button, instead of velcro, because she can't pull those off (as easily.) He said he didn't know we had bibs with buttons, which I didn't believe, because we had discussed numerous times when Sprout was young how we wished we'd known button bibs were so awesome when Bean was a baby, they're so much better than velcro. I rattled off the half dozen or so bibs I know for sure have buttons, to which he replied, voice dripping with semantical superiority, "You mean snaps, bibs with SNAPS?"

Oh pardon me. In my life, buttons and snaps are the same things, essentially. It's like squares and rectangles. A square is a rectangle, but a rectangle is not always a square. A snap is a type of button, but a button is not always a snap. They're in the same family. I mean, surely it was not such a stretch of the imagination that when I mention button bibs, I'm not talking about some exotic bib creature the likes of which we've never seen in our (vast, trust me, vaaaaaast) bib collection, but rather, I'm talking about snap bibs that we use often, with great pleasure.



I don't remember what the word story about myself was. I'll try and remember for later.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mama Bean is, like, a runner now, sort of? Maybe?

Today, I ran three minutes in a row. A month ago I couldn't run down the block.

Let's back up. We have a friend who decided to see how far she could run. The next day she ran a little farther. And she kept doing it and going a little further, and making other changes to her eating and strengthening and emotional status. Now she runs for miles, and teaches spin classes, and by all accounts, is the happiest she's been in a long time.

It turns out I have quite a few inspiring friends like C.Lo, they're all over my facebook, running 10Ks and halfs and full marathons. They update their status with how much they hated that run, or how much they loved that run, or how the weather is interrupting their run. I have a friend who's had knee surgery, and she runs. I have a friend who continued running through, I dunno, six or seven months of her second pregnancy. (Though I did warn her to wait to run after delivery, to avoid prolapsing her uterus lol.) And I found, randomly, this guy, who started running when he weighed over 360 lbs. He ran a 5K race while still well over 300; I already weigh less than his goal weight, and he's completed two Ironman races. I sat and read his blog from start to finish on my lunches for a week. I found at least a half dozen or more other fitblrs (fitness/weight loss tumblrs) of women who've gone through ridiculous health transformations that center on healthy eating (obvs) and running. Just running. 

All this to say, clearly, running works. If you want to get healthy, if you want to lose weight, this is a good way to do it. And it may be that the old excuses, about knee pain or shin pain or I'm-too-heavy or it'll-hurt-my-joints may not apply. (They very well may, on the other hand, it's not my place to say that. Papa Bean is not a good candidate for running, but he's freaking great at cycling.) So. I decided to try it.

I went with the Couch to 5K program, because it is tried and true. The first day, my knees hurt and got swollen and could barely move the next day. I iced and stretched diligently. The second day, my knees still hurt and were still swollen - stayed swollen, in fact, night and day, through work and caring for my kidlets, for almost a week. I iced and stretched diligently. It may be to my advantage that I am a health professional, so I know how to self-treat? By the third day, I'd sourced a decent knee brace. Less pain and swelling. Less icing, still stretching. I decided to stick with it. The first day of any week is kind of exciting, to see if I can do the new challenge. The second day sucks. The third day I congratulate myself for the whole first half that I'm actually bothering to continue, and then breath you're-almost-done repeatedly the second half until I am, in fact, done. And then it's a new week! Week 2 was stretched out by spring rain and a nasty stomach virus from hell. Then I did a week 2.5, with distances and rest times kind of halfway between the week 2 and 3 times. Now I've finished week 3. I can run three minutes in a row, twice. I think I'm gonna do a week 3.5, too. Week 4 says to run five minutes in a row; I'm gonna ease in by running four minutes for a week. I think it's gonna be good.

The truth is, running isn't necessarily fun while it's happening. I feel like my thigh fat vibrates with every step, and everyone is peering out their houses to watch it jiggle as I lope past. I feel bad calling what I do "running" because I'm pretty sure a normal adult could just walk comfortably next to me and go faster. But the difficulty of it is directly proportional to my pride at finishing it :) I drop out of the last run interval and smile victoriously (through my panting.) It's truly a sickness, and I think I'm infected... the other day I got a flat tire on my way home from work, and my first thought was, crap now I'll be too late to go for a run. And when I got home and settled around 10pm, I went anyway. And felt really proud of myself after.

I really appreciate this perspective from bendoeslife: "The DVDs will end, P90X will give way to something even more Exxxxtreme(!!!), WODs will be replaced by some even cooler acronym, and we will get tired of Jillian yelling at us and telling us we’re fat... So, yes, enroll in that crazy ZUMBA class. Have fun and do INSANITY from time to time. But have a foundation with some of the lower-case lifestyles. swim. bike. run. jog. walk. lift. stretch."

Part of this decision was how lower-case this is for my lifestyle, right now. It's not financially practical for us to have gym memberships, and it doesn't fit into our parenting, with our kids as young as they are, to have one of us popping out for workouts, diminishing the hours of "team parenting" (which are precious to me, truly. I love my teammate, he keeps me sane.) It doesn't require extra equipment, not terribly. I already had the runners and yoga pants and ipod timer thingy. I had to get a knee brace. I need to get a sports bra. I drool over garmins, but it's hardly a necessity. I don't have to take a tonne of time, I don't have to drive anywhere. I step outside my door. Later, I step back in and take a shower.

I have to say, it's hard to measure the benefits of cardio exercise like this. It's not like weight-training, which my body and psyche is more tuned for. I don't know how to describe it, but I don't feel like running lasts into the next day - it lasts until the sweat is washed away! But I've started to notice I don't get huffy walking up the stairs to Bean's bedroom, I'm not totally wiped out pushing the kids in the shopping cart up the ramp from the parkade (Yes, my supermarket has a parkade, it's awesome. We have winter here.) I guess I can see a muscle get bigger, or feel it get stronger. But I can't tell, day to day, that my heart and my lungs are healthier. I'm starting to see these aspects of my health in a different way. To be honest, I've been dragging around this extra weight with a tired ticker for so long, it became my normal. So.

Here's to a new normal. I'll let you know how it goes.