I'm a big speller in my house. I find it to be the best form of cryptic communication with my husband on most matters involving children. More often than not my children realize we are speaking about them but for some reason let it slide. Every once in a while someone will ask what we are talking about but normally that would require someone to actually stop talking to hear me speak. Luckily that never happens.
Ethan has started to catch on every once in a while and has learned to spell big ticket kid words like "ice cream" and "park" and "zoo." This has really brought me down. I knew this day would come but I was hoping it would last forever. In order to combat the imminent decline of our top secret communications, I have begun to spell faster.
Unfortunately for us, my husband has a mild case of dyslexia. These two are a horrible combination. Add to the fact that our generation uses Google for spell check (what's a dictionary?), my spelling has become a little shoddy. Long gone is my efficiency of being able to spell "acquaintance" in a snap like I could in the third grade. So now I'm misspelling fast.
Derek also has a communication problem before his second cup of coffee in the morning. When you wake up ready to go without coffee, it sometimes slips your mind that others are not so lucky. So when I wanted to rehash a middle of the night incident of getting up, I thought I would start out slow.
K: Did you ask him "w-h-y" that happened last night?
D: Why what?
K: Seriously. I was spelling.
D: But why would you spell "why?"
K: I don't think that my spelling "why" is the issue regarding why you said "why." I spelled "why" because I didn't want him to know what we were talking about yet.
D: But does "why" really give anything away by just saying "why?"
K: Probably not but now we'll never know.
The best part about the whole situation was that Ethan was standing right there and he didn't even blink in our direction when we were not-so-subtly talking about him. I'd like to think I have just numbed him by spelling all the time. It's clearly just a habit of mine to randomly spell and has no relation to my desired level of secrecy.
I spell with everyone in front of my children and I have come to the startling realization that my husband is EXCELLENT at mental translation. Who knew? In fact, I've been known to spell while out with my friends and not in the presence of any children.One of my friends recently asked me to never again spell in her presence because she cannot spell and it stressed her out. I should have asked her how we are supposed to talk about the children in front of the children because now I don't know.
And I feel a little bad about giving Derek a difficult time about not keeping up at 5:45 a.m. on mornings like this morning. Even if I don't understand why.
It's no secret in my family that I've gained a noticeable amount of weight over the last few years. My former days of svelte are gone, and I am now the oh-so-round and comfortable owner of more than one pair of granny panties and a respectable collection of elastic waist pants and skirts--all sized a very ambiguous 2, on a scale of 1 to 3. Even so, I'm well aware that nothing short of a mumu is going to hide this sneetch-like belly of mine.
I've debated on how to handle this new super-sized me with my kids. Do I pretend I'm skinny like I used to be and call a moratorium on my burgeoning waistline? Do I go on and on about healthy eating and exercise and let them watch me work out like crazy to try to turn back the clock? Or do I pretend it doesn't matter at all and go ahead and live in my pajamas while ordering another round of yummy chocolate covered cream-filled cupcakes?
After a year of traveling in countries where a nice round belly is a sign of well-being and good-fortune, I decided my first move would be radical self-acceptance, no matter what the scale says. I am not twenty-five anymore, and my days of being able to skip lunch and watch my muffin top disappear are long over. I am a forty-something, middle-aged mom with a metabolism to match. This body of mine, which is showing signs of wear and tear--and yes, maybe one too many bowls of guacamole before dinner--has carried me through enormous changes, life-altering experiences and essential acts of love and/or domestic monotony. When I die, this old girl is coming with me, and if I won't love this dear body now, when do you imagine would be a more appropriate time? When I'm fifty and even more fluffy? Or when I'm sixty and by some miracle have mastered the art of moderation?
I have decided there is no better time than right now.
To symbolize my commitment to honor my body (and to not give youthful perfection unnecessary airplay in my mind), I dubbed my middle "The Chubby" and vehemently defended her whenever my kids started to play rough enough where someone nearby (i.e. me) could get hurt. Hey, guys! Watch out for The Chubby! I called out one day without really thinking during a serious roughhousing. Both kids immediately laughed and loved it that I was being both protective and playful.
From that day forward, The Chubby became a regular point of conversation between us, and I was shocked to see how lovingly both kids regarded The Chubby in the face of my newfound lack of shame in her very round presence.
I began to see that this glaring imperfection of mine was actually an avenue for my kids to embrace me as a soft, available, accessible, comforting presence. It feels good to hug someone who is a little more wobbly around the middle, and my kids could finally say so without worrying about hurting my feelings. I think they liked no longer having to pretend I wasn't a little bit fat, especially now that they could see I wasn't embarrassed that there was more of me to hold.
These days I really am paying attention to my well-being and my general health. I'm walking everyday and eating more bowlfuls of kale than candy and making sure that every meal is full of choices that will give me wholesome, natural energy. I've lost a little weight, but I'm pretty sure at my age and with my particular body type that The Chubby will always be with me, no matter what.
"Don't worry," I tell Carter when he begins to panic that all this good eating will be the disappearance of The Chubby. "Some signs of imperfection are also signs of comfort and they are meant to always stay." This I say as he folds himself happily into a deliciously round, warm hug.
What do you think? Can you celebrate The Chubby at your house or do you think that sends the wrong message to kids about the importance of fitness and health? What do you think about separating the idea of how much you weigh from your body image? You can be honest. I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.
*picture above shot by tracey clark, catching my better side, depending on how you look at it.
I'll admit it, I put off helping her cleaning her room. There are moments when my tricks work but often times this dear girl requires me to be even more creative still. The only problem being that I had no creativity in my heart this particular day. I just needed her to do what I asked. Just do it.
I feverishly picked up toys while she laid on her bed, her forearm to her head, crying dramatically. "I just don't wanna clean up my room, I can't do it, I just can't do it."
She looked like a queen that had just been asked to clean the stables, with a toothbrush.
"I know you don't, but we must, I'll help you." I replied with little emotion in my voice.
I gave her a very clear and easy task, there was more wailing. I explained we will need to pack up some toys and put them away if she is unwilling to pick them up. Logical consequence, still no dice, just more drama.
"I'm sorry, I'm so sorry I'm not cleaning my room." she wailed. I wanted to laugh but instead told her it was okay because there was still more to do and she had another chance. She said she needed a break and laid down once again. The room was almost done at this point, after almost 45 minutes, what felt like a very long 45 minutes. All was picked up except for a large pile of dirty clothes in the corner of the room. Out of no where, she got up and started picking up the clothes and carrying them to the hamper. I stood in shock while she came back for another trip until the pile was gone.
"I'll get these too mom." She picked up the laundry in the bathroom.
"Thank you." I said.
She left to play, the storm passing as quickly as it came. Some days it isn't pretty, but it is a victory, no matter how small.
Having meltdowns at your house too? Got a drama mama like me? Check out this guide to help tackle the stickier moments of parenting.
I'm convinced all kids believe in super powers and I have to confess, I do too. I had a chance to ask everyone's red friend about his special super power. His answer melted me. This is a really fun conversation starter if you are looking to connect with your little people. Check out this great guide about talking with kids too.
So Elmo and I have told you our superpowers, now you must tell us yours.
Fill our comment section with the superpowers of you, your kids, your dog! Everybody wants to know!