So a few months ago, I had this unexpected tender moment with Jelly Bean:
She had told me that she just wanted “to snuggle for a minute” and then she promptly fell asleep on my lap. My all-grown-up do-it-myself six-year-old didn’t want to admit she still needed a nap (or her mom!) — but she did. And I love it. Unabashedly. Plus, she’s the only kid who will even fit in my lap to sleep anymore. So I had to document it, right?
But when I posted the pic to Facebook, I was surprised to see that many of the comments focused on my eyelashes. “Are those all YOUR lashes?!” said one friend. It’s been over a week since I posted that picture and I’m still getting questions about my eyelashes.
Here’s the thing: Yes, they are all my real eyelashes (i.e. no falsies but I am wearing mascara) and no, I was not genetically blessed in the lash department. Like the hair on my head, my eyelashes have always been thin and sparse. Sigh. But a couple of months ago I lucked into an awesome trick and since so many people have asked me about it, I figured I’d share it here.
Andersen Family – April 2015 photo courtesy of Still Memories photography
Vomiting at a finish line isn’t exactly unheard of. In fact, spectacular displays of bodily fluids are half the fun of watching sports! (Is it just me or is Paula Radcliffe’s popping a squat to drop a load still one of the best sports photography moments ever? Or maybe I’m just gross. Whatever.) Usually it means you’ve pushed yourself to your very limit, pumping out every last bit of effort (and breakfast). But when I “left it all on the field” – technically a parking lot outside my gym – a few months ago, I felt neither proud nor accomplished. I didn’t even have the energy to laugh at myself, which is usually the last respite for people puking on their own running shoes. All I felt was awful. That, and crushing chest pain.
I drove myself home, collapsed on the couch, and when I finally had enough energy to pick up my phone, called my doctor. He told me to come in right away.
Getting skinny will solve all our problems, right? We will be unconditionally loved by all, be able to run marathons in under three hours and, of course, be able to wear bikinis and heels to any occasion, including black tie events. As one does. At least that’s what all the diet ads say. But a new study says that not only does losing weight not make people happier, it can actually increase their risk of depression two fold.
Well this is uncomfortable. Confession: Even though I no longer diet or exercise with weight loss as a goal and I eat intuitively and exercise gently and I love and accept my body way more than I ever have in my entire life — even with all that, I still believe with all my heart that if I weighed 15 pounds less I’d be happier. I hate that thought still lives in my brain. I don’t act on it but it’s still definitely there.
This is Son #3 at the beginning of the summer, pre-bangs debacle. And yes, this is his real mad face. Boy does not mess around!
Super Cuts is exactly the place you want your child to have a meltdown. Not only is everyone there holding sharp, pointy objects but the walls are lined with bottles of expensive goo and the floor is coated in hair. Best case scenario (and by best I mean worst): your kid will knock said bottles off the shelf, continue his tantrum by rolling around on the floor, stand up looking like a multi-hued Yeti and then bolt out into the parking lot because everyone is laughing hysterically at the kid dumb enough to lick the floor of a budget hair salon.
Which is how I ended up with one leg flung across my 7-year-old’s lap, effectively pinning him to the seat, sweating while I did my best Cirque-du-Soleil back bend trying to explain to the stylist standing behind me (and as far away from my sobbing son as possible) what to do for his back-to-school haircut. I was just trying to avoid the Yeti situation! I’d hate to make a scene.
Okay, watch this first. It will make your whole day. I promise!
(If the video doesn’t show up in your reader or e-mail, click through)
Do you remember the first time you were catcalled? I was in fifth grade, walking past the boys bathroom when a group of boys suddenly yelled (sung?) that line from a Michael Jackson song “Hey pretty baby, with the high heels on!” while hip thrusting and making awooooga! noises. One of them grabbed me around the waist and tried to, I assume, make some kind of lewd gesture. In reality it was more like the do-si-do we’d just been practicing in gym class. It was one of the most bizarre moments of my life.
First, I was wearing my white Keds (like every other girl in the late 80’s/early 90’s) not high heels so they weren’t even accurate. Second, I’d never really identified as pretty — already by that age I knew I wasn’t one of the pretty people. (I had big plastic hipster glasses back when they were still just nerdy. Does that make me retroactively cool? Let’s say yes.) Third, it was upsetting. My first reaction was to want to cry (HSP for life, yo!) but just as quickly I felt ashamed of my reaction. On one hand, weren’t they giving me a compliment? Kind of? But I felt a shaken, the way anyone would if someone jumped out of nowhere and yelled Michael Jackson at them. (Rule of life: You should only invoke the King of Pop when confronted by zombies or Pepsi.)
Wal-Mart isn’t someplace I normally associate with life-changing moments. Although if you’re going to have a public freakout Wallyworld does have a lot to recommend it: Not only can you buy tranquilizers, Natural Calm and fuzzy socks (just me?) but it seems like there are always a bunch of people around to call 911 if you actually make good on your promise to pass out. Yet when I decided to start hyperventilating, I went into the bathroom to hide. Nothing like a public restroom to guide you! Instead of two-roads-diverging-in-a-yellow-wood ambiance, I had two stalls in a peeling yellow bathroom. (If you mis-read that as “peeing” know that’s how I first typed it. I’m not sure I was wrong either way.)
Guiltily I took the bigger stall, the one with the large blue disabled placard on the front, because, by golly, I needed my space — if not for my person, at least for my huge emotions. Plus I was the only person in the bathroom. And I was totally prepared to bolt out with my pants around my ankles should I hear a wheelchair rolling in. Promise.
Have you ever played rugby? I haven’t. I had the chance once. The super rad Jen Sinkler (you may know her as the strong-woman who coined the phrase, “How do I get my cardio? I lift weights faster.”) once invited me to play with her team. Actually I think she invited me like five or six times. Yet despite my whole shtick being trying new athletic stuff I balked at rugby. I’ll be honest: they were some of the most super-fit ladies I’ve ever seen and I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to keep up at all. I’m not usually one to mind public humiliation but I was really intimidated. I mean, it’s rugby.
At the time all I knew about rugby was that it had really complicated rules, people got hurt a lot and it most closely resembles American football, the sport I most detest. (Yell at me if you want but for me watching football is worse than watching my cat lick her biz. The players only move for 11 minutes out of 3+ hours of game time – the rest is just watching people yell at each other without being able to hear what they’re saying. How is that fun??)
This happened. JellyBean (4): “Look what I found mom! Now we can be twins! But… where do I buy the thingies that go in them??” (Oh honey, I too need to find the thingies that go in them!)
“Mom, can you tell me the story again of how I was born?” Everyone has a vital need to know their creation story. (No, not your literal creation story. That would be TMI. Unless you’re one of those kids named after the place they were conceived, like my friend Sage. Don’t picture it. Sage brush is ouchy.) I don’t know why I’d never realized the importance of the story before I had kids but they ask on such a regular basis that now I know: Everyone wants to know they were wanted, were loved, were hoped for and dreamed of, before they were born. Even if they weren’t born under such happy circumstance, they still want to know about that electric moment you first locked eyes, held fingers and then how they burped up amniotic fluid all over the both of you. I may be romanticizing it a little — nothing says love like burping — but the truth is that these re-tellings are deeply meaningful to my children.
I need to take a break from this blog for a bit. I need to reevaluate what I want from it and for it because for about the past year I feel like it – no I – have gotten really stagnant. Which isn’t fair to any of us! You guys deserve fresh, interesting, funny stuff and I deserve… well, I don’t honestly know at this point. This is the convergence of several things that have been brewing for a while:
1. I’m basically back to exactly where I started from. When I started this blog, I had just started my journey to health. I’d been doing a bodybuilder-type diet and running with some weight lifting for about a year prior. (At that point I was definitely one of those people terrified of the free weights who stuck to machines but hated them because they weren’t any fun yet knew I was “supposed to” lift weights so I did.) While my diet and exercise were both pretty bland, they worked and helped me drop the last 10 pounds of baby weight I was carrying.
Have you ever been told you hit like a girl? Or run like one? Or cry like one? If so, I hope you answered yes. Because you are a girl and girls do all of those things. Oh, and we do them well. What – you thought “hit like a girl” was an insult? For a long time, so did I.
Recently ad companies – especially those specializing in cotton catchers for our crimson cooters – have been pumping out the girl positivity. Taking a page from all the #realbeauty Dove adver-mocumentaries (that was a terrible portmanteau, I’m sorry!), companies are realizing that instead of telling us we should be ashamed of the “weird” things that make us women – stretch marks, menstruation, boobs, periods, hair, below-ground bleeding, cellulite, did I mention all our bloodletting? – if they tell us to be proud of those things and embrace them we’ll feel happier about ourselves! (And talk about them more by blogging about them and using their hashtags and sharing all the inspirational videos on Facebook and, natch, buying more of their products.)