“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to not tell you… I just, uh, just didn’t know what to say to you,” my friend said, tucking a soft blanket around her adorable chubby-cheeked infant. I couldn’t tell if she was trying to keep her warm or hide her from me.
“But why would you think I wouldn’t be happy for you?” I stammered, still thrown by the surprise of meeting what had been a very close friend who now had a baby I didn’t even know was coming.
“Well, because you… you know.”
I know. I know I had a miscarriage.
“How old is she?” I didn’t want to ask but I couldn’t help myself.
“Two months,” she answered. It felt like a punch to the gut but I tried not to show it.
I grinned my brightest grin and told her, honestly, “She’s marvelously perfect. Congratulations!”
Have you seen the Tiny Hamsters Eating Tiny Burritos video yet?? So adorable, so cheeky, so… weirdly mesmerizing! I think it’s because I used to make elaborate set ups like when I was kid – but for the imaginary fairies that I was absolutely positive weren’t imaginary:) And there’s already a part two: Tiny Hamsters Eating Tiny Pizzas. (Click through if vid isn’t showing up in your reader/email!)
“Who killed JFK? What color would a smurf turn if you choked it? Where in the nursery rhyme does it say humpty dumpty is an egg? Why do people point to their wrist when asking for the time, but people don’t point to their crotch when they ask where the bathroom is?” – With so many important questions that need answering sometimes it can be easy to overlook the more simple ones. So when I got a recent e-mail from a reader who asked me a question about Intuitive Eating, it took me a minute to realize what she was really asking me: How do you not eat when you’re not hungry?
“Ooh, that looks good! Can I have a few bites?” These words sparked the one and only time in my marriage I nearly punched my husband out. I wish I were exaggerating but it was in the depths of my eating disorder and I’d spent all day being “good” and counting every calorie and this dish was my reward. I’d portioned it perfectly and already entered the numbers into my (insane) food tracking spreadsheet. I’d been looking forward to eating it all day. (True story: when you’re starving, all you think about is food. I was obsessed with cooking shows, recipe websites, cookbooks and magazines, always planning the gourmet meal I was going to eat when I was finally “good enough.”) And of course I was so so hungry.
So when he leaned over and casually took a few bites, I went atomic. Realizing that I couldn’t articulate all the crazy thoughts in my head without sounding, well, crazy, I burst into tears and stomped into the other room yelling at him that he might as well just eat the whole thing now. As I sobbed in a corner, all I could think was “How could my beloved husband steal food right out of my starving mouth? Couldn’t he see how much this food meant to me right now? Especially since he could eat as much of anything in the whole house that he wanted and all I had was this. And now this was two bites less. How was I supposed to calculate the calories now? And if can’t count it then I can’t eat it.” I went to bed hungry. And furious.
This picture alone is why America needs to have more subways.
Yoga is supposed to be the ultimate non-competitive exercise but if you’ve ever spent time in a “serious” yoga class (or even a not-so-serious one) you’ll discover the Pose Off. I wish I was talking about lining up all the mats like a catwalk and having each yogi do their best Tyra impression. No, I mean the inevitable comparison of who can do which advanced poses and how well. Since overt bragging doesn’t mesh well with the whole yoga vibe, you have to make your stunts look calm and serene. Oh this? I always relax in a fingertip handstand. You can’t do it? Super easy – you just have to focus on tightening your core and you’ll get it!
(Side note: I swear the answer to EVERY tricky yoga pose is always “It’s all in your core! If you just hug your ribs together you’ll pop right up like a beach umbrella, easy peasy lemon squeezie!” Also, why is there no Beach Umbrella Pose?? There should be. I don’t care if beach umbrellas didn’t exist in ancient India. Neither did Justin Beiber and yet we now have yogaBiebs poses.)
Every gym has this guy. (He’s a car! No he’s a human! Wait, he’s a Transformer!!) Is it terrible my first thought was “I would have taken off my jacket and tucked in my headphone wires first?” Because I really kind of want to try this even if it is the definition of ridiculosity.
Gossip, intrigue, power plays and morality plays: From the small stuff to the life-and-death stuff (sometimes literally), gyms are a microcosm of life. Add all the hormones, endorphins, sweat and fatigue from a good workout and you’ve got a recipe for the best reality show ever – seriously, why has no one ever done a gym reality show?! (edited to add: apparently someone has, I’ve just never seen it.) – or for some serious gym drama. Love it or hate it, the reality is that because we’re all flawed human beings, we’re all going to run into it sometimes. Some of us more than others. Ahem.
So when I got this e-mail from Reader A about wanting to breakup with her gym, I totally felt her pain! And I’m guessing many of you have as well. She writes:
Hello Kitty always helps answer the big questions – kind of amazing for a cat that doesn’t even have a mouth.
“Mom, are robbers tiny or big?” The other day I found 4-year-old Jelly Bean rolling around on her floor, looking at her fingers and and pondering that existential question. “Where does jail live?” she continued, when I asked her what she was doing.
“Well there’s a jail in every town, I suppose,” I answered her. “Why are you asking about robbers and jail?”
“My brother told me robbers are bad guys and they go to jail.”
“That’s true, usually,” I said, still not sure where this was going. Kids ask the strangest stuff. “Are you worried about robbers?”
“Yes,” she said with a little shiver. “I scared of robbers.” But before I could reassure her she added, “Are they sad?”
“Some of them, probably,” I answered.
“Is sad a bad word?” She twirled her fingers.
“No honey, sad is not bad. It’s okay to feel sad.” My heart jumped a little at the question.
“Why sadness?” Again. Kids. Questions. Oy.
Now all is sunshine and roses, er, dead corn husks and pumpkins (because that says total romance, right?)
Puking with the flu, two weeks overdue pregnant, shaking on the floor with a panic attack, accusing him of stealing my pants and purse as I came out of anesthesia, both pre- and post- op, crying while holding a crying baby, numb with grief, irrational with fear, swearing at people during childbirth, hysterically silly, screaming with nightmares – and my personal favorite – dragging my infant son to the doctor’s for the “fleas” all over him that turned out to be Oreo crumbs from my super-healthy snack I’d eaten while breast-feeding him. I could go on but suffice it to say, my husband has seen me at my worst. (Oh, and there was the time I was so angry I didn’t speak to him for an entire day because I dreamed he had an affair. I’m still really embarrassed about that one, actually.)
During a fitness class a couple of weeks ago, a noxious odor seeped through the room, eventually hanging over all of us like a smog inversion, thanks to the poor air circulation of the studio. It was bad but even though my eyes were a watering I couldn’t find it in me to be upset. Mostly because I’ve totally been there before. Who can forget the great Soy Patty Incident of 2006? I was doing an evening kickboxing class and, because I was still a vegetarian then, grabbed a quick soy burger patty for dinner before heading to the gym. As we warmed up, I felt my tummy start to inflate faster than Kanye West’s ego and become more bubbly than a hot tub full of starlets when George Clooney walks in. Unfortunately there was no escape as I was right at the front of the class, packed between friends who I was hoping would still be me my friends after the inevitable happened. And oh it happened! I tried to hold it in but all that good cardio activity plus moves that compressed my stomach from every angle made it ripe for a rectal rebellion. That was the night I discovered both how forgiving people can be and also unforgiving my gut is of processed soy.
“TJ is a butt turd!” My 10-year-old self sat back to admire my handiwork: drawn in permanent purple, in foot-high letters, right on the front porch. So everyone who came to our house would know exactly what kind of kid my little brother was. To this day I don’t remember what he had done that so incensed me that I thought this was an appropriate response but I do remember being super proud of myself. All the way until my parents saw it (and my brother’s scribbled response on the sidewalk) and made us spend an afternoon scrubbing concrete with bleach.
Ah, revenge gone awry. Good times! (Some other time we’ll have to talk about revenge with unintended consequences…)
But revenge isn’t just a theme for childhood fantasies and TV dramas (that star sweet, vapid Amy from Everwood as Hampton’s ninja Emily/Amanda – I still can’t wrap my brain around that one). Unfortunately as we get older and more aware of the injustices of life, it becomes more infectious. And I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately.
Today this happened:
Yep. Jelly Bean started preschool! After 12 years of waiting for the day when I’d have a consistent block of time to myself you’d think that I’d be thrilled. And I am. I’m so thrilled I sobbed in my car for 20 minutes after she trotted blithely into her classroom with nary a backward glance. Truly I did not expect to feel this way. It’s like the end of an era. I’m no longer a “young mother” in the baby years – a fact driven home to me as I chatted with a new mom whose oldest is the same age as my youngest when she said, “It’s so nice to connect with other young moms [long pause] … and you!” Then she added that she likes me because I remind her of her mom. Which, for the record, I am totally not old enough to be. I would have had to birth her at age 9 and as all long-time readers of this blog know (thanks to my chronic oversharing) I did not begin menstruating until 16. So take that young-but-bad-at-math mom! Oy.