Sunday, April 29, 2012

I rock the chubs

"I rock the chubs!"

The cleanse mentioned in a previous blog has created another way for me to fail.  Now I avoid weighing myself because I know the scale will show me a number far above the elusive 136 I hit at the end of the cleanse. I do like it that Tim is now starting his days with weird, green smoothies. As I type, I'm admiring the stalks of the broccoli he put in the blender for tomorrow morning. It's hard to push the stalks on the kids, and I wouldn't ever throw them away. Now they get whipped up into a frothy, chia seed , coconut water surprise. Another benefit, for the cheap New Englander in me, to the healthy living  is that I've kicked my 1/2 and 1/2 addiction. That's one less thing on the grocery list, AND I get to make use of the remaining milk left in the kids' sippy cups in the morning. It sounds gross, but I dump in so much milk to make it creamy; the coffee goes tepid.  I have to microwave it anyway; I might as well use every drop of that organic milk I hate paying for.

Perhaps I'm good at maintaining my swimming routine because going to the YMCA makes me feel tiny. I was swimming today during a water aerobics class. It was well-attended this morning by 15 women whose aggregate weight is well over a ton. They hold foam "weights" and jump around. Under water I watch the quietly undulating flab on their legs.  It's oddly beautiful and calming reminding me of the way fish and plants on a coral reef move back and forth rhythmically with the waves. Above the water is another story. I was listening to NPR yesterday. The last remaining knuckleball pitcher was interviewed on Fresh Air. Apparently a good knuckleball pitch is like a "butterfly in a typhoon." I feel like a butterfly in a typhoon in that pool.

It is hard to believe that the American weight problem, especially among African American women in Philly, is entirely about poor diet, education and food deserts. I was wondering, as I swam, whether maintaining such an enormous size empowers people who are traditionally disempowered. Initially all of the lap lanes were full, so I was trying to swim close to the perimeter of the 3rd lane in the "free swim" area of the pool. The ladies were doing the walkabout section of their class where they maraud around the pool with their "weights." I thought I could stick close to the lap line, and I wouldn't bother anyone. I might have been imagining it, but I felt as if they were intentionally blocking my path. They were wielding their heft with such purpose.

My friend, Sweet, always jokes about Toby's delicious chubbiness. He mimics her voice as she reaches for another pretzel saying, "You think I roll out of bed looking like this? It's about hard work and maintenance!" The Pellis family dedicated a song to Toby when she was about a year old. We sing it to this day. It's called, I rock the chubs. Those pool ladies are definitely rocking the chubs. Perhaps Michelle Obama has more to contend with in her "get healthy" initiatives than educating people about good food choices.

Speaking of rocks, now my house is filled with rocks and sticks. There are rocks in every pocket of Jack Peter's jackets and in the side pockets of his book bag and his lunch pack. There are rocks and sticks in his bed. It's frustrating. The conversations go like this:
"Jack Peter what is this?"
"It's a GPFFJ gadget."
"What's GPFFJ?"
"It's the secret agent website we work for."

This is what was under Jack Peter's blanket this morning.  Under the books were more rocks.  The glowing orange thing is silly puddy adhered permanently to the fitted sheet.   Yes, that is a broken brick in the middle of the pile.

Jack Peter had to draw himself enjoying a rainy day and to write about it as part of his homework last week.  He wrote, "On a rainy day I like jumping in puddles."  To me he went into detail about the fact that his umbrella was a secret agent gadget that turns into a propeller, and takes him flying away.  I told him to write about that.  He looked right and left and said furtively, "NO! it's a secret agent umbrella!  I can't write about it!"  Clearly he has more integrity at 5 than I do.  Secret Agent Jack Stalwart books are the root of the obsession. I should be happy he reads so well, but instead I'm bitching about the rock dust in his bed. His cousin, Owen, has been reading since he was three. My sister in law, Jana, was probably cursing his literacy too when he and his sister were in the shower asking for shampoo. Jana said, "We're out of kid shampoo; just use mine." Owen examined the bottle and shrieked in horror, "Mom! This is for dry and damaged hair!!!!" What do you say to that? especially when the kid has the most gorgeous curly blond hair.

Jack Peter's fellow secret agent, Caspar, came over for one of the days of spring break. Caspar is great because he's nice to the girls. Let me rephrase that: he doesn't fight back as hard as other boys do. I took the 4 kids to the Please Touch Museum. I can handle my 3 kids because the big kids are slightly OCD and controlling: they stick to a game in a single spot for an hour so they can rule; I only have to worry about the wandering of Toby. More importantly, I can bribe and threaten my own kids. 4 kids at the Please Touch was a disaster. They scattered before I'd negotiated the annoying issue with our membership at the front desk. The mock grocery store is always the worst. The kids fight other toddlers for the limited grocery carts.  They fill up the carts and then fight over the cash registers at check-out after which I spend 25 minutes trying to cajole them into returning everything to the proper shelf while another weeping child is following, desperate for the soon-to-be-empty cart. I abandoned four full grocery carts. There will probably be a poster of me in the entranceway when I go next, but I had no choice.

Heather and her mom had come with Heather's 2 girls to meet us, and we hadn't crossed paths until I spotted them on their way to lunch. My adult/child ratio improved drastically as they helped me corral the 4 kids, so I left the carts. My 4 were the only kids in the lunch area who climbed from the lunch table, onto a radiator to eat on a 6-foot-high window ledge.  I had succumbed to the dietary needs of Caspar and made only pbj, watermelon slices, and juice boxes, so they didn't have to climb to get away from the broccoli and asparagus I normally put in the lunch box.  Perhaps they were putting on a show, so Heather's mom could witness my lack of control.

Ever the optimist, I was hoping after the 4th permutation of groups going to the bathroom that the worst part of my day was over.  Heather and her mom left, so I told Caspar to pick the last place we would visit before going home. He picked the Alice in Wonderland section. I didn't give it a lot of thought until we got there...a maze and a labyrinth complete with faux doors and lots of mirrors. I can't imagine that Abu Ghraib was worse than trying to keep track of all of them and dealing with the security guard who kept telling me they aren't supposed to climb on the maze.

I did make it home and got the girls down for a nap. Caspar and Jack Peter played quietly, and I thought I'd recuperated. We went to the park when everyone woke up.  They were all climbing in a cherry tree.  Steel started screaming at the top of her lungs from the tree.  I ignored it.  Finally she came down sobbing and holding up her hand.  Caspar's shoe tread was embedded into her index finger.  "He was stepping on my finger for a LONG TIME, and HE WOULDN'T GET OFF!!!!"  "Well, Steelie, do you know why he wouldn't get off?"  "Why?" she sniffed.  "Because you scream at the top of your lungs and cry so often that he didn't know anything was truly wrong!"

Toby, like her sister, is fond of drama.  Her favorite part of the Please Touch Museum is the toddler-sized stretcher in the little ambulance...

Aside from the cherry tree incident, everything was fine for over an hour until Caspar started complaining to me, "IT WASN'T FAIR! YOU DIDN'T GET ME CHOCOLATE MILK AT THE PLEASE TOUCH!!!" Caspar is a head taller than Jack Peter and outweighs him by 20 lb. He eats nothing but peanut butter and jelly, Fruitables (juice boxes,) candy, and chocolate milk. I bellowed at him, "You want to know what isn't fair, Caspar????? It's not fair that I spend half of my life shoving healthy food down Jack Peter's throat-making lamb chops for his lunch box and shelling edamame, while you eat nothing good for you, and YOU'RE HUGE!!! That's not fair, OK?!"

Maybe I was still a little pissed about the Alice in Wonderland thing...

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