Friday, September 18, 2015

Cheeseburgers are Delicious

About a week or two after Margot was born we took her to meet her great-grandmother, Warren’s maternal grandmother. I went in front, carrying Margot in her car seat, Warren bringing up the rear with the over-packed baby bag.  Walking through the door I held up the car seat, expecting the usual oohs and ahhs, but was instead met with a pat on my abdomen and, “You’re going to have to lose that belly.”  My husband didn’t hear what his grandmother said; I relayed it after, but he wasn’t surprised. At about two weeks post-partum, I didn’t expect to look like I did pre-baby.  Hell, I never lost any of the Lily weight (about 20 pounds).  My organs hadn’t even returned to their usual places and I’ve never been a skinny lady, so I really wasn’t expecting another woman to body shame me in such an outward manner. I countered with a smile and a nod because, really, she’s in her 90s, she gets a pass.

The pass ended this week when, at 3 months post-baby, having lost all of the weight (that’s right, I’ ve lost 45 pounds, yay me), I was met with, “You’ve still got that stomach.”  This time I pushed back a little, gently reminding her that I’ve lost a lot of weight, that it’s only been 3 months, and she agreed, reminding me that I had a section and that can be hard to recover from. She’s still in her 90s-her pass is restored.*

I really have lost 45 pounds in 3 months.  That’s such a strange thing to admit to.  Maybe I need a Girl Scout’s patch or badge or whatever my mother used to sew onto that horribly brown Brownie sash to remind me and show to everyone who looks at my bloated belly and thinks I do nothing but sit on the couch eating chocolate all day long, guess what world, I lost 45 pounds in 3 months, and it is a fucking effort-full accomplishment.  I work for it.  I eat 1200-1300 calories a day, I go to the gym 5 days a week, I push Margot on long walks (so far 5 miles is our one-day record). I miss cheeseburgers on a near daily basis and pass Bobby’s Burger Palace with lust rays bursting out of my eyes.  I watch all the hard bodies at my gym with the same questioning intensity that they watch me.  We silently judge each other the way all women appraise one another. Maybe one of them is hungry and would like to accompany me for a cheat cheeseburger? No judgements-just deliciousness.

I’m lucky; my self worth has nothing to do with how I look. It’s nice to lose weight and fit into clothes I was wearing a full year after I gave birth to Lily, but, ultimately, I don’t really care. I am I, and I am still overweight, and I’m okay with that. I’m proud of the person I am, I’m thankful for my healthy, brilliant, beautiful children (and family), I’m grateful for the kind of life I lead, and I’m crazy in love with my wondrous husband who couldn’t give two shits about the way I look, because, as he oft reminds me, he likes me for me, blessed union intact, pun intended.

Of course I’m just like everyone else and I have my days where I hate everything and the scale was clearly sent here on a mission to destroy me, but then I look at my stretch marks (like rings on a tree, I swear) and I remember that my body did this incredibly amazing thing.  It created and cared for and birthed two fully-formed human beings! I’m never going to be how I once was and I don’t want to be, because skinnier Allison did not create life.

*Nana and I are cool-I’m not upset about what she said.  It just provided a good entry point into this part of my life. Really, I think she’s pretty awesome.

Our family :)

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Parenting Rule Number 1

Parenting Rule Number   1 is that you never, ever, ever insult or criticize another parent’s parenting.  Addendum to the above rule: you never insult or criticize another parent’s parenting to said parent.  Whatever you say to your spouse in the darkness and joy of a child-sleeping household before you drift off into a coma is completely okay.  It’s an unspoken parenting law, because once it’s broken, you can never come back; there is no restitution.

While on the phone with my husband last fall, the person on the other end of the line criticized my parenting.  It was in the general context of a much larger argument, and the person used my parenting as ammunition to strengthen their (I know, plural pronoun, but we have no gender neutral singular in English) argument.  It had the adverse effect, essentially forever ruining whatever was left of our jalopy of a relationship (it was terse long before this incident, but insulting the way I raise my children was a surefire way to lose any goodwill I had left).  My husband and I were both very insulted, not because we believed what the person had said was true (I’m a fucking awesome mom, thank you very much), but because the person had crossed a very important invisible line and neglected to see why it was so damaging.  The person still believes that we are in the wrong (and they still believe that it’s okay to say whatever they want).

One of the hallmarks of adulthood is learning to shut your mouth.  This is a lesson that my husband has really learned the hard way.  From insulting friends, to yelling at me and having to pay for it in very expensive gifts, his foot in mouth disease is legendary (all of his college friends call him “that asshole,” many of whom were shocked when they met me-I was nice and socially appropriate, and he was “Warren, that asshole.” Oddly enough, the moniker was relayed to me at a shiva call, where the person actually sitting shiva, one of Warren’s fraternity brothers, was part of the asshole discussion, laughing and stressing the depths of Warren’s jerkitude. Warren had previously, and while in my presence, seriously insulted the fraternity brother’s wife. I like to think my husband’s former asshole-y-ness helped to comfort the bereaved.  Oh, and we’re all actually very good friends, too).  I have a touch of foot in mouth, not in the asshole capacity, but just a general disregard for meaningless small talk and a penchant for jokes that other people don’t usually get.  It can come off as awkward, when really it’s just me not enjoying being around large groups of people.  I’m much better one-on-one.  The point is, however, that my husband, my wonderful, loving husband who has about as much social grace as a pack of elephants transporting crystal stemware through the streets of New York City, even he knew that it was wrong to criticize another parent’s parenting.

Maybe it’s also part of adulthood to call people out on their crap and defend yourself from wild accusations.  My adulthood includes turning off and simply excusing myself from events and occasions where I’m forced to socialize with people who don’t approve of my parenting, whether family, friend or foe.  Because, and I’ll say it again, I’m a fucking awesome mom.  And you know what?  You are too.

Margot at 12 weeks, loving on her awesome mom!

Monday, September 7, 2015

What Does She Eat?*

Putting it mildly, Lily is an extremely picky eater. We’ve stopped ordering her meals in restaurants and just pick bits from our plates and put them in front of her, usually leaving our own empty plates and her plate still full.  We recently ordered Lily a bowl of pasta, from which she ate two ziti noodles. Combine that with the one french fry from Warren’s meal, and I present you with Lily’s lunch.  (Oh, and a pickle.) Even if it’s a food that she will eat, she often consumes so little of it that it’s almost as if she hasn’t eaten at all. People are always asking us, so what does she eat?

Fruit: cantaloupe (“orange fruit”) and honeydew (“green fruit”).  Sometimes grapes, but never when I buy them at her screaming insistence when we’re in the supermarket.  She used to eat strawberries, but that ended pretty quickly.

Vegetables: cooked only! I’ve tried to get her to eat some raw veggies, even turned into Teacher Harriet, reciting lines from the “Be a VegetableTaster” episode of Daniel Tiger, but all to no avail.  She will eat a lot of cooked veggies, but the way they are prepared really matters.  Take broccoli.  She loves broccoli when it’s roasted or when it comes from a Chinese food container (and then chopsticks, or “sticks,” as she calls them, is the only way she will eat it).  But don’t try to steam it or mix it in with anything.  Same with cauliflower and brussel sprouts and asparagus; must be roasted. She’ll eat carrots and peas and canned string beans by the fist-full, but fresh strings beans are a no-no.  Corn must be grilled.

Starches: more, more, more!  All pasta is fair game, but only if covered in “sprinkle cheese,” and the same goes for pizza. What is a bread sandwich?  It’s a food that Lily invented, called a roll, that I’ve cut in half and put nothing on.  Let’s say I put something on the bread sandwich, like cheese or peanut butter (which she will eat, out of a jar, with a spoon)? Silly mommy, Lily won’t eat that.  Rice and cous cous are daily staples, but no potatoes except for French fries.  And cereal and waffles and pancakes, oh my.

Meat: fat chance! Lily will only eat Tyson Annytizer chickenfries, Purdue Dino-nuggets, chicken teriyaki from Sarku, or a special chicken in hoisin sauce that I make at home.  Notice the lack of red meat, pork or fish.  Nope mommy.

Dairy: milk works. I sometimes stuff her with milk just to get protein in there.  Because, guess what? No cheese and no yogurt. Ice cream? Yes to ice cream, but only mint chocolate chip. My crazy daughter previously turned down ice cream cake because, shocker, it was chocolate and vanilla and she wanted mint. Then she had a fit.  She didn’t even eat her own birthday cake because it was an ice cream cake.

Snacks: basically what Lily is living off of. She will eat cookies and cupcakes and crackers until the end of time.  If you take her Annie’s purple bunnies, she will cut you. Don’t you dare sneak one of her Entenmann’s mini muffins because she will see what you did you horrible violator of everything holy, and she will demand a fresh pack.  Only one applesauce will work-the Mott’s all natural squeeze pouches.  She shares her Goldfish one by one, placing them in waiting open mouths.  Granolabars are gobbled with the ferocity of candy (which she also likes, but only DumDum pops or chocolate, straight chocolate). Popcorn, both the microwave and Smartfood varieties work, as do Cheez-its and pretzels, potato chips, and her favorite no calorie snack, Kim’s Magic Pop (but only the blueberry, which she calls “purple chips”).

She will also eat anything my friend “S” makes, even if it contains meat, or it’s something she’s refused to eat at home, she will eat it if “S” makes it.  I hate you “S” (please move in with us).

3-year-old Lily chowing down on a cupcake and Cheez-its

*The list of things she doesn’t eat is simply too long and would have to be its own post.  Assume we have given her every food option on the planet, and she’s turned them all down (adult food, kiddie food, ethnic food, etc…if it exists, we’ve tried it).

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Making Adjustments

We were given many, many warnings about moving from one child to two children, most of which centered around how difficult it is to have two, how much of an adjustment it is on your (adult) life. And while it’s not the easiest thing we’ve ever done, it’s taken very little adjustment on our part to fit Margot into our family.  Lily, however, was a whole other matter.

I wouldn’t call Lily an “easy” child. Don’t get me wrong, as far as 3-year-olds go, I think she’s pretty evolved: she can eat in a restaurant, she can survive a long car ride, she can even sleep at Grandma’s house (more to follow, later).  But she’s the Energizer Bunny, a constant motion machine who defies the laws of physics, demanding snacks and drinks and her iPad throughout the whirling dervish, Tasmanian devil-like cloud of destruction that she leaves in her wake.  We’re used to it. We know Lily’s triggers, when she’s about to melt down or act out, and we combat her craziness by injecting a lot of scheduling and structure. We keep to a very tight sleep and food schedule, time outs are administered immediately upon infraction, regardless of location (she once had a time out at the pediatrician’s office-Dr. M. was crazy impressed) and we encourage as much independence as possible-most of Lily’s frustration and irritation comes from her desire to do everything for herself.  If we give her the illusion of independence (even though her life is crazy controlled), she’s very happy-it’s like she’s already a teenager. This is how we’ve kept our “not easy” child from becoming “difficult” (since, according to my mother, I hold the “Most Difficult Child on the Planet” award).

So throwing a baby into the mix, we knew that Lily was going to have the hardest time adjusting.  It started the day I gave birth to Margot.  Lily didn’t want to go to sleep because mommy wasn’t home.  She kept asking Warren where Margot and I were.  And yes, there have been multiple occasions when I wasn’t there to put Lily to sleep (girls’ nights, work events, etc…), but I’ve never been gone overnight, so when I wasn’t there in the morning, or the subsequent two mornings after, Lily was not pleased. 

Then, once we came home, there were the usual issues: Margot got more attention, Margot was always lying on me, I couldn’t pick up Lily (damn you c-section).  Lily started having sleep regression, waking up in the middle of the night and demanding extra cuddles before returning to bed.  Her promising potty training stalled then disappeared altogether.  She started spitting, hitting, kicking, screaming, and all directed as us.  Margot was hers, a little doll for her to play with, to help feed and diaper and soothe.  We were the evil ones for what we’d done to her, but Margot was “my little sister,” and Lily took immediate ownership, saying “Baby Margot, don’t cry. Mommy takes care of you,” which quickly turned into “Baby Margot, don’t cry. I will take care of you.”

Hugging is an Olympic sport in Lily’s world.  Her hugs are big and tight, and she saves them all for Margot, smothering her in big sister love. We didn’t get hugs for at least a week after Margot came home, but Margot needed morning kisses and night-night kisses and special pats and hugs and love love love.  One bedtime I was holding Margot to high and Lily screamed, “Mommy I can’t reach. I have to kiss her cheek.” I lowered Margot down to her sister and Lily gave her a big smooch. “Goodnight baby Margot.”  Neither Warren nor I got any love that night.

And the thing is…well…we’re okay with it. We never had to worry that Lily was going to hurt her sister (at least never intentionally), and we’d rather Lily take out her anger on us. We’re grown-ups; we can take it. It took about 6 or 7 weeks for Lily to forgive us, and we’re pretty sure that Lily normalized so quickly because of two reasons. First, we kept Lily’s schedule as tight and as ritualized as humanly possible. A sibling is an enormous change, so Lily needed to hold fast to structure. Second, when it came to Lily’s interactions with Margot, we hardly ever said no.  You want to hold the baby? Okay, we’ll show you how. You want to feed her? Okay, climb up on my lap and help me hold the bottle. You want to kiss her goodnight? Okay, you got it! You want to have a family bath-time? Okay, Margot, get ready for baths on Lily’s bathroom floor. We let Lily take ownership of her sister. After all, Margot and Lily belong to each other just as much as they belong to us, and we’re going to try our best to keep it that way.
Lily, 3 years, and Margot, 8 weeks

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

A Second Time First Time Mom

Being a new mom is really hard.  You have no idea what you’re doing, there’s this tiny screaming alien you’re in charge of keeping alive, and, initially at least, you feel pretty awful. Either you can’t sit because of tearing, or you can’t move because of stitches-and you are still responsible for breast feeding and washing bottles and doing laundry and pacifying your incompetent husband, not to mention hosting the zillions of people who want to meet the new baby.  Add in sleep deprivation and lack of bathing and you’ve got a recipe for a potential new torture method for terrorists.

Being a new NICU mom is even harder.  You have to manage the newborn, plus all the machines the newborn is hooked up to and the wires that come with them, portable heart rate monitors and oxygenation monitors and an oxygen tank. Every feed, challenging on its own, also comes with multiple medicines.  Then there’s the risk factor-preemies have very low immunity, so even minor colds can prove majorly damaging. So when it came to getting out of the house, we chose not to.  It was just too difficult to schlep Lily AND all her stuff and worry about someone breathing on her.  It wasn’t like I could install a permanent sneeze guard, like at a salad bar.  We didn’t take her out, we didn’t allow people in (except for select family members), and I hated my life.

But as a second time mom, without all the preemie accoutrement, it’s a whole different ball game.  Holy crap I can do this.  It’s just a baby: a baby in her car seat, a baby in her stroller, a baby playing on her activity mat smiling up at a rattling frog. Why didn’t I know about all this? And this is where our parenting story changed.  We aren’t first time parents, but we ARE, in so many ways that it’s crazy. Such as…

Belly buttons are gross.  We never had to deal with Lily’s cord falling off because she was already 3 months old when she came home, with an umbilical hernia, so it looked like a little tail was protruding from her abdomen.  But a bloody stump that crusted over and repeatedly fell off only to scab over again? I didn’t sign up for that.  It fell off in a blanket and I thought it was a raisin, until I picked it up and started to gag.   Even Lily told me, “There’s poop in Margot’s belly.”  Yes, dear observant child, it does look like poop.

How much does she eat? We don’t have to do forced feeds? We don’t have to feed her overnight? What do you mean she eats until she finishes on her own and I don’t have to shove an entire feed down her throat?  There can still be formula left in the bottle? She doesn’t need thickened feeds or specialized bottles? None of this was familiar.  We were used to timed, forced feeds, waking up a sleeping baby to keep her on schedule, to keep her gaining weight, to make sure they didn’t want to revert back to an NG tube.  Lily’s weight gain was slow and painful.  Margot eats. And eats and eats and eats. She put herself on a feeding schedule when she was 1-day-old. She finishes bottles, burps, and goes back to sleep. The hubby and I keep saying how strange it is, the way she eats, the way she’s growing and gaining weight, and our friends and family keep reminding us that it’s actually normal. This is the way it’s supposed to be. We’re still not sure that we believe them.  She’s gained over 3 pounds since being born! One pound in Lily land was a cause for celebration. But 3 pounds! That’s gotta be a Guinness record or something (it’s not-Margot is strictly 50th percentile).

Margot purrs and coos. She makes this funny little noise that sounds like “hi” and then she smiles, all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. Her hands found each other weeks ago, she batts at her toys, she tracked while still in the hospital, she realized that she has feet the other day (although, I think it was a fluke), and she rolls up onto her side in a cute little rocking motion. Completely normal baby behavior, apparently, because I had no idea!  We had physical therapy for Lily to bring her hands together, and it took her months to batt at toys.  Lily never vocalized, never made little baby cooing sounds, and language was her biggest area of delay (even though she said “mama” at 8 months, the rest of her language took much longer). There was no echolalia with Lily.

The baby can leave the house!  She’s portable-we take her anywhere and everywhere. She’s a lady who lunches. Whether it’s to the playground with her sister, to the mall with my mom, or simply to the supermarket, Margot comes with me.  And, as it turns out, I have freedom. I’m not tethered to my house, afraid that a single cough will result in a lengthy hospital stay. I don’t resent my husband for being able to leave, because I can leave, too. I can see my friends and get errands done and take day trips and be with Lily-I can be a mom like all the other moms who got to bring their babies home.

Spitting up is not a cause for alarm!  This one was a shocker for me. Our pediatrician uses the term “happy spitter” to describe a baby who spits up and it isn’t bothered by it.  Whenever Lily was spitting up, and then screaming, and then spitting up more, it meant that she needed a higher dosage of previcid-she was not a happy spitter. The acid reflux controlled her, and, therefore, us.  But Margot is a happy spitter. She is unfazed when she spits up. Hell, she barely even notices it (she also doesn’t notice when I shove my nose in her mouth to smell for potential acid).

But because we aren’t, technically, new parents, we have been able to handle baby issues a lot quicker and with less emotional meltdown than if Margot was our first.  Like when…

Margot needed to be under bilirubin lights while she was still in the hospital. The nurses were worried about me, that I would react negatively, that I wouldn’t understand.  And I explained to ever shift change, this was nothing! I was a NICU mom; I’d handled much worse than bilirubin lights.

About a week after being born, Margot developed a large, egg shape bruise on the back of her head.  Our pediatrician was mystified, so she sent us to the E.R.  It was 4 pm on a Friday and there was nowhere else to have tests done so expediently.  A first time mom would’ve panicked, but I’d been to the Valley Pediatric E.R. before, and I knew that Margot was fine.  And Margot was fine and I was calm and my husband was calm and we made it home before Lily’s bedtime.

A few days after Margot came home I noticed that she was having problems with her formula.  So I changed it. No hesitation.

With Lily I pumped for 3 months. I was scared to stop.  I belabored the decision, crying about my insufficiencies, berating myself for my lack of supply.  This time-3 weeks.  Supply never increased, I had a toddler to chase around, and I wasn’t going to beat myself up again. My body isn’t milky.  Even my gung-ho breast is best pediatrician thought I should stop.

So I’m a second time first time mom. We’re getting to experience all those great new baby moments and memories without all the new parent anxiety and I have to admit, it’s pretty damn nice.

Margot on her activity mat-6 weeks old.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Welcome Margot (Being a NICU Mom is Something That Never Goes Away)

On June 11, 2015, we welcomed our second little princess, Margot.  Margot was born full term, weighing a healthy 7 pounds and measuring a whopping 20 inches. It was a “normal” pregnancy with no complications, full of the usual pregnancy side-effects, resulting in a newborn girl who smiled within hours of being delivered, revealing enormous dimples in both cheeks, and shining blue eyes. And the only thought running through my head was, “Do I get to keep you? Can I take you home?” Every shift change required the same explanation: no, she’s not my first, but we were in the NICU for 11 weeks with the first one so this is new to us, I don’t know what to do with a newborn, yes I know I do an excellent swaddle-the NICU nurses taught me well.

But before she arrived, I had to make it through the pregnancy.

Being a NICU mom is something that never goes away.  The horrifying emergency c-section, the memory of wires and medications and potential surgeries, seeing your child intubated, unable to move, trapped in a plastic cage where your touch is irritating to her paper-thin skin; both you and she are helpless.  You’re not really a mom and she’s not really your child. Because being a NICU mom is something that never goes away. The trauma does not disappear and it only resurges once you are presented with similar circumstances: pregnancy and the potential for going through it all again. Even making the decision to get pregnant brought tearful conversations and gut-wrenching self-doubt. Because being a NICU mom is something that never goes away. And only other NICU moms can understand. If you’re not a fellow NICU mom you can try to empathize and relate and comfort, but you will never truly understand, and that’s okay. We don’t want you to go through what we went through (we don’t wish that on anyone), but you can’t walk a mile in my shoes because you weren’t sitting there for 11 weeks, unable to bring your baby home from the hospital.  Because being a NICU mom is something that never goes away.

Because of all the (no medical explanation available) complications with Lily, we were being followed very closely, by my OBGYN, by my endocrinologist, and by my new perinatologist, the amazing Dr. Z. Slight flashback is necessary.  Because we knew by week 20 that something wasn’t quite right with Lily, we were frequent fliers at MFM (our hospital affiliated sonography center), and our perinatologist left much to be desired-unkempt, wearing a too tight top and a too short skirt, she never received my vote of confidence. She would postulate and suggest and hum and haw in circles, completely uninformative blather, and I never felt like I was getting adequate care. So this time around, I complained, and not in that passive aggressive way that women are famous for. I made it very clear that I would not see Dr. Awful again, and that if they sent her in my room, I would simply leave.  I out-rightly refused to see her.  Why does making yourself seem like the most difficult patient in the world often result in getting the best care?  Enter Dr. Z, a brilliant, neurotic angel sent from heaven to resolve all my insecurities. She ran every test, twice, explained all possible outcomes, what the numbers meant, what the growth scan estimates really estimated. She actually understood that we were simply waiting for the other shoe to drop and she agreed that our anxieties were completely valid-she even once called me, on my cell, 5 minutes after we left the center, just so she could go over another blood test with us.  When routine bloodwork showed something off by 1 one hundredth of a gram, she re-ran a whole battery of tests to allay both my and her fears.  She was Woody Allen and Jonas Salk combined, but with Gene Simmons’ hair and a complete lack of affect-imagine Lorne Michaels’ voice, slightly more feminine, and there you have it. 

Do you like the word normal?  I’m not a big fan, but when it comes to your doctor telling you that your baby’s growth is normal and that your pregnancy is normal and that all your test results are normal, you learn to love it.  We’d never heard the word normal before in relation to a pregnancy or a baby.  Dr. Z used it every time we saw her.  And we cried tears of relief. She was my spirit animal.

Dr. Z’s confidence was amazing, and it certainly helped to curtail my NICU mom brain, but it couldn’t stop the fears and worries in their entirety (I needed to stop having NICU nightmares were I gave birth and the doctors wouldn’t give her back to me-I was having those on a nightly basis). And it certainly didn’t help misguided friends and relatives who could not understand why my husband and I were still anxious.  “But the doctor said it’s normal, so stop worrying.” I can’t say it enough: because being a NICU mom is something that never goes away. You are so unbelievably misguided in your attempts at relating to me if you think that repeatedly hearing the word “normal” suddenly makes the horror and pain of everything we went through, and the fear that it could happen again, dissolve like early morning fog.

39 weeks later, there she was, perfect (minus some slight jaundice), no wires, no medications, no barriers…just mine-I got to keep her.

Margot-10 days old!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

A Weighty Issue

It was impossible not to notice her-she wasn’t tall or remarkably good looking, but her knees jutted out at an odd angle and her thighs were thinner than her calves.  She walked across the room to pick up a magazine and balanced on one leg, more a flamingo than a teenage girl, and I wondered if she didn’t weigh enough to even topple over.  What was she, 12, 13, maybe 14 and she couldn’t weigh more than 65 pounds, a concentration camp survivor instead of a blossoming young woman.  She sat back down and crossed her legs, where they melded together and still didn’t look like one leg.  Her mother sat motionless, expressionless, unaware that I was staring while Lily slept on my shoulder, waiting for the nurse to call us in so her doctor could examine her, prescribe a higher dosage of Prevacid.  I’d seen teenagers in our pediatrician’s office before, mostly sulking, low shouldered boys and girls reminiscent of my students, rolling their eyes at their parents and laughing embarrassingly when asked to give urine samples.  But this girl, this poor girl who was being counseled to drink extra milk at dinner, she was a shell of a sullen teenager, barely subsisting on air and disinterest. 
This isn’t my first encounter with eating disorders-I work with teenagers after all, and I’ve had quite a few students taken out to rehab or special facilities.  We know them easily by their lightness, by their walk, by their uniquely controlled fascinations and concentration.  You’d be surprised by how many students I’ve had who were dealing with anorexia while also maintaining a near perfect GPA.  But I’m a mother now.  I see everything in a different light.
I can remember having a weight “issue” since high school-I think every girl does.  We’re so busy comparing and measuring up, wishing we could be someone else, look like someone else.  I look back on pictures of myself at 15 and 16 and I feel like shooting myself-why was I so blind?  There was absolutely nothing wrong with me.  Now I’m the heaviest I’ve ever been; well, the heaviest I’ve ever been while  not also pregnant, and even though I’m not thrilled about the way I look and I’m actively trying to change my weight and my shape, I’m also the most confident I’ve ever been.  I think it comes from a general contentment with my existence-a beautiful, healthy child, a loving husband, a wonderful life.  I don’t have the time or the desire to reprimand myself for not going to the gym because I’d rather spend the time with Lily.

Lily stays asleep on my shoulder the entire time I focus on this poor girl and her mother.  How do I prevent this future for my own child?  Instill a confidence in her that enables her to tell the world to fuck off, to allow her body to be her own? Maybe she’ll just get my husband’s metabolism and I won’t have to worry about any of this.