Friday, April 29, 2011

A Rose by any other name is still a GIRL.

Two things I need to admit here today.  1/ working out is not doing a darn thing for me.  I started this blog as a way to track my efforts and keep myself committed to working out, but after almost three months of two hours a week (minimum) at the gym and many other hours a week of tossing babies and three year olds around (safely, of course), I have to admit that my body is just giving up on me.  I actually took my measurements today to mimic the first ones I posted in "Ten Months Out" and was dismayed to see that I have not only lost no weight, but I have gained a half a pound at this morning's weigh in-- and I have also lost no inches.  Well, here and there maybe a half an inch, but I could have been sucking in...   

Now I know some of you are going to read this and give me the pep-up of "don't worry- it will happen" or "maybe you should step it up a bit?"  (this IS stepped up!)  Or what's even worse:  "well, you're doing this for your health you know-- your body is going to be what it is, given the four kids you've had".  Seriously, I don't like you for saying that.  Not at all. 

I did make JMahl poke my belly to see how hard it was, but his facial expression wasn't quite as impressed as I was hoping it would be.  Oh well, such is (my) life.  I can say that it's nice to get some reading in (yes, I read on the treadmill as I walk quickly uphill for 30 minutes) and that my back doesn't hurt quite as much as it used to, so there is some improvement.  But for those of you who were waiting impatiently for me to post half-naked sexy, in shape, bikini photos of myself- well, you'll just have to wait a bit longer.  

Granted, I haven't changed my eating habits at all-- and working out tends to make me very hungry... so that may be part of my problem.  Or maybe all of it?  

So that's my first admission.  The second admission is that I am sexist.  And not just sexist, but a hypocritical sexist.  Now, some of you may have heard this rant before, but it's especially applicable today because of my experience at the gym yesterday.
I walked into the daycare to pick up my kids, soaked in sweat and exhausted, and I hear the daycare provider say "put that down, Mason".  My next three thoughts were as follows:
1/ I brought Mason today?
2/ Oh, of course not... but isn't it funny that the daycare provider also gets my kids' names confused?
3/ Wait-- how does she know I have a Mason?  Oh- it must be another child.

So, having figured that out, I walk on in and ask her which of the kids is Mason since, as I explained to her, I have a Mason at home.
She points to a group of children playing a few feet away.  "Oh, the little red-haired boy?"  
No- the blond one.
I don't see a blond boy.
Not the boy, the girl.

What?  A girl Mason?  Yes, I've heard that Mason can be a girl's name.  But hearing it and coming face to face with the reality of it... well, that was a shocker.  A cute, fat, little blond Mason- with long curls and a vagina. That did not make me happy.

And this is where my hypocrisy comes in.  Yes, I am fully aware that Kolbie (Colby) is a boy's name historically.  And that Micah is a boy's name Biblically.  But it is one thing for me to give my girl's masculine names.  It is a completely different matter for my boy to have a name that might perhaps be construed as a feminine name.  And I know, I know.  Those of you out there who have boys named [Colby] or Micah may not appreciate the feminization (sp?) of these names as I have done, but come on!  At least Kolbie has a "ie" ending to it-- Julie, Carrie, Mary, Kolbie... it works.  And Micah...well, let's be honest here, you don't get much more feminine than an "a" sound on the end of a name-- ask the vast majority of DeMeritt men whose wives have names that end in "A"...  Barbara, Linda, Tamara, Claudia, Lorinda, Lana, Angela (and dare we hope, Laura???)  But MASON is all boy.  I mean, it actually says SON in it-- why would you name your daughter SON?  

So, shooting angry glares at the little girl- yes, I'm going to take it out on her since I don't yet know who her parents are-- I left the playroom, fuming and wondering if it was too late to change my dear son's name to something irrevocably masculine.  Like Grayson (which was a discussion 7.5 years ago until I over-analyzed that it could be somewhat awkward to name my half black- half white son "Gray-son") or Bob.  (oops, my Grandma's nickname was "Bobbie").  

Let's be honest-- no names are safe anymore.  Last year a local politician was campaigning in my neighorhood- she got my vote and I bought a copy of her book, all because her name was Trent.  A female Trent-- imagine that.  So why does it bother me so much that my son may one day be confused as female and yet not bother me that my daughters may be confused as male? 
I guess that's where the sexism comes in- and probably, according to my husband, some necessary therapy.  At least I can admit my faults.  

Monday, April 11, 2011

Work it out.

This weekend I convinced my husband to go to the gym with me.  Believe it or not, we've never been to the gym together in the four weeks I've had a membership, so needless to say, I thought it would be romantic... or at the very least, quality time together, as we sweated and laughed and chatted about our children and how great it felt to work out.
And I admit, I envisioned a scene from an 80's movie as we entered the gym together:  cue bomp-bomp-badow  music, wind machine, and slow motion movement as we enter the gym door... all eyes turning to us "who is this beautiful couple that is entering this place?" But it didn't really work out like that.  
For one, he doesn't like being told what to do.  
Once the kids were properly in place in their daycare, I attempted to start our workout regimen. (side note, I do not like the new daycare person:  what type of woman sits there staring vacantly at a child as they cry with their arms outstretched?  If you don't like kids, get a different job.  If you've got this one, pick up my sobbing baby so I can work out!  That's what I'm paying you for!)

So I lead JMahl over to the ellipticals.  
First, we're going to do this for 20 minutes to work up a sweat and work off some calories.
No, we're not.
Yes, we are.  This is what I do.
Well, I don't like the eliptical.  I'm going to ride the bike.
The bike isn't as good for you as this machine.  
You realize I'm a grown man, right?  You realize I can choose my own workout, right?
Well, Honey, I've been coming here twice a week for the last four weeks, so I do think I know what we should be doing.   (Because, truly, this makes me practically an expert.)

At this point I get the look- the long look up and down my body.  I'm going to choose to believe that this was a look of lust (or at the very least, affection), but chances are good that it was more a look of "if you'd dropped six inches in the last four weeks, I might buy that argument, but since you didn't, I'll stick with my own plan".  And with that, he walked off to the bikes.

The next- and last- I saw of him was his reflection in the wall-length mirror as he lifted weights- and I continued to sweat on the elliptical until the un-helpful daycare provider informed me Micah would not stop crying and needed me.  

So, needless to say, while I didn't get the wind-blowing, giggling experience of running side by side on the treadmills together into some imagined sunset, at least I could ogle him from across the gym, so it wasn't all bad. 

Truth be told, it was a pretty good weekend.  We went roller-skating with the kids.  Another attempt to align my visions with reality that completely fell through.  In the movies, JMahl, the kids and I would all swing effortlessly around the ring, holding hands and smiling beatifically at each other-- no wind machine needed due to our speed and gracefulness on the floor.  In reality, I plodded, bent double, gripping the wall, scared to death of falling while trying to convince Mason, plodding with me, that "there's no need to be afraid!  It won't hurt if you fall!"  (the things we lie to our children about).   Kayton passed me about six times for my every lap around the ring; Mason was surpassing my speed within minutes (he fell alot, but didn't cry once); and Kolbie refused to even set a foot in the rink.  Or put on the skates for more than 30 seconds-- as long as it took for her to realize that this was not going to be the fun I'd promised her it would be.  JMahl sat on the sidelines (other than one sneakered trip into the center of the ring to get Mason on his feet) and held Micah-- who just stared at us as if we'd all lost our marbles-- which maybe we had.

And while Kayton and Mason loved skating, I realized rather quickly that it would be a few years before that was the full-family-fun activity I'd dreamed of it being; so, following the rather frustrated advice from my husband, we regrouped and refocused, and went to Old Navy.

Here, my husband made an almost fatal mistake-- miscalculating the maturity of Kayton's shopping drive.  ie.  Don't ever tell any female-- even an 8 yr old girl-- to "just pick out whatever you want".  It was like a scene from Pretty Woman (minus the 80s music, again... I really need to set up an iPod playlist to accentuate my life.)  Kayton was running around the store, grabbing things off the shelf and throwing them in my arms.  At some point, I don't even think she realized what she was grabbing-- (although, maybe she really loved the white jean jacket and pants ensemble with bright pink sequins, but I choose not to believe that- yes, I, too, am shocked that Old Navy actually had that.)  JMahl was right, though. This was a great family activity, since even Mason and Kolbie got into it.  Mason's technique was a little different, though.  He found one pair of shorts that he liked, and proceeded to bring me every single pattern of that style of shorts (about 12, to my count), then found the $5 t-shirt shelf and thought that one of each would also be perfect.  Kolbie was content to just find one dress, attempt to slip it on over her clothes, then follow me around for the next thirty minutes repeating "can I have this dress, Mommy?  can I  have this dress, Mommy?  can I have this dress, Mommy?".  

At some point my father-in-law showed up- I suppose I told him where we were going, although he has a tendency to just appear wherever the kids are, as though he's got a sixth-sense for grandchildren's where-abouts- and he just sat back with a smile on his face enjoying the bedlam.  If I could read his mind, it probably would have told me something like "glad they're not my problem, but they sure are cute when they're having fun." It didn't help that he started slipping them quarters without my knowledge so they could retrieve bouncing balls from the gum ball machine-- which then meant that I was, Micah in one arm, piles of clothes in the other, attempting to read price tags, send bikinis back to their shelves, hide the overly-graphic graphic tees and grab potentially-deadly bouncing balls before they caused a wipe out-- all the while Granddaddy was just smiling at the fun the kids were having, and JMahl was applauding the kids' choices in clothes.  I think he'd gone into "just make it through without losing your temper" mode-- at which point a parent just gives up trying to maintain any control and just shuts down in order to avoid an over-frying of the brain from the stress of attempting to have well-behaved kids in public.  

We made it out of the store eventually without shoplifting any clothes that Kolbie was trying to wear home, with t-shirts fit for a seven year old, no bikinis, and only one over-priced sweater that managed to fool me into thinking it was part of an ensemble.
But the kids were happy.
The husband was happy.
The granddaddy was very happy.  

And me, well, I was happy that everyone else was happy.  But honestly, I think I was sweating more from stress and balancing/ grabbing acts in that Old Navy than I was on the elliptical at the gym.  So maybe JMahl's right.  Maybe he does know the best way to work out.  

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

My husband's my hero.

I think the repeat references to my husband in this blog are starting to make him a little nervous.  The first few (many) weeks I was blogging, I had to beg him to read my blogs and, to be honest, this was frustrating and, therefore, inspired me to antagonize him with what I wrote.  Then, about six weeks into my blog, he said, rather offhandedly as he was looking at his FaceBook page, "can you not tag me in your posts anymore?".  I, of course, feigned ignorance.  Why ever not, my dear?  And was informed, ever so kindly, that he didn't need or want his friends or coworkers reading the intimate details of his life. (For the record, the post that day had been in relation to Micah's birth and JMahl's wariness of the soft spot on her head.)  

I was shocked.  Why, dear, I was only ever complimentary!  And besides, why you would be concerned about your coworkers and friends reading that you have a ____ inch ____?  I mean, they're going to somewhat assume anyhow, considering you wear a size 13 shoe and have a 3.5 inch long thumb.  And, we can't avoid the most obvious stereotype of all...  
What's the most obvious stereotype of all, Katryn?
Oh, well, I don't know.  I guess it's your shoe size.  I wouldn't know.  I don't pay attention to stereotypes.
uh. huh.

So, I quit tagging him in my posts... so now only my friends and family can read my posts. (or those of JMahl's friends and family that have friended me on Facebook- isn't FB great? Takes "my friends are your friends and your friends are my friends... the more we get together the happier we'll be" to a whole new level.)  But he's still nervous.  Today I got an email from him: "did you post today?  I didn't see one.  Can I read it?"  
Not yet.  Too bad.  Not until I write it.  But hey, the laundry's done!  

Because, while I definitely respect my husband's privacy and humility, I also have to satisfy my own primal urges to write what is in my head and heart.  And very often, it is my husband (I will not mention his anatomy) that is in my head and heart.  (Honey, that's a sweet comment, so take it as such.)  

But this has also worked well in my favor; because, you see, knowing that there is a great potential for his being the antagonist in my weekly "story", JMahl is attempting to ensure his role as protagonist, and is starting to go above and beyond.  And I like this.  Call me manipulative-- heck, you can even say I'm blackmailing him- but he's now got to make sure that anything I could potentially write about him will be entirely complimentary, since he doesn't have the option of telling me I can no longer write.  Or write about him.  That could be considered too controlling, and he doesn't want to ever be perceived in a negative light.  

In the last few weeks, whenever I've informed him he needs to apologize to me (because that's what I do when I'm tired of fighting:  "just apologize already.  you know you're going to do it eventually, and I'm tired of being mad and I won't apologize until you do.")- I get a heartfelt apology almost immediately.  It used to take a few hours and a small bribe.  He's called before leaving work to ask me if I need wine (I do tonight); he's given me shoulder and neck rubs without me having to ask.  He even brushed my hair for me the other night- something that rarely happens.  And I saw potential here.  Potential for an improved husband (I mean "relationship", of course. Relationship.)  But I still felt the need for a test.  Something to prove that  he was going to do whatever it takes to make me feel good- and, therefore, make him look good to anyone still reading this post.  

So I asked my husband the other night as I climbed into bed- do you see the difference, the tightness, the firmness in my body since I've been working out?  His response was spot on.  YES.
And when I asked him if he thought I could ever get rid of the excess belly as a result of four children.. again, I got a YES.  (the fact that he never took his eyes off his iPad for any of this conversation is not going to figure into this post).
And when I moaned and complained that when I got on the scale it told me I'd gained six pounds over the weekend, he didn't start listing off the entire package of pizza rolls, the excess amount of chinese food, and ho-hos and the ice cream that I'd consumed over the course of the weekend.  Instead he said "The scale's off."  

Baby, you keep this up, and you've got nothing to worry about.  

Friday, April 1, 2011

Romance is Over-Rated

My husband is neither the most romantic man, nor is he the most physically affectionate man.  I understood and accepted this well-before I married him, but decided that locking him down was a better alternative than continually searching for that person who would decorate my house with paper hearts on valentines day (ie, my next-door-neighbors).  Sure, I have the occasional fantasy of him coming home with flowers and expensive jewelry, sweeping me into his arms, and crooning love songs to me, but, well, chances are there would be a baby hanging on me when he attempted to do so, or a dog pawing to be loved by his master (Dugan lives for the first pat from JMahl upon his return home), and we'd all wind up in a rather painful pile on the floor while the jewelry got eaten by the baby and the flowers got eaten by the dog.  

But please don't think that JMahl is never romantic-- he does have his moments.  For example, when he proposed to me, he made certain that Al Green's "Let's Stay Together" was playing in the background... a song that I had mentioned months earlier as being, what I considered, the most romantic song ever.  That's romantic-- if you can overlook the fact that I was wearing a ratty old hand-me down nightgown (nope, he couldn't at least let me be in sexy lingerie for it) and that it was early on a Sunday morning and I had neither brushed my teeth (or hair) or washed my face.  I was, actually, quite nasty.  If you look at it from another perspective, the fact that he proposed to me when I was at my most unattractive must prove that he really did love me and want to marry me. 

And, of course, he's romantic enough to know that when I'm mad at him, wine goes further than flowers.  Depending on how angry I am, I may ignore the flowers, but I will always drink the wine.

And sure, sometimes it bothers me that he likes his quiet time.  His alone time.  (Although I saw a movie where they referred to it once as "Gentleman's time", but I think (hope) something a little different was going on in that movie than what goes on in JMahl's basement.)  But it's not his fault that he wasn't raised sharing a room with three younger siblings.  If he had been, I'm sure he'd be quite content to come home after a hard day's work and spend the next few hours being swarmed, suffocated, and deafened by the children (and his wife.  Yes, I admit I can (maybe) be a little suffocating at times.)  So over the years I've come to accept that he may sometimes need a break from it all.  

And while he's never been one much for PDA (he didn't have the luxury of watching his father sweep his mother into an Oklahoma HELLO after work every day (watch the movie if you are curious)... or the complete and utter joy (sarcasm!) of overhearing your parents' giggles late at night because the closet in his bedroom opened into the closet in his parents room, providing a great hiding place/ escape from siblings, but not a great sound barrier from his parents' nocturnal activities), but he has come around quite a bit, perhaps due to my insistence that constant touching confirms constant love.  And, when we're not desperately grabbing a child to keep them from getting run over by a car, he'll actually hold my hand in public now... so we're getting somewhere.  And yes, I appreciate each little baby step that we take.  

But regardless, we haven't come so far that I wasn't just a little bit taken off guard the other night when, as I was cleaning the kitchen counter and yelling to him in the other room "do you want to open a bottle of wine for me?", he came into the kitchen, snuggled up behind me, wrapped his arms around my waist, pressed against me, and nuzzled my neck.  Surprised, but appreciative.  And then, my husband whispered in my ear in his most seductive, deep, vibrating, this-is-why-I-have-four-children voice:  "oh, honey.  I love you so much.  Even if you are a wino."  

Way to ruin the mood, JMahl.  Way to ruin the mood.   Now get me a glass of wine. 

And the most romantic part?  He did.