Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Mama versus the toddler

So here it is, officially post-Christmas AND post-Channukah and I am left with a sagging Channukah tree, menorah-dripped candle wax dried on to my mantel and a toddler who looks at me very seriously and says, "I'd like another present, mama."

Hrm. I guess I understand why Santa can be such a useful device. He comes down the chimney, drops the stuff off and that's it. You got what you got. No more jolly, chimney-scaling fat guys for a year. Instead, my child thinks our guest room is the land where toys are born (and magically wrapped), because that's where we stored the presents before he opened them ever. so. slowly. over the course of several days. Each day for the past few days he has gone to the guest room and poked his head inside, I'm assuming to see if we might have forgotten that last precious nugget of giftiness.

Won't he be thrilled sometime in late January when the play kitchen we ordered for him before Thanksgiving finally shows up. I'm guessing after that little arrival, we won't stand much of a chance in convincing him that Chrismukkah doesn't, in fact, last for half the year.

The poor child also witnessed the business end of my decision to finally, once and for all, get rid of the spare tire(s) that rotate in extremely close orbit around my person. For a couple of weeks prior to Chrismukkah, I'd been going to the gym every single day and sometimes hiking the canyon behind our neighborhood. I was starting to feel really good about myself and confident in my ability to shed the "baby weight" (as if) finally. But then I got kicked in the ass by the cold that ate our house, then my family came and then there were cookies and briskets and pies and stuffing. And now, somehow, I weigh ALMOST as much as I did when I delivered Ethan (of course, I gained 10 pounds of water AFTER I delivered Ethan, so I'm still 15lbs shy of my highest weight ever. But still---big fat freaking "EEEEEK!!!!")

During those two weeks, Ethan averaged a luke warm attitude about the gym's child care play room. Some days, he was happy to play with the toys and the ladies that provide the service. Other days, he'd beg me not to go exercise, but to stay with him. And some days after the work outs, I'd have to coax him out of the room with the promise we could come back the next day; others, I'd find him waiting for me at the door like a sad little puppy. So, hit or miss. And somedays I felt great that he was so willing to amuse himself while I did something for myself. And other days I felt like a big, fat, selfish meanie for making him suffer through those 45 minutes to an hour.

Well, when I stepped on the scale today, I realized, sad and seemingly heartless as as it sounds, I can no longer afford to let Ethan's on-again/off-again apprehension of the play room keep me from making this commitment to myself. I mean, I'm thinking he'd rather spend those 45 minutes daily sometimes stewing about mean mommy than not have a mommy in 10 years. Sounds extreme, but with the blood pressure that runs in my family (and in my veins) and the blood sugar that seems to read "slightly" high at physicals after my bout of gestational diabetes, these extra 25-30 pounds are like a gateway drug to the next 50-75lbs if I don't get rid of them. Obesity runs in my family, and as skinny as he is, it runs in Ethan's too (duh), so it's time to start setting a good example for him. It just sucks that setting that example for him means dumping him in a room that 1/2 the time he's miserable in.

On the drive to the gym today, Ethan started with, "You don't go exercise. I'm sad in the play room." Sigh. I took a few deep breaths and pushed down the "ohmygod-i'm-the-world's-worst-mother-to-abandon-you-there-i'll-never-leave-you-again-
ever-ever-ever", and tried to explain to him (as if), that mommy needed to exercise so that she would be healthy and happy and that I'm sorry, but he'd just have to deal.

His response? "No. I don't deal, mama."

So, maybe I'm a bad mom for this, but I couldn't help but laugh at his response. He's so sure of himself and what he wants. I do love that about him, even when what he wants really conflicts with what I want. I apologized to him and said there was nothing I could do, that this was like Daddy going to work--he'd rather be home with you, but he has to go to work. Same with mommy exercising (if someone would pay me a salary for it, I could be rivaling Nicole Ritchie in the skinny wars before bathing suit season). He seemed to buy that, after I reassured him eleventy billion times that I was going to be just down the hall if he needed me.

And at the end of my work out, how did I find him?

The only kid in the room, basking in the full attention of both girls running the program, lining them up behind him and telling them in a big hulking voice that "we're a garbage truck! We go pick up trash!!" and motioning for them to follow him.

I think he did okay.


Cubby's Mom said...

LOL! Good for you for doing ONE thing for yourself amid all the doing-doing-doing for others...and bonus points for not waiting until January 1st to get started!

gringa said...

Great for you and great for you both to be raising such a resilient son. Great that you are not waiting for a "New Year's resolution".

Happy New Year

Becca said...

Aww, he had a good time! I have exercised each of the last two days and it feels so GOOOOOD. I might just have to join our little neighborhood gym and drop off the kiddies too!

cicadalady said...

i totally hear you because i struggle leaving noni in there. (though actually i'm a meaner mom because it's mostly because they won't LET me leave her in there and always come and get me!) but i think what you are telling yourself is so right on about exercising. as much as ethan might hate it in there, it is actually good for him to see that exercise is a priority in your life and that it's just part of the daily routine. and i always tell myself too that if they suffer through it for forty five minutes i'll actually be much happier and more focused on them for the remainder of the day so overall, it's better for them anyway!

Sarah said...

I no deal. Awesome. I no deal, either sometimes.

Gym playroom is the bestest-- and think of the immunity-building germs-- so see, you ARE doing something for him :)

Also, stick your menorah in the freezer for awhile, and the wax will snap wight off :)

Sarah said...

snap Right off, not Wight. Jeez. I even type baby talk.

Tress said...

Ethan has officially coined my 2009 phrase for getting through it all: "I no deal."

I like it.

Don't feel guilty about the playroom, girl. You're setting an example for him by going to the gym in the first place.