Thursday, May 30, 2013

Thank You For Being a Friend

Thank you to those that commented on my last post. I didn't realize how vulnerable I was feeling until I saw I had received comments... and that I was actually afraid to read them.

Which makes me realize... I'm not as cool and collected as I liked to believe I am.

But your comments were really helpful. And also kind and gentle. I thank you for both elements.

Last night I had a dream that I was hanging around and hooking up with a (different) guy and feeling really happy when the guy said to me, "I hope you don't mind that I'm not really into commitment."

I was about to automatically answer, "That's cool, I'm not either," but instead paused to ponder whether that answer was actually true... when I was awoken by the real life sound of my actual baby, crying. Shivering, too, with a sudden and dramatically high fever.

I dosed her up with Motrin and put her back to bed and then lay down again myself. And thought some more.

I like the idea of a friend with benefits. Very much so.

But I'm not sure that this guy is that guy. I have feelings for him. I'm not sure what those feelings mean. I know -- I'm pausing here to tell you that I am about to tell you something that is painfully honest and embarrassing -- that ever since we've talked, I'm having fantasies about a future together. On the flip side, I don't think they are necessarily serious fantasies. More like wandering down fantasy lane than getting out a date book and mentally scheduling our second child's high school graduation party. But still.

And he has feelings for me, though probably different than mine. I know that he thinks really highly of me, puts me on a pedestal, even. Which makes me feel fantastic. It's great to be around someone that thinks you look great, even when you look like shit, and thinks you're funny and smart and seriously sexy, even when you are three months post partum and are your heaviest weight ever and are juggling breast pads and diapers. I mean, that's seriously complimentary, right? But this also makes it hard for me to see him as just a f*ck buddy.

I thought about Bina's astute comment that "this guy is relationship material, not FWB material." I think she's right.

My current plan is to see him and almost certainly hook up with him at this campout event in August... but keep it restricted to these once or twice a year events for the time being. I think that if I restrict it to the hazy campfire light of these out-of-my-actual-life experiences, I will be fine.

But I will do my best to restrict his access to my actual real life for a good long while, if not permanently.

Thanks to SIF for chiming in... I know we have similar backgrounds, of not putting ourselves first... but also of having a lot of trouble envisioning what it would look like to put ourselves first.

To Sabrina, I like the idea of FWB guidelines. I realize, reading your suggestions, that yes, I need to have "warm fuzzies" for a person in order to have sex with them. And yes, this can make maintaining boundaries difficult. Which is why I never considered the possibility of any sort of physical (or emotional) entanglement until a few weeks ago.

As far as waiting to have sex until she's older... I'm not willing to commit to that. At least, not on anyone else's advice. Until a few weeks ago, I would've told you that I probably wouldn't have sex for another ten years, because it was just too damn complicated and interfered with my priorities in life... but as soon as someone tells me I ought to wait... Well, I'm a contrarian. Time will tell.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013


The day after my last relationship, I woke up said, "I'm done putting my life on hold for anyone, or the lack of someone. I'm pursuing my dreams now."

At first, I thought that meant I wanted to stop renting and to buy an apartment.

But three weeks later, I realized that no, I wanted to become a mother more than anything.

I knew (thought) I couldn't have both, and motherhood couldn't be denied, so motherhood it was.

I waited a good eight months -- the first time in my life I've shown such restraint -- to confirm my certainty.

But I never wavered.

So eight months later I started the trying to get pregnant, and many many drugs, five at-home ICI's (think turkey baster) and one IVF cycle-with-complications-leading-to-hospitalization plus afrozen embryo transfer led to... pregnancy... and ten months after that... motherhood.

I've never been happier. I've never been more fulfilled.

I've never been lonely.

Since weaning Calliope, though, I started to think that it might be fun to have a "friend with benefits" -- you know, some nice interesting conversationalist to take me out to dinner and then have over for a quick romp in the sheets before sending him out in the night so I can wake up well rested with my little one the next morning.

The practical aspects of this arrangement are a little fuzzy. Especially because I haven't been attracted to anyone in ages. I'm not even desiring sex right now, it just doesn't sound repugnant the way it used to (not the idea of an orgasm, that sounded fine all along, just the idea of tangling with another human so intimately seemed repellent  Another human in my life with needs? Ugh.).

So it's been simmering in the back of my mind for a couple of weeks.

Then my friends mentioned seeing an old... ahem... and old SOMETHING of mine. A guy I had a connection with for oh, seven years or so. We've never lived in the same town. But we would see each other a couple of times a year at various running events in far flung towns and had undeniable chemistry. We had great conversations, fun hijinks, and more. It was clear to everyone that we had eyes only for each other, those couple of times a year.


He was in a relationship. And then married. Though I never met her. She wasn't involved in our running/camping group.

Not much of a future there.

And then, shortly after Calliope was born, he came to visit me. He was in town for a work trip. Our first time seeing each other outside of our running alter-universe. Our first time in our real lives. And my first as a mother.

I kept Calliope strapped to my chest the entire time, as my own personal human shield.

There was still something between us... but I had no patience for it. He was married. He said he wished we could be friends. I said I had lots of friends.

I wished him well, and sent him on his way.

And mostly forgot about him.

He texted me last week.

He and his wife are getting a divorce.

We talked on the phone tonight.

I wanted to keep it light. It was light. I wished I could say "any way to see you for an evening of light entertainment (and that's it)?"

But I didn't. I kept it light, and friendly.

We spoke for thirty minutes and got off the phone -- he was very late to a dinner party. He asked if he could call me again "some time." Said he hoped he might see me at a running event this summer, invited me to the one he is helping to host, and that he had missed me at a recent one.

I felt peaceful when we got off the phone. It was nice, talking to him.

A half hour later, a sinking feeling came over me.

I realized that I really liked talking to him.

This terrifies me.

I'm the queen of wanting more-more-more. I'm like a drug fiend.

One of the reasons I've keep a strict distance away from any sort of intimacy, especially with raging pregnancy hormones, is that I was scared of getting (wrongly) attached.

And now I'm scared of that again.

Never mind the reasons that he is a bad idea -- just ending a marriage, in another town, and maybe not intellectually stimulating enough -- me in a relationship is a bad idea.

Calliope is my number one priority. I'm so scared of doing something to screw up our life. Scared of taking my eye off the prize -- raising my child to the very best of my ability.

Yet I also recognize that it would be perfectly acceptable to have some grown up life that doesn't include her.

But I feel like I have no compass to guide me. I'm so afraid of losing my way.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Twenty Month Recap

First off, at admittedly just past the twenty-one month mark (as of three days ago), Calliope said "Go walk Ellie." Her first three word sentence! (Translation: I want to go for a walk with Ellie.)

It's a little hard to tell if it's technically a sentence, because it sounds like "Go. Walk. Elile." but I assume if she's intentionally stringing words together, even with pauses, it "counts."

One of her favorite two word sentences is "More? Medicine?"

This is her own personal joke -- she always asks -- with a grin -- for a second chewable vitamin, and I always smile and shake my head no.

She's still mostly speaking in one word at a time, but she's become a little echo. Everything I say, she repeats. She has far too many words to count in her memory bank, but the average person probably wouldn't understand some of them -- "hawa" is avocado, "diedow" is diaper, "buttr" is peanut butter, "nuk" is nuts, "ish" is orange.

And my personal favorite, "Ho" (short for "hello") is what she calls Grammy.

Grammy is trying to be a good sport about it.

She's still trying to jump, and swings her arms valiantly, but can't quite clear the ground. Her running is definitely improving, though still not full speed.

She loves to climb, and is doing pretty well with the ladders at the playground -- she still needs some "spotting" as well as help with transitioning from the top of the ladder onto the playground structure, but she's getting better all the time. She can go up the big kid slide with her sneakers now. She can pull out the step stool herself but needs help unfolding it so that she can get to the kitchen sink for hand washing.

She eats pretty well, and can use a fork and spoon, though not perfectly. I think it's been at least two weeks since the last time she nursed -- phew! Before that, it had been down to once a week or less. Now when we talk about "neh neh" she offers her chest to Baby Annie, hiking her shirt up in the cutest way as she wrangles the plastic doll into the approximately correct position. (Bald) Baby Annie also had her hair brushed, her nose wiped with a Boogie Wipe and her diaper changed this morning. And her clothes put on and taken off multiple times. Naturally.

She's got a good handle on some basic prepositions -- off, on, up, down.

She is working on colors. Purple is definitely her favorite but I've heard her mention orange and red in the last few days. Though she can only label purple things with accuracy -- her use of orange is haphazard.

She likes to count, and yesterday got out her butterfly book and counted the butterfly, "Two, two, two."

We have a little ways to go with numbers! Luckily I'm doing a pretty good job at just enjoying and marveling at the miracle unfolding in front of me.

In other exciting developments, we hired a nanny for next year! Hooray! Her name is Cheyrenne and we all really liked her. She has been working with two families for the last two years in a nanny share, which seemed like a plus. One of the things we liked about her was that she spoke of the two little girls with great affection and wanted to show us photos of them. The two families also gave rave reviews.

It will be quite a change to not have the girls with our beloved Nastya any more, and I know Calliope and Eleanor will really miss her. But Nastya is four months pregnant, and plans to stay home with her own baby next fall.

I'm also planning to make a job offer for our preschool co-op teacher later today. The candidate we liked best has been the early morning (pre-daycare) babysitter for my close friend for the last two years, and I had met her at my friend's daughter's birthday parties the last two years. At our group interview yesterday, we asked her to do an activity with the children and parents. She asked everyone to bring a teddy bear so we could have a teddy bear picnic. She brought a picnic blanket and book and sang "Teddy Bear Picnic" and handed out wooden cups with a spoon and dish of cotton balls for the Teddy Bear ice cream. Then she taught the bears a dance. On the second round, everybody danced. And then the kids got to decorate the wooden cups with the homemade crayons she brought.

Needless to say, we loved her!

I'm waiting to hear back from her but will be very pleased to have this settled.

We hope to have six kids for our group (right now we have four, probably five) and they will meet two consecutive mornings a week for two and a half hours. I will be the host so I don't have to pay but the other families will pay roughly $25 a class. Still very reasonable.

And Calliope and Eleanor will still get to be at home (or nearly home, for Eleanor), and to sleep in cribs in separate rooms for naptime, and go to the playground every afternoon, and have music class and story time and tot shabbat on the other mornings. Lots of time to play and explore and learn and rest in a relaxed atmosphere. All without breaking the bank. Phew! (To be fair, my finances will be stretched plenty thin, but it's still cheaper than most high quality daycares in Brooklyn.)

Playing in a sandbox house at Brooklyn Bridge Park
Taking Baby Annie for a stroll on a bright spring morning

For my mother's day gift, apart from the photo above, I sprang
for a Brooklyn Industries sweatshirt... for her. It makes me happy!

First time experiencing a downpour -- so fun!

Trying to earn her keep 

Without her pigtails, she still looks like my baby.

Her proud maiden voyage with her new scooter! (Well, the first time using it outside.) We may be small, but we're slow!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Mother's Day... Not My Best Day

Mother's day was hard this year. Mostly, I think, because my brain was running on fumes -- multiple days in a row of low carbing were making me miserable.

But this makeshift photo "booth" -- really just a backdrop -- at the playground allowed me for part one of my Mother's Day gift to myself. Part two was a Brooklyn hoodie sweatshirt for Calliope from Brooklyn Industries. I'd been lusting after one for her but I haven't bought her any new clothes for months -- she's all hand me downs, all the time -- but with Mother's Day as an excuse... my girl is decked out in a ginormous sweatshirt that should last her until she's three.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Whole30: I Give Up

Blissful Mama asked how I knew that I have trouble burning fat as fuel?

Here's how I know. I was feeling tired and run down all the time on this low carb diet, even eating sweet potatoes and fruit. I was cranky and irritable. The thought of ever having a second child sounded utterly impossible. I wasn't enjoying my own child. Work frustrations enraged me. After three days off from exercise, my legs still felt tired going up the stairs to the subway.

None of these are normal for me.

After dinner, with a piece of bagel and cream cgeese at both lunch and dinner (not an ideal choice, but I was treating myself after all the suffering), I'm suddenly a happy mother and human again.


I can't live like that. It's not worth it. There has to be a better way.

For now, my goal is to simply try to eat healthy. Which means some whole grains with my generally low-ish carb diet. And enjoying my child and my life. That has to be the priority.

Relieved that I am enjoying her again. 

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Day One of Dairy Free

And it was hard.

I had three fried eggs (didn't finish them) plus steamed asparagus and plain raspberries for breakfast. And coconut milk in my tea. I looked at the ingredients tonight. Oops. I thought it was unsweetened, but I thought wrong.

Lunch was far too late -- we had gone into Manhattan for the morning -- and I was way too hungry. So I had turkey (deli meat, but organic) and avocado and leftover roasted cauliflower. I was still starving afterwards. So then I had a Think Thin bar. Which has peanuts in it. And probably some type of sweetener. A big no no for the Whole 30. But it didn't have gluten, I think! Or dairy!

Dinner was two egg muffins (with mushroom and onion) plus sweet potato baked fries. And a few pecans. And I'm still hungry.

Here's what I figured out.

My body does not want to burn fat as fuel. This PCOS, or something, enables this. So it's super hard to lose weight by going very low carb. So I think I need to avoid processed carbs, but not limit them too much, or else end up feeling tired all the time, which is happening now.

I don't have a plan of action yet.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Taking the Dairy Free Plunge

Thanks to the helpful suggestions from Blissful Mama and Claire, I'm going to take the plunge... Tomorrow morning, Saturday, I'm going to attempt going dairy free. For one week.

I can't commit to 30 days as the book suggests. Not yet, at least. Too intimidating. Not because I love dairy so much but because going without dairy means finding something else to eat for breakfast. Every. Single. Day. And that sounds like a lot of work.

On top of that, I don't do soy because of health concerns about it (except for edamame at Japanese restaurants... I can't resist them... but ask me how often I eat in restaurants, now that I have a toddler?), so that rules out some options. I was going to make a quiche -- I prepped the onion and mushrooms earlier in the week, before I remembered that I was out of eggs -- but it's not going to be as creamy and delicious as my friend Amy's was without the cheese.

I'm really hoping for some dramatic results.

I also made an effort to eat more carbs tonight, in the form of baked sweet potato fries. And some fresh raspberries with heavy cream. Cream with fruit makes it surprisingly filling. But it works better if it's the last thing I eat.

So here I go. Going to get a few more raspberries with cream, while I can.

Oh, and I may take Blissful Mama's suggestion of photographing my food to see if it motivates me, as she says it does for her. My apologies in advance.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Insanity and Whole30... Feeling Insane, Indeed

This is going to be a jumbled mess.

So this is week 3 of Insanity. Only the chiropractor asked me to take three days off from working out because my back's been bothering me. Well, technically it's the junction of my back and my pelvis, on the right side... incidentally, the exact (and only) spot where my epidural did NOT work during labor. My SI joint.

I adore my chiropractor -- he and his wife and new baby have become good friends -- and I love the feeling of that half an hour a week being selfishly just for me. Where I lie on a table and get poked and prodded and massaged in a hurts-so-good sort of way.

I started going to see him at the very end of my pregnancy, in hopes of getting "the baby" (aka Calliope) to drop into my pelvis when she was floating so high. Alas, it didn't work, but I got hooked on the habit. And since my insurance pays for many visits per year, I visit Dr. Mike once a week at lunchtime.

I typically have one injury at a time. It flares up and gets worse and worse, then suddenly disappears at the very moment that a new injury appears. This has been true since college.

So the SI issue was getting worse. Mostly when I get up in the morning. It's really uncomfortable to bend over. Picking up something off the floor -- excruciating. Doing something like reaching into a crib to lift a toddler who refuses to stand up is downright impossible.

But. It wears off after I've been up and awake and moving around for a while.

So workouts, with all their squats and bends, are hard. But the warm up, while uncomfortable, heats the joint to a degree where it stops hurting.

So I haven't stopped working out.

Until Dr. Mike asked me to take three days off. This week, he finally figured out that the pain I feel in my back isn't actually stemming from my back. The problem is in my hip, but it's radiating to my back. I had no idea. My hip felt fine. But after he worked on it this week, I feel bruised and sore but also... lighter. Like there's a lot more space in my pelvis.

Meanwhile, I've been trying to do the Whole30 dietary regimen -- excluding all grains and sugar from my diet for 30 days -- but without following the rule of excluding dairy.

And I feel kind of crappy. And given that the authors talk about how all these forbidden foods cause inflammation... I keep wondering if eliminating dairy would cure my back problem.

Unfortunately, plain whole fat yogurt is my breakfast of choice. With cream mixed in. (I find that fat cures my carb cravings.) I am totally intimidated at the idea of figuring out breakfast at work without yogurt.

So I'm not having carb cravings... but I think my blood sugar is tanking. Because I've been feeling lethargic and burnt out (on life) and unmotivated. I get headaches and feel queasy sometimes.

I've tried to eat extra carbs, in the form of carrots and squash and sweet potato, but they don't seem to help.

Thing is: I know I feel better when I don't eat grains. My energy is more stable during the day. No more energy dips. Problem is, I walk around feeling slightly drained. And hungry. I can't seem to get full.

I think my PCOS body is really bad at burning fat for fuel.


So this was my third day off from Insanity. Tomorrow is Friday. And I am pretty darn sure I'm taking another day off. Because normally, after even two days off from exercise, I'm bouncing off the walls.

Not this time.