The Great Unveiling: Take Two

So, here it is. My new space. It looks the same as before; the only differences are: (1) the url has changed and you can now use it to subscribe (2) you can now leave comments (3) there are now two posts.

That’s all I’m going to say (here) about that.

{Oh, but I did want to tell you–I don’t plan on explaining it there–that my new name is an amalgam of the names of my would-be third child, plus my own name wedged in the middle. It felt really good claiming those names, making them a part of me, now that I know they’ll never be a part of our family. Take note of the new nom de plum because starting tomorrow I’ll be commenting under that name.}

And since I have learned nothing in the past five years if not when and how to laugh at myself, I leave you–and this space–with this¬†hilarious link, because damn if that isn’t me to a tee.

Good bye Stumbling Gracefully. I wish I could take you with me…

Biggest Bungle Ever

Okay, this is officially the biggest bungle ever. Please just forget I posted a link to my new space, forget my new space even exists. I will repost here when it’s actually ready and then you can subscribe, if you even want to anymore.

Wow. I was so excited to do this and I totally fucked it up. Disappointment doesn’t even begin to describe…

I also sprayed dish soap ALL OVER my dress before 8am, so yeah. It’s been an awesome start to the week.

New Space Address Change (Oops!)

Hello all,

I realized I need to change something in the url of my new space. Currently I’m sending you to notawastedword.com/blog/ but if you are adding me to a reader, please do so at notawastedword.com (NO /blog/). Starting tomorrow, that will be where you can find me and there will not be updates from the original url I linked to this morning. Sorry for the confusion! Nothing like messing up right out of the gate, huh?

Comments are open now. Man… worst blog unveiling ever…

A Tearful Goodbye

This is my final post in this space.

I’ve been eager to move to my new space, but it’s also so hard to say goodbye.

I’ve always been the sentimental type. I’ve cried in the final walk through of every one of the homes I’ve ever left, even the ones I was really ready to leave.

I’m crying now, as I write this.

This space has meant more to me than I ever could express. The growing I did here, the support I got from the people who read and commented, it can’t be quantified. This blog has been the a massive, life-altering, integral part of my life for the past five years.

There is so much I want to say, but no amount of words will ensure that I’ve said it. There simply are no words, at least none that I can find.

If my new space means even half to me what I feel this space meant, I will consider it a success.

Thank you all for reading, and commenting, in this space. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. You are this space, as much as my own writing is. I could never thank you enough for being here, in my home, day after day, post after post.

Thank you for making space what it was. I hope to see you in my new one.

In This Body

I did it. I saw my ultimate goal on the scale this morning.

photo-1

(Can I just say how much this OCD girl LOVES that each time I’ve hit my goal the scale has shown me that EXACT number. LOVE. It’s the little things, right?)

When I was seven months postpartum–at the end of almost a month of weening myself off the pump–and weighed 171lbs, I NEVER thought I was going to get here. The whole experience had been so different than the first time around, I just assumed that I was going to have a new normal and it was going to be 10-15lbs heavier than it had been before.

I started using the elliptical because I really enjoy it. I read blogs and books on my iPad and get my heart rate up, sometimes way up, and when I get off I almost always feel better. I consider that “me” time and it really is something that I genuinely want to do. I am SO GLAD we got an elliptical and SO THANKFUL that I can use it three times a week, despite it being in our son’s room.

I don’t remember exactly why I got the 30 Day Shred DVD–I had never owned a workout video before. I think I wanted something for the times when I couldn’t get on the elliptical because my son was sleeping. I had heard good things about the 30 Day Shred and the fact that it was only 25 minutes long was a definite plus. So I got it and immediately liked it. I appreciated how many different exercises there were in a single workout, and how fast you moved through them. That 25 minutes always flew by, even when I was getting my ass kicked, and I never was wondering when it would just be over already (like I did a lot with the yoga DVD I got).

I will admit that I didn’t expect the 30 Day Shred to be so effective, but the minute I realized it was, I was even more motivated to use it. And I’m so glad I tried it out because I absolutely believe that I had to do that–something different–to see the changes I wanted in my body. I suppose it makes sense: if your body is not responding like it did in previous attempts at weight loss, try something else and see if that helps. I didn’t try the 30 Day Shred for that reason, but I should have. And I hope I remember this lesson when my late 30s and 40s change the body game for me once again.

I have to admit, I’m really enjoying this new body of mine. I have been wearing maternity clothes for the past two years, maternity clothes I bought five years ago and had already worn for two years. Most of the clothes I had for my “normal” weight were pretty old and worn out too–I really needed some new pants and shirts, and well, just about everything.

I did do some online shopping and got some cute stuff, but what has been really amazing is some hand-me-downs that a colleague at work gave me. This woman has incredible style and I’ve always admired her fashion sense and when she said she had a bunch of pants my size she was giving to Good Will I jumped on the chance to take them off her hands. I got eight pairs of pants from Banana Republic and Gap, some really fun, bright colors and some styles I never would have had the balls to buy, but love now that I have them. It has been so fun wearing great clothes that make me feel great about myself. I’m really trying to revel in this feeling of loving my body and how I look, because I know it won’t last forever.

I guess all this is to say, it’s worth trying something new when your old techniques aren’t working. And it’s worth getting some new clothes when you finally reach your goal. ūüėČ

When does the hitting stop?

I will be the first to admit that as my daughter gets older my expectations change and I find it harder and harder to tolerate some behaviors. I have to continually remind myself that my daughter is only four and that she still needs lots of emotional and behavioral support. I recently read Peaceful Parents, Happy Kids and found it really helpful in putting my daughter’s difficult behaviors into perspective and giving me some tools to handle my own reactions (I promise to write more on this book later, in my new space).

My daughter is what the parenting books call “spirited.” She’s also pretty smart, intellectually, and can be frustrated that her emotional maturity is not up to par with other ways she processes things. At four years old she still struggles (mightily) with disappointment and we’re still working through the best ways to process her big emotions when she doesn’t get her way.

I honestly don’t mind tantrums. I don’t mind yelling, or flailing on the ground. Obviously I don’t enjoy these behaviors but they don’t push my buttons. They don’t leave me seeing red.

The stuff I do mind? Aggression, specifically when it’s calmly and cooly directed at me. When my daughter hits me, or spits at me or even sticks her tongue out at me with a face that says, “oh yeah, I’m doing this right now, and what are YOU going to do about,” it makes my blood boil. When my daughter is physically aggressive toward me I totally lose my shit.

The good news is I’m WAY better about extracting myself from the situation and walking away. I try to stay and be with her but if I start to see red I leave, and I forgive myself for needing to do so.

We talk about it later. I don’t come back until I can be there for my child in a supportive and forgiving way. Sometimes that takes a while. Sometimes she’s alone, on the floor, screaming for several minutes, until I can pull myself together and come back.

I’m getting better at this, but I have to admit, my patience for this willfully aggressive behavior is wearing thin, really thing, threadbare, actually. At four years old, I KNOW she knows not to hit and I guess I have the expectations that she can use the YEARS of coaching and do overs and play acting we’ve done to practice responding differently to good use. If she has the presence of mind to look at my in the way she does before she does it, she should have the presence of mind to stop herself from doing it. The older she gets, the less tolerance I have for this behavior. At this point, when she hits me or kicks me or scratches me or spits at me, I have a REALLY hard time holding it together or showing empathy. I’m starting to wonder if this kind of behavior is “normal” for a kid her age. Should we be looking for outside support on these things? When does the hitting stop?

(I want to add that while it rare for her to direct this kind of aggression toward her peers, she does blow up at school occasionally and twice so far this year we’ve gotten two reports of her hurting other children. Also, she has never acted aggressively toward her brother, but she also doesn’t interact with him much in ways that would upset her. Mostly she acts out when she is denied something she wants, so it generally happens with us.)

If you have any advice or suggestions, I’d really appreciate it. I’m at the end of my rope.

Apart at the Seams Book Tour

I read the first two books (Life from Scratch and Measure of Love) in Melissa Ford’s series during the months after Prop 8 was struck down in California and I was trying to decide if I wanted to get married. I really appreciated the discussion of marriage and what it means to different people at different times in their lives and relationships, so I was excited to read the third installment–Apart at the Seams–and continue the discussion where it left off in the second book.

Knowing that Arianna never wants to get married, why do you think Ethan kept pushing the idea rather than compromising?

I wondered this myself as I was reading the book. I think, for some people, marriage is the default final step, and they don’t know how to define their relationship without the traditions involved with getting married. Making that commitment is almost the easier thing to do, because the steps are so well established, you hardly have to think for yourself what any of it even means to you; the expectation that you’ll get married allows you to avoid really considering what it even means. Without taking those next steps, a couple has to define their relationship for themselves–and others. That can be hard to do and can require a self-awareness, and an awareness of social customs and norms, that not everyone has. I think ultimately Ethan didn’t think he was asking Arianna for more than was his right–he couldn’t understand her desire not to get married and since he fell within society’s norms by wanting to get married, he may have even felt like he didn’t have to. Getting married was the next step and he wanted their commitment defined in ways that were easily established by marriage. I also wonder if Arianna’s inability to explain her aversion to marriage made him keep harping on teh subject. Perhaps he thought she would easily change her mind, since she couldn’t make him understand why she felt the way he did.

As a reader I felt distanced and came away with the impression that I only knew what Arianna wanted me to know. I wasn’t convinced that she knew herself, or possibly even trusted herself all that much. I questioned her motivation and felt she “settled,” which made me sad. I feel no one should settle. Do you feel she was settling?

I appreciate this question because I also came away from the book feeling like I didn’t really¬†get to know, or understand, Arianna fully. I understood many aspects of her–her desire to produce creatively, her drive to make a name for herself in her industry, her need to feel financially secure, the ways in which she was drawn to Noah and felt nourished by her friendship with him–but I never felt like I understood her relationship with Ethan or why she seemed so sure she loved him and wanted to be with him. In the end I wanted her to get together with Noah, even though I recognized that their relationship wouldn’t be sustainable in in the long term (Noah didn’t seem like the type who would be supportive to a single mother of a small child), because I just didn’t understand what Ethan was bringing to the table that made him worth looking past the issues they were having (and it seemed, would continue to have). I also had the feeling that she was settling with Ethan, that she could have found someone who would have been a better fit for her. I understand the idea that opposites attract, and that ultimately Arianna believed they would be able to ground each other instead of holding each other back, but I just didn’t feel like she felt as passionately toward Ethan as he did toward her (or she did toward Noah, for that matter).

I identified with some details of Arianna’s daily life, life how she had to tidy up the kitchen because Ethan could not wash his cereal bowl, but he would complain about how she was always busying herself in the kitchen. Or how he was perfectly alright sitting in a living room full of scattered toys, as if they were non existent. My husband is a willing participant in doing the house chores, but he is still to appropriate my motto “do the small things now, so they do not reach big things status”. On the other hand, I admire Arianna’s ability to see the other’s possible point of view right away, I first explode, and then think about anything else. ūüôā¬† What did you identify with, and what is something you will never be able to pull off?

I identified with many of the same things in the book. I¬†cringed at the scene when Ethan chided her for busying herself in the kitchen when he hadn’t cleaned up after himself. I was actually really upset that she didn’t speak up and SAY SOMETHING to put him in his place (as I surely would have done). That aspect of their relationship really hit close to home for me and I wonder if it negatively colored the way I saw them (that dynamic is one of the most destructive in my own marriage). I also recognized that Arianna dealt with those scenarios–and many others–in ways that I never would. She was much more likely to internalize frustration and disappointment whereas I generally voice those feelings, sometimes without considering–or downright disregarding–consequences. I was careful to take note of how her method worked (or didn’t) for her and wondered if I would benefit from similarly bottling up feelings of resentment or confusion or sadness. In the end I think we both tend to veer too far to our own ends of the spectrum, and that Arianna would benefit from speaking her mind more, while I would benefit from sitting on things for a few days instead of blurting them out in the heat of the moment.

Does it bother you when a sequel requires reading other the other books in the series? I generally like to be able to jump in anywhere, but I felt that Apart At The Seams wouldn’t make much sense (in terms of Arianna’s and Rachel’s relationship) unless you have read the previous book(s).¬† Do you prefer series books that can stand on their own, or do you like the serialized aspect where you must read the books in order?

I really like series and I ALWAYS want to start with the first book. I could never skip books in a series, even if I had heard that later books are better than earlier installments. I agree that this book wouldn’t stand as well on it’s own as I expected, given it’s not actually a sequel but a parallel novel. There was much (maybe everything?) about Arianna and Rachel’s friendship that needed further explanation without knowledge of the first books. As someone who always reads previous installments first, this didn’t bother me, but I could understand how it would if you wanted to read this book without finishing¬†the others first.