Monday, April 9, 2012

Baby Fat

Before pregnancy, I had been the same weight for years with little variance. I rarely worked out because I rode my bike everywhere and my profession, it seemed, was to run around a brewery, lifting beer all day. So when I gained forty-five pounds during my forty-one weeks of blissful (notable sarcasm) pregnancy, I was shocked. Every time I weighed in at my OB visits, I just gasped at the tiny digital numbers and let out a hushed, “Oh, God.” That is until I couldn’t see the numbers anymore due to my monumental baby protrusion. I just stopped looking down altogether.

Gaining weight, I found, especially while pregnant, was tremendously easy. Not that I ate whatever I wanted, but I was more interested in food than I had ever been before. Food was a new world of flavors and textures where I was delighted to imbibe. And imbibe I did.

For some mystical reason, after Liam was born and I lost 9lbs, 4oz of baby, I thought the collateral weight would just magically melt off. I assumed my body would resiliently spring back to its original size and shape. I was wrong. In fact, after I lost about 20 pounds, it stopped. My weight-loss plateaued and my body looked nothing like it did before. Yes, I had the general Melinda shape, but with all this auxiliary squidgy mommy flesh. Not good. Not good at all.

Because I am not much of a believer in diets, exercise was my only viable option. I needed a gym that had a pool, childcare, and reasonable monthly dues. Luckily I found just such a place in the Raintree Athletic Club. From the moment I stepped into the well-manicured lobby that smelled like treadmills, free weights, and skinniness, I knew that this was the place to lose my muffin top. Later that day after I signed up and paid for my entire year in advance, I celebrated with a beer. Made sense.

Upon arriving at the gym for the first time, I stepped onto an elliptical machine and almost had a panic attack. How the heck do you set this thing up? After a few unnerved and fumbling minutes, I had programmed my workout. 20 minutes later, after almost falling off, I tried out the circuit of weight machines, which all looked like torture devices. I am forever grateful to the designers of said machines for including illustrations of how to maneuver the various arms, pulls, and levers, without which I might have found myself forever entangled. I ventured into the pool for the end of my workout, which was like dipping into my past. During our warm-ups my high school swim coach, with a sadistic grin pasted across his face, would simply utter, “Swim a mile.” Now I consider it a good workout if I can flounder through a thousand meters.

I’ve been going for three weeks now and I already feel so much better. The increase in energy and confidence is well worth the sore muscles and how awkward I feel in workout clothes. I’ve set a goal to lose 30 pounds by Liam’s first birthday. I’m not sure if I can do it, but holy crap, I’m going to try. 

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Just Blend It

I never thought that I’d be one of those moms who would actually make her own baby food. The finer points of cuisine often elude me and the idea of crafting something so mundane sounded not only tiresome but way too labor intensive. In my mind, the types of moms who carefully select premium organic fruits and vegetables, lovingly steam and bake them, then chop and blend them to perfection, seemed like complete yuppie nuts with nothing better to do. And then, before I realized, I became one. Fart.

It began as a mere inkling in my heart to try something new, a foray into the unknown landscape of the produce department, a conference with my blender and ice cube trays. I was also looking into ways to cull our budget and buying fresh produce, blending it, and then freezing it is monumentally cheaper than buying mountains of baby food jars. I then uttered the inevitable phrase, “How hard could it be? It’s just blending a bunch of stuff.” And that was my downfall.

Once at the grocery store, I marveled at the inclined stacks of wet leaves, rounded waxy peppers, and earthen piles of potatoes. I bee-lined for the foods that I had researched as good starters for babies: sweet potatoes and pears. I saw that the sign said, “Yams” so, of course, I had to break out my iPhone and look up the difference between yams and sweet potatoes. For our purposes here, there is no difference. Great. I headed to the pear section in which there were about seven different varieties. I chose the ones that looked the most like the ones I ate as a child. Logical, right?

I will now confess that I had to look up how to bake a potato. Let me reiterate, I’m no cook. After finally figuring it out, I baked them and set them aside to cool. Now, a kitchen whiz would have checked to see if the blender base and bowl were properly screwed together, but, as aforementioned, I’m no whiz. I promptly added the sweet potatoes to the blender, added my water and blended. After the mixture achieved the perfect level of smoothness, I picked up the blender bowl, only to discover that I had permanently infused the base of my blender with a sticky, sugary, orange mess. Crap.  

Now, a lesser mom would have hung up her apron and called it quits, or perhaps a smarter mom, I’m not sure which. But, oh no, not this mom, I wasn’t finished ruining my kitchen yet. My next attempt was carrots, which I thought were perfectly innocent, beautiful vegetables, the humblest of roots. I decided to steam them on the stove in a steamer basket in a pot of boiling water. I left them there to steam only to forget to turn down the stove once the water had reached a boil. I was on the couch when I smelled something like burnt sugar. Oh crap. I raced over to the stove only to realize that all of the water had boiled off and I was now melting the coating of my non-stick pan, which is not very eco-friendly by the way. Upon checking the carrots, there were pieces of blackened coating all over them, a cesspool of charred perfluorooctanoic acid. I had made carcinogen carrots. Not exactly the best thing to feed to a baby. I quickly removed the toxic pot from my house and opened up all the doors and windows, broke out the box fan and aerated the whole place. Holy eff.

Since then I have cleaned out and learned how to properly assemble my blender. I’ve even learned how to steam carrots using the microwave! I might not be the best cook, but I’m trying my hardest to be the best mom I can be. Liam loves his homemade food and I’m happy to make it for him. As long as I don’t burn whole the house down. 

Monday, January 2, 2012

Lettin' It All Hang Out

This past Thanksgiving, I travelled with Josh and my dad to Illinois to visit family on our farm, a time honored tradition for the Gibb family. We were very excited to bring Liam and show him off to my relatives who had yet to meet the wee one. We were flying into Chicago, which meant that a day’s worth of baby feeding had to be undertaken while on the move. Great, just great. With my nursing pillow in tow, I had the pleasure of breastfeeding at DIA, on the plane, and at the lovely Midway Airport in Chicago in which the only private place I could find was a booth at a bar. Surprisingly, this worked out quite well because after I fed Liam, I had a beer. Perfecto. The next day I had the pleasure of feeding him in the ladies room at Macy’s on Michigan Avenue, and in the parking lot of a Steak ‘n Shake. Nice.

My personal preference for public nursing is with a cover because I don’t like freaking out my male friends and I didn’t particularly want my dad to feel uncomfortable. However, my incredibly active young lad likes to wave his arm around while he eats which makes keeping the cover on rather difficult. He wants the whole world to see what he can do, I suppose.

It’s silly to think that something as simple as how you feed your baby can be so hotly debated among mothers and non-parents alike. Everyone seems to have an opinion on the appropriateness of public nursing. Some think that breastfeeding is totally gross and should never be socially practiced while others believe that it’s the most natural thing in the world and they “let it all hang out.” I can understand both lines of thought, really, but we must remember, in no other context would it be socially appropriate to show people your boob. Just because there is a baby attached to it, does that make it ok for the world to see what you’re packing under that nursing bra? I’m not so sure.

Granted, this is just my opinion, and you don’t have to agree with it. There are plenty of my friends who could give a rat’s behind what others thought about their breastfeeding habits. And that’s ok too. At the end of the day, you’ve got to do what’s right for you and your baby. I think, however, that you can be considerate of others who might be shocked if you plop out your bare breast at the dinner table. Yes, it’s how babies eat, but remember, not everyone wants to see your boobs. Well, mostly.