Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Just How Low Are They Usually?

My son was enjoying his one-millionth peanut butter and jelly sandwich as I enjoyed a quiet moment on the couch. He studied me thoughtfully as he chewed, then asked, "Mom, are you wearing a bra today?"

Um, yes.

"Are you sure?"

Uh, yeah, I'm sure. Why do you ask?

"Because your breasts just seem lower than usual."

Some sweet talker I'm raising. ;^)

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Weight a Second

My son and I have different attitudes toward weight gain. I step on the scale each day with trepidation, trying little tricks to bring that number down, at least temporarily. I weigh myself before eating or drinking, after going to the bathroom, after exercising, before showering (so my hair is dry -- and lighter, I hope!), without shoes, wearing next to nothing (like my clothes are so heavy). Anything to give myself the illusion of having lost a pound or two.

The kiddo, on the other hand, steps on the scale, outraged each time that the number (52!!) has stayed the same for the past several weeks. Then he hops off and starts looking around the house for things to hold when he weighs himself. Hmm, holding a plastic golf club on the scale doesn't really make a difference. What else? A soccer ball! Nah, that doesn't help much. I try telling him he needs to pick up something heavy like the Sit-n-Spin if he wants to really get that number to change, but he doesn't listen. Still, he's desperate for that number to increase. He wants to be heavier. Part of this has to do with his goal of being free of his car booster seat, which the law will allow when he's 60 pounds or over. "How long until I can sit in the regular seat?" he asks periodically. At the rate he's going, I tell him, it may take a while.

He has his father's high metabolism, which is great. I'm sure I subconsciously "chose" his dad partly because of this. Me, I can't remember a time when I wasn't trying to hold in my tummy -- even when I was a kid. I still recall walking next to the public pool at age 11, looking down at my tummy and feeling the need to suck it in. I even told my mom proudly that I'd managed to hold in my tummy every time I got out of the pool. I'm sure she was appalled. Of course, when I look back at pictures of myself at that age, I see I was a skinny little thing, and my tummy stuck out because I held my shoulders back in the way kids do. Today, no amount of gut-sucking can hide my belly, sorry to say.

When I was pregnant, I told my son's dad that for the first time in my life, I didn't have to hold my tummy in. That seems kind of sad to me. I'd guess he found it gross. He's always been disdainful of heavy people. Whenever we watched TV together, when a heavy person appeared onscreen, he'd moan in disgust. Nice, huh? I don't have to tell you this didn't help my weight/image issues any. A few years ago, he used my post-pregnancy weight (not too much more than what I weighed pre-pregnancy, when he supposedly found me attractive -- don't get me started) as an excuse not to work on our relationship. Of course, he weighs significantly more than he did when I first met him, but we won't get into that. Today I would do anything to weigh even the amount I weighed back then -- not to win him back, because that ship sailed long ago and I wouldn't want him, knowing what I know now. Rather, I'd just like to feel...better. But I'll save the diet and exercise conversation for another post.

Anyway, today my son came into my office, holding the TV remote control, several golf clubs, and a few other items from his toy boxes. "I weighed myself and it said 68!" he told me. "Can I sit in the regular seat now?" My belly shook as I laughed heartily at his innocence and impatience to grow up.

Don't rush it, I thought. Don't rush.

Friday, July 13, 2007

So What Do I Look Like?

Just now I asked my son to take my plate downstairs (I'm eating lunch as I work), and he said, "Do I look like your servant?"

Hmm. No, actually he looks like a little boy who needs to start making his own peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, come to think of it.

And yes, he did take the plate downstairs. The boy may be cheeky, but he's not stupid. ;^)

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Crazy Redheaded Surfer Boy

When I was about 19 or 20, I took a summer writing class at a junior college. A blue-eyed guy in a wheelchair always sat in the back, looking fairly thoughtful and serious. He had a friend who would bring him to class, but when the class would go on a break, this guy would be pretty much stuck hanging out until the class got back. One night I asked him if he wanted a hand getting some coffee or something. He smiled, thanked me and said no, but said it would be nice if I sat and talked with him, so I did. I remember the movie A Room With a View was in theaters at the time, and this guy had seen it and loved it. "It's like watching a series of Impressionist paintings," he told me.

T. and I made plans to see the film together, and wound up seeing each other for the rest of the summer. I met his folks, learned how to drive his van, learned how to hang out with someone in a wheelchair. He told me about his injury (he'd broken his neck diving into the ocean as a teenager), introduced me to his sisters and his never-ending stream of friends, bought me flowers, made me a mix tape that opened with "I Love to Laugh" from Mary Poppins and segued into great stuff I'd never heard before. I wrote him a story using all his pet peeves about language, stopped by his house on my way home from work quite a lot, and stayed for dinner with his family. We went to a lot of movies, and I played with his long, red hair. The two of us talked and made out until four in the morning, which annoyed my mom to no end, as she'd told me not to "go up to see his etchings." (I had no idea what that meant at the time!) When summer ended, we went back to our regular lives -- he to his school, over 400 miles from home, and I to mine, only about a 40-minute drive. Although we'd really enjoyed our time that summer, it was hard to maintain contact and we fell out of touch, although he did send me a couple of letters, a telegram on my birthday, and an apology for the way things had ended so abruptly.

Years later, I flew to the Bay Area to visit another crazy boy and we swung by T.'s place. I remember we went out for a bite to eat (or was it coffee?), chatted a bit, then parted ways. It was awkward having a third party present, and so much had changed. Still years later, T. called to say he was back in my county for film school. He was living in a cottage across from the school, right in the historic section of town, and we hung out a bit that summer. He introduced me to the local restaurateurs, and I met his aide, a gruff veteran who acted like he'd kick your ass as soon as look at you, but who was secretly just a big teddy bear. I helped T. pack a bunch of things before he moved back to the Bay Area, listened to jazz with him (Cyrus Chestnut, I think it was), and played ball with his new assistance dog, a golden retriever named Shadow. He told me about the persimmon pickers who showed up every year to harvest fruit from the tree out back, and he presented me with a hard-to-find poster for my favorite movie ever (Local Hero).

Recently I happened to think of him, as I do sometimes, so I Googled him and discovered he'd recently had a piece published in the hometown paper a few days before. He hadn't put his name on his original submission, and some locals had written to the paper to identify the writer. Turns out he still lives in the Bay Area and works in the arts. No surprise there; he was always amazingly creative and positive and magnetic, and I've no doubt he's well-loved there.

I know I loved him while he was here.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Kids = Comedy

Flea's husband (of One Good Thing) got a kick out of my funny little story about an embarrassing moment involving my Little Sister. Although I can think of other stories that I found funnier, mine made #9 on his short list, and I feel so very honored. I just love Flea's blog; she's a wonderful writer and I always look forward to her new entries like crazy.

If you want to exercise those abs a little bit by laughing a whole lot, you can read everyone's embarrassing stories about their kids in the comments on Flea's original post, or you can check out the final list for a quick fix.

You should know, though, that a lot of the stories include names of body parts or, er, bodily functions, and might not be safe for anyone with a delicate constitution.

You have been warned. ;^)