Thursday, April 19, 2012

Body Image III

At the moment my favorite thing to do during Ella's nap is eat the "silky smooth hollow milk chocolate bunny" that the Easter bunny gave her this year.

I don't know whose idea it was to make it a fairy bunny (TM), but I love that this Dove bunny has wings. More chocolate for Ella!

OK. So Ella hasn't seen it since she took it out of the basket and I whisked it away while she reached for the more wholesome book he gave her, too. Whatever.

I need it more than she does.

That said, I just read a blog by a new mom with an 8-week-old son (I mean, seriously new!), who has given up sweets for a month and pledged to run twice a week as part of her get-back-in-shape plan. She doesn't even think twice a week is very much!

Two months ago I pledged to run (nay, jog) in the Seal Beach 5K. It's so truly in my neighborhood that we can't pull our car out of the driveway while the racers run by our house. I figured it would motivate me to start working out as promised. I even wrote about it and recruited friends to do it with me, thinking if we "trained" together we would all make exercising a habit.

Then, I got a bad cold and a cough that lingered for three weeks. Then, Ella got hand, foot and mouth. This week I've figured that if I actually run in preparation I'll be too sore on race day to manage anything, so my strategy is to eat chocolate.

I don't know what I'm going to do when I run out of fairy bunny. Maybe the race will motivate me to start exercising regularly.

Or, Ella will give me chocolate for Mother's Day.

(In case you're reading this, Ella, I don't really want chocolate. Ever.)

I mentioned that I lost a lot of weight over the last six months. As such, I finally gave away all of my maternity clothes and even got to buy new shorts and shirts for summer.

While browsing through the clothes racks, I saw some really cute shorts and skirts, and felt bad for a moment that I couldn't pull them off anymore. I mean, there's losing a couple of dress sizes, and then there's being a size zero or even two. That would take losing a decade. They are not the same thing. Even so, I know there are women who would give it a shot--there must be, seeing as the items are available in such a wide range of sizes. I just happen to think that at 37 I am now a "woman of a certain age" and should dress accordingly.

I'm hoping Ella was with me, because I know I was talking out loud when I said, "That's, OK. This body made a whole entire person. It doesn't need to wear those shorts."

I talk to her (Ella) all the time. Half the time it's just me thinking aloud, since she doesn't exactly hold up her end of the conversation. The problem is, I find myself doing it all the time--even when she's not with me. Then, I look like a woman of a certain age who is already losing her mind.

I'm finding the fact that my body carried a kid around for nine months to be an honorable thing. I mean, I honor myself for it. Look at this person. I made her. Amazing! I move through the world wearing her like I'm a marathon winner who can't take her medal off.

I want to be able to say I don't worry about the shape of my body. I do. I can totally relate to my new-mom blogger friend when she writes "there's still a very incredible muffin top just waiting to depress me whenever I try to put those [jeans] on." I'm pretty sure some of my pre-pregnancy clothes will never fit me again. I push around on my hips as I hold them against me hoping that this time it will seem worthwhile to even bother trying to put them on, but when I look in the mirror I can see myself behind them. It's like I'm a paper doll and I've cut a little too far away from the outline for the clothes to fit. I'm convinced my bones moved to accommodate Ella, and they just won't go back.

That's what I tell myself.

Once, when I was a teacher, a few students stayed after school in my "homework clinic" to get extra help on an essay. A mom came in to pick up her tenth grade daughter. She looked at one of the other girls wearing a really short, really tight miniskirt and squealed, "I have that skirt, too!"

I can't imagine pulling off a skirt like that now, and my daughter is only two. (Which probably means I'm still younger than that mom was that day.)  But I'm OK with that.

My legs probably look better with Ella's little arms wrapped around one of them, anyway.

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