Archive | July, 2011

Like The Old Days…

30 Jul

Today was one of those rare days. A day where nothing was planned and yet everything happened. The kind of day where the joy is found in the impromptu. The moment at the end of the day where you go, “I want to etch this one in my wall.” For no other reason than it was made up of the good stuff. A day filled with laughter and love and joy.

It started with a posted status on Facebook of a friend “missing the south bay.” I thought he was reflecting…yet he was here…and what turned into a “come visit” from me, thinking it was a date in the future, ended up with him and his gorgeous twin girls stopping for fun on a Friday night. Mike, Ava and I are homebodies on a Friday night so this was a wonderful, unexpected bright spot in our normally routine week.

Carpets were painted, stickers were stuck to hardwood floors, toys were everywhere, parades happened, bean bags were thrown in a pillow fight…as were zebras and lambs…it was beautiful chaos. It was the kind of chaos that only happens when three little girls are up past their bedtimes and we parents just let it go. We just sat back and took pictures of the fun and let them go completely wild…encouraged it actually. Because at the end of the day…it’s just carpet…it’s just floors…it’s just…stuff. But what they got…what I got…that was  joy I wish I could bottle and sell to everyone. The giggles…oh my…they were enough to keep California sunny all through June.

Three hours past Ava’s bedtime and uncontrollable laughter takes over. There are girls hitting the hardwood floors as they miss the bean bags they aim for…there are no tears…just belly laughs…the kind that make you think you are missing a great inside joke…but it’s just delirium setting in. And it was just plain wonderful. Annie and Sophie left amongst a bunch of hugs and promises to “hang out soon.”

Ava was too full of giggles to calm down, despite it being two  hours past her bedtime. Every time the room would get quiet she would bust into a fit of giggles. Giggles that I would catch and that left Mike shrugging his shoulders…because really….only girls understand those kinds of giggles. And though I usually never stay in her room to put her to sleep, she asked if I would. And I knew the only way to stop the giggles was to snuggle her up and let her fall asleep.

As we lay there together, I was brought back to the times when she was a teeny, tiny baby…when I used to rock and rock and rock her to sleep. I felt her head start to get heavy….every minute or so she’d open her eyes and make sure I was still there and just like when she was a teeny-tiny baby, she inhaled three quick breaths, exhaled and was alseep. And I couldn’t bring myself to move for awhile. I knew she was asleep…I knew she wouldn’t wake up when I got out of her bed…but it became clear…my  baby was growing up. As much as that teeny-tiny baby is still there, it became clear that she is a little girl now. One that adores pillow fights and giggles and staying up way past her bedtime. And I realized, as hard as it is to let go of my teeny-tiny baby, I’m so excited for the pillow fights and giggles and staying up way past her bedtime. I just hope that every now and then she’ll let me sneak in her room and snuggle her up like the old days.

Why do we treat the subject of obesity with white gloves, yet launch a full-blown war on tobacco?

13 Jul

DISCLAIMER: I’m going to preface this post with saying I am a former smoker. This post is a generalized and broad statement. This is not meant to be an attack on smokers or people who are overweight or anyone for that matter. I also understand that each person is different in weight and reasons behind their weight. This post is about lack of physical activity combined with overeating and our failure to help stop it. If you are overweight because you have a medical condition, please don’t send me hate mail. Please. I’m pretty sure this disclaimer will still have left someone out and I’ll get some sort of hate mail.  

I read an article in the LA Times a few days ago about obesity. The title of the article was “America just keeps getting fatter.” I won’t rewrite the article, but I will point out the big parts:

  • 30% of America is obese or overweight.
  • Only one state has an obesity rate under 20% (Colorado).
  • Two decades ago, not a single state had an obesity rate above 15% (READ THAT AGAIN!)
  • In the last 15 years, obesity rates have doubled or nearly doubled in 17 states.
  • Obesity costs our country $147 billion in medical related costs every year.

The information is only slightly shocking to me. If you look around, it’s not hard to see that our nation is expanding at the waistline. What troubles me even more is that we hear talk about how things need to change, but I don’t feel there’s a big push. I don’t feel there is any aggressiveness in improving the situation.

We launched a full-blown attack against the tobacco industry…and rightfully so in my opinion. Remember the Truth commercials? How about the commercials with the lady who had a hole in her throat and smoke coming out of it warning you about the dangers of smoking. Horrible, right? That commercial was so hard for me to watch…smoker or non-smoker…it made me uncomfortable. What the anti-smoking campaigns did is make us stop to think and informed us. Then the government stepped in and taxed cigarettes to the point of ridiculousness. The next anti-smoking step is to print terrifying tobacco warning labels directly on cigarette packs. We declared war on big tobacco. We said, “No more…if people want to smoke, then we’re going to make sure they know in the most graphic way, that it can and probably will kill them.” People will smoke anyway…I know this. I was one of those people. I quit when I was ready but I can say…all of the campaigns did make me want to quit.

Why aren’t we doing this for obesity? Because statistically, obesity is costing  our country $51 BILLION more a year than smoking. The CDC cites smokers cost the country $96 billion a year in health care costs, while obesity costs the country $147 billion a year.

This makes me so sad. I don’t know how to change a nation…and people, this is what keeps me up at night. I think about how I can change schools, change families and change thoughts. Because what we’re doing to ourselves is a slow suicide…just like smoking.

Don’t Panic

7 Jul

“The ultimate key to freedom is recognizing that everything is a choice.”

I read this today and it caught my attention. I struggle with anxiety. Ninety percent of the time, I am fine. It’s that other ten percent that grabs hold and really takes control and causes me to reach a point of panic. Have you ever had a panic attack? If you’ve ever been in labor, it’s kind of the same sensation as a contraction. You can feel the panic building and your mind is saying “No, no, no, no, no…not now….please stop,” but there’s not a damn thing I can do to stop it. I have to let it come and know that it passes…pretty quickly at that. But it’s embarrassing. Having them in front of my husband is embarrassing. I feel weak and completely irrational.

So what brought this on? Well, Ava has a field trip to Sea Side Lagoon next week and I’m worried. Mike’s worried. There’s water involved. And Ava, well, she “thinks” she can swim. She’s in swim lessons and she’s learning, but I still don’t consider her safe in the water. So while we were lying in bed last night, we started talking about whether or not we should let her go. And Mike said, “I don’t want her to go. I don’t want to end up with a dead child.” And so the contraction began. And don’t mistake me here, I’m not blaming him at all for the panic attack. It just happens and it’s not easily explained other than when he said “dead child” my brain processed it and saw it as if it would happen. My mind imagined her dead, imagined the feelings I would have and then actually had the feelings.  And then my heart sped up and my breathing became erratic while my Mike looked on. Awesome.

This is the part of parenting that I have the hardest time with. As I’m sure most parents do. I want her to go on her field trip. I want her to have a great time with her friends. I want her to come home from school smelling like sunshine and saltwater. I want to hear all about her exciting day. I want to be the parent that doesn’t have the long list of things that could go wrong playing on repeat in my head.I have a daughter who is adventurous. She doesn’t dip her toes in the water…she cannonballs into the deep end. She doesn’t know quiet or slow or be careful. It’s not in her nature. She is so much like her daddy in this respect…let’s go as fast as we can, as hard as we can and get as much out of it as we can.

How do I keep her safe without completely sheltering her from the entire world? How do I make sure that the people I trust to watch her know how much it would devastate me to lose her? How do I make them promise to keep her safe? How do I control everything because clearly that’s the only solution? Haha! More importantly, how do I free myself from these fears? Because that’s the issue here…my fears are justified…but I can’t control them and I can’t let them control me. I can’t shelter her so much that she can’t do anything. So after talking to my own parents this morning and talking to Mike again, we are letting her go on the field trip. We decided she has to wear a life jacket at all times and that one of us may even go to chaperone. So while I can’t control the fears that I have, I do have control over the decisions I make to try to put my mind at ease.

How do you handle parenting fears? I’m not the only person who has them, right?