Thursday, December 20

Setting an Example

I went to the gym last night, and while I sweated and ran and sweated some more, the Miss Universe pageant came on one of the gym televisions. And as I watched the opening bit, I saw young woman after young woman cross the stage. And it all felt a little bit disgusting.

There I was, working my ass off to maintain my size 8, a size that I haven't seen on my jeans tags since high school, a size that I'm very proud of and hope to maintain. Meanwhile, on TV, there are the supposed most beautiful women in the world parading across a stage, and not a one of them was likely bigger than a size 4. If that.

They all looked nearly identical. Tall, very thin, long bouncy hair, bleached straight white teeth, skin completely free of acne or freckles, high cheekbones. If it weren't for their sashes (and to be fair, quite a number of skin tones) I would have a difficult time telling these women apart. Hardly any women can  attain this standard of beauty. Is this really what we all should be trying to look like?

As the mother of a daughter, I am seeing things like the Miss Universe pageant in a way that I never have before. These women, the way they look—this is the look that my daughter will see in TV, movies, magazines, and the look that will probably make her question whether she's pretty enough. How do I tell her she's beautiful the way she is? And what kind of example should I be setting? I was missing family dinner last night so I could exercise (for the record, normally I work out at other times, but I was wanting to go to a class—that ended up being canceled). I exercise for my health, yes, but like I said before, I want to maintain my current size. With pregnancy, I gained a lot of weight, and it's something I do not want to fight my entire life. I don't want to gain then lose, gain then lose, gain then lose. Now that I've lost weight, I really want to keep it off. But how do I continue to strive for this in my own life while also assuring Olive that she's perfect no matter what she looks like?

I'm not the first mother to raise a daughter. With TV shows like Honey-Boo-Boo (a show I've never seen, by the way) and all those pageant shows with little girls, it seems like it's getting harder to let little girls just be little girls for very long. I see seven-year-olds wearing heels, ten-year-olds wearing slinky tank tops and booty shorts. I don't know how to navigate these kind of parenting waters. But Olive is young, and we'll just have to figure it out together.

I do know that no matter what she looks like, or how she chooses to live her life, I'll love her forever, with my whole entire heart. Even if she wants to be Miss Universe.

Tuesday, December 18


  • Milo continues to be adorable and awesome. He called my friend Stephanie "Snuffanie" the other day. I kind of hope he keeps doing that, because it's really hilarious.
  • I got a promotion! Say hello to Hallmark Books' newest senior editor.
  • On Sunday we had lunch with some friends, and Milo sat at the kids' table with two four-year-olds and they all had a grand time. Ate mac n cheese and oranges and drank milk (in a cup with no lid) and hardly a bite was spilled. So proud of that kid. I told him so on the way home, and he said "I don't want you to be proud of me." (In a very whiny tone of voice, I might add. In my head, I immediately took back my praise.)
  • Less than two weeks 'til Christmas and out shopping is not done. Sigh.
  • I turned 31 last week. How can that be? We went out for frozen yogurt after dinner to celebrate. Milo got his own cup of fro yo, and he picked out strawberry-banana and mocha, with mini M&Ms on top. Gross.
  • Olive is playing me like a tiny violin. She has mastered the art of shrieking to get what she wants. Hooray! Also, sarcasm!
  • Milo had started playing with Thomas the tank engine when he should have been going to sleep, so I made a bed for Thomas. The bed, which looks a lot like a box with some stickers on it and a blanket inside, is up on top of his bookcase (conveniently out of Milo's reach) and every night we tuck Thomas in. I can't believe I made a bed for a toy train. And that I say goodnight to the train every night and literally tuck that train in. And did I mention Thomas's nightlight? Yes, a battery-operated flameless candle also goes in the box.
  • Parents truly use tons of batteries. Not only do toy trains get nightlights, but other toy trains are left running when no one is playing with them, flashlights are left shining long after the kid has left the vicinity, and almost every toy requires some sort of battery. Before Milo was born, I honestly don't even know that I ever purchased a battery to replace one that had died. But now we actually stock up on them at Costco. Costco!
  • Olive has started shaking her head when she dances. Like she's saying no really emphatically. But while smiling. My favorite part of the head-shaking is that she'll even do it when I sing. No actual music required.
  • I joined Twitter. Follow me if you want, @lenexicon. Sometimes I'm interesting.

Sunday, December 16

Olive Walked Today!

Today Olive took two full steps completely unassisted. I know, I know, it's not much, really. But it's something. As I've mentioned, I think she's been capable of walking for a couple months now, but she's been too cautious to actually let go and move those legs.

Today I think her steps were more a matter of her being too busy thinking about where she was going to have time to consider her means of getting there. She was cruising along the kids' art table we have in the playroom, and she wanted to come over to me. I was sitting just a couple feet from her, so she had to turn and let go of the table to reach me. Pretty exciting.

I kept trying to get her to repeat her performance all day, but she wasn't having it. Maybe tomorrow we'll start to see the real walking begin.

Monday, December 10

Ten months? But that is only two months away from ONE YEAR.

Olive is 20ish, maybe 21ish pounds. She's taller than a month ago. No official stats from the doctor, but I can tell this girl is growing.

She is not yet walking, but at this point I think she's just teasing us. Or she's lazy. So, so close to walking. She even has started to try to stand up on her own without pulling up on something. Just in the middle of the floor, hands on the ground, she gets up on her feet. Can't make her way to standing yet, but it won't be long. She can also stand unassisted no problem. Exceptional balance (for a ten-month-old).

Her hair is coming in thicker, and it still stands up all over her head. I think it's amazing and the cutest baby hair I've ever seen. Some people look at it and say things like, "Whoa, look at that hair!" Then they pause, and go on to say, "It's okay, though, it doesn't look bad." And I'm like, I know. It looks awesome.

Olive is starting to say real words. She can say Mama, Dada, kitty, yum-yum, and maaayyyybe Milo. Oh, and she can clap her hands and say yay. She can blow kisses, wave, and give high fives. When Andrew kisses me goodbye in the morning, then kisses her goodbye, she then turns to me and opens her mouth, expectantly waiting for a kiss. I oblige. Sometimes she slips me the tongue. Hilarious and sloppy, all at once.

One of her favorite games is putting things into other things. She picks up toys and slams them into the nearest receptacle. Helpful at clean-up time.

When she's done with her meal, she starts dropping her food onto the floor. Thanks, kid.

She is finally getting good at holding her own bottles and actually tipping them back so she can drink the whole thing. Sippy cups too. I'm telling you, don't discount laziness yet.

Naps and her morning wake-up time are irregular. She's an early, early riser. Andrew and I are definitely not getting enough sleep.

Olive currently is fighting off her first ear infection. The poor thing was miserable the entire weekend, clearly in pain. Feverish, cranky, restless but exhausted. Got her to the doctor this morning, and she's on her first round of antibiotics ever. And so it begins. (I am somewhat comforted thinking about how when Milo was ten months old, he already had gotten tubes, so Olive's not doing too bad all things considered.)

Olive has two teeth, the bottom middle ones. Where are those top teeth? Why is she drooling so much, but dragging on the teething process?

She and Milo are starting to play nicely together. It's stinking cute, I tell you. This must be the reason people have more than one kid, because take it from me, it is not for all the hours of rest and relaxation that come with the territory.

Olive likes playing with cars and trains. Because that is the only kind of toy we have. Good thing Santa is coming soon so I can properly stereotypically genderize my baby girl.

Sometimes when I am holding Olive, she reaches up and strokes my hair. Guess who also does this? Milo. And it's perhaps my favorite thing he does when he's feeling cuddly, so to have both my children do this? Heaven.

Along those same lines, Olive is getting more cuddly. She often rests her head on my shoulder, and she nearly always wants to be held.

She's beautiful, funny, smart, smiley, ticklish, and amazing. And about a thousand other positive adjectives. I love her so much, truly.

Loves to dance. 
Loves her brother.

Really loves her brother.

Even when his feet are in her face, she loves her brother.