Thursday, July 30, 2009

In this day and age it is very en vogue to eat healthy. If your healthy food is also stamped ‘ORGANIC’ then you are that much more in style. That also means that you are well off enough to be able to afford organic food. Where was I going with this? Oh, yeah. No, sorry, this was not supposed to be my rant on organic food. I’ll get to that later.

As anyone with children in their house knows, it is not easy to eat healthy with kid snacks in your kitchen. Kid snacks are near to impossible to avoid. That is, unless you are one of those militant vegan mothers who scare me. A carrot stick does not always hit the spot. Nor does bulgur. I don’t think in my childhood I ever said or thought “Man, what I wouldn’t give for a handful of barley.” Hell, I don’t even say it now! Why? Because it tastes like a combination of cardboard and dirt, that’s why.

I have a 15 month old son. I also have a 2 and a half month old son, but he doesn’t qualify for this story because he has no teeth. Anyway, my 15 month old dearly loves to snack. So much so that it is extremely difficult to get him to eat a sit-down meal because he has been grazing all day. He’ll accept a few bites and he’ll swallow a few, but then he chews the bite, opens his mouth, and just lets it fall out to land where ever it may. The most common places are the floor, the high chair, and my foot. And let me tell you, there’s nothing quite like the feeling of partially chewed French toast between your toes. Ask anyone.

At any given time, there can be found in my kitchen any or all of the following: Teddy Grahams, Nilla Wafers, Animal Crackers, Goldfish Crackers, Mini Lorna Doone cookies, and Cheez-Its. Makes Connor happy, but tempts Mommy to no end. It is not easy to try and lose weight with a toddler buffet all over the house. And you KNOW he won’t eat the entire packet, and you don’t want to waste food, so what happens? You eat it yourself. Of course. Then you stop giving him the chance to not finish the pack and go ahead and ration yourself some chocolate Teddies. “He’ll never know the difference” you tell yourself. Now it’s simply a question of who you’re lying to, your toddler or yourself. But you really already know the answer to that one.

I admit that on occasion I share what Connor is eating under the guise of ‘Connor wanted it’. For example, recently I decided to offer him a treat of ice cream. Not a lot, just a few spoonfuls. Since it was that small an amount we didn’t need a bowl. You can already see where this is going, can’t you? So I take the half gallon of Blue Bell Peaches and Homemade Vanilla out of the freezer. By this time, Connor is already stamping his little feet and waving his hands, a very small Flashdance impression. I give him a bite and he makes the face signaling that what’s in his mouth is very cold. He runs to the dryer and begins to clean out the lint trap then comes back for another bite. So I dig out a hunk of frozen peach and agree with Connor that it is, in fact, very cold. He gets another bite. About this time, I zone out with my own thoughts eating ice cream. Ten minutes or so goes by and the child I am supposed to be feeding this ice cream is nowhere in sight, but I am still eating ice cream. Somewhat embarrassed, I put the ice cream back in the freezer.

I know that I’m not the only mother who has ever done this. If it wasn’t ice cream, then you ate the last two chicken nuggets from the happy meal and the scattering of fries that went with it. Perhaps it was the half eaten sandwich, still imprinted with Cheeto dust fingerprints. We do it so that we aren’t wasting food, right? Cookies are a terrible thing to waste. I think we can all agree with that.

I do wish it were easier to feed my children food that is good for them. I mean, let’s face it, there’s a reason why one of Connor’s first words was cookie and not eggplant. It could’ve been eggplant, but the chocolate chips are hard to get in there. Connor can say cookie, cracker, teddy (graham, not bear), and doggy. We don’t eat doggies but he does say it. He likes apples, too, though. We have a video of him gnawing on an apple at Panera. It was taken away and he commenced to howling, so we gave it back. Luckily the video time ran out because shortly thereafter he got a piece lodged in his windpipe. Healthy food is dangerous. It’s all that fiber.


The first part of this was written two months ago. Since that time Connor’s food vocabulary has increased greatly and Sully still has no teeth. Connor now eats bananas and strawberries and is surprisingly fond of green beans, having hated them in jar form. But when it comes to snacking, it just isn’t feasible to crack open a can of French cut green beans. Can’t you just see it? I’m getting ready to go to work and Connor is settling in to watch Blue’s Clues (hopefully with Steve and not that retard Joe) and on my way out the door I hand him a bag of frozen green beans. Yeah, I can’t see it.

Even though Connor’s appetite has expanded, for some reason, he still likes to open his mouth and let all the food fall out. Now when I make him a peanut butter sandwich he pries it apart and eats the peanut butter off the bread. Some kids don’t like the crusts, my kid doesn’t even like the bread. It’s easier to give him a spoonful of peanut butter, and almost as easy to wipe the peanut butter off your knees or wash it out of your hair where he was thoughtful enough to give you a kiss on the back of your head. You laugh, but it’s happened. And when he’s not in the mood for a peanut butter sandwich, what does he do? He turns around and hands it to his little brother, sitting in his little Bumbo seat staring at his right hand because no one’s told him yet that he has a left. Luckily his grab reflexes are still a little slow. I’d hate to learn about a peanut allergy with a four month old. But, hey, at least he’s sharing.

The most convenient snacks are not the healthiest. That’s pretty much a given now. To me, though, the big mystery with little kids and eating is why, when you give a kid chocolate, does it always end up streaming out of the corners of their mouths? It’s almost as if it expands in there and their little mouths can’t contain it. All the issues with the childhood obesity epidemic and I’m worried that the chocolate won’t stay in my kid’s mouth.

But all in all, if a handful of carob covered raisins does it for your kid, consider yourself lucky. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to Google ‘carob’.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Realistically, every woman in this country wants to tweak some part of her body. Whether it be losing weight or the tip of your nose, that much is true. Some go about it in a more financial way, paying professionals to sculpt their problem areas or in some cases to attach an Oreck 8-pound to their midsections. And we all wondered what that round brush attachment was for.

For those of us who can’t shell out thousands on our looks, there is the old-fashioned approach. Exercise and dieting. The words that strike fear into the hearts of many. We are a culture of we want what we want when we want it. We want instant gratification. But, again, unless you go the Hoover route, it ain’t gonna happen that way.

I have come to the conclusion that in order to eat right and/or exercise, you must become obsessed with it. At least that’s true for me. If I am not constantly thinking about it, I don’t do it. I can be getting ready to go eat at a restaurant and thinking to myself, OK I need to have something healthy, something grilled, something with fiber. Then I get to the restaurant and I think, Mmm, fried, breaded bits of tasty. Just like that. In the time it takes to speak to someone or drive three and a half miles, my healthy focus goes poof. So it must be in the forefront of my mind.

Similarly, if I don’t constantly tell myself that I have to go to the gym, I won’t. Sometimes even though I am telling myself I have to go, I don’t. Time constraints and all. There’s always something going on that I have to schedule around. I’m pretty sure just about everyone has the same excuses.

But I have started taking cardio classes at the gym. I say cardio because I can’t bring myself to say aerobics. I mean, technically, I’m not taking aerobics. Aerobics, to me, just presents an image of a room full of women in leotards and leg warmers. Or more specifically Olivia Newton John’s video for ‘Let’s Get Physical’. I am not taking aerobics. I’m not!!

So far I have attended Pilates, so I can say I do Pilates, and Cardio Kick-boxing, so I can beat stuff up that won’t object. I would like to recount for you how one of each of these classes went.

I took my first Pilates class on a Saturday morning, knowing it was a 45 minute class. I thought it was going to be like yoga. Heh, yeah, it’s not. Whenever I take a class I feel stupid, like other people in the class are looking at me and thinking that I’m not doing it right or I’m on the wrong foot. I never think that perhaps they are like me and are too busy judging themselves and being paranoid to judge someone else. Then I notice the woman facing the wrong way and I relax a little.

I thought I had arrived a little late. When I got to the studio there was a bunch of people already spaced out everywhere with steps in front of some of them. Crap. Having never done Pilates before, I didn’t know what kind of equipment was needed. I saw one step unattended and scurried to stand behind it, ready to start. Then the woman who was using it walked back up. Crap some more. She told me I could use it, though. That was nice, albeit a little odd. Didn’t she need one? Turned out that, no, she didn’t need a step because for the next ten minutes no one needed it. That’s when I realized that I had bounded in and done the cool down of the previous cardio class (not aerobics). Awkward.

So half the people cleared out and the steps disappeared. Then we had to go retrieve the mats for the next class. As I picked a spot near the back I surveyed the rest of the class. I always look around to make sure I’m not the biggest person there. I wasn’t. Whew.

Little did I know, Pilates is a lot of ab work. I was not prepared, but I did it anyway. Mostly just to save face. Then we did something called a V-sit. Yeah, that was all kinds of fun. I don’t know how it’s possible for one’s ass to be both fat and bony, but mine is. There’s nothing quite like the feeling of your tailbone grinding against the floor. Basically, it’s sitting with your legs in the air and your body forming a letter V.

Luckily time flies when you’re cringing with pain from the burning in your abs and thighs. I think that’s how that saying goes. By the time I got around to saying in my head, If this isn’t over soon I’m going to snap the waify instructor in half, the class was just about over. Then I went and introduced myself to the tiny blonde girl who had lead the class, because I was new and she was calling everyone else by name. She asked if I was doing the spin class next. I asked her if she was delusional.

For some reason I didn’t think I had had enough punishment that day. Then I proceeded to the treadmill and slogged out 3.1 miles in anticipation for the 5K I had signed up for the following week. Shortly thereafter, I was clinically dead for 4 minutes.

The 5K is a whole other story.

The kick-boxing class appealed to me because it allowed me to wail on a punching bag without being looked at funny. Well, the cardio part of the class name was lost on me. That is, until we were told to do imaginary jump rope for what seemed like about 12 minutes. I thought about greatly exaggerating that number for emphasis, but let’s face it 12 minutes of jump rope is hard enough.

My typical class anxiety made an appearance but was justified this time. We had to wear boxing wraps, fished out of a cabinet where they were thrown pell-mell. I actually was late to this class so I grabbed the first two I saw. They were both for the left hand. I made it work because I was too embarrassed to go back and dig around to find a right hand glove since the class had started already. Then I wrapped them wrong, which I actually did not realize until the next class so that really wasn’t a problem yet.

I broke almost every nail I had and renewed my hatred of jumping jacks. It was a good class. I also realized that I can only raise my leg to kick just so many times in rapid succession. After that, it’s just dead weight, man. It’s not happening.

I did enjoy the class, though. Probably because I was hitting and kicking harder than everyone else. I managed to move the free-standing heavy bag halfway across the room just from punching and kicking it.

My second kick-boxing class involved all manner of insanity associated with a medicine ball. I thought medicine was supposed to make you better. This kind just makes you hurt more. Damn false advertising. This time, though, I ducked out to get water when the instructor girl started her imaginary jump rope montage. Water beats jumping any day.

I had taken the time to find both the left and right hand wrap this time, but then realized I had wrapped them wrong. Ah, whatever. I did what was comfortable and it worked for me.

This class instilled in me a new reason to have anxiety, vertigo. Not so much dizziness, as lack of balance. Evidently, I have terrible balance. This was brought to my attention by all the kicking. It probably doesn’t look good when after you do a roundhouse kick you go stumbling about for a few seconds, making you late to get the next kick in.

I also now believe that the instructors are honor-bound to lie to you if it will encourage you at all. One of the other instructors joined in the class halfway through. At the end of class I was taking off my wraps when he spoke up and said “What’s up?” I replied with “My blood pressure.” He laughed and said that I had done great and I didn’t quit. This much was true. Then he hit me with “Don’t worry, though. You’re losing weight.” I said thanks because at the time I hadn’t analyzed what had just been said.

This guy had never seen me before. How did he know if I was losing weight? Moreover, who said I was trying to lose weight? Did that guy just call me fat? Aw, hell.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

It never fails. When you know you have to write something, you totally blank. I can’t think of a thing to write about so here I am rambling in text hoping that something will hit me. Not like a projectile or anything, just something. Then again, if something random came sailing through the air and struck me, removing an eyebrow and my left earlobe, that would definitely be something to write about.

The fourth of July was this past weekend. Instead of having a cookout with my family or at home, we had to go to my mother-in-law’s house. She’d been sure to tell us way in advance that she was having a party and that we just HAD to come. Truth be told, she didn’t care if her son or myself were there, but her grandchildren can’t exactly drive just yet. Not counting the Fisher Price Cozy Coupe that runs on Flintstone unleaded (feet). (No pun intended) She invited people from her work and her square-dancing buddies. And, yes, I make fun of that every chance I get. There’s nothing quite like a pal who’ll hook arms with you to the tune of Turkey in the Straw.

Day of, I talked to her on the phone because my husband, her son, refused. Such a doting son. She said it was to start at four o’clock and last until the fireworks were over. Now, the way I understand it, fireworks don’t begin until it’s dark. I should add here that we have to drive an hour to get to the old lady’s house. I told her we may attend but that we couldn’t stay for the fireworks. Naturally, she inquired as to why. I replied that dark is not until like 9:30; Connor’s bedtime is 8:00. Well, then she had the best solution (in her opinion)! We could all just stay the night!

Here’s a little background on that. Ever since Dave and I were married she has asked us to come stay the night, come stay the night. She even told us we should stay the night Christmas Eve a few times. Call me crazy or selfish, what have you, but I would rather spend my first Christmas married with my husband. And I want to have my son’s first Christmas just with us. She apparently doesn’t understand that.

Now I’m not saying that being invited to stay with family is unacceptable. I’m not saying that it’s wrong. It may be totally normal for some people. Her family, for instance. Then again, a big reason her family members ended up staying the night after a visit is because they were too hammered to keep it between the lines. Drunk as a bicycle, as my father would say. My family never did that and we all live within 20 minutes of each other, save one aunt who, incidentally, I wish would move closer.

So, to sum up, not a fan of the in-law slumber party.

Anyway, I repeated that we may show up but we would not be staying until dark. I had to firmly repeat myself because if I don’t, she thinks she can nag at me until I give in just to shut her up. She is slowly realizing that I can find more fun ways to shut her up.

Fast forward. We pull up and see that there are cars parked out into the street at her house. We didn’t actually think anyone would show. As soon as we came in the door with the boys, I hear a woman shriek “Oh, good, something for me to play with!” My eyebrow went up and if I had seen who had said it, I would have laid into them. What kind of person thinks that a total stranger’s children are there for his/her personal amusement? But I was still out on the stoop and couldn’t see, luckily for her.

As we got into the house, I immediately went downstairs to feed the baby. That was just my own little way of boycotting the situation for as long as I could. It still wasn’t long enough. Dave and Connor were upstairs, jumping through hoops probably. Perhaps it’s just me, but I am somewhat more than reluctant to surrender my new infant to someone I don’t know who expects me to hand him over without incident. I don’t go to a restaurant and demand that people give me their babies. Something tells me that this woman does.

I slogged up the stairs and, upon entering the living room, realized there must have been a 2 World War minimum requirement on the invite. The median age of this crowd must have been 83. And some of them were serious talkers. One gentleman in particular, who loudly touted his love of trivia more than once and proceeded to quiz the rest of the octogenarians. He wasn’t obnoxious to a fault but I wouldn’t have a problem locking him in a closet. If only I were as lucky as half the guests and could turn my hearing aid down, beaming obliviously.

I tried to tune it out, but then someone insisted everyone play Name That Tune and began to bang the piano keys. Some of the winners of that game included “It Wasn’t God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels”, “Way Down Upon the Suwannee River”, and “Crazy.” And in case you’re curious, that last one was not the track by Aerosmith, but the late great Patsy Cline.

Luckily I heard someone say ‘daiquiri’ and I sincerely hoped it was the kind that had alcohol in it. It was, but only just. You would get a stronger buzz drinking NyQuil. But it was all there was, so bottom’s up.

People kept piling in, including one noticeably younger woman with a self-righteous attitude and a voice that carried. I would almost rather have listened to the old fogey asking inane trivia questions (“Who was nicknamed The Man In Black?”) to her squealing about how she had participated in the Peachtree Road Race that morning.

This dragged on for what seemed like hours with nothing to dull the pain of boredom. When they started trying to coerce Dave and me to join their square dance tribe, I knew it was time to shag ass out of there. Luckily, other people had left as well so it didn’t look so bad. One more plea for us to stay the night and we were gone.
Water is vital to the survival of all living things, even camels. I, myself, am not fond of water, though I am fond of camels. Magazines are always telling you that drinking water will cure all your ills. You want clear skin free of breakouts? Water! Do you want skin that glows? Water! Do you want to lose weight? Water! Want to free yourself of headaches? Surely you can sense where I’m going with this.

Now once and for all, how much is the right amount of water you are supposed to quaff a day? No one can seem to agree on this. Some say 64 ounces, the equivalent of eight eight ounce glasses. Some say eighty ounces, ten glasses. Another says you can never drink too much water, which is just not true because somewhere along there you can end up with a quaint little condition called hyponatremia which is water poisoning. How do you like that? You drink water to get rid of your acne, and what do you get? Dead, that’s what. You get dead. Not quite as pretty as you were hoping for.

I know you’re supposed to drink water and everything, but I have to force myself. To me, water tastes awful. Now, I’m sure many of you are saying “That’s silly. Water doesn’t have a taste.” At least, that’s probably what you’re saying if you’re my mother. That’s what she always told me. Well, I taste it. I can even tell you which brand of bottled water I’m drinking without seeing the label.

Luckily, the good people at...well, a bunch of places, have devised a tastier way to consume your requisite water ration. If it wasn’t for drop-ins I probably would not drink water. I drink Crystal Light White Peach Tea. Even my 18 month old likes it. And yes, I realize that Crystal Light is probably not the best thing for a toddler to drink, but it’s one of the few things that won’t come dribbling back out of his mouth.

Yes, water has in recent years become a very en vogue trend, just like adult rompers and being gay. Drinking water, however, does not require a serious lifestyle decision and probably won’t go out of style within the year. Unless you count disposable water bottles but I won’t get into that now. Look for it in a later post entitled It’s Not Easy Beating Someone Who’s ‘Green.’

There are several companies who put out water. It’s not like a Coke vs Pepsi thing here; it actually is the same product. Even though Coke does make a water. Is that the right vernacular? I don’t think a company can make water. Unless God owns a beverage conglomerate. Holy Trinity H20: Start your day the Holy way! I suppose it should be ‘put out’. Coke puts out a water. That’s Dasani. Then there’s Aquafina, Pepsi’s water, which tastes metallic to me. Would you like a refreshing treat that tastes like you just licked a lead pipe? Sure, who wouldn’t!

There’s also Fiji, the cutest little cube of water there is. Next is a misleading brand. How man of you were disappointed when you eagerly took a swig of Nestle water only to get a mouthful of water that was in no way chocolate flavored? Perhaps that’s why Hershey doesn’t put out water. Up next in the domestic waters is Deer Park. Does that name disturb anyone else? Water from a place with a whole lot of deer running around. It makes me hesitant.
Evian. One of my favorite bottled waters. It was even before that whole Roller Babies commercial. Go to the website and see it; it’s cute. Evian, French for water. Actually, French for water is l’eau. At the Whole Foods market there is a wall dedicated to water, with all types of fun bottles. Voss, Glaceau, and other brands I can’t pronounce.

My other favorite bottled water is Smart Water and not just because the ads have Jennifer Anniston in them. At home we call is Cloud Water because the bottle talks about clouds and...and...something about clouds. It’s good, though. As good as a water can really be. At least it doesn’t taste like a mouthful of pennies.

There was a period when I was drinking a lot of water every day. The only thing I really got out of it was exercise from walking to and from the water cooler and the bathroom. My skin was no clearer. I was no lighter. And I still didn’t like the taste. I fell out of that habit. Nothing has changed. I got the same amount of exercise when I was seven months pregnant. Not that I’m implying pregnancy is a good substitute for water consumption.

I hate cold water. I can’t drink it as fast. When it comes to me and water, the faster you get it down the faster it’s gone.

But then you have to go fill up the bottle again. You just can’t win.
Today is Tuesday. Every Tuesday here on DeathMetalMommy Yodels the Blues will henceforth be Phobia Tuesday. Why? Because it isn’t always easy to think of something to write and in this case boundaries are liberating. That, and some of this stuff is just begging to be made fun of. Not that fear is funny...well, some fear is.

Our phobia for the day, children, is BAROPHOBIA. No, this is not a fear of drinking or of public watering holes. Nor is it a fear of ballet studios or prison. Barophobia is a fear of...gravity. That’s right. Somewhere out there is someone who is terrified of the thought that something invisible is pulling them down.

Perhaps these people would be more comfortable floating about. This is a good example and proof that not all fears are rational. (My apologies to any and all barophobics, but if you are one, please email me)

Monday, July 27, 2009

I hate introductions.

I greatly dislike having to introduce myself. That includes that space in every Internet profile form entitled ‘About Me’. It’s even worse if it involves going around a circle and ‘saying a little bit about yourself.’ What are you supposed to say? “Hi, I’m Gloria. I’m a vegetarian. I am a part-time taxidermist and mechanic. My blood type is AB positive and my greatest ambition is to live my whole life without contracting Mad Cow disease.” Is some of that appropriate? None of it?

Honestly, I do know the basic stuff you’re supposed to include, marital status, name, number of kids, job, etc... I just don’t like it. It feels like a mix between the Mickey Mouse Club and Alcoholics Anonymous. So if you ever stumble upon a profile of mine on some random website that I may or may not have forgotten about, chances are the ‘About Me’ section is blank. What can I say, I like mystery.

Sometimes, though, I do get a good kick out of reading what other people think you ought to know about them. One ‘About Me’ is a picture of the alma mater, a picture of the boyfriend’s dorm room window (the outside of the building), and the school football stadium. Talk about being true to your school. That profile was on a site that had nothing to do with schools at all, for the record. That individual either really likes her school or just can’t think of anything else to write so she took up as much space as possible with pics.

Another profile lists all of their ‘furbabies’, which I believe are known to the rest of us as pets. Either that or this person mated with a yeti. It also refers to the author as a ‘furmommy’. Maybe she was the yeti.

In this case, I suppose I should outline what this blog is about. There is no one topic that I cover. Having small children comes up a lot lately in my life so expect to see a good bit about that. I am a mother but no kind of typical one, as my blog title states. Whatever sparks my interest at the time is what I will write about. I also take requests.

I don’t get down with any Jon and Kate updates or laments. The only thing I have to say about any of that is that Jon character is a douchebag and, frankly, looks as though there may be something mentally or developmentally wrong with him. Just my opinion. But I may from time to time comment. Just for fun. Wait, no...just to make fun.

Topics may surface include but are not limited to babies, children, drinking water, weight loss, food, wine, death metal, Chickens, parenting, pregnancy, clothes, fashion, complaining, marriage or a better idea, money, books, other blogs, Lewis Grizzard, spelling bees, Runner’s World, photography, modeling, crazy kids shows, Hungry Girl, Storked!, Neal Pollack, baby food, shoes, Sex and the City, kids who bite, and reading a pregnancy test: a tutorial.

I will do my best to post every few days or so, but until I get a computer that weighs less than fifteen pounds, I’m doing my writing and internet perusing during stolen moments at work. And unfortunately, there is a firewall that won’t allow sites with horoscopes (considered ‘paranormal’, we all know how dangerous THAT could be), the magazine site for Food & Wine (‘alcohol’, although you can go to the Anheuser Busch site all day long; apparently we’re telling children that you can drink beer all the livelong day but a glass of Beaujolais Nouveau with dinner may kill you instantly), or anything with contemporary music news (I don’t know). Also included are Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, and any site that happens to contain the word ‘blog’. So until such a time as I have a better means of blogging, consider my words contraband for they are not what I am supposed to be doing right now.

But as this is the opening of my blog, I guess at least the basics should be stated.

Hi, I’m Darci, aka DeathMetalMommy. I am married to Dave, a death metal bassist/faithful househusband. We have two boys, Connor, 17 months, who says awesome and frequently dances to the riffs of Between the Buried and Me and other such metal bands and the Wonder Pets theme song, and Sully, 4 months, who sports a baby mohawk and is happy just to be, and lately I was informed looks sort of like a cartoon frog.

Tune in next time!