One of my closest friends and I talk everyday over Voxer about our weight. We talk about how our eating is going, our successes and the hard days. My friend has lost over 100 pounds and deeply understands all the things I've always felt about body image, self-worth, and going for your goals. We've both been at lower weights than we are now and we are working towards slimmer and fitter bodies.
My friend's daughter is the same age as Megan. While Megan is very slim and petite in height, my friend's daughter feels uncomfortable about her size. The doctor suggested a nutrition plan that really limits carbohydrates for most of the day. Sugar would of course be limited too.
What is a mom to do?
I think back to when I was around that age and everyone was trying to police my food (or so it felt). I remember going to the diner with my grandparents and being encouraged to get the diet platter, which was a burger with the bun and cottage cheese. It makes me want to weep now just thinking about it (it's the only unpleasant memory I have of my grandparents). I remember getting Alba low calorie shakes while my sister was given rich and creamy Carnation Instant Breakfast shakes. I remember my cookies being rationed out. I remember being taken to diet programs. Everyone's heart was in the right place. I needed to lose weight. I couldn't fit into clothes like my friends could- I needed the "pretty plus" jeans which felt anything but pretty. But all of the efforts to make me lose weight made me feel deeply ashamed.
If you have a child who needs to lose weight how do you help him/her without the shame and feelings of restriction? To lose weight, some foods do have to be restricted. It's just the way it is. But how do you help a child both lose weight and not feel shamed and restricted?
My kids don't really have my genetics. They definitely don't have my weight struggles. But I feel so much for my friend whose daughter is in this situation. She wants her to be happy, healthy and confident and weight really does play a role.
Have you ever had to help a child lose weight? Any strategies?
"May you grow up to be righteous
May you grow up to be true
May you always know the truth
And see the light surrounding you
May you always be courageous
Stand upright and be strong
May you stay forever young
May you stay forever young"
-"Forever Young", Bob Dylan
My son, Alex, is the A-Train on his flag football team. The quarterback. He's fast and most games, he is scoring touchdowns. Yesterday wasn't that game. Still- it's fun to watch him play. The other parents always compliment him and ask what we gave him for breakfast on days he is particularly on fire.
I remember when Alex started flag football. It was February 2020 and freezing. He didn't know anyone on his team at all- most of the boys are from another town and he had to walk in without any buddies. I've always admired his ability to do that- to try new things without the cushion of a familiar friend. Alex had been playing soccer for years and I always thought that was "his sport" but then flag football came around. He loves both. The flag football season in 2020 was, for obvious reasons, interrupted. I remember it was freezing when he started but then the season picked up again to finish out in July and it was bakingly hot. I remember being so grateful that he could play again.
Watching Alex run, throw, catch, listen to the coaches, cheer on his team- I had a moment of picturing him as a baby in his little swing. When I had Alex, I took the whole school year off to be with him and it was such valuable and beautiful time. With Megan, I only took from March through the end of the summer and went back to work when she was 6 months. My mom was able to watch her so I knew she would be in great hands but I only got a few months alone with her. Alex and I had a lot of time together when he was a baby. He was utterly adorable- round, with big cheeks and big eyes.
Alex's childhood took a hard turn when he was in first grade and was attacked by a dog while at a friend's house. The dog attacked his face and he's had a lot of medical procedures for the scarring. We had a lawsuit where he had to speak about what happened in a deposition and then later in a courtroom to a judge. He's been unspeakably brave. For a long time, the incident defined our lives. For a long time, I never knew how I could let him go to a friend's house ever again. But slowly, I've been able to trust again and I had to- he deserves a life or friendship and fun and not fear.
This year, Alex is in fifth grade. He has a slew of friends. He is excelling in his academics and he's responsible- he comes home from school and starts his homework without being prompted. He cares about his grades. He's kind. He's funny. He's fast and a good team player. He's coachable. I'm so proud of his courage. And his heart.
This one's for you, Alex. I love you more than I could ever express.
I missed a day. 17 days in, nice and steady with posting and Day 18 interrupted my streak.
There aren't really great excuses. I sometimes write at night and post in the morning but I was so tired on the 17th that I didn't. When I woke up on the 18th, no ideas were ready to go either. I was taking a half day to get a mammogram and later my eyebrows waxed so I had to finish my sub plans and get set up.
The rest of the day involved picking up Chinese food for lunch for my mom and myself, getting to the Radiology office and having a mammogram and sonogram, killing time before my eyebrow was by shopping at Ulta and then the eyebrow wax. When I got home, I tried out my new eyebrow kit and made thicker eyebrows which both my children absolutely hated. Drop off to soccer, pick up from soccer, dinner out at a local diner where the kids continued to criticize my new brows.
Once we got home, I wiped off my new brows after all the hate they received and sat down to Slice.....only to find the mouse was out of charge and needed to be plugged in. I knew I wouldn't make it back down for the night and that a slicing day was going to be lost. Megan and I worked on this art project we are doing together- a giant sticker poster where we have to put on little stickers for each letter (It's called Stick Together if you are interested!) Then, we went upstairs to get ready for bed- she was playing on her ipad and I was reading the book That Summer by Jennifer Weiner.
And so.....n o Slice. But that was yesterday! Hopefully it's the only one I miss this month!
(Each day in March, I am choosing a song to inspire or anchor my blog post. I'm curating a playlist that I will share at the end of the month.)
I know there are huge, awful, unthinkable problems in the world right now. Slicing every day and finding the nugget to write about (while connecting it to a song) has led me to a topic that is rather self-centered and unimportant in the scheme of everything. It's just what's on my mind today.
I've been thinking about my eyebrows. I've been thinking they could use work. Last Sunday, I had a whole conversation with my sister about ways to improve my eyebrow game. She suggested a good waxing and then she pointed me towards an eyebrow kit. The kit is a stencil that goes above your eyebrow. You tap your brush into a colored powder and tap onto your brow. I've seen this on Instagram (Eyebrow Trio) and it looks easy and remarkable. I'm worried it will not be as easy as it looks, but I'm willing to try.
I'm also concerned about my double chin. It's an unfortunate inherited trait that extra weight becomes a thick wobble under my face. If I could vote any fat off the island, the chin fat is the first that would be booted off. And while I'm on the topic of loose hanging skin, my loose hanging discolored bags under my eyes are also discouraging.
There are some days where I just feel "unpretty" (as TLC sings). I will turn it around and focus on the things I find attractive and also the things my body can do for me each day. There is so much to be grateful for.
But the eyebrows....the chin......the undereye bags.......unpretty. (I remain optimistic that the eyebrows will be improved with my new kit!)
Once, our Christmas elf on the shelf was so beloved that we decided he would return for birthdays each year. Who knew this was an actual thing, with a book to buy? (The Elf on the Shelf- Birthday Tradition- in case you are interested!) Smiling Max would return every March 15th (Megan) and October 6 (Alex) before coming for the Christmas season each year. Megan's birthday party theme when she was in kindergarten was "Elf on the Shelf" which was a little awkward since her birthday is in March. Her decorations and dress all features Christmas elves....but seriously, it was her passion and birthdays should be about what you like!
I still remember Megan putting Smiling Max in her bicycle basket and riding him all around the neighborhood on her birthday.
In recent years, we added Olivia Jingles to our family and she also returns on birthdays. We had a horrifying incident last October where Teddy jumped up and got Olivia Jingles by her leg, running all around the house with Olivia dangling from his jaws. I spent 20 minutes trying to get Olivia Jingles away from him.
Last night, before her birthday, Megan asked if Smiling Max and Olivia Jingles were coming back this year. I said, 'I don't know" and she said "Well you ARE Max and Olivia." I froze. Then she said, "You shape shift." I replied, if I was going to shape shift I would not choose to be elves! But her comment made me think.....SHE KNOWS!
Today, Smiling Max and Olivia Jingles arrived on top of Megan's birthday presents with a note from the North Pole. She didn't seem super excited to see them and didn't look at them all day long. As I cleaned up the kitchen, I found them abandoned near the penne, waiting to be put back into my closet until October.
It seems the season of believing in elves is over. Another step away from being a little kid.
In my daughter's eyes, horsebackriding should be every day of the week and school just once a week.
In my daughter's eyes, our dog, Teddy, is her best buddy.
In my daughter's eyes, her favorite person in the world is her Naya (my mom).
In my daughter's eyes, reading before bed is essential.
In my daughter's eyes, mint chocolate chip is the best ice cream flavor.
In my daughter's eyes, you should dance when you are riding down an escalator.
In my daughter's eyes, math is hard.
In my daughter's eyes, she should be given more freedom.
In my daughter's eyes, nine is fine!
Happy 9th Birthday to Megan who has brought light and joy from the very start.
Monday after Sunday
Monday after Sunday after losing an hour
Monday after Sunday after losing an hour and being busy all day
Monday after Sunday after losing an hour and being busy all day and having a super busy Saturday
Monday, after Sunday after losing an hour and being busy all day and having a super busy Saturday and a work bag, filled yet left untouched all weekend long.
Monday after Sunday.
(Today's song: Cup of Tea by Kacey Musgraves- Each blog post this month is inspired or anchored by a song. I'm curating a playlist I will share at the end of the month!)
Yes, that is the Queen Mum over my right shoulder, but no, she wasn't really there at Robinson's Tea Room. Who WAS there was me, my mom, my sister, and my daughter, Megan. Megan turns 9 on Tuesday and this year, circumstances dictated a change to our usual birthday party routines. I wanted to plan something that Megan would enjoy- that would feel special and out of the ordinary. I enlisted my mom and my sister, Christine, to come with us to Robinson's Tea Room.
It is the cutest place. You pick from a menu of many different types of teas (I had vanilla cupcake to start and then coconut cocoa as my second pot). You get a three tier tray with scones, tea sandwiches, and various pastries. Robinson's Tea Room is about 45 minutes away so we had lot of fun conversation on the way there and back. Lots of laughs and stories shared.
In my quest to find a good "tea song" for today's post, I found Kacey Musgraves song "Cup of Tea". The theme of the song is you aren't going to be everyone's cup of tea and that kind of mirrors the conversation we had on the way home about not killing yourself for a certain title or status level to impress others. My sister was diagnosed with breast cancer in July. She is cancer free and doing great but it has changed her perspective on what really matters. The song is definitely one that will help me remember this special family day and that making time for what matters most is really important.
I am usually an early poster, but today was a busy one! Megan turns 9 on Tuesday but birthday weekend festivities kicked off today. Here's how the day unfolded:
-Woke up around 6 am and Megan woke up right around the same time. I worked on her birthday party favor tags, showered, had breakfast, and took Megan to her first of two horseback riding lessons this weekend.
-Came home and went to pick up her birthday party cupcakes and chocolate covered Oreos for the party later in the day.
-Took Megan to the salon to get her hair blown out and curled (the curls did not last long.....bad hair weather with rain, wind and and snow today)
-Came home to get Megan lunch then ran out again to do Girl Scout banking and grab lunch (Chinese soup and steamed vegetable dumplings)
-Finished the goody bags and negotiated with Megan on her birthday outfit.
-Got my dog's food and belongings together for his drop off (with my son- who didn't need anything prepared) at my parent's house. They were watching Alex and Teddy during Megan's birthday party.
-Put everything in the car, headed to my mom's and then Cool Crafts for Megan's party.
-The party consisted of 14 girls plus Megan. The girls made a stuffed animal and dressed it in clothes. They had pizza, a dance party and the cupcakes I brought.
-At home, Megan opened her gifts and I wrote them all down.
-We went back out to get Alex and Teddy from my mom's house.
Girls definitely want to have fun but moms? They need a nap.
*This March, I am using song titles for each post I write. I'm curating a playlist for the month, which I will share at the end of March.
Today we have to say goodbye to my student teacher who is moving onto her next placement. The good news- her next placement is still in my school so she can pop by to say hello now and then. The bad news- she's leaving! My students have come to love her and depend on her being there each day. I have loved the experience of another teacher (in training) in the room, who can support my efforts and be a sounding board. It can be so lonely doing the job all by yourself and making all the decisions. It was so nice to ask my student teacher what she thought about the seating arrangement or her take on a specific student.
We made her a book and I bought her a personalized teacher tote bag which sadly hasn't arrived yet. I bought treats for the kids and I think she is making them little goodie bags too. We will keep today fun and light. Goodbyes can be hard on everyone.
I remember when I was in a student observing/participating semester, the one right before student teaching. I was in a second grade class 3 mornings a week. On my last day, I was so emotional and sad to leave them that I cried in the classroom. My contact fell out of my eye- I was crying that much. The teacher asked me to go into the hall to collect myself! I had gotten so attached to the students. After 20 years of teaching, I don't cry anymore on the last day. Still- goodbyes feel sad.
Have you had a student teacher this year? How did your students cope when that person left?
Kathleen Neagle Sokolowski