So I’m wondering how I already have hundreds of hits to my blog by 11am b/c for sure it’s not because of something I wrote today. So I see where the people came from and it’s a search for the Abercrombie Ashley padded swimsuit (which I did a post about a while back and it turns up as the #3 hit on Google for it). It happens to be in the news because it wasjust named the Worst Product Flop of 2011, according to Yahoo Finance’s 24/7 Wall Street. Hey, maybe I’ll get a few new readers from it…
If you’re here from Google, welcome
This letter really hit home because I dealt with a similar situation with Ryan. Please help this reader with any advice you can offer!
Dear Playing Mom,
My son is 19 months old and he has always been a sweet, kind-hearted child. Just recently, whenever he goes to ”play with” or acknowledge another child, he grabs their face or pulls their hair – HARD. Children usually cry and sometimes it leaves a mark. I stay really close to him and usually catch him right before he does something, but I can’t always grab him in time. Parents glare at me and keep their kids far, far away. Problem is, I totally understand and feel AWFUL! I don’t know what to do other than pulling him away and scolding him – then showing him how to use a gentle touch. It makes me shrivel up inside and want to disappear. He also doesn’t do this at home – ever. If you have any ideas, please please help!
Ripping My Own Hair Out
Dear Ripping My Own Hair Out,
Oh you poor, poor Mommy. I TOTALLY feel you. I am even dealing with this at one of Lexi’s classes with another boy who is doing the same thing. I told the Mom that she’s lucky with me because Lexi is a tough one and that I am willing to let him figure it out a little bit with her as long as nobody gets hurt. I just really feel for this Mom because Ryan had a similar issue.
When Ryan was 2, there was a 9-month period when he began “crashing” into other kids. He had seen the movie Cars and was obsessed (read: OBSESSED) with how the cars crashed into each other. He was in a Mommy and Me class and also had playdates with a circle of friends that he knew since birth. He started crashing into everyone – pushing, shoving, running around and crashing toys into each other… anything and everything was violently crashed into. Every time something happened, I felt like crawling into a hole. He was such a sweet, sweet boy – what had I done? Other kids were falling and being pushed and looking at him like, “I don’t understand” and he just kept on doing it. I took him away from the situation, gave him timeouts (which worked temporarily but did not end the phase) and tried to show him how to properly interact with other children.
I felt inwardly like I was the worst person on Earth. I was embarrassed, flustered and honestly mad that he was acting this way and causing such trouble for us socially! When it eventually ended, I realized that like the child in Lexi’s current class, this was actually his way of communicating with other children and with getting people’s attention. He was ready to stop playing side-by-side with kids and wanted to play with them at this new stage of development. He wanted to interact, but didn’t really know how to do it properly. He literally could not control his hands. It floored me. I wish I could tell you that showing him 3,457 times how to be gentle worked, or that timeouts or keeping him socialized and watching how other children interacted did something, but I’m pretty sure he just needed to grow out of it.
That being said, if other people think I’m insane and there is a decidedly better way of dealing with this situation, please help! I know what this Mommy is feeling like and it’s no picnic.
If you walk into a Weight Watchers meeting, you will probably meet people who have been on ”the plan” before. In fact, some will tell you they are back for the 4th time. Or the 6th. I have learned that this does not mean they are destined for a lifetime of failure to control their weight. It just means life happened in-between.
I know because I’m back there. Again.
No, it’s not my 4th time. It’s my 2nd. And as much as I’d love to say I did it the first time and became a Lifetime Member who changed my habits for good, that is not the case. Life happened in-between. After being treated for Postpartum Depression, I gained weight because I was so blissfully happy that I wasn’t in the jail of my own mind that I just enjoyed life. I was enjoying my family and didn’t pay too much attention to what I ate. I didn’t realize at the time that I had started to use food as comfort – to replace any loneliness I was feeling, to cope with my new life at home, to feel in control of things and to feed something that was missing… I don’t think I ever realized what.
When I was feeling steady enough as a Mom, I joined Weight Watchers when Ryan was about 9 months old. I remember how old he was because he took his first steps – right in the middle of a meeting. I think I lost about 25 lbs and then I eventually stopped going. Not exactly sure why – maybe I was happy with the way I looked, maybe I thought I could do okay without it. Slowly but surely I gained that weight back.
And then after Alexa was born, I knew I wasn’t making any effort to lose the 30 lbs that I gained but I also kept giving myself acceptable excuses:
You just had a baby, give yourself a break.
Pace yourself – 9 months up, 9 months down.
You want to get pregnant again in a year or so – just deal with the extra weight since it will come back anyway.
Trouble is, I truly believed that these excuses were acceptable. I thought hey, I’m a Mom. My days of being a size 2 or 4 or 6 are over. It’s fine to wear sweatpants every day – I need to be comfortable to run around all day at the park. (I still wear sweats much more than I should so obviously I haven’t let go of some crappy habits…) I watched myself change from a perfect (well, perfect to me) size 6 at my wedding, to an 8 in the years following the wedding to a 10 after Ryan was born to a 12 after Alexa was born. I started hiding behind my kids in pictures. I kept telling myself I didn’t look too bad. I wore shapeless clothing. I stopped caring for myself when I started caring for others. I grabbed whatever food was around, not thinking about how its empty calories provided no fuel for my body. I skipped meals. I forgot to drink water. I stopped getting a normal amount of sleep (oops – still failing there).
And my body rebelled against this in a big way.
After season upon season saw my closet change over to make room for a new size, I finally had enough. I had lost my ability to exercise the way I wanted to after fracturing my foot doing P90X/Insanity over this summer and I knew that one more size up and I’d have to shop at specialty stores because size 12 signals the end of the road at most department stores. I watched my Mother struggle throughout my whole life and I knew I was going down the same road. Even though I couldn’t believe food was becoming an issue in my life… clearly it had been for some time.
Forget pregnancy – as of now, it’s a financial transaction that we can’t handle. And anyway, who ever suggested that you hold onto extra weight if you’re going to get pregnant? That’s the dumbest rationale on Earth – it just makes it that much harder to lose. Who said I looked good? Surely I hadn’t heard “You look great!” in a long time (except from my amazing husband who says it for some reason unbeknownst to me) and noted the absence of “those” looks from men on the street (you know what I’m talking about – the ones you outwardly say ‘ewww’ at but that you inwardly appreciate). Who says a Mom has to look a certain way? It’s okay to wear sweatpants all day, every day? Who says you have to give up on yourself, plain and simple?
I was lying to myself – as much as I OK’d these things, giving up didn’t look good and it sure didn’t feel good. Whether you have 15 or 215 lbs to lose, the first step is undoubtedly the hardest. And in the middle of a busy time, the last thing I wanted to do was have to control what I ate. Or have one more thing that I had to do. But there was no better time, and so I rejoined Weight Watchers the day before Halloween. On purpose.
I’m down over 14 lbs in 6 weeks. That’s a pretty steady burn – the way it’s supposed to be. I worry about falling off the wagon, but I feel like the biggest motivation is how much more comfortable I already feel in my own body. I don’t think the weight is noticeable for the most part to others, but to me it’s the difference between getting undressed in the dark and not minding the light on. Or squeezing myself into a pair of jeans versus having them glide on easily. A wise person once said “Nothing Tastes As Good As Thin Feels” and although people can say what they want about society’s unattainable standards of beauty, my version of “thin” is liking myself in my own skin. For some, it’s a number. I was never one of those people, since I always had a muscular/athletic build, my weight was always higher than one would expect.
Most importantly, I don’t want my children to obsess over their appearance or place any sort of power on that little scale in my bathroom so when I head out on Saturday mornings I tell Ryan I am going to my “Healthy Food Meeting” to make sure I continue to eat the right things and take care of my body, since I only have one. He seems to like that and I do, too.
I have heard from some of you about your struggles with losing the weight and I give you so much credit because it really is hard work. It takes sacrifice and dedication and it comes more easily to some people than to others. I just want you to know that I feel your frustration and understand the feeling of not being confident as a result of how you look. I wish I could say that I would be happy with how I looked no matter what the size, but then I’d just be lying.
I have seen people speak out about their struggle with weight and their declarations that their obsession with losing it is officially over. I have thought that in my head, but I always knew it wasn’t exactly true. I always like me, but I don’t always like how I look. So I ask you, honestly - does anyone really like being overweight or is it just another excuse for not taking care of what’s going on underneath those layers?
I proudly hail from Philly and am a die-hard Phillies baseball fan. If you’re from NY, you probably can’t pronounce my name, so here’s a tutorial: Say “apple”. (Good.) Now put a “D” in front – “Dapple”. (Nice job!) Now go from “Dapple” to “Dani” with that same short “a” sound like “Dannon yogurt” or “Dad”. (SEE? I knew you could do it!)
I am caught between loving being at home and being done with being at home. I thrive on structure and being busy, yet I dream of having nothing to do. I don’t like how I feel when I get more than 4 hours of sleep but am addicted to naps. I care too much about what others think (I keep those who don’t like or understand me in my life against my better judgment) but will never apologize for being who I am or for my parenting decisions – I do what’s best for my family, even if it’s considered unpopular.
I try to stay in a constant state of being overwhelmed, which somehow keeps me productive. I blog about family life at PlayingMom.com and while everyone is sleeping, I make children’s hair accessories to sell at fairs and on MyPrincessories.com. I talk just as freely about my experience with postpartum depression and miscarriage as I do about my failure as a laundress, my experience as an only child and my desire for Alexa to be the girly-girl that I never was, even though it’s not up to me. I feel there is no greater responsibility than being in charge of a human life, and I try to live in a manner that will make my children proud.