Thursday, 25 July 2013

Hula Hooping to Glory

                                              Me and my friends.  No, really...

I am now one week away from my bridesmaid dress fitting.  3 weeks away from my sister's wedding.  And starting to feel the burn on the body front.  Since reaching my original target weight, things have reached a plateau, which is perfectly fine and at least better than piling it on, but as the wedding date looms, I do feel as though I want to be at my best.  Of course, this renewed vigour has coincided with the start of the school holidays, thus rendering the Wii-Fit the only realistic option in terms of daily exercise.  Fitting meaningful exercise around children during the holidays is surely impossible.  A dear friend with a toddler and 3 month old told me yesterday that her doctor had suggested spending some time each morning "before everyone wakes up" to do her stomach exercises.  I think we can all agree that in a household with small children, there is no such time.  How we giggled at the doctor's advice.  As my friend put it, "It'll be hilarious until my stomach drops out of my a*se in a few years".  A sobering thought indeed, and I'm sure we'd have stopped giggling right there, had it not been for the fact that she had said it loudly in M&S and was now being stared at by startled bystanders.

Another friend happened across a quick half hour aerobics class in her local newspaper, and - buoyed by its brevity and accompanying lower price - immediately set off to make it her regular fix.  Except it transpired that it was only half an hour because it was high intensity.  7 minutes in, she was fairly sure she was going to be sick, and that was the point at which she was asked to get into a crab position, scuttle to one side of the church hall, drop a dozen press ups, and then scuttle back.  She made like a crustacean until she reached the door, and promptly escaped.

And so it is that each morning, my children have the dubious pleasure of watching their mother huff and puff as she Hula Hoops and Virtual-Step Classes her way to glory.  <Pauses to giggle at the notion of this waistline being anything like glorious>.  As I puffed on this morning (curtains firmly closed as I was still in pyjamas to add to the indignity), I thought about how delighted everyone was that La-Middleton didn't try to hide her baby bump, 24 hours after giving birth, and the outrage stirred up by a magazine publishing "insights" into her post-baby weightloss plans.  I was reminded of something I read that described post-baby stretch marks as hard earned tiger stripes. I quite like that as an image.  Now I just need to craft something similarly poetic about bingo wings...

Friday, 19 July 2013

Good Luck Team Wales!

This week I've been thinking more than usual about the Duchess of Cambridge.  She's generally there as a sort of low level background presence in my musings, you know, in a "Sheesh, I wish I had a stylist like Kate's to help me tackle this heat frizz..." sort of way.  But this week, as the world awaits news of the royal baby, I feel for her in a way that's probably faintly ridiculous considering we've never met.

It just brings back so many memories of being pregnant, and then the Herculean effort that is labour.  To have to do it with such intense media scrutiny must be incredibly difficult.  I say that, of course the media only really gets to see the public moments - I suspect it's unlikely Team Wales will pop up on "One Born Every Minute" - but still, it must be daunting.

When I arrived at hospital to have my first baby, it was a cold November Sunday, but I was toastie warm with the first flushes of pain, and remember waddling out of the taxi in flip flops, clutching my pillow and assorted "essentials" that all first timers probably take in with them.  I cheerily ambled up to the desk and announced "Hello, I'm here to have my baby!"  They took one look at me and popped me into a room that might as well have been marked "In nowhere near enough pain".  Some hours later, when I'd quit the cheery banter and was at full moo, we all knew baby was finally coming.  Mind you, the good cheer returned immediately after I'd met the little man, as to Mr W's amazement and probable shame, I treated everyone to a round of the national anthem, honked through the gas & air pipe.  Except I realised at the end that something was amiss, roundly apologised ("I'm SO sorry everyone, that was the American one, wasn't it?  Here we go...") and then proceeded to honk God Save the Queen.  It's probably just as well that I couldn't see the stitches that were being done at the time - I can't imagine the nurse's hand was awfully steady as she shook with laughter.

Given Baby Wales's family, the above musical interlude might be something Kate would like to think about -  #justsaying and all that.

Thursday, 11 July 2013

Feeling the Fear

At my friend's suggestion, I'm steering clear of singing Disney songs for a while - frankly it's getting ridiculous.

I've not had much luck with woodland folk of late.  Last week, a small bird plopped down our chimney (destroying our carpet with the accompanying soot and debris) and stared darkly at me for some considerable time before calmly flying out into the garden.  Then a few days ago, as I valiantly tackled some gardening while the children played, a frog (or was it a toad?) hopped on to my flip-flopped foot.  I screamed.  First because I thought it was a huge snail, and then again when it hopped off and I realised it had been something amphibious.  Eeeeuch.  I was on my own for the bird incident, but for Frog/Toadgate the boys were there to witness my reaction.  And what a reaction it was.  In that moment, I forgot I was a Mummy and reacted purely as me.  She who is afraid of spiders.  She who is a little afraid of the dark.  She who thinks frogs are slimey and yukky and...bleuurrrrrrggh.

The boys seemed quite bemused by it all.  My eldest stopped to enquire whether I was sure it was a frog (I had to admit I wasn't) and my youngest needed a wee, and wondered if he could possibly go al fresco.  It was a tiny reminder that actually us grown ups aren't always as interesting to our children as we might think.  Since becoming a Mummy, I have felt obliged to demonstrate fearlessness at all costs.  There's a huge spider in the bath?  Pah, not a problem!  In fact, isn't it a cute little thing? Look at all those hairy little legs.  Oooh, yes, he's a goodie, let's just pop a cup on him so that Daddy can see him when he gets home from work... (and yes, I do then watch the cup nervously out of the corner of my eye, to see if Spidey is moving it around with those aforementioned hairy little legs *shudder*)

I think it partly comes from a desire to avoid the trap of strong brave boys, and weedy Princessy girls.  I feel a sense of duty to raise young men who think women are awesome too.  Even if my youngest does add to my grey hairs regularly by delighting in telling me he only likes the naughty girls at nursery...

I think it's also partly because I feel the role demands it.  Being the only grown up on duty most days makes me feel as though I can't let the side down and rush around squealing - surely it's my job to make everyone feel safe?  Can I do that if they know I'm quaking in my Havaianas?

It was partly this thinking that led to the creation of Mummy's Adventure Board in the kitchen.  It features photos and souvenirs of me on assorted adventures.  My rule is that they have to be me in my own right, achieving some sort of goal or ambition.  As much as getting married and having these two gorgeous boys is a huge adventure, I want the board to depict other aspects of me, if that makes sense.  I'd say at this point it's about 50/50 between seeing the board as a way to inspire the boys and remind them that girls can do cool things too, and also as a reminder to myself that there is more to life than cooking a mean Bolognese.  I'm conscious that it's been a while since I've added to the board actually.  Time to think of some new adventures.  Mind you, if these woodland creatures keep turning up, I could be lassoing squirrels or riding muntjack before the week's out.