Thursday, August 28, 2014

Homework Help

Alyssa told me last night that she needed help with her homework. I managed not to sigh and instead nodded. I just hoped it wasn’t math. I am not a fan of math but I don’t want to color her opinion of the subject so I usually try to keep my trap shut when I’m helping her with her math homework.

I was washing dishes when she came in and told me that the homework she needed help with was the story of how she got her name.

Huh. Okay. That’s easy.

She wrote while I spoke.

“A couple of months before I was born (I spoke as if she were speaking so that it was easier for her to write this story from a first person point of view.) my dad was working third shift. He came home on night and suggested the name Alyssa. My mom, who’d been sound asleep when he asked the question, muttered, ‘It’s on my list.’ From that point forward, my dad refused to discuss any names at all, since Alyssa was the name he liked and it was on my mom’s list. So Alyssa it was.

“My middle name is Jean. My mom’s middle name is Gean. She decided to spell my name with a J because my dad’s middle name is James and she thought it was kind of cool to mix their two middle names and spell Jean correctly.”

The next question was, “What was I going to be named if I’d been the opposite gender?”

This one was easy too. I told her, “Ian William.”

She nodded, “Cool. Thanks Mom.”

Damn, I wish all her homework was this easy.

Tom, from the other room, protested at my telling of Alyssa’s naming story. He didn’t remember refusing to discuss any other names once Alyssa had been suggested. I informed him that my telling of the story was correct and suggested that he think really hard about it and get back to me. He reported back about five minutes later that my telling was probably correct.

Yes. Thanks. I know.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Lucky

Do you know how lucky I am? I do.

I watch my younger daughter every single day and I marvel at how lucky we are. We’re lucky that she’s here, she’s alive. Babies born with 5p- syndrome sometimes don’t make it much past birth. This is devastating to me. They sometimes aren’t strong enough to live outside their mother’s body.

But Olivia cooked nine days past her due date, she grew to five whole pounds and added two whole ounces to that and she made it. Sure, she spent eleven days in the NICU but she’s here, she’s gloriously alive.

That alone is reason enough to acknowledge my luck.

But my luck (Olivia’s luck?) didn’t stop there. We brought her home and she grew and while she was delayed in almost every area, she was also growing, learning, showing the world what she could do.

We started therapies for her when she was a year old. Again, we got so, so lucky. We found wonderful, loving therapist who took Olivia from a lump of a baby who would stay right where you put her to a child who sat up at a year old, crawled at seventeen months and walked at twenty-nine months. She started talking six months after she started walking.

All the research said she wouldn’t be able to talk. One of the biggest affected areas of 5p- syndrome is speech. But she talks. There are days when I long for a moment of silence as she chatters on and on about her imaginary friends.

But then I stop longing for her to stop talking and I sit in wonder at how lucky we are. Olivia can TALK to us. She can get up from one part of the room, WALK over to where I am and tell me what is on her mind. She can narrate intricate stories and remember details from months ago (though she always says, “Remember last week when you/we/I…Everything happened last week as far as O is concerned. I will actually be a little sad when she outgrows this.)

We got pretty darned lucky medically too. She’s had a few issues, but nothing major. She had to have tubes in her ears at eight months old but that took care of the constant infections. She’s had random colds/pneumonia/strep but those things are knocked out with antibiotics. She’s had her heart, lungs, kidneys and brain scanned one way or another and every single doctor reports that she’s perfect.

And she is. She’s my perfect girl who gets annoyed by the seams in socks and wants her hair just right.

When I got home last night, she ran to me to express exasperation at some of the girls in the other first grade class, “Do you know what they do!?” she wanted to know.

I told her that I did not know what those girls do but I’d love for her to tell me. She continued, “They bring Barbies from home and play with them at recess!”

She was stunned that this was even a possibility. She went on to say, “The teachers don’t even say anything to them.”

I managed not to laugh at her outrage and instead asked, “Do you want me to send a note to your teacher to ask if you can bring a Barbie to play with at recess?”

She thought about this for several minutes before answering, “No, I just like to swing.”

And that was that. I am so lucky that she can express outrage at the idea that a rule is being broken. We are lucky that she understands the rules and wants to abide by them. We are lucky that she notices her peers these days, watches them and perhaps someday will speak to them, play with them.

But even that feels greedy. We’ve already been so lucky just to know this girl, to love her, to watch her learn and grow and walk and talk. She’s happy and for that I know just how lucky I am.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Clever

Olivia loves to tell me stories about her imaginary friends.

Last weekend, it was all about Mush Mush. Olivia announced that Mush Mush and Mush Mush’s mom were going to town with us that day. She described Mush Mush’s outfit, her hair style, her choice of accessories.

I think Mush Mush is older than Olivia. At least, most days she is. Olivia likes to declare Mush Mush’s age according to what Mush Mush needs to do that day.

As the morning progresses, Mush Mush’s outfit and hair became fancier and fancier. Finally, Olivia declared that Mush Mush was wearing make-up.

She said, “Mush Mush’s mom lets her wear make-up every day.”

“That’s nice of her mom,” I said, distracted. I’d been listening to Mush Mush stories for going on three hours at that point, including my time in the shower, thank you very much.

“Do you know why Mush Mush’s mom lets her wear make-up?” Olivia asked turning my face to her so that she was sure I was listening.

“Why?” I asked, finally paying attention.

“Because,” she said pointedly, “she wants her to be…HAPPY.”

Ha! Hahahaha. I laughed and laughed at that not-so-subtle dig at my refusal to put make-up on my seven year old. Obviously, I don’t want Olivia to be happy since I won’t let her wear make-up every day.

That Olivia is a clever one. Don’t ever let her quiet, sweet fa├žade fool you.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Preserved

So far this summer my husband has canned fifty quarts of green beans. I have not snapped a single green bean this year. I told him at the beginning of the summer when he was planting the garden that I was not going to snap beans this year. He planted those evil things anyway and so I let him do it all himself.

And I feel no guilt over this.

But maybe…um, I don’t know how else to explain the fact that I spent hours this past weekend peeling and chopping garlic, onions and tomatoes to help Tom can salsa. What else explains my sudden helpfulness but perhaps a bit of residual guilt?



Well, okay, so even if I didn’t necessarily feel guilty over the bean situation, I did feel like Tom deserved a little help with the salsa. After all, I do intend to partake in the bounty of our salsa in the coming year. And salsa is a big job. There are just so many steps, from picking the vegetables from the garden, washing them, peeling them, boiling them and THEN peeling them (I’m looking at you, tomatoes!) After all the prep, you have to boil your jars and simmer your vegetable mix.

So we worked together. And it was good.

Except that Tom didn’t sleep at all Saturday night. Even though I peeled and chopped the onions, the garlic and the tomatoes, he had to stay awake to actually process the salsa. He ended up canning 35 quarts and seven pints of salsa that night.

I appreciate the work he put into it even though I think he’s sort of a glutton for punishment. He chose to do all this the night before we had to drive an hour and a half to a birthday party for his grandson, who turned two on Saturday.

Don’t worry, I drove us to Huntington so Tom could sleep a bit but, unfortunately for him, he seems to have a problem with my driving, in that he fears I won’t drive fast enough if he isn’t awake and watching the speedometer. Whatever.

And of course, since school started last week, we are now suffering from the hottest temperatures to hit so far this summer. We spent the entire summer enjoying temps in the high seventies and very low eighties. For the past week, we’ve had temps in the low nineties with the humidity hovering around ninety-five percent. Ugh!

I’m glad that Sunday evenings are bath nights because after a day at a party for a toddler, both A and O were sweaty messes. But the birthday boy was adorable and in the end, that’s all that counts, right?

Oh, and the fact that Tom was able to

Friday, August 22, 2014

Prosthetic

One of my girls’ favorite movies is Soul Surfer, the story about Bethany Hamilton and how her arm was bitten off by a shark but she went on to become a professional surfer anyway.

I like this movie too, I think that Bethany is an amazing role model for strength, faith and perseverance. I also like how her family is portrayed in the movie, very supportive, loving, protective and yet they let her shine too.

Soon after we watched the movie for the first time, Alyssa was taking a bath and remembered the scene in the movie where Bethany took one of her Barbies and snapped the arm off of her. Bethany’s mom says, “I like her better that way.”

This scene was right after Bethany was fitted for a prosthetic arm only to be told that it was in no way weight bearing. She asked how she was supposed to surf with it. When she was told she couldn’t, she asked that it be taken off and left.

In the bath, Alyssa tried to snap her own Barbie’s arm off but this Barbie was obviously made differently from the one in the movie because there was no snapping. Instead, we brought out the scissors and Alyssa made her own ‘Bethany Barbie.


In the last few months, Olivia has discovered our bin of Barbies and she’s found her favorite, the Bethany Barbie. She loves that Barbie so much.

The other night, she asked me if we could make her Bethany Barbie a new arm. I told her that we’d thrown the arm away when we cut it off years ago. She looked at me like I was stupid and said, “I know, but in the movie, Bethany gets a new arm for a little while.”

Oh, duh! I said, “You mean you want us to make her a prosthetic arm?”

Olivia nodded. “Can we do it with paper and some tape?”

I told her we could try.

We sat down with some paper, a pencil, scissors and some of Tom’s packing tape. I used the Barbie’s right arm as a model for the missing left one and drew out an arm. Then I cut it out and let Olivia help me tape it onto the Barbie.

She was so thrilled with our creation. I asked her how long Bethany Barbie was going to wear the arm. She said, “Not long, I just like looking at it for a minute.”

After all, in the movie, Bethany didn’t wear the prosthetic arm for longer than thirty seconds if that.

I love that her imagination is firing and her creativity is blossoming. Now, if only her fine motor skills would catch up with her brain, I wouldn’t have to try and be crafty when we all know that is not my strong point. (Please don’t ask me what my strong point is. I’m still looking for it.)

Though I have to confess that when she later asked if we could tie her own left arm behind her back and make HER a prosthetic arm, I distracted her with chocolate. I’m not sure even my fine motor skills are up to drawing out a paper arm the size a seven year old would need.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

The Magic of the Snowman

I took Olivia to see our family doctor on Monday. She needed a pneumonia shot since she’d had pneumonia back in April. He mentioned that there are a ‘bazillion types of germs that cause pneumonia’ but if we can stop even one from causing it, it’s worth it.

So she got a mini-physical too. She’s healthy and tough. She barely flinched when the nurse gave her the shot. The nurse was duly impressed with O’s tenacity.

Before the nurse came in with the needle though, the girls and I waited at least fifteen minutes after the doctor left.

The door was left slightly ajar and both girls were driving me crazy with this insane need to lean on me or against me or touch me in some way at all times.

I finally said, “Do you think they forgot us?”

Alyssa shrugged.

Olivia blinked at me. “Maybe they did forget us,” she agreed.

So I suggested we sing. Since the door was open a little, surely someone out there would hear us and be reminded that we were still there.

Alyssa suggested that they’d come in soon and that singing was unnecessary.

But since I’d had the idea, I just couldn’t NOT sing. So it began.

The song they hate me singing the most is Do You Want to Build a Snowman from Disney’s Frozen.

I’d barely gotten to “I never see you anymore, unlock the door…” when the nurse entered the room, smiling and saying, “Is someone singing?”

Alyssa wanted to die right there and Olivia giggled.

I said with a shrug, “They were getting bored. I thought I’d entertain them.”

After the shot was administered and Olivia picked out three Dum Dum suckers (the nurse was seriously impressed with her non-crying from the shot) we headed out of the office and I whispered to Alyssa, “It worked.”

She rolled her eyes at me but couldn’t suppress the smile that my gloating brought out in her.

I may not be the best singer in the world, but my voice does get noticed.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Starting Off with a Bang

So it’s the first day of school. We all got up with not problems, even though Olivia had a VERY restless night (she was awake, squirming next to me from 11pm to 2:30am. I know…) Breakfasts were eaten, hair was brushed, and then, while sitting in front of the television watching Wall E, I heard the honk.

It was the bus. She was 45 minutes early.

Okay, wait. She was early according to she pick up schedule we got from the school last night. She was right on time according to last year’s schedule.

Tom, the only one wearing shoes, went out and talked to her.

She told him you can’t trust anything the school tells you. So, yeah, okay then. Tomorrow we’ll be ready at 6:40.

But today, I got to drop the girls off at school. Which was fine and actually kind of nice for all of us. I walked them into the school where Alyssa immediately took a left and headed to the BIG kids end of the school and Olivia and I stood by the office, waiting for the teacher who’d promised she’d be there when the kids got off the bus that morning. We beat the bus which meant the teacher wasn’t so much late as we were early.

When the bus meeting teacher arrived, I hugged Olivia, wished her the best first day of school ever and headed to work.

Go me, I was only seven minutes late, which worked out just fine because when I called my boss to tell him I might be late, I said something about being ten minutes late, which means really, I was three minutes early. Like I said, go me!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Open House

School starts tomorrow for A and O.

This summer has been a quick one, and a cool one. We made it to the pool all of four times and the lake twice. It’s kind of sad this this week has been one of the hottest we’ve had so far this summer.

Alas, all good (and mediocre) things must come to an end and so this afternoon when I get home from work I’ll brush O’s hair, make sure A brushed her own, we’ll pack their school supplies into the car and head to the school for the open house.

Olivia’s teacher called me yesterday to remind me of this event. Not that I needed to be reminded but I appreciated the call because on the list sent home in June, Olivia was in one of the regular teacher’s classrooms. I was wondering if we were supposed to go to the teacher she was assigned in the IEP meeting or if she was supposed to go to the room on the list. Question answered! She’s going to Mrs. A’s room, will start there each day, spend most of the day there with Mrs. A, an aide and three other students. This is going to be a great year for Olivia.

She will eat lunch with the rest of the first graders as well as go to gym/art/music/library with them and recess, of course.

I’m excited for Olivia because Mrs. A is a teacher she’s worked with for the past two years. She already speaks to her, so this should be a fabulous placement for her. I’m crossing my fingers, though, just to be safe.

Alyssa is actually ready for school to start. She already knows where her locker is and what the combination is. She thinks she’s got the best locker placement EVER. It’s actually right across the hall from her homeroom teacher’s classroom, so I’m inclined to agree with her that it’s an awesome locker to have.

She’s ready to spend time with her friends, to have a regular schedule and, well, to have to get dressed every day and perhaps shower more than once a week. Not that she’s spent her summer in her stinky pajamas, unshowered and unscheduled, but, well if the non-schedule fits…
While I’m kind of glad school is starting, I’m dreading the earlier wake up that we will all face. As far as I know (since I haven’t heard a word from the girls’ bus driver) they will get on the bus at 6:40 just like last year. Yikes. I hate that they’re on the bus for an hour each morning. But, logistically, I can’t drop them off and still get to work on time.

On the bright side, even though they’re the first ones on the bus in the mornings, they’re also the first ones off in the afternoons, so they spend all of ten minutes on the bus on the way home.

Alyssa insists she likes being the first ones on and the long ride doesn’t bother her. In fact, I think that even if I could drop them off, she wouldn’t want to do so. So I guess everyone is happy except me, the one who has to wake up at 5:15 to make sure lunches are packed, forms are signed, breakfasts are eaten, hair and teeth are brushed and faces are kissed before each pick up.

All this complaining aside, everyone who knows me knows I wouldn’t change a thing. I’m pretty darned lucky to get to live this life of mine.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Endurance

We took the girls school clothes shopping this weekend. Of course this shopping had to take place at the mall.

I made Olivia wear her new tennis shoes because I knew it would be a day of walking. She was mad that I wouldn’t let her wear her flip flops but, well, I got over her anger at me.

We hit all of three stores, the food court, rode the carousel and soon headed home.

As of this morning, both A and O told me their feet were still sore from ‘all that walking.’

OMG.

Seriously, kids? What is up with their lack of stamina?

I feel like I need to start some sort of endurance boot camp for these kids.

My mom and I were both still going strong by the time we headed home but both of my girls were whiny and complainy about sore feet and tired legs.

Okay, so they are young and life is hard when people are buying you new shoes and clothes. Poor little princesses.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Appreciation

We all want to be appreciated. We all want someone to acknowledge that what we do is noticed and considered important.

I wonder if maybe some of the biggest issues in marriages (mine, included) come down to both partners not feeling appreciated.

Take, for example, the post office runs my husband wants me to make several times a week. I often do not feel at all appreciated for this.

Yet, I wonder if maybe he also doesn’t feel appreciated for all that he does, such as tending the garden, mowing the lawn, canning the beans and all that entails, from prep to putting the finished goods in the basement.

So…I need to make a little change. If I want to be appreciated, I need to appreciate. I need to acknowledge how hard he works and how important the work he does really is. I need to tell him these things, use the words that I would like to hear because, well, I think we all need to hear those things more often.

And when I’m feeling unappreciated? I need to speak up, mention that I’m feeling taken for granted. I need to learn to voice these things in a non-whiny, non-confrontational tone of voice.

I’m trying here and I plan to try even harder in the coming days/weeks/months. Perhaps even in the coming years. I love my life and I need to let those who are a part of it know that.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Finding My Non-Whiny Voice

I hate confrontation. My default tone of voice when in the middle of a confrontation is ‘whiny.’ I hate that about myself. I hate the sound of my voice when I’m whining.

But…I’m also tired of avoiding confrontation at all costs to the point that I often feel as if I’m being taken advantage of. So I am trying to find my voice.

I’m also trying to find a voice that is less whiny than my own actual voice.

Whininess is often not taken seriously. Or, it can cause the person hearing it to shut down completely without even hearing what I’m actually trying to say. They hear the whine in my voice and that’s it, that’s all they hear. I want to change that.

I wish I were one of those people who can calmly, sanely, non-whiningly state their point of view and then let things go.

Alas, I worry, I over-think, I stress all day long over a conversation that lasted maybe three sentences, even knowing that the other party in that conversation probably didn’t think a single thing about it, other than to perhaps think for a moment that I’m a whiny bitch but then forget about my whiny bitchiness for the rest of the day.

I want to be more forward about my needs, my wants, my rights. I want to be able to voice these things in a non-confrontational way, a way that is simply speaking my wishes and then, if the person to whom I am speaking doesn’t agree, I want to be able to let it go, resolute in my assurance that I am not being unreasonable, I am not being selfish, I am just asserting my own opinion and letting people know what I am and am not willing to do to make THEIR lives easier.

I want all of these things for my own sanity and comfort but I also want them because I’d rather my children not grow up seeing their mother being a pushover and a damned martyr. I’m so tired these days and things are piling up in my head and on my heart.

I need to let them go, get them out. But I wish I could do that without whining.

Oh, the whining that is both in my head and coming out of my mouth. Ugh!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

2:00am to 4:30am

I am a terrible mother between the hours of midnight and 5am. I just am. I want to sleep without someone digging her toes into my calf. I want to sleep without someone wriggling and twisting next to me. I want to sleep without a child next to me at all, if possible.

Unfortunately, last night, Olivia didn’t want to give me any of my preferences. She wanted to lay next to me and toss and turn for over two and a half hours.

I threatened, I cajoled, I begged, I yelled at her to just go to sleep.

Each time, she’d whisper, “Okay.”

She’d be still for thirty seconds and go back to her energetic ways.

I don’t know what was wrong with her. She wasn’t sick, she didn’t to pee (she’d already done so at the start of her time in my bed at 2am.) She just couldn’t get back to sleep.

Since it is still summer, her not being able to sleep wouldn’t be such a big deal if she’d just lay in her bed and toss and turn on her own. But no, she wants company when she can’t sleep. She wants someone else to be even more miserable than she is.

It’s incredibly frustrating and then I feel terrible for how irritable I am when I tell her for the seven hundredth time to go to sleep.

It was horrible.

It’s the story of my life.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Sticker Shock

We had a wonderful time last week at the zoo. Well, we did after Tom got over the shock of how expensive it was just to get into the zoo.

Ha! Poor guy doesn’t get out much and so when he does, he’s surprised that things cost more than they did back in 1982.

When you add the price of entrance to the cost of the horse rides (2, both for Alyssa), face painting (1 for Olivia), carousel rides (two, one for each girl) and the river ride through the Australian Outback (three, one for me, one for A and one for O) well, you’re tacking on another $25 to the $46 it already cost just to get into the zoo.

I reminded Tom that we were being frugal by bringing our own food instead of buying a $3 slice of pizza and a $2 Coke for each of us. He wasn’t amused by my rationalization. But he still managed to have a good time. Big of him, huh?

Olivia got a little antsy during our African safari but that was because she was hot and hungry. Once we got out of Africa, we dug into the food we’d brought, gave her some icy cold water and the girl was ready to tackle Indonesia.

When we finally left the zoo, both girls were starving and so I told them we’d stop at McD’s on the way home. This didn’t make Tom happy either. He felt like they could both snack on what was left of lunch and be fine until we got home. But since I’d already said the word “McDonald’s” out loud, he couldn’t very well be an ogre and not go along with it. Well, he tried but he was overruled. I almost felt guilty.

Except, he ‘forgot’ to stop at the first McD’s we found. Then we were on the highway and the next one wasn’t for another fifteen miles.

I still made him stop in Auburn because, well, damn it, we were having and adventure and it needed to include chicken nuggets made from pieces and parts of chicken!

We got to Auburn and made our way to the McD’s only to find it...had been…torn down! What the hell?!

Tom turned us around and went back toward Walmart. He said, “We need bananas.”

Huh. Okay then. I said I’d got back to the deli and get the girls some popcorn chicken hold them until we got home. Yay! The day had been salvaged by deep fried chicken formed into a small ball.

Both A and O devoured their popcorn chicken, Tom added a watermelon to his produce selection and everyone was happy.

True story.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Squeezing the Last Bit of Fun Out of Summer

I’m taking the next two days off work and trying to salvage what is left of summer. It’s been a quick one. It’s also been on the cool side this summer so we haven’t made many trips to the pool or lake.

Sure, we did our big Cedar Point trip and that was great fun, but it was all of three days. The rest of the summer was zoomed by without much fanfare.

Here we are, exactly two weeks away from the first day of school. This weekend the girls and I will be purchasing school supplies. Next weekend, we’ll head to the mall to look for school clothes and shoes. Yikes. And let me say now how hard it is to find shoes for Olivia’s little Rapunzel feet. They’re long and narrow and she’s very, very picky. If a shoe doesn’t go on right the first time, she absolutely refuses to let me try the same pair on her again. She will insist, “They’re annoying. They bother my toes. They’re too tight.”

So yes, I’m so looking forward to that adventure.

But that’s another week away. This week, we’re going to go to the zoo and maybe the pool if it’s warm enough on Friday.

And the bonus part? Tom is going with us! I know, right? Wonders never cease.

I asked him off-handedly a few days ago, “Are you going to the zoo with us?”

And I almost fainted when he said, “Yeah, I probably will.”

He never wants to do things like this. I’m so thrilled to have him along but I honestly expected his answer to my question to be, “No, I have too much to do around here.”

I would have been fine with that, since, you know, I was expecting it. But for him to want to go? Yay!

Though I did pave the way a little by telling him, “I already promised Lyssie that she can ride the horses at least twice.” Because I know Tom and I know he’d probably try to limit her to riding once and for Alyssa, who loves horses more than, well, almost anything, once would not be enough.

So yes, we’re having a little family zoo trip tomorrow. It ought to be great fun. And very tiring, but yes, great fun too.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

The Baby

I have a cousin who has three sons and the youngest of those three sons has been pissed off his entire life over being the baby of the family. At three years old, this child went around telling everyone he was five. He always, ALWAYS wanted to be older than he was. He hated that his next older brother was five whole years older than he is.

Last night, I made dinner and put it on the table in front of the girls. I then walked away to get something and Olivia called out to me, “But what about feed me?”

I laughed and told her, “You’re a big girl. You can take bits all by yourself.”

She sighed and picked up her spoon. I started to walk away but then turned back and asked her, “Do you just like it better when Daddy or I feed you?”

She nodded, a silly grin on her face.

My girl…she likes being the baby. She loves being babied and has never, ever wished to be older or more independent than she is.

I sometimes feel lucky that my youngest child enjoys that distinction. But then I worry that we’re stunting her development by indulging her desire to be babied. I know she needs to be independent and learn life skills. We work on these things and we encourage her to be independent.

But there are days when I am more than willing to snuggle my baby a little longer, to hold her tighter and let her continue to be the baby as long as she wants. It just works for us.

Monday, August 4, 2014

He Just Doesn't Get It

Tom likes to tease Alyssa about being, in his words, a moose. He has also put limits on her snacking in the evening.

I’ve bitten my tongue and tried not to interfere as long as he makes his limits about health and not about weight.

Alyssa is not fat. She doesn’t think she’s fat and I don’t want her to start thinking about her weight at all. She’s healthy, she’s tall, she’s strong.

I tried to explain to Tom on Sunday morning that he needs to be really careful about his teasing and his food issues. He got annoyed, telling me that he never mentions weight or tells her she’s fat. He just wants to limit the amount of junk food she eats in the evenings after dinner.

I agreed with him that she loves her junk in the evenings and that we need to help her eat better for nutritional reasons but I also tried to explain to him that girls are sensitive. We take things differently than they’re meant.

I told him that I didn’t want either of our daughters to ever hate their bodies as much as I hate mine.

I think I must have gotten teary as I said this because he replied, “Well, you don’t have to cry about it.”

Ugh! Ass.

Seriously, why are guys such jerks sometimes? I wanted him to realize that the tears were a sign of how important this subject is and how hard it is to overcome body image issues once they’ve taken root in a girl’s head.

A little later, he said off-handedly, “You know you shouldn’t hate yourself, right?”

Duh.

I replied, “Yes, I know that. But knowing it doesn’t actually take away the hate.”

He said, “Well, most people I know have things about their bodies that they’d like to change.” He then poked his stomach out and patted it. The man has to exert serious energy to have enough of a stomach to pat. Jerk.

“Not the same thing,” I told him. “Wanting to change things and feeling a seething hatred of yourself are very different things. And when you have to force your stupid stomach out to make a point, you have no room to talk.”

He laughed because he knows I’m right.

But he doesn’t really get it. This is a man who can lose fifteen pounds in two weeks by giving up ice cream and bread. Then he can add bread back in and be just fine. He will never get it.

But I won’t stop trying to explain it to him because we have daughters and I don’t want what he considers teasing to give them issues they’ll be dealing with for the rest of their lives.

I owe that to my beautiful, healthy, smart, kind, loving girls. And he owes it to them to try to understand and even empathize even if he never really gets it.