Exercise · Toddlerhood

Well done Mama, you made it!

That’s my toddler greeting me as I join her at the bottom of the slide at our local soft play. Not quite sure when she mastered condescension to such an expert level but she’s not entirely wrong to be surprised. It was just a few short months ago that I tried sliding down the big slide at the park and, well… there was no sliding to be had. I’d like to think it was the fact that the slide is notoriously slow but I suspect it had more to do with the width of my backside…..


Anyway, having successfully avoided soft plays for almost two years I now find myself visiting one (with the kid obvs) once a week. A few weeks ago we went to four different ones in the space of one week – Aba-Aba was away, the weather was miserable and we needed to entertain ourselves. I used to think soft plays were the 7th circle of hell, and depending on the day and the place they still can be, but it’s worth taking the risk when you’re guaranteed the kid is going to have a good time just with the presence of a big slide. Besides we’ve both been on a bit of a learning curve.

The kid has started to attempt to make friends with other kids. She used to select the point furthest away from other human beings her size and play there but now she waves at those that venture into her “play space.” The other day she even said hello. The other kid ignored her and ran away which prompted my kid to run after her yelling “Come back! Hello!”

All this attempting conversation has also meant that she’s come face to face with injustice. Up until last week she didn’t really care when another kid swiped a toy away. This time, a kid took a balloon right out of her hands and she was having none of it. She screamed “Mama!” and I found her glaring at the thief. She went to go snatch the balloon back but I told her not to, that that was unnecessary and we’d find another balloon. She stayed where she was, held my gaze but her expression basically read: ” I’m going to do as you say (this time) Mama but I think you’re out of your tree!”

As her speech has moved into phrase and sentence territory, her favourite by far is “do by y’self?” That gets applied to all sorts of situations but the most memorable so far was at the top of a huge slide, one that had a big sign that said toddlers need to slide on a mat with an adult. Have you ever tried to go down a slide with a toddler that decided at the top that she wants to “do by y’self,” screams said phrase over and over whilst also trying to fling herself out of your arms and into the next slide lane and simultaneously you’re trying to keep control of the mat so you can both get in it before it goes down the slide without you? I don’t recommend it. But that incident taught us about choices. You can choose to play in the under 3s play area or you can slide with me. She stuck to the play area…..

Another phrase she’s learnt, unfortunately for me, is “Mama come with me?” I see other parents, sitting at the adjacent tables enjoying a cup of coffee whilst their kids play in the play frame. How marvellous for them. Maybe one day that’ll be me…. But looking at the bright side soft play is rapidly becoming my preferred method of exercise. Who am I kidding? It’s now my only form of exercise. The clambering, climbing and squatting (so you don’t hit your head)… all good stuff…. and the small spaces. Wow, you just have to love the small spaces! The quick assessments you have to make to ascertain whether you’ll make it to the other side. Keeps your mind sharp… I never thought being afraid of having to be extracted from play gym equipment could be a legitimate fear, but it most certainly is.





Diet · Exercise

The scale hasn’t moved in weeks

It’s so disheartening. In fact the number has been creeping up and up all summer and now I’m back to where I was at the start of the year. I know I could make a better effort with the diet but it’s not like I’ve been (over) indulging. Mummy at Peter and Jane recently wrote about going for a run and lamented that for all the effort, the results aren’t immediate. I get that. I realise it’s scientifically impossible, but wouldn’t it be great if somehow the scales recognised intention and effort and showed you to be half a pound lighter after “being good” for a day? My thinking being that if there were some immediate reward then continuing to make an effort would be that much easier.

Now I know what you’re going to say; “forget about the scales – the numbers are meaningless, look at how your clothes fit.” Well, the ones I’ve bought since having the baby still (thankfully) fit but I have a wardrobe of clothes that don’t fit. I’m not yet willing to dispose of them, mainly because I love them and I’m hopeful. That said, I did squeeze my uneven arms* into a pre-pregnancy jacket and I don’t think anyone could tell that it was only mildly uncomfortable.

Anyway, last week I read this post about meal prep on one of my new favourite blogs,  DGGYST. So far, I’ve been ignoring this strategy but it’s everywhere and the concept is a simple one: have healthy food readily available and as easy to access as a packet of chocolate Hobnobs.

So earlier in the week I cleared my pantry of all junk or sugar laden items.

Ok. I ate everything and just didn’t buy any replacement sugary items.

Ok, I didn’t buy as many replacement items.

But it’s ok because I just finished eating those replacement items and I haven’t been to the shops since.

I spent 20 minutes cutting up vegetables so that I would reach for them instead of the Yorkie buttons (that I no longer have) after a feed (breastfeeding still makes me ravenous!). I also made my own trail mix with nuts and seeds and raisins for when out and about (raisins for a bit of sweetness, cos let’s face it – nuts and seeds by themselves are misery). Good start, right?

Well, at the end of the week, I’ve munched through the vegetables – that was a good idea and I do feel positively saintly. The trail mix is a poor substitute for chocolate but I will persevere. Somewhere in the mix this week there was half a tiramisu and a couple of mini Magnums – for balance. The scale still refuses to budge… I’ll let you know if and when it does….

This week I’m going to make a better effort at sticking to a family meal plan. I draw the line at making several dishes for one mealtime. If I pandered to everyone’s likes, dislikes and needs then dinner time would be white pizza for the husband, corn on the cob for the child (she’s obsessed – literally spent dinner time today squashing peas instead of eating them and asking for corn) and a quinoa/celery/kale/mung bean casserole for me. I can’t be bothered with the effort that would require. Of course I could I require everyone to eat mung bean casserole and as I witnessed this evening, if I leave the plate in front of the kid long enough (and not talk or make eye contact) she will eventually eat what’s in front of her – but I don’t want her to hate me so let’s compromise at baked fish and steamed vegetables…. might even include some corn on the cob……

*From time to time I see muscle definition in my left arm – from favouring that side to carry the baby. The right arm is a fair bit softer… any tips on how to even up that disparity (I have obviously tried carrying the kid on the right side) would be gratefully received…. 

Diet · Exercise

Breastfeed and the weight will fall off, they said…. 

My mother warned me years ago that if I ever were to get pregnant I’d be the kind that would get huge, the kind of huge that would inhibit my ability to drive a car. With those words ringing in my ears during my pregnancy I made sure to continue with my weekly Pilates class, I started swimming every other day, I even took a pregnancy yoga class with a psychotic yoga teacher (apparently there’s no such thing as pain, only pressure – 🙄). So, I was fairly proud of my ability to still drive myself to work at 8 months pregnant.

And then, with 6 weeks to go I developed PUPPS (Pruritic Uticarial Papules and Plaque of pregnancy – at least I think it was that, I wasn’t ever actually diagnosed, just monitored weekly). Itching constantly, hives everywhere. I had to bathe in oatmeal, sleep sitting up and swimming felt like I was being stung by 100 jellyfish. I felt truly sorry for myself. I stopped moving as much and the reasonable diet went by the wayside.

Fast forward to having the baby and I lose 10kg instantly. Then I spend hours sitting on my backside feeding my baby, supposedly burning 500 calories a day but the weight started creeping back up and a few months later I’m wondering why I weighed more then than the day I gave birth. Actually, I know very well why. Kit Kats. Did you know they come in packs of 21? #diedandgonetoheaven

So I decided to do something about this situation and I signed up to the local Buggyfit class. This involved driving 25 minutes to a park, meeting up with other mums and being led through a circuit around the park by a trainer. The premise was great, strength exercises interspersed with some speed walking around a lake, brilliant. Someone forgot to tell my kid this was a good thing. She was like a ticking time bomb. Would I get 10 minutes or 20 of her sitting in the pram before she lost her shit? And let me tell you, my kid doesn’t just whimper discontentedly. Nor does she give any prior warning before turning into a screaming banshee. One that would only be appeased if I got a boob out on a park bench and then carried her in a sling. This obviously hindered my ability to participate, although it was possible to do squats… So many squats.

And this happened every.single.week. Every single week, I would be told “just sort her out and catch up when you can.” So disheartening. And still I went, from April until June. Each week hoping this would be the week baby would give me an hour and stay in the pram. What is it they say about people doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different outcome?

In the summer I decided I could do without the public humiliation, googled “how to lose baby weight” and found the Fit Mommy Trainer. A 15 day programme which I did several times over and finally started seeing some results. Maybe I would have seen more if I’d followed the accompanying diet… Hmm…..

So I exercise most days of the week, but I still need to get to grips with my diet. I know what I’m supposed to do. Biscuits, chocolate, ice cream – bad; kale, spinach, quinoa – good. Every day I wake up and tell myself I’m going to eat better and I do try… But the very fact that I’m eating a chocolate chip cookie as I write this shows you how often I succeed. That said, I haven’t had a Kit Kat in ages but can we talk about Yorkie Mansize buttons…?