Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Confessions of the world's greatest babysitter

I babysat for my big sister's 3 kids on Saturday night. It is always a challenge. My sister's parenting style is different to mine. While I can't wait to get my kids into bed by 7.30pm, her bedtime "routine" stretches well into the night. I am not too sure of the full sequence of events, but over the years I have witnessed trampolining, bedtime dance-time, family songs, sweet milk and vitamins, stacks of books, and motivational CDs. She does have the world's worst sleeper as her oldest child, but still...

I got to her place at 8.15pm (they were off to a late movie). All three of the kids were still up (including Miss C who is yet to be 2). They had been at the beach all afternoon/evening and were, quite literally, bouncing off the walls. Sis assured me that they would be off to bed in the usual manner. I was equally sure they wouldn't. She did the rounds and slotted them all in. The bedside lamps of the 2 older kids were left on, Mr M had his latest motivational CD playing on rotation, and I was given instructions to turn the lamps out after 15mins (and to leave the hall light on).

I settled on the couch, checking out their new Tivo. After 15 mins, I went into the kids rooms. I checked Miss A who had conked out and was fast asleep hugging a menagerie of stuffed animals. A quick pull-up of the covers and she was off for the night. One down (8.30pm). Not bad.

I then checked on Mr M. He was wide awake. He assured me that he usually had a glass of water and got up to go to the toilet (in the family bathroom) before bed. As he has an ensuite in his room, I allowed him to use that, fill up his cup and then guided him back into bed. He protested. Tried it on, but in the end he wasn't any trouble and by 9pm he was asleep. 2 down. Unbelievable.

Lastly I checked on Baby A. She was fully asleep. I pulled up her covers and left quietly. All the kids asleep. 9pm. Whoa Hoo.

I decided to get myself something to snack on and then settle into some trashy mags before my planned nap on the couch. I was loving myself and the evening of quiet.

I opened the pantry door and was greeted by a packet of chocolate toffee coated macadamias. Macadamia nuts first coated in toffee and then quality milk chocolate. Oh my! I decided I could have a little taste. Biggest mistake. I had one. And then another. I closed the pantry door and returned to the couch, only to find myself back there getting another couple of nuts moments later. And then I had gotten halfway through the packet and I thought I could hide them at the back and they might not notice them. And then I had another couple. And then there were only 3 left and I thought, I may as well get rid of the evidence, maybe they won't miss them? I ate the lot! 150g of pure heaven. Weight Watchers? What's that? Oh my. Delicious. Awesome beyond explanation.

I spent from 10.30 -11.30 trapped on the toilet. Some would call this karma. I think it was just a mean prank of nature, but I get Irritable Bowel Syndrome and my daliance with the macadamias obviously triggered a bout. I was as sick as a dog. I was too 'tied up' (so to speak) to call my sister to warn her that I was incapable of looking after her children should anyone wake and need some adult intervention. I was just stuck and had to do what needed doing and hope that the kids would be all right. They were, luckily. Not a peep.

After an hour of hell, I struggled my way back to the couch where I resumed my plan for a nap. I promptly fell asleep and was woken when my sis and b-i-l returned from their date. I had to confess both my binge and subsequent "punishment". They were pretty understanding really (B-i-l had bought said chocolates for sis in Melbourne when he was down there last week, apparently a little ritual they have when they go there) which only made me feel worse.

So if anyone knows where I can buy some of those chocolates in Sydney, please let me know. I really should replace my sister's stash. I, on the other hand, won't be going there again.

Saturday, 27 March 2010

Musings from a weight loss journey

March 31 is the final day of our Weight Watchers program. It has been amazing and I have been truly transformed. Some thoughts on the process...

The weightloss has been far greater than I expected. It started with a bang (3.7kg in the first week) and kept steadily going down. I was aiming to lose 8kg in the 3 months (I thought I was being optimistic too which is hard for me, being a pessimist). In total I have lost 11.7kg. From a start weight of 87.9 down to 76.2kg. Only a couple of kilos shy of my "healthy weight range" and well on the way to a better shape and fitter lifestyle. I did plateau for the last couple of weeks and I think this is a combination of being less committed to the program (it certainly worked well when I was following all of the rules) and getting closer to my weight goal. Life just gets in the way sometimes don't you think?

I was one of the "on-line only" users, although other "star-bloggers" were doing the meetings or a combination I think? I found the on-line WW program easy to follow, although having done the program through traditional "meetings" approach before was helpful I think. I had all the basics down-pat before I started (just needed to be dredged from the bottom of my cortex). My advice to anyone tackling this approach would be to take your time to set up your "favourites" and recipes in the beginning (while it is all new and exciting) to save you time down the track.

The WW recipes are truly great. Tasty. Quick. Easy to prepare. Low in Points. What's not to like? I have some cookbooks that I have bought over the years and I downloaded many for future use too. They have helped me to modify some of my cooking techniques in other family favourites to improve the healthiness of our home menu, without altering the taste. This will definitely be a change for life!

One downside of the online program is that it has SO MUCH information that I think if you were new to all of this it would be a little daunting. Take baby steps. I found the Community noticeboards really helpful too, especially when the motivation lagged. There are lots of others documenting their journeys and you can gain valuable thin-spiration from them. Join a "thread" and interact with other Weight Watchers. The community members also pointed me in the direction of other awesome websites (such as www.coolrunning.com where I discovered the runner within) that have supported my Weight Watchers program with exercise and other lifestyle changes. There are a lot of people out there losing a LOT of weight with this Weight Watchers and they are changing their lives in the process. It is amazing!

So really, this has been an EXCELLENT start to 2010 for me. I feel fitter, healthier and, most importantly, more in control of my eating and it is all thanks to Kidspot Social, Weight Watchers and me! I will be continuing my weight loss journey out of the world of "overweight" and into my healthy weight range and hope to acheive this by my 37th birthday (May 21).
I will be back after my final weigh in on Monday. Maybe I will get that 300g I have been trying to remove for the last 2 weeks to make it a clean 12kg. You'll have to tune in to find out :)

Monday, 22 March 2010

Taking a weigh-in pass.

I have decided to take a pass on the weigh in at this stage in the week. It has been one of those weeks, and while I have done lots of exercise, I have been eating for England. I'm taking a WW pass for the minute. This is a legitimate option in the Weight Watchers plan. You are allowed to take a week off from the scales. I might try to pull my head in so I can face the scales on Thursday or so, but for now I am just staying away. The bloated feeling in my tummy is enough of a giveaway that things are not pretty right now. I will weigh myself again when I feel like I have recovered from the Indian I had on Saturday night and the extra few glasses of wine on Sunday, not to mention the lolly snakes that I binged on (did I tell you how much I love a good lolly?)...

How did you go this week? Anyone else taking a pass?

Thursday, 18 March 2010

Meet my friend Flappy

I was out walking with the babies this morning when I saw this amazing woman. She was tall, lean and immaculately dressed in the latest sportswear. She was running, and I mean running not just jogging like I do, and appeared to have the most beautiful running style. Graceful, long strides with shoulders down and relaxed. For a second I wished that I were her. For a second I wished that I could run as fast as she can and that my body could take on her form. That was, until I saw it. Flappy.

I thought it was just me, but upon closer inspection, you see them all the time. Flappy is obviously not just for young players, like me, because even some of those experienced types have one. Even really good runners can have them. Flappy. You know the hand that seems to flap instead of comfortably sitting in the loose fist position?

I first encountered flappy (as I affectionately named it) when I started doing the C25k program. Even doing a 60 second interval in the first week, I noticed that I have one hand that will not be still. Robert, the guy who recorded the series of Podcasts that I listen to (www.ullreys.com/robert/Podcasts/ ) mentioned early in the program that you need to develop a 'comfortable' running position'. So when I was checking my position, I noticed this silly hand thing that I do. I have been trying really hard not to do it but every now and then I check myself and there it is. Flappy.

The other day I noticed a bloke who was running at the park also had a version of flappy. His was the first flappy that I had noticed, other than my own. Actually if I am honest, his was in much worse condition than mine is. He gave me some comfort. And now I have been further validated by the appearance of this third flappy. The awesome lady that I spotted this morning. The awesome lady whose life I coverted for a brief second. The awesome lady who sported a flappy. Phew. It is not just me.

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Oh for some babies that would sleep!

Image credit
The twins are approaching 15 months. They still have 2 day sleeps, but I want them to drop to one. I know it sounds crazy, but with Nugget starting school, and them sleeping twice a day, Doo Dah and I have been stuck at home for the past 2 months. We have barely been able to leave the house. It is tedious and Doo Dah is bored and watching too much TV!

So for the last week or so I have commenced operation one-day-sleep and have been "stretching" them out in the morning and trying to put them in for just one sleep. The problem is that they are now only sleeping for 40 minutes in the middle of the day. That's it. No more. In my haste to improve my own outlook, I have effectively changed them from three hours of sleep to one 40 minute nap.

It is driving me mad! They are completely feral by dinner and not eating well and then, of course, Dew Drop is carrying on all night (he's always been the troublesome sleeper) because he is so over-tired. The Minx has also been more difficult to get to sleep, but she sleeps through the night (as she has since she was four months old). Oh for some sleep!!!

Mother's guilt is consuming me because I think If I had just left them on the two sleeps none of this would be happening now. Selfish me.

The sleep deprivation has been problematic for my Weight Watchers too as I really crave carbs in the afternoon (rice crackers have been doing the trick and at only 1 Point for 10 they aren't causing Points blow-outs either).

We have been able to get out a bit more, which I think has done wonders for all of our mental health, but has the price been too high for the babies? I don't know whether to continue on with my plan, or go back to the two sleeps. Ideas? Thoughts?

Monday, 15 March 2010

I lost a gold bracelet!

Well, thank God for technology I say. If it weren't for pinpoint accuracy of scales, my last few weeks of weightloss would hardly have been recordable! I am down 300g this week. Really that is just a meal and a stop at the loo isn't it? The image is 300g of pure gold- it isn't much is it? (This is worth $9 000 though apparently!) Side bar - isn't this picture terrible? I mean, would you spend all that money after looking at this unprofessional photo? What were they thinking???

I feel a bit cheated because I have had a bumper week this week. I tracked daily, stuck within my Points and added 12 Activity Points (and used only 3 of them). C'est la vie I suppose. Maybe my hard work will show up on the scales next week?

On the up side, at least I didn't put on the gold bracelet! Next week I want to lose at least a necklace, or even a necklace with a matching pair of earrings and an anklet.

How did you go this week?

Thursday, 11 March 2010

Entertaining my three year old is getting entertaining

I have been checking out a few different local options for entertaining the 3 year old on a Wednesday morning. With Nugget ensconced at school 5 days a week, ol' Doo Dah is driving me a bit nutty. The search has been eventful.

A couple of weeks ago we tried out "Mainly Music" (MM). It is run at one of the local churches, and being a non-church-goer type I have seen the sign for a few years and not been tempted. But as it is within walking distance, which only means three into/on the back of a pram, rather than carseats etc I thought "Why not?" A friend of mine from Mother's Group has been going for at least 2 years, how bad can it be? Well, pretty bloody bad. If a room filled (to the brim) with Mummy's and their under 4s singing bad songs in what can only be described as "off key falsetto" floats your boat, then Mainly Music could be for you. The facilitators were two fifty-plus women (I am being unkind, they were probably not really that old) with an overhead projector and a distinct lack of "pre-school voice".They were as engaging as a sack of potatoes. I had moments during the 2 hours (only singing for 45 mins) where I thought that if someone entered the room, saw a bunch of over-animated Mums (much more so than the Nannas up the front) and confused and frightened little kids, they would think it was some sort of sect. Needless to say I was not a fan. BUT on the plus side, the women who went there were extremely friendly and interesting, the babies thought it was marvellous and it was cheap (with a great morning tea provided). So, although I gave it one-star at the time, it does pave the way for another visit to MM should a Wednesday morning be rainy and the children feral.

I was telling one of the Mum's at school about my experience at MM afterwards, and she told me about Ready, Steady, Go (RSG). Her little 3 year old boy loves it and she thought I should try it out. So I did. I gathered the troops on Wednesday morning and we drove to the big basketball centre. Doo Dah was dragging his heels. He wanted to stay home and watch TV (not that that was on the cards!). To his surprise, and my delight, RSG was a real hit! They did athletics - running, long-jump, discuss and hurdles. There were at least 10 three year old boys, full of beans, bouncing all over the place. They were energetic! Excited! What Doo Dah lacked in skill, he made up in technique (he has a beautiful running style but must run on the spot because he was second to last every time) and enthusiasm. He had a hoot and whooped excitedly at the end - "Can we come again, Mum?" Now how could a Mum say no to that? On the down side, the program costs $175 per term (about $16 per week) and I spent the entire 45 minutes chasing the twins who spent the whole time climbing the steps and getting in the way of the 10 three year olds. All in all it was at least a 3 star activity, but was it the one? My search for a Wednesday morning activity may not be over yet, but at this stage we have a clear leader.

Funnily enough, I was at school this morning and was invited by another couple of Mums to hang out next Wednesday morning. Guess where they are going? Mainly Music. I giggled on the inside and told them a very hesitant "maybe". I didn't want to spoil their fun :)

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Approaching goal weight and scared

I've been "going to" lose weight for as many years as I can remember. With another 500g loss and a total of 11.4kg of weight shed since this Weight Watchers venture began, I am realising slowly that I "am" losing weight and soon, I will be in my healthy weight range.

It is all rather strange. I think I have reached yet another stumbling block in my psychological journey.

You see, it scares me.

I know it sounds crazy and you're thinking I must be a drama queen because who is afraid of actually getting to goal, right? Well, I don't think I am a drama queen, but I really am kind of scared of letting go of what I have always known. If I am no longer "overweight" then I lose a comfortable label and I have to find other ways to describe myself. Do you get what I mean?

I first realised that I had this little fear the other day when I was chatting to Sister B. I said to her that I seemed to be lacking motivation at the moment. I have been snacking more, caring less and not tracking my Points (even though it is so easy with the online tracker!). The weight loss has subsequently slowed down.

As I talked to her though, I realised that because I don't need it as much (I now fit into my clothes, people comment on how good I am looking etc.) I lack the motivation I had in the beginning. She said "But you are almost there! A few good weeks and you will be in your weight range. How can that not be motivating?"

Light bulb moment.

I am scared of being in my healthy weight range, I thought to myself.

To reach goal means that I won't be "trying to lose weight" or "on a diet". Does that equate to having to accept what I look like? And if I am not dieting, does that mean I think I look/feel okay?

It is all too weird! What does one do if they are not dieting???

It has been too long for me to remember. "Yeah. I suppose" is all I said to my sis.

So I have been "watching my thoughts" since that little communication interchange. It isn't pretty in here, I can tell you that.

So, here's an example of my recent thinking. I have always been an active person, and the C25k program has helped me to venture into the world of running. The interval training has been great for my weight loss but it really is challenging a) to find the time to train 3 times a week and b) to get through the sessions (I am now running for 8 minute intervals).

So the other night while I was puffing my way through a 5 minute run, I found myself thinking, if I complete my "diet" will I still run? Am I getting anything out of it other than a few Acitivity Points?

When I really think about it, I am. It clears my head, gives me some time-out from the world, an opportunity to listen to some good music and some fresh air after a long day with the kids. But the reason I do it, is for the Activity Points. So, if I am not "trying to lose weight"? Where does running fit in? See, it is scary and hard to reorganise your thoughts.

I am happy that I have realised this about myself because I have an opportunity to fix it now. I feel I have "wasted" a couple of weeks not really following the program properly when I could have and been even further along the pathway to my healthy weight range. But at least now I won't waste any more time.

I have 2 more weeks of WW and blogging and I have re-committed! So it is another 2 kilos in 2 weeks for me. The keys to my success will be:

A) 6-8 glasses of H2O per day

B) No more than 4 Points worth of snacks per day and

C) Track my Points on the online tracker (ALL of them, no matter what)

So what about you? Are you an ex-dieter who has reached your weight destination? How have you handled the change in cognitive processing?

Monday, 8 March 2010

The fine art of friend stealing

Friend stealing is commonplace in my family. Usually, I meet someone and then the new 'friend' becomes friends with one or all of my other siblings. My family is pretty cool and from the new friend's perspective I totally get why they want to befriend my sisters and/or brother too. They are great people. Really. I count them in my top shelf friends.

My sister, B, is the most renowned friend stealer. The fact that she is only 21 months older than me, was a year above me at school and went to Sydney Uni with me has meant that we have a LOT of mutual friends. Usually I have met the person first and she sort of adopts them too. I guess I am better at making friends than her.

Recently, my other sister, A, has moved back to the country town from whence we came. In the process she has also begun friend stealing. I understand this too. There are only a certain number of like-minded people around to choose from. Those of my friends who still live there are really great people. Fun, adventurous and up for a laugh. Why wouldn't you steal them if you could?

I really don't mind all of this friend stealing behaviour. My family would probably say something different because I do go on about it a bit when it happens. You know, "can't you find your own friends?" and that sort of thing. It is a form of social networking I guess and probably quite normal. You meet someone you like and surprise, surprise, you also like their friends/siblings. It isn't the best name for it anyway as the "stolen" friend remains my friend too. It is just what we have always called it in our family. It has been a running joke for years. Anyway, I digress.

Usually if I meet a friend's friend whom I like I gradually get to know them through parties or other group outings until suddenly we are friends in own right with a shared history and away we go. I don't see this as a direct steal, but perhaps you do? I have never been good a meeting my friend's friends and assuming an individual friendship with them. I just take my time. It's just me. But since the kids, things have been different. Firstly, we don't really see many of our friends in a social setting these days very often. And secondly, people rarely bring along new friends because we are all trying so hard to spend time with the ones we already have that there is little time for introductions. Consequently, I meet people through the kids and not through other adults. They are mine to start with, no stealing needed.

Over the past few years I have become close to another Mum, R. She is really different from me - kind of quiet and unassuming. But for all of our differences, somehow it just works and we have had a lot of fun rearing our kids together. Because it has been 5 years now and she loves entertaining, I have met quite a few of her pre-children friends. I have discovered she has a couple of women in particular with whom I get along very well. We always find ourselves locked in conversation at R's functions. So the other day while we were celebrating R's eldest daughter's birthday, I was chatting to her friend N and we arranged a playdate. An official friend steal. I felt kind of bad about it, like I should invite R along as well, but as N invited me to her place it wasn't really my responsibility to extend the invite. Right? Friend stealer.

Anyway, N and I had the playdate this morning and it went well. N's eldest boy and Nugget got along really well and kept themselves occupied for hours. N and I chatted away like a pair of old Nannas who have known each other for years. In fact we have. Known each other for years that is. It is just that now we can call each other "friend" rather than a friend of a friend.

So what about you? Are you a friend stealer?

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Try not to peak in primary school

It's funny how starting a child at school reintroduces all of the old school cliches into your life. I wasn't really a big fan of school. I went to school in an era where it wasn't very cool to be smart. Growing up in a smallish town on the South Coast, and going to the local co-ed public school there was a diverse group of kids in my year. I think we had 300 in my grade in Year 7. Quite sizable. There were groups of kids from the Beaches, the 'cool' group, the 'toughies', the 'smokers', the 'dags' (actually I remember a few of those lol), the 'rejects', you know, groups of all sorts being labelled all sorts of things. I was in the "brainy" group and we spent our time covering up our exam results for fear of persecution. "Did you STUDY?" As if studying were a dirty word. You know how it was.

Picking up Nugget from school each day has me facing a new generation of different "types" of people. I can already see how the game might play out. Take Nugget's new BFF, L. He is a cute boy with a gruff voice who is already a player. He has all the kids wanting to play with him (thanks largely to a Lego catalogue he swans around with in the playground) and he is already bullying kids out of their lunchbox treasures, well, largely my boy, but that is another story. So you can see L as one of the "cool" kids already.

And then there is J. He is a shy boy with a speech delay (it is okay for me to say this as I was a Speech Pathologist in another lifetime) who is quite delightful and smiley but who is already the butt of some of the boys jokes. His parents are equally nice, but equally daggy and I can see that boy J has little hope of being anything other than a "dag". Personally I rather like the dags of the world, but the schoolyard has never been kind to them historically.

And lastly there is H. She is an adorable, blonde, giggly little girl. She looks fabulous in her uniform, always meticulously pressed, with her little bobby socks. Her Mum recently purchased her some "scungies" to wear under her dress because she was noted to "chuck a leggy" (her Mum's words, not mine). The girls swoon around her in the playground. She is destined to be a "popular". Her parents both were, you can just tell by their vernacular and breezely outlook on life, not to mention her perfect-hair and his perfect-teeth.

So already the stage is being set, and some of the characters have their parts. Which group will the Nugget find himself in? Who knows, but if he learns anything from his mother it will be that you do NOT want to peak in primary school. Find your feet. Have some fun. Learn as much as you can. But don't sweat the little stuff. Honestly, you will struggle to remember primary school when you get into your late 30s as I am. But, if you are lucky, you will catch a glimpse of your old self in your child's playground, dressed in someone else's uniform, wearing someone else's shoes, but playing your old part.

BTW I lost 100g this week. Not a huge loss, but "heading in the right direction" as Sister A reminded me. I hope you are still on the Weight Watchers path with me. Drop me a note to let me know how you are going.
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