Thursday, August 18, 2011

I Blame the Howler Monkey

First of all, this post is a bit whiny and self-indulgent. Click away if that is going to annoy you. If you stay- don't say you weren't warned!

Second of all, to understand this post, you need to remember that Petunia is in the  "I know what I want, but I can't always communicate it, and I certainly don't accept that I can't always have it" phase. I had forgotten how frustrating that phase is for all involved. I am well and truly tired of being screamed at.


Thursdays are the day of the week that I (theoretically) go for a run (OK, pathetic jog) after work. Originally, Hubby was going to pick both kids up at day care, and I would leave straight from work to drive to the bay and go for a run. Even with the run, I'd get home before everyone else, and get a load of laundry started and some sit ups in before Hubby got home with the kids.

That lasted for about a month, and was glorious while it lasted.

But then we wanted to start Pumpkin in swim lessons, and decided to do it on a weeknight because we already have Chinese lessons every other weekend. Both swim lessons and my run interfere a bit with our usual dinner routine, necessitating leftovers. Because we prioritize family dinners, we didn't want to do that twice a week. (And now that we have soccer on Tuesdays, which leads to us eating out every Tuesday night, we're even less inclined to add another leftovers night to the mix.)

So I started picking Petunia up before my run, and taking her with me. The idea was that she would come along in the jogging stroller for my run, and then get 5-10 minutes at the playground before we went home.

That worked for maybe two weeks. Then Petunia started fighting getting in her stroller. Despite what Hubby might tell you about what a softy I am, this is not just a case of me being insufficiently stubborn: one time, she screamed for 20 minutes in the stroller. I hate to inflict that on everyone else trying to enjoy the bay.

But then I had an idea- what if I took snacks and a drink for Petunia? I could bribe her into her stroller! That worked beautifully.  For one week.

Today, I left my workout clothes at home, but remembered everything else I need (jogging stroller, drink and snacks for Petunia) and was wearing comfortable shoes, so I decided to go for a walk by the bay. I bribed Petunia into her stroller and set off. But, about 10 minutes in, she started asking for cereal. I didn't have any. Screaming ensued.

After what seemed like an hour, we finally got back to the playground. (Have you ever noticed how slowly time passes when your toddler is screaming?) Petunia wanted to go on the swing, but only if she could hold her bowl of crackers (which she had previously tried to throw on the ground in a fit of pique over the absence of cereal). With the lid off. At a precarious angle. If I tried to adjust any of this, she screamed.

Then, when it was time to go, she screamed.

Then, when I got her in the car, and took the now empty bowl of crackers and dumped out the crumbs before handing it back to her, she decided to scream the entire way home.

I'm leaning towards giving up on the Thursday evening run idea. Getting screamed at for 20-30 minutes in a public place is stressing me out.

After all that screaming, I really wanted to do yoga tonight. But Petunia's bedtime has had to shift later, to minimize the screaming at bedtime (if she's tired, she goes down with much less fuss). I tried to convince Pumpkin to trade the first part of her bedtime routine (listening to exactly four songs on one of her CDs) for 15 minutes of extra time before bedtime. No dice. She tried it twice, and wanted to go back to her original routine. Doing yoga when Petunia is awake is just not possible- she thinks it is a variation of a game she plays with Daddy and climbs on me. So, no yoga. (Although... Pumpkin hasn't called for me in a good five minutes... maybe she's asleep and I can go do it now? Or, I could have a beer and try to forget all the screaming.)

This, my friends, is why I have not lost the five pounds it would take to get me back into the "healthy" weight range. When some well meaning person tells me that I "just" need to "make time for myself" and go exercise, I want to punch them in the face. I'm good at logistics. I view scheduling everything that everyone in the family needs/wants to do as a puzzle and don't generally mind figuring out how to make it happen. But I haven't figured this puzzle out yet. I'm now looking at whether I can protect enough time during one of my work days to allow me to go work out during the day with any regularity. That's hard at this job, so I consider that a seriously suboptimal solution, which will probably result in me skipping a lot of workouts due to meetings. But if my only other option is getting screamed at while I try to run? Maybe it isn't so bad.


  1. zenmoo5:00 AM

    If you can't be whiny & self-indulgent on your own blog - well, what's the point of blogging really!

    Hope the vent made you feel better.

  2. Anonymous5:23 AM

    I feel your pain and am wondering why on earth I'm getting ready to ttc again...

    At any point in time if you ask me how DC is, I would say AWESOME, but given how much more awesome he is as he gets older I just can't go back to those previous stages.

  3. Thanks, @zenmoo- it did.

    @nicoleandmaggie, there are times when having two kids is awesome. Pumpkin is a wonderful big sister, and wtching her help Petunia, and having Petunia say her version of "thank you".... well, that's just heart-meltingly good. And even if she's a howler monkey right now, Petunia is awfully cute.

  4. Oh, how frustrating.

    I have chosen to prioritize "me time" over "family dinner time" not least because my personal sense is that "family dinners" with LOs this L (but mine is now 4, bigger than Petunia) are grossly overrated at a general cultural level, and they're not a huge priority to me (not having more than, say, 3 per week, that is, which is about where we land). But assuming you have already contemplated and rejected a different prioritization of those 2 items, I've got nothing except sympathy.

  5. Can I just say that I'd keep the five pounds and know in six months things are likely to be so different? You do need me time and I'm really sorry it's such a struggle right now. :(

    The screaming phase is awful, awful, awful. It does something to me, too, that stays with me long after the screaming is done.

  6. OH my God - is there a way to keep Evan at 10 months????

    I hope you can find some way to get some me time in. It's tough.

  7. This, my friends, is why I have not lost the five pounds it would take to get me back into the "healthy" weight range.

    I don't think there's anything in the world that irritates me more than people saying this. And that was not at all whiny or self-indulgent; I though it was therapeutic to read.

  8. That sounds incredibly frustrating! When there's such a simple way for everything to work out well for everyone - if only the tiny people would get on board with it. I remember trying to do a T-Tapp routine when Elli was tiny. First she'd wake up when I was partway in, so I'd stop, bring her in, set her up in her little rocking chair so she could watch me, and she'd stare happily at me working out for all of about a minute before starting the screaming routine. Even in private I don't want to be screamed at for the 15 minutes it would have taken me to finish the workout, so that just didn't last.

    I keep reminding myself that things aren't permanent. Just because it isn't working this month, doesn't mean that it can't work properly next month, or maybe the month after. Also? Family dinners are awesome.

  9. Anonymous10:21 AM

    @Cloud, I'm sure I will enjoy it when the time comes. I always enjoyed every stage when it was happening... just in retrospect things are so much easier and more fun now. In any case, it will probably take forever to happen so no sense in dwelling on it. I'd put it out of my mind if Metformin weren't making me so queasy.

  10. One of the biggest surprises to me about this whole "parenting" thing was that kids do not happily sit in strollers -- at least mine have not -- while buff MLIFs contentedly train for marathons and Ironman competitions. I mean it sounds so simple, just like "getting a sitter", "staying up late once in a while" and "finding a daycare."

    I lost the 5 lbs at about the 5 year mark. Actually there were 30 of them. But #2, the weight's come off - the muscle return? Not so much.

    It will get better.

    From a solely logistical perspective...I don't think leftovers are at all a problem, as long as people are eating more or less together. I also don't think soup and a sandwich is a bad meal either though so my opinion is suspect. :)

  11. I hear you on it being really hard to find time to exercise, and wanting to punch/slap/cause random bodily harm to well-meaning folks who just imply that you are not looking hard enough at your schedule, because there is all this time you could be using for yourself if you only tried harder!

    One mom told me that I should exercise at 10 pm when everyone is asleep. I just rolled my eyes -- in the rare case when I am not completely pooped by then and able to just sleep or veg on the couch, I actually have work to do then.

    There was a nice women-only exercise studio in the neighborhood. After I finally found the strength to go there 6-6:45 AM 2x a week (so I am back and showered before everyone wakes up), and was doing it for a month, they went out of business! My husband teases me it's a sign I should not exercise.

    I always work through lunch and do all the cooking for dinner, plus we carpool and kids have swimming 2x a week. I really don't know when I am supposed to exercise, if it's not (as everything else) at the expense of my (already reduced) sleep.

  12. I'm with @Shandra re: the biggest parenting surprise being kids who just don't want to be in a stroller. See some whiny & self-indulgent posts on my blog for reference!!! Moo is now ok with riding in the stroller *if* I walk a route she has never been allowed to walk. Otherwise - yeah, much thrashing and screaming as she tries to get out to walk. Dude, I did not realise 18 month olds would want/ be able to walk almost 2km!

    Re: the exercise problem - what is the pool pumpkins swim lessons are at like? At the one we go to, there are walking/ running lanes in the main pool and kids do their lessons a small pool adjacent. You could try putting Petunia in some floaties and doing laps in the water with her while hubby does the swim lesson with Pumpkin? It can be a pretty good workout - especially if you are in deep water. Petunia might be amused if you do intervals ...

  13. @SHandra: "One of the biggest surprises to me about this whole "parenting" thing was that kids do not happily sit in strollers -- at least mine have not -- while buff MLIFs contentedly train for marathons and Ironman competitions. I mean it sounds so simple, just like "getting a sitter", "staying up late once in a while" and "finding a daycare." " LMFAO!!!! So true. I literally cannot even imagine a universe in which I had the time or energy for exercise. My little time in the evenings consist of drooling in front of the TV and fantasizing about running away from home.

    That said - Cloud, do you have any mommy friends close by? I have a good friend here and we sometimes watch each other's kids - one week I'll take hers for an hour or two and then the next week she will.

  14. Not sure if Petunia is old enough, but a friend of mine lets her daughter watch a DVD in their Burley while she goes for a bike ride! I was sort of appalled at the time, but you know what? Running is a main source of sanity and balance for me; I don't have a way to run without my child; if she screamed the whole time, I'd distract her in whatever ways possible. Running regularly is worth that to me! Luckily I work a flex schedule and generally run during her nap time on certain days and the weekend days. As she's gotten older (now 4.5) she doesn't always fall asleep; if I want to run earlier in the day, she'll run certain legs and then ride the rest of the time... It ain't ideal (pushing a jogger in a hilly neighborhood is NOT the same as running by myself!!) but it's what works in our lives currently. You have my sympathy...

  15. Thanks for the ideas and good wishes, everyone! I promise to write a follow up when I figure this out.

  16. "I am well and truly tired of being screamed at." WORD, sister! Hang in there!

  17. I just wanted to say that I'm with you on all this. I keep trying to find the damn time to do anything like yoga or a work out, but it's one thing after another. I know that for those of us who need more sleep than others (and who consistently don't get it), it is so hard to "just wake up early" to get a workout in, even though mornings are my preferred workout time. Sigh...

    And ZOMG the screaming! We went through that with the Pookie a few months ago, and now we're going through it again. It's killing me!

  18. the milliner5:53 PM

    Oh. Yeah. Thank you for saying this: "When some well meaning person tells me that I "just" need to "make time for myself" and go exercise, I want to punch them in the face."

    Like @caramama said, it just seems to be one thing after another. And schedule changes are so hard. So once there's a glitch somewhere it's so hard to get back on track.

    My only solution so far is to run with the dog on the mornings I walk the dog. Running is not my favorite form of exercise, but right now it's the only one that fits remotely into my schedule on a consistent basis. So, running it is. What I wouldn't give for a twice weekly yoga class...


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