Thursday, September 29, 2011

One Bad Mother Runner

(With thanks to One More Mile Running Apparel, purveyors of my new racing uniform)

I recently ran my first post-Bug half marathon. I ran 13.1 miles in 3 hours, 1 minute, 5 seconds, over 34 minutes faster than my previous personal best.

Here's how racing with a child in the picture is different from running before:

  1. Running with the stroller is like running hills, it slowed me down, but it also has increased my strength, which increased my speed. 
  2. As someone I used to know said all the time, 'it ain't gonna run itself.' No matter how the Bug slept the night before, no matter how much fun hanging out on the couch with her would be, no matter how warm and cozy the bed is, I had to put the time on my feet in. Making that time was harder than I expected it to be. 
  3. I used to be able to devote a lot of time to my running; planning runs, recovering from runs, fueling for runs, shopping for running gear. (See Sally's recent entry 'Being a Good Triathlete Date'; she was writing about her experiences with triathlons, but it applies to athletic endeavours in general.) As a Running Mommy, however, I now have to come home and pretty much directly resume my Mommy duties. No ice bath, followed by a hot shower, followed by tea and carbs. The evening after the race, when I could barely walk, I raced up the stairs despite the pain, to cuddle my sad little girl after a nightmare.)
  4. Skipping a run once in a while in a training program doesn't hurt. I'm not saying I could have paired down my training to 2 runs a week with ice cream in between, but I won't lie, despite #2, and knowing that if I didn't put the time in, the race would go badly, I still skipped some runs, and more than 1 speed work session turned into just being upright going forward. I still PR'd.
  5. Having my little girl meet me at the finish line was the best feeling ever. Someday she's going to know that her mom is active and hopefully follow along, and beat the pants off of my time. 
It's hard. I won't lie, but I'm going to keep doing it. It was super rewarding, too. 

Saturday, September 17, 2011

A Four Block Radius...

A while back, I mentioned that I wanted to post something about children in public. Well, several friends have recently posted a link to this story about a couple in a Toronto Neighbourhood who want a municipal bi-law to make a 4 block radius around their home child free.

I can empathize with this in some sense. I frankly like my own kid, love her even, but would be perfectly happy to avoid most other children most of the time.

Here's the thing. On both sides of this, there is being a good neighbour and there's being an a**hole. For the childless, being a good neighbour might include occasionally tolerating that your neighbours who have reproduced might bring their children with them to a dinner out, because like you, we have made the conscious choice not to cook and to translate some of our hard-won economic capital (money) into a yummy dinner that someone delivers to us. Just because we have children does not mean we should feel obligated to settle for the sub-par fare served at establishments such as Jack Astor's or Chili's. My foodie tendencies didn't disappear with my ability to sleep through sneezes. It might also mean that sometimes, getting an injured, hungry, or sleepy child in the house quickly might trump immediately hiding away all evidence that a child lives within.

However, out of respect for those who do not share my absolute entrancement for a noise that the Bug makes that I choose to call a squeal, but might more accurately be described as a shriek, I do the following when we go out: in addition to giving her free reign over the breadbasket and any crackers that may be on the table, I bring along quiet toys, food I know she will eat (bunny crackers and milk, generally) and an overall sense of flexibility. I also bring the willingness to ditch the whole venture and get my meal to go, should all go terribly, terribly awry.

 Around my home, I rather expect my neighbours to adhere to basic standards of cleanliness and safety, as well as the local noise ordinances. I expect them to look both ways when driving on the street, put away their bikes and lawn equipment and so on. From the front of my home, the only sign that a child lives within is that there is a wee garden chair between the larger ones on our porch. Because we put away our crap when we're done with it. We have a neighbour whose older children (between the ages of 6 and about 9) run in the streets and leave their stuff everywhere, and it makes me nuts, not in the least because it makes the rest of us with kids look bad. (Also because the little jerks have kicked a ball against my garage door and somehow damaged it.) That said, I understand that sometimes we don't get our stuff away right away. We do our best.

*** (Added 18 September 2011) Upon further inspection of the radio show's website, I discovered that the CBC radio program 'This is That' is, it turns out, sort of like the Daily Show for Canadian radio. Nonetheless, they have fairly succinctly summed up the nexus of conflict between people with children and the vehemently childless.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

I (heart) My Job

So as part of my 'first-day-of-classes' spiel, I mention that I change more than my share of diapers while at home, so I rather expect my students to behave as through they are (metaphorically) potty-trained. I say (and have a power-point slide to back me up, so you know it's serious) 'Since you have been admitted to this university, I expect that you are at least 17 years old, and therefore an adult. I expect you to comport yourself as such.'

Now, let us pretend for a moment that they all know what the word 'comport' means. The thing is, one of my sections is made up almost entirely of brand-spankin'-new freshmen. (Are we calling them fresh-people these days?) They need their hands held for every task I expect them to accomplish.

In some ways, it is exactly like parenting a toddler.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Bad Mommy

So, the Bug has had an illness since Saturday. (It is now either Thursday or the First of Octember,  I am honestly not sure which at this point.) The cold/flu/whatever (more on that in a minute) came pretty much on the heels of immunizations, so we've had 2 weeks of lousy sleep and clingy toddler and Mommy staying up until midnight to get her work done. (Or just not doing it. My students barely notice that they're supposed to be in class. If I use the wrong word, how likely is it that they think I was speaking Portuguese and so weren't listening anyway?)

So what does the Bug have? Well, she either has a cold or she has hand-foot-and-mouth disease. When we went to the baby doctor on Tuesday (while the Bug had a freak out on account of being in the same place where a week before they had stuck her with needles. Note that she remembers the needles, not the Popsicle she had as a consolation prize), she had a red throat and a sore on her tongue, so the doctor came to the conclusion that it could be HFM, but that it could be instead a cold with a coincidental bite to the tongue.

It doesn't really matter. Treatment is the same for both: rest, fluids, cuddles.

So last night, her fever went away, totally for the first time in days. Although she slept with us, once she was in with us, she slept like a rock. (A 31.25" rock that slept horizontally in the bed, leaving me with about 18" of the bed to sleep in. Whatever. She spent the night before last flopping her head onto my stomach and kicking DH in the armpit.) This morning, she woke up cheerful and ready to play. She even ate some breakfast. She had no fever. I checked. 3 times I checked.

So I decided to take a chance. Even though, strictly speaking, she didn't quite meet the 24-hours fever free, I took her to 'school' this morning. I told a big whopper little white lie that she had been fever free for the officially sanctioned amount of time. Within 2 hours they called me because she had been mopey during gym time and wouldn't eat her lunch, so they checked her temp. 100.6. So I got her, brought her home, and now she's napping. I'm feeling a bit guilty, since she could have stayed home with me from the start, but... them's the breaks, I guess.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Probably a Bad Idea

I had the following thought today, which has been what one might call 'challenging:'

What if I just filled the little stainless water bottle with with some wine out of my box over there, packed the Bug into the stroller, and go on down to the playground? After all, it's after five.
Then I decided one of three things would happen:
  1. One of the over-achiever moms in my subdivision who are all at least perfect looking would call child protective services on me for mothering-while-drinking (like that's any better than their xanax habit, but I digress).
  2. My normally not-great filter between brain and mouth would be further impaired, and I would instruct the Bug to feel free to hit that little slide hog as much as her little heart desires. 
  3. The other moms would try to wrest the bottle from my hands and be super-jealous that they didn't think of this themselves. 
Anyway, I'm not going to try it. It's like a gazillion degrees out (I think that works out to a bagillion degrees Celsius), and anyway, the bug finds an old magazine and a stack of ancient cassette tapes just as interesting as she would the slide.

And in here, I can drink my wine in a glass.