Kate: C’mere. I’ve got a secret.
Evan: A SECRET!?!?!
(trips over sock feet, runs to me squealing)
Kate: Hurry up, close close close.
Evan: YES?!?! WHAT IS IT?
Kate: (whispers in ear) Tonight, a lion will be born in Africa.
This age is manic, lows and highs, both him and my degree of tolerance. Early-morning cuddles, tub-tinkling, family dance parties. Hearing him talk to himself. Watching his face light up in delighted surprise. Swelling with pride at how he swaggers through the world with all the easy confidence of Ferris Bueller.
Flash-forward thirty seconds. He talks back and yells defiantly BECAUSE I WANT TO! and escalates without warning from that to floor-flailing, spectacle-making. I am an unending stream of threats and bribes, bribes and threats, alternating like mixing dry and wet for crazy cake. A hundred times a day I transform from pied piper to shushing, snapping, scowling, growling battleaxe.
"BWAAA HA HA! Ben is AWAKE!"
In the rearview mirror he grins, and I am high.
These days, I’m drawn to FLAT BELLY FAST! 447 WAYS TO LOOK GREAT – INSTANTLY! 60-SECOND TOTAL HEALTH FIXES! SEE HOW YOUR SEX LIFE STACKS UP! BELLY-BUSTER BLOWOUT! like a magpie. Aware distantly that it’s all insidious old-skool magazine bullshit but overcome with wanting to sign up. So I did.
"Any history of heart disease?"
"Okay, we’re almost done. Can you tell me the last time you felt happy?"
"I mean, when was the last time you felt content, and slept well, and didn’t have anxiety issues like breathing difficulties or mood swings?"
I joined a gym. The incessantly perky girl at the front desk smiled kindly and asked, "And what would the family of squirrels that lives in the fold of your c-section scar prefer? Step aerobics or freeweights?"
I'm just hoping it will feel so decadent to have time to myself that the fact that it's exercise will go unnoticed by my brain. I was born in the Chinese Year of the Banana Slug. But driving Evan to playschool three times a week brings me halfway there. And they look after Ben. And there are classes and workshops and extremely motivating
packs of snarling rottweilers personal trainers. Even if it takes effort thanks to the declined metabolism and gravity of 34 years and three mostly-gestated children, I just want to walk tall again.
Progress so far—
1) Noted: you can’t breathe and suck in your pooch at the same time. (to be continued...)