Why a Mom can’t Pee Alone/ The day a pull-up saved my sweater and maybe my life (exaggerating).

The pink, loosely knit v-neck seemed like a good choice when I had .3 seconds to get dressed for morning Mass. It was heavy enough to keep me warm during the winter that will never end, but its spring color gave me hope for bulbs and flowers before June. It suited me well for most of the day, including the battle for the teddy bear socks between Josie and Rita during the Consecration of the Eucharist as well as the family of five trip to Sam’s Club during which Josie managed to make an avocado explode. 

Following dinner, a Sunday night meal of sweet spring flavors: risotto with honey glazed carrots, sweet peas, and balsamic chicken, JIm took the “big” kids to watch their big cousins championship hockey game. “Take an easy night playing with just Rita,” he said. I happily obliged and began to finish the dinner clean up while Rita played the game that seems to never end: peeling an onion in the middle of floor. Before I sound like a worse mom, I didn’t give her the onion, she found it on the floor after it fell and I didn’t take it away mainly because everyone was happy. As I saw her concentration in removing each layer of the onions skin, I thought maybe I could use the facilities with the door closed before she began the ugly onion cry. I’m not sure why I choose this time to close the door, but I guess its something I sort of miss about a life of privacy before kids and she had at least 5 more layers to peel through. Seconds later, as I washed my hands, I heard the pitter patter of my baby following me. Happy to have had the entire half minute to myself I went to open the door only to find it stuck. Like a full blown idiot, I tried nothing skillful or smart and just twisted it as hard as I possibly could. Then, just like in the sitcoms, there I stood with a door knob in my hand but not attached to a door and a now crying baby on the other side. My hands frantically felt my back pocket for my cell phone. “Its still sitting on the kitchen table playing James Taylor dinner music. Expletive,” I thought. “Swear words,” my interior thoughts continued. 

A few Hail Mary’s later I realized my only way out was through the window. I peered out my head to the sound of Rita’s cries. “Daddy!” she called out to me because he is her favorite and all she asks for even when I’m the only option. Maybe when she grows up and learns that her mother jumped out of a window to reunite and calm her tears she will like me more.

I calculated the risk. If I stayed and waited for someone to come home Rita might eat poison or my makeup or give herself a bath in the sink and drown. If I started screaming Child Services might take the kids away. Even though Rita may have also just stayed there and cried while trying to jiggle the doorknob while her mom sillily requested her assistance to open a door she can’t even reach, that’s not what a mom thinks about in a moment of very low risk and overly dramatized crisis. Instead, she uses all sense of crazy to determine that the window is the only way. 

“I can do this!” I said not at all confident in anything other than at least a mild ankle sprain. Since its a first story I knew I probably wouldn’t die or anything unless I choose the head first approach. But, since its a high first story window and I’m a total of 60 inches tall, its still a fall for a girl like me. So, I took a deep breath, and pretended I was Josie escaping from her crib for the first time. As I hung from the window pane, I encountered a problem of fashionable proportions. The pink sweater. The perfect for a winter’s day during spring, $7.99 Forever 21 find. “This is why there is an age limit on that store!” I grunted. There its knit hung caught on the shudder’s nail, perfectly deterring me from a pretty safe, but still very scary for a big fat wimp like me, jump. With a significant amount of all of my might, I performed a belly-button- to-window- pane strict pull up and broke free from the confines of cheap material that snags when jumping out of a window vowing to have some strong words upon its return to the store. The brief moment of free fall contained 5 billion dramatic thoughts including “thank God for CrossFit and all those pullups I always complain about.” Seriously, thanks for those. My sweater would be seriously ruined without them. Also, I think I would have had a really difficult time explaining why I was hanging by a sweater when the fire department came to rescue me. 

I then scared sweet Rita nearly to shock when I returned to her unneeded rescue through a different door than she last found me, muddy and hysterically laughing. She sat picking apart dryer lint from the filter, happy as a baby with free reign to dryer lint. 

And the biggest mistake in all of this, in my experience, is not shutting the door or forgetting my cellphone or any of that. Rather, it was telling this story to my husband while neglecting to notice of my being on speaker phone. So with two small children obsessed with the non perilous tale of “mommy jumping out of the window,” I beg for your prayers that neither of them try and recreate it. 

Happy Sunday. 

Five Favorites, Crossfit

It’s been five weeks since my husband first tricked me into believing I beat him in a Burpee race. I hit that ground and bounced and clapped with stamina and speed, racing to the end number with all my might, as he pressed on cool and collected, planning on doing one more than me no matter the number completed. It was sort of like the first time I discovered that he liked me during a game of Ping-Pong played with his non-dominant left hand, but way more frustrating and sweaty.

Before I digress further into what its like to be a competitive woman married to a non competitive man entertained by my feats and efforts, I feel the need to express my new-found appreciation for Crossfit, mainly because I’ve never experienced a work out like it and I do think like-minded moms may agree. The following are my five favorite things about it. Go to MoxieWife for more and better.

1. It focuses on the function of the body, not on its physical appearance.

There are few things I find more frustrating in our skinny is best and sex is supreme obsessed culture than workouts, gyms, billboards, ads, etcetera x  5 Billion that focus on what we look like and how it can be better/sexier/more defined and with less clothing, bigger boobs, and more abs. My goals in working out are simple: to maintain mental sanity, and to better and more comfortably endure the demands of a mom’s day chasing and lifting small people and repeatedly squatting and squatting and squatting to wipe spaghetti sauce among other liquids off the ground. And I’d like to maintain enough strength to continue having more bambinos while keeping all of my real joints. Sure, appearance is important, but not having sciatica numbing shooting pain every night because I am actually strong enough to handle a day’s labor is the real goal here, especially during the pregnancy months. Repeatedly hearing “just think about how many calories you are burning, and how much smaller your waist will be” makes my head spin in “but I don’t care about that!” frustrated circles and it is absolutely the worst way to motivate a person who believes eating should be guiltless and enjoyable. True health to me is a balance and an integration of our physical, spiritual and psychological natures. And while a better butt is surely a warmly welcomed effect of a hill run, usually, I would much rather imagine grabbing a cheeseburger and a Guinness at the top rather than a bikini and a diet pill. The bikini will ride up, anyway.

Crossfit, at least at my gym, is based on the work out serving us, rather than us serving the work out. 50 crappy situps might make my waist line better looking. Crossfit, though, is much more interested in one good sit up that will make me stronger and better able to support the rest of my body picking up my 20 pounder baby, 30 pounder sprinting toddler, and 40 pounds of the most densely concentrated muscle that makes up my little boy who will probably continue asking to be held until college. Proving against mental doubts and all of our “I can’ts” is just as important, if not more, than actually performing a pull up or lifting a weight off the floor. But, can I mention how much easier it is to fulfill my daily tasks of lifting, setting, lifting, wrangling, changing, holding in place, bouncing, carrying, halting, with better form and less chance of injury?

And one of the best parts? I’ve never once heard the word Calorie. Amen and alleluia, finally. I like to eat them not talk about how many there are in an avocado or egg yolk (eat more fat and enjoy it!).

2. Time effective

I’ve been in search of quick workouts ever since having kids. I try and steal away several minutes for long therapeutic runs or relaxing walks/swims when I can, but let’s face it; those opportunities are few and far between. In the exact same amount of time as it takes me to break a sweat on a treadmill, I’m finished with my work out of the day at Crossfit. It’s like all those magazine advertisements of “6 pack abs in 3 minutes!” only true, and with a lot less abs counting. And the more I go to the class, the more I learn how to do it on my own (probably not what my coach wants to hear, but…)

So if I’m home with my monkeys with no chance to get out or work out without an average of 17 tantrums, I can look up a workout and confidently get full body, effective, intense (or not depending on my mood) results in less than 10 minutes. Additionally, my kids can learn how to count my reps while I do it. And as I have mentioned before, watching a child do a burpee is truly one of the funniest, most enjoyable, energy sucking activities of all of my mom tricks.

3. Teamwork

Communities are fun! And when 100 lunges are on the line, friends are made quickly.

4. Equal playing field for husband and wife.

Since I trip just looking at a soccer ball, co-ed intramural wasn’t an option, and ice hockey seems like a fairly terrible idea considering my stature and love of teeth. Barre classes seemed like a cruel and unusual punishment for a man and 2 days into our marriage after running with me during the dating days Jim admitted he was just trying to impress me. We agreed that Crossfit was worth a try.

He’s good at most things, I’m good at fewer things, but some things, and partner workouts are a barrel of laughs.

5. I’m learning things and reaching goals.

In addition to all of the new and admittedly extremely confusing acronyms, I’m learning about how my body is meant to move and lift, and seriously!!! Lifting my kids is so much easier than it was just weeks ago. And even if one of my goals is to do a singular push up or one day graduate from the child training bar, reaching a goal is a good feeling, and protects against that whole haggard feeling that waves its literal ugly head at me in the mirror when I forget I haven’t showered in 3 days and am still wearing the same mascara from two days prior.

So, just like Green Eggs and Ham, try it and you may!

And if you are in the Pgh area, go to Alpha Athletics and ask for Tony and tell him I sent you. (I feel so Italian.)