Wednesday, May 28, 2008


I'm standing in the check out line at Publix, and spy the US Weekly mag. My seven year old points out Christina Aguilera's "boobies"; I roll my eyes. Yes. I am SO dieing of curiosity -- I can't ever imagine how Christina got her body back?

I think about the crazy busy life she must lead. There's no biz like show biz, right? I wonder how someone like her finds 450 minutes a week to work out. I envy her commitment to her personal trainer. Kudos Christina. What an accomplishment. Your body is an inspiration to so many of us who look forward to watching you soon again, slither about on MTV. And that hot little dress -- sweet!

For all of you diet and excercise voyeurs who want to learn her secret, I don't think you'll find the real answer spelled out in the magazine. You will find a sample menu and a list of favorite excercises. But beyond that, what I believe to be her post-prego body secret is MONEY... and lots of it.

Money can buy her a personal trainer as often as she needs it. Money affords her a nanny so she can get to the gym 5 days a week for 90 minute workouts. Money can buy a personal chef with a B.S. in Nutrition who can put her on the quintessential diet regimen. Of course money also buys her that fabulous figure flattering cleavage bearing dress. And money can also buy her a quick lipo procedure to get that last annoying 5 pounds off if ever needed, not that I'm suggesting...

Christina, you look fab. Motherhood obviously agrees with you. Congrats on Max. When he reaches puberty, his buddies will so want to hang at your house. I just would like to offer up an alternative fitness plan for the masses. Based on my own post-pregnancy experience, I call it "How I got my body back on $10 a day or something like that."

I was pretty lucky in that my babies liked to be held -- in fact they cried for it day and night. So i held them in my arms, rather than the live-in nanny that i couldn't afford and therefore didn't have. What i discovered six months into motherhood was a dinstinctive and quite beautiful definition in my left deltoid. To this day, I still get compliments. Of course, my younger child still likes to be held which keeps me flexing that muscle.

As for my legs, the secret was the Baby Bjorn. For those of you who have worn one around the house with baby propped inside, you know that when bending down to pick toys, clothes, crumbs, pacifiers, etc. up, it's best to keep your back straight and to make the movements slow. What this creates, is the ultimate squat with a 10-15 pound weight. That's how i got my quads back.

As far as calorie counting was concerned, it was just plain hard to get the food into my mouth. I was consuming less and burning more -- and isn't that what dieting has always been about in its simplest form. Duh! If you have ever sat at the dinner table, and tried to eat a burrito while holding a baby, you will understand. The majority of diced tomatoes and black beans will fall on her napkin-draped head rather than land in your mouth. Same thing goes for thick creamy soups, risotto, or paella.

Lastly what really helped me get my body back was breastfeeding. But the inherent joke is, breastfeeding actually gave me the body that i never had and always wanted. Because, for about 8 months i sported big boobs and a flat tummy. Things are quite different now, but my stomach is still flat.

Monday, May 26, 2008


I have a confession:

It doesn't happen a lot, but when I order "White American" from the black ladies at the deli, i feel a twinge of guilt, like i just said something slightly racist.

My friend, Debbie, has felt that way too. Glad to know someone is as ridiculously sensitive as i am. She also mentioned feeling a little weird when she asks one of the cute black guys working the chicken display for dark meat.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


The dress vs. top controversy has happened twice to me this season. I walk into a store wanting to buy a top and I leave with a dress. That's what it says on my receipt.

It's clearly generational. I go into a store and tell the salesgirl, "I would like to try on that top." She smiles and replies, "Oh, you mean the dress." To which I reply with friendly sarcasm, "Really. That's a dress?!?!"

This is the hemline of a pink halter "dress" that I recently purchased. You can see where i draw the line.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Drama Queen Clean

Today, I was sitting in the waiting room at the dentist's office, reading my new book "Walking in Circles before Lying Down." I am engaged thoroughly by author Merril Markoe's wit, and yet something begins to happen that interrupts my concentration. it is something so strange and beautiful, that I put down the book and watch in complete motherly fascination.

My seven year old daughter is down on the floor sorting through the magazines that have been messily strewn on the small cheap wicker coffee table in the waiting room. And she is putting them back in neat short stacks. She is straightening up their office. At home, we have a very long coffee table on which and under which is all her library books, Highlights and American Girl magazines, coloring books, and notebooks. It's a mess most of the time. She's never made a move to organize it unless I've bribed her or asked her repeatedly in a voice that gets louder as each request passes.

Sam moves on, and starts fluffing the pillows on the wicker settee she has been sitting on. She moves to another chair and gives the seat cushion a refreshing lift. And so she moves along, chair by chair, pillow by pillow. She is going about her business, and has a very cute smirk on her face, and she is pretending that I am not watching.

But I am entranced by this phenomenon of unsolicited organization. I recall once when she got down on her knees and aligned the candy bars at the check out at Wal-Mart. I remember wondering "why doesn't she ever feel like doing it at home." I think she was pretending to be a store clerk and that was her job.

Clearly my daughter has a passion for role play, and when she is in another character, the notion of cleaning and straightening turn her on. She likes to impersonate a pre-school teacher. In this role, she puts on latex gloves and goes about changing diapers on dolls, reading to the class, and disciplining the make believe kids. I may participate by saying, "Miss Sam, I think the boys and girls made that table over there very sticky. Could you please get some wipes and clean it up." And she will do it because she is a good teacher.

I have used her dramatic flair to my advantage; I use it to bait her. It is the coolest thing because she has fun and I get help. Mutual benefits. The other day, for example, I look around the apartment and get completely overwhelmed. It is a mess. I call to her. "Hey Sammi, would you please be the custodian and clean the school." She happily agrees and asks for a broom, a dustpan and rubber gloves which of course are too big and look ridiculously adorable on her little hands. She proceeds to sweep the floor and then take care of the garbage. I went to the store to buy a Swiffer the next day. I know she'll like using that even better.

So back to the present...

Tonight as i am tickling her back making her sleepy for bed, I ask her what the difference is between straightening up in the dentist office and at home. She answers, "Responsibility. You don't think I am responsible, so I don't do it." Interesting. I get that.

I look around her bedroom and see piles of clothes on her dresser and devise our next game. Tomorrow we will play 'Gap Girl, and she will be the manager, and her boss (me) is coming to see just how neat she keeps the store. Yes that should work.
I am eager to hear more of her philosophy on this subject, and so I start to delve deeper. She yawns, and cuts me off, "Mom, we'll talk about it in the morning."