Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Testing the Limits

My daughter is probably crying. Or she will be soon. What’s wrong, you wonder? Nothing at all.

Amelia’s never been much of a crier – a talker, yes. She argues relentlessly about issues she believes in.  Like whether or not princesses go to the potty, and the nuanced distinctions between ponies, flying horses, and unicorns.  She argues with remarkable logic, reason, and WORDS.  Not crying.

But suddenly, something has changed.  If her favorite dress is in the washing machine she gets all choked up.  Macaroni and cheese in the shape of shells instead of spirals is a crisis. Or if we insist that she stop singing in bed and JUST GO TO SLEEP at 10:30pm, here come the waterworks. I feel like this lady, who photographs her toddler in all stages of meritless meltdown.
But Amelia isn’t a toddler and I’m not taking pictures. I mentioned this new crying habit to some mommy friends the other day, and they all nodded in sympathy. The same thing is happening with their 5-year-olds. Amelia is testing me, and she might be winning. She’s wondering just how far I will bend the rules in order to stop or avoid the tantrum. Guess who is wearing sparkly party shoes instead of sneakers today to her tennis class? Call me lazy, blame the dentist appointment we were already late for, but I just wasn’t up for the fight this morning.  It’s not like she’s Serena Williams.
And I kind of understand. I’m testing limits too, wondering how far I can push before there are consequences. You might remember that in January, I started a 6-week Biggest Loser weight loss challenge. At the end of 6 weeks, I’d lost 17 pounds and won a hat.  A few weeks later I was down 23 pounds…and I went to a Bar Mitzvah and ate some cake.  Guess what? It didn’t matter. I still lost weight that week. So I had some ice cream. And I still lost weight. It felt like I ran a red light and didn’t get caught. 
And now, after nearly 2 solid weeks of “tasting” chocolate, pizza, frozen yogurt, and anything else I’ve wanted, I’m afraid to get on the scale. How much exercise will it take to hide bad kitchen behavior? How bad is the damage? I know what I need to do, and I know I’m not doing it. I found the limit, and I might have to cry.  Or pick myself up, tie my running shoes, and get back to the gym. I wondered how far I could push, and now I know. 
So Amelia, grab a tissue. Next week you’re wearing tennis shoes to tennis class.

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