Tuesday, 16 June 2020

Body Image Challenges

I picked Kate up from school one day last week. I had taken the day off from work and I was wearing my work out clothes. A few minutes after we departed, Kate told me “Mommy, your muscles are getting big.” I thanked her for noticing and was surprised when she said this next;
“Don’t work out in the garage any more. I don’t want your muscles getting any bigger”
“Um, why?”
“Because you look like a boy”
“Girls can have muscles too, it’s not a boy/girl thing”
“But you still look like a boy”
“It doesn’t bother me. My muscles let people know I’m strong. In fact, relative to our body weight, mommy is stronger than daddy”
“A girl can be stronger than a boy!?”
“Hell yeah, she can.”
“Mind. Blown.”

I smiled and left it at that, thinking I had a good conversation about girl power and body image and I shared the exchange with some friends. Or so I thought. A few days later, Husband informed me that we he picked her up from school the next night, she expressed to him how she is concerned about mommy having big muscles and looking like a boy. She also totally grassed me up for saying that I’m stronger than him too.

Feeling frustrated, I tried to figure out where this is coming from. Obviously, the boys in her class at school aren’t very buff. We do have a few very built guys in our gym, but she hasn’t been to the gym in well over six months, possibly longer. I started thinking about the shows she watches and soon found my most likely culprit. Husband ordered Disney Plus (so he could watch the Star Wars series) and my parents let Kate watch movies from the Princess collection over Christmas, much to my dismay. I object to the repetitive theme of beautiful girl meets handsome prince and gets married and lives happily ever after (BTW, I had never watched Beauty and the Beast before. Hello Stockholm Syndrome!) but I relented think that she probably doesn’t quite understand the message and just enjoys the songs.

However, her comment about muscular girls looking like boys, prompted me to take a look at some of the leading men in these movies. I would argue that as we’ve focused on the tiny waistlines and over proportioned busts of the female characters and how it sets unrealistic expectations set for girls, we’ve taken our eye off the ball to examine the male characters. I enter into evidence these exhibits below, which show that all these men are particularity buff. I’m surprised no one has suspected steroid use.

My Prince Charming, what bulging biceps you have! 

Um, Aladdin spends way to much time working 
his chest and abs and neglects his arms

Whoa. This guy from The Hunchback of Norte Dame 
is rather hulk-like 

John Smith of Pocahontas settled the colonies 
While engaging in body building as a side gig

The Little Mermaid’s Price Eric eats his Wheaties 
and never misses a training session at the gym. 

Me last year.
I’ve probably lost most of that muscle tone. 

Yikes. These Princess movies are even more toxic that I already anticipated. 

Thursday, 11 June 2020

Right Now Spring 2020

Right Now: Spring 2020

I am currently…

Back at work full time. I resumed my normal schedule after Memorial Day, but it has been challenging to operate as business as usual as the unrest emerged as the murder of George Floyd proved to be a breaking point in police brutality and the false accusation of Amy Cooper exhibited the epitome of white privilege. It’s been a lot to process. I’ve been thinking about how my parents handled my grandparents’ racism, how I need to address it with my Father-in-law. How to start having these conversations with Kate. How to take tangible and meaningful actions. I’ve been deliberately silent on social media, as I know I’m one to think passive action counts as actual action. I’m also being quiet because I also feel I need to listen more and understand the perspective of others. I’ll state this; Not only do Black Lives Matter, matter is the minimum standard. Black lives should be respected and cherished.

Since I went back to work, I lost my 4:30 outdoor gym session. I’m finding my motivation to work out is waning at times. I’ve been waking up early to get in a garage work out before work, but some days I spend that time just lying on the floor with Tyler. Our box participated in the Run Across America this past Saturday and on Sunday we did a WOD in the parking lot of the gym. This meant that I had to get into my car and leave my car to go workout without the interruptions of a kid or a cat. It was as close to “normal” as I have felt in a long while.

Husband is currently…

Recovering from his DVT/PE. Thank you all who expressed your concerns. His lab work did not reveal any underlying hypercoagulable conditions and his doctor think he will be off his anticoagulation medication by the end of the year. He has been feeling really discouraged as not only did the surgery produce a life threatening complication, it hasn’t improved his pain. After hours of searching on Google, he found an Australian doctor who recommended a specific exercise plan, and so far it seems to be working.

Kate is currently...

Back at school. It ended up being a no brainer decision to send her when she school started to open for kids of essential workers. She was getting restless at home and Husband was not coping well having to manage working full time while being a stay at home dad. It has done a world of good for everyone. We were anticipating needing to switch to an earlier waking time when she enters Kindergarten (which starts at 8 AM) later this year, but as my schedule was shifted to an 8 AM start time while we were under SIP orders, we decided just to make the switch now. It’s been almost three weeks, but we’ve managed to get out of the house on time each day. It will actually be easier once she does start Kindergarten as that school is closer to our house.

We officially phased out naps during SIP, so when she went back to school, we asked her teachers not to nap her. The difficulty is that she is exhausted when she comes home. She falls asleep in the car ride home. I let her sleep a little bit a few a times, which resulted in her being awake until nearly 10 o’clock. So now I’m blasting the music to keep her awake and we just have to push though her being tired. Some nights it a major meltdown and we end up skipping dinner and maybe a bath and putting her to bed. It’s going to be a long summer.

Kate’s Quarantine Self Haircut
I was going to let her bangs grow out, but she had other ideas and 
decided to take the scissors in her own hands 

Tyler is currently...

Battling with fleas. We treat him, they retreat for a while, then come back.  I’m trying a new oral medication along with his topical treatment to see if this combination brings more success.

His meowing is fixed! I had been letting him hang out in the garage in the evening and I would bring him in when I went to bed and would give him his kitty CBD oil. He would settle down, but then would start meowing again at 4:20 AM (his is versed in cannabis culture). I would let him into the garage and then get ready to work out. Until one night, he just wouldn’t stop meowing. We don’t want to lock him in the garage all night (as he’ll want to come in and will scratch at the door and meow) and we don’t want to leave the door (leading into our garage) unlocked. However… We build a special enclosure in our garage for his litter box that he accesses through a cat door, and there is a door in the back that opens from the garage side, which lets him go into the garage while keeping the connecting door secure. The meowing at night has stopped. WHY DIDN’T I THINK OF THIS YEARS AGO!!!

The Decoy Computer
Tricks your cat while your are working 

The Good
We finally planted in our planter’s box! We’ve also been working on clearing our hill. I think we’ve done about 75 lawn and leaf bags, plus our neighbors let us use their green bin each week. Unfortunately, I never took any before pics, and I can’t find any, but imagine this hill with a lot of dead shit on it.

Still have a lot of work to do...

The Bad
We officially cancelled our trip to Hawaii and my parents decided they don’t feel comfortable flying out in August. I’m doubtful that we’ll visit at Christmas and I don’t know when I’ll see them again. I really don’t know when or if we’ll see my in-laws again.
Kate and I were supposed to see Hamilton last month. (We are looking forward to seeing it on Disney Plus)

On My Mind..
The coronavirus. I’m anticipating a huge spike in cases due to the protests. Is this going to represent the second wave?
Kate recently asked “How old will I be when the virus is over?” I couldn’t give her an answer.
She showed me how she placed her LEGOs so that Elsa and Olaf were 6 feet apart. I wonder how kids are going to be affected long term by this.
The economic effects from the virus. Businesses that will need to close and growing unemployment.
Systemic racism. Is this movement going to bring real change that is so long overdue? I hope so.