Getting Fat and Dealing With French Condescension

I haven’t been keeping up with my blog for the past few weeks and ho boy, did the comments, postings and emails blow up. It’s like that old episode of I Love Lucy where Lucy lets everything pile up on the chocolate factory, only I wasn’t seeing the chocolates threatening to avalanche because it was all happening in the mystical, invisible land of the internet.

lucy.jpgSo, today I literally tackled 4000 emails. They weren’t entirely my blog’s fault because I also spent half the day unsubscribing from various marketing assembly lines, which was a dragon whose slaying was long overdue.

I mean, what else was going to happen to an openminded, very curious (likely undiagnosed attention-disordered)  woman like myself? SURE, I’d love to learn about the world of cycling and how runners should eat. How about the mysteries of ancient civilizations and Abraham Lincoln’s private letters while we’re at it? Of COURSE, I want to hear about whenever your breakthrough mascaras that will change my life forever go on sale (shockingly perfect eyelashes -> ? -> perfect life!) And WOW, you’ll tell me whether I have a fire, air, earth or water personality with your free quiz if I just enter my email that you promise not to share with anyone? (So weird, because Six Flags over Georgia keeps telling me about their promotions, though I’m almost positive I never asked).

frenchsnob.pngAaaaand on top of that, I started taking a French class with my mom and working out early in the morning, which screws up my powerfully creative middle-of-the-night writing time more than you’d expect. You see, mom and I thought I would be nice to do something together, like take a French film class. Except she’s a retired French teacher and I… well, I learned some French from hearing her speak it when I was little and later studied it in school, but I haven’t used it in quite some time. Picking a class that would neither bore mom to tears nor be ridiculously over my head was a true challenge.

So, I took a placement test and according to the Alliance Francaise, I’m an Advanced Intermediate, but it hardly feels that way when I’m watching French war films from the 60’s, paying extremely close attention to everyone’s body language in the desperate hope  of figuring out a gnat’s wing of context, and reading out French dialogues in class while feeling about as ashamed as I’d imagine feeling after just peeing on the public floor. (Why do they have to talk SO FAST!?)

The entire class is in French, including the instructions, and while I understand about 87% of it, I nevertheless have to hear myself answering the teacher in cavewoman grunts while watching her look at me with that pained, patronizing expression that means she’s pretending that I don’t sound like an idiot so I won’t get discouraged. When it’s just too rough, I occasionally break into English again, whereupon she looks mildly startled by my capacity for abstract reasoning, as though she’d assumed my aching attempts at normal French conversation reflected my general aptitude. This must be how blind people feel when others shout at them in slow, simple language. Or immigrants, when natives assume that their fractured grammar represents how their whole brain operates.

Eh, I complain because it’s entertaining, but I’m actually enjoying this class a great deal. I like being forced to learn something new. You see, I spend most of my time around toddlers, and while I love my kids to pieces and cherish the time I spend with them, it’s not exactly an intellectual challenge, right about now. For example, I spent the bulk of today’s afternoon helping my 3-year-old practice writing her name, which consisted of her randomly scribbling on a paper then looking really proud of her alphabet mastery. Essentially, she was me in French class, except she’s blissfully unaware of how far off she is, whereas I can’t help but catch every micro-condescension in my French teacher’s eyes.

But in addition to taking the French class, I’ve also started waking up early to work out. You may be wondering why, given my obvious night-owl tendencies…

You see, I decided to start exercising more and eating better after my five-year-old started asking me if she was going to get a new baby sister.

“No,” I told her. “Daddy and I are happy with two girls. We aren’t going to have another baby.”

“But your belly is sooo… BIG. Like when you were making Bridget.”

Sigh.

“No, I’m not having another baby.”

“But it’s getting BIGGER and BIGGER!”

Frankly, I think she’s being a bit of a weight Nazi, because I’ve only put on around ten pounds or so.

Maybe 15. Okay, maybe it’s 15 and I happen to think 15 pounds from skinniness is a little premature to start asking your mom whether she’s pregnant. Still, I read something about how only yoga pants and toddlers tell the truth and figure if your belly is getting big enough for your kids to notice it, it’s probably time to jump on it before it becomes a larger issue.

And it could be worse, given that she’s also been asking her dad if he’s making her a baby brother, since she assumes women make girls while men make boys. Which makes primitive sense, assuming you don’t fully understand the process.

So, I’ve recently embarked on a P90x exercise routine in the mornings, because doing it anytime later throws off my entire day, as well as a bold attempt at eating better. The whole process has made me reflect on how much easier it is to get fat and out of shape once you have kids.

I plan to talk about it in my next posting.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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When Your Husband Sleeps With Dragons

As previously mentioned, my husband and I have wildly different circadian rhythms. He falls asleep by nine, whereas I don’t even try for another five hours or so.

Partly, this is because I’m a freelance writer who must squeeze in work whenever a toddler isn’t demanding I admire her pee or open up yet another yogurt cup.

But mostly, my husband and I are just differently wired. He gets groggy by 7 PM, while I will literally have no memory of any conversation we have before 9 AM. “Write it down!” I’m always reminding him. “So I can read anything worth remembering after coffee.”

On the other hand, whenever I accidentally wake him up in the middle of the night, he jumps up, looks at me as if I’d just dumped the cat box all over his room, then repeatedly grunts while flinging the covers over his eyes to avert the horrors. He claims to have no memory of said reactions, but his disapproval is nevertheless made abundantly clear.

So my stealth skills have dramatically improved because I like a challenge (even if said challenge is just moving things around in your husband’s room so he wakes up confused).

Still, I’d been trying to stop that lately until the other night, when I realized I’d left my phone in his room and… argh… it was 3 in the morning. I didn’t want to wake him up, but I needed to count up how many Anglo-Saxon kings died suspiciously young in the Kingdom of Mercia.

Why? Because they didn’t have a lot of reliable methods to figure out causes of death back then and so many kings died within a couple of years of taking the throne, often in their early twenties, and aren’t you curious too?

Maybe not, since I’m uniquely weird like that and in retrospect, this question probably could’ve waited until the next morning. But it didn’t feel like it at the time.

Plus, I’ve now been tiptoeing around my husband long enough that I assumed I could slip in to access Google and sort out all the Anglo-Saxons without my husband ending up any the wiser.

And I approached this mission like a ninja boss: I squeezed the door knob completely before opening the door. Leaving the light off, I walked toe-heel, toe-heel to the nightstand to quietly melt my hand over my phone. I really thought I was getting away with it, when…

He suddenly lurches forward in bed with enough force to knock a pillow off.

I freeze.

He turns his head toward me.

He takes a deep breath, rubs his temples, and says…

“I’ve been letting her use my dragon costume again.”

He sighs in relief.

What?

Okay, so the man was clearly dreaming. Apparently, about loaning out his dragon costume again.

Wait a minute. Who has been borrowing his dragon costume? It sounded like an admission. I try to imagine any situation where you’d be nervous about admitting this fact.

Wait… he’s obviously been loaning out his costume to some other woman and had to finally come clean about it before all the costume-swapping led down a dangerous path. I mean, a kid wouldn’t fit into a grown man’s dragon costume, right? So my husband must’ve been loaning it out to some lady on the sly. To some nefarious end.

Who borrowed your costume?” I asked him.

“I don’t remember,” he said.

“You were JUST telling me about it.”

“Umm… you?

Like that’s not suspicious. Knowing he’ll be mindswept by full consciousness any minute now, I scramble to satisfy my curiosity via a different route:

“When was the last time she borrowed it?”

And he looks annoyed, like I’m asking him to remember what he ate for dinner two Thursdays ago.

“It was…” he starts. “Borrowed what?”

“Your DRAGON costume.”

He blinks a lot.

“I have NO idea what you’re talking about,” he says.

Dang it. I guess we’ll never know.