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Parenting Stories: A Fresh Start

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I think every family must have its own language of idiosyncrasies. Certain blankies have to be folded a certain way in order for a certain child to fall asleep. Closed sandwiches are OK, open-faced are not, unless it’s Nutella and then it has to be open-faced, so you can lick at will. One child likes pretzels, another never eats them, two won’t go near yogurt, and even though everyone likes pudding, one likes vanilla, two like chocolate, and one won’t go near it unless it’s lemon. You see what I mean.

In this house we have something know as the “fresh” beverage. Basically, “fresh” means cold. A cup of “fresh milk” or “fresh water” has come straight out of the fridge. Once it rises to room temperature, it is no longer “fresh” and has to be immediately rehabilitated with an ice cube, or two. Unless, of course, it’s too late. And then no amount of ice cubes in the world will help it. In that case the poor drink is chucked faster than a first wife in Brentwood and replaced with a newer, fresher model.

We have Francie to thank for this mishigas. And she’s passed it on to Fi, who embraces all of life with tremendous gusto. So much so that at three a.m. when she began to howl in her bed, it was because her glass of water was no longer fresh. So, she did the best thing she could and she screamed like a howling banshee until she’d woken me, M, and the baby. Guess who didn’t go back to sleep. (Hint: The answer is not Fi.)

Therefore, I was already cranky this morning when I headed out for my appointment – my first appointment — with the physical therapist who’s going to fit me with new orthodics. I’m ashamed to admit that I’ve been running in the same orthodics since 2000. Yes, well over a decade. I got fitted for them while in law school, when I had time to do things like run marathons. And as long as I change my shoes regularly, I’ve had no problems. Granted, I’ve spent much of the past decade knocked up, so I haven’t run for more than a year at a time, but that’s all behind me now [as long as you all keep your newborns away from me],  and I thought I’d get new ones. Orthodics, not babies.

I walked into the PT’s office, which is basically a gym. And he asked me some questions and asked if I’d brought shorts. No, I said. He then asked me to roll my running pants up over my knees.

“I’m sorry, but I can’t do that.” I replied

“Huh?”

“Listen, I know this is Seattle, and you’ve probably seen your fair share of hairy legs, but I had NO idea you were going to be looking at mine, and I’m a week behind on my waxing, and, so you see, I just can’t do it.”

He assured me that he’d probably seen far worse than whatever I had to show him, and it turns out he had. Plus, given that this was Seattle, there were also a fair number of women in the room at the time who neither looked much like women or who’d ever come within five feet of hot wax. It also turns out that that was not the low point of the encounter.

No, the low point came when I found myself on the treadmill: running pants hiked up over my knees, shirt tucked into my running bra [so he could get a look at what my hips do when I run], a laser point at my ass, and a camera right behind it, saving my posterior for posterity.

“We’ll have a look at this later, and check out what you’re doing wrong,” he said.

Like hell we will.

I ran. I walked. I ran again. And then I told him that he was free to look at the video, but that I never wanted to see it. I was happy to talk about all things I was doing wrong, I just really couldn’t bear seeing them.

You see, running is one of the few things I’m actually good at. Running never tells me I’ve screwed up by embarrassing it in front of its friends, by over-salting the chicken, by putting the wrong thing in its lunch box, by being nicer to its sister, or by letting the temperature of it’s beverage rise above an acceptable level. Running also never tells me that I’ve failed to properly spell check, that I’ve cited a case that hasn’t been good law since the Civil War, or that my writing is simplistic and rushed. No, despite getting older and having less time than ever, I’m actually getting better at running. Or at least I like to think so. So, while I know that it’s probably a good idea to check in with a PT, replace the orthodics, and brush up on my technique, I really am not prepared to handle a lot of criticism. I sort of need running to love me unconditionally at the moment, knee varis and all. (I just learned that I have one today. Lucky me.)

I managed to squeeze in some work today, fix some rather embarrassing mistakes I’d made earlier in the week, or at least try to, and then I collapsed on a chair in the kitchen. Fi came and sat next to me. I made a cup of tea for myself and asked her what she wanted. And in her best Bond voice, she looked up at me and said:

Milk. Fresh, milk.

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lea_gellerAbout Lea Geller
I’m a part-time lawyer, full time mother of five (ages nine and down)… currently in sunny Seattle. People ask how I manage it all, and I like to say that I do lots of things, but none of them very well.  That’s my secret…. In a house of seven strong, distinct personalities, I always seem to have a story to tell.  I suppose I got tired of people telling me, ‘You have to write this down!” So, I finally did, and blogging about our large mishaps, small triumphs, and other adventures, has helped hold my sanity together, albeit loosely.

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