Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Better than average baby days

I'm in a happy place. For months it seems I've had cold hands and feet. Now suddenly, the sun is shinning and the world is waking up. I love the warmer weather and the older I get the more I consider seriously the notion of moving somewhere the weather is more like this all the time.

As I write, I am in the well placed corner of the decking, where the sun's heat seems to collect. iPad in hand and baby monitor clipped to my bikini. Clothes at the ready because with just a step out of my personal corner of paradise I'm met with a breeze that feels like the last bits of winter are still clearing away. Plus, when Ethan peeps awake it'll be a quick transition from carefree sun goddess to mum-of-the-sandpit.

The sandpit resides in my paradise corner, warm and sheltered for when Ethan indulges in his new favourite thing, SAND! When Thom and I first moved into the house, we wondered how we could get rid of it. The plastic box didn't match our backyard vibe. Kinda clashed with the garden candles and fairy lights against the long, bbq scented evenings with cold glasses of Chardonnay. Now, not only does it completely coordinate with our current decorating scheme of primary colours and plastic, but also our previous laziness has become Ethan's greatest source of fun.

It has been a happy time watching him fall in love with the outdoors as the weather warms. Suddenly, it seems for him, there is bigger world beyond the doors of the house and he's eager to get into it.

He approached the sand pit with his characteristic cautiousness, gently feeling the sand between his fingers and looking over the shoulder all the while to check with us. His boldness grew to climbing in, filling containers, emptying as much sand out as he could, rubbing a little on his cheeks and especially covering mum in piles and piles of sand.

We make an afternoon of it when the weather permits, like today, bringing out with us snacks and drinks, sunscreen and blankets. He crams slightly sandy tomatoes and strawberries in his mouth, while I fight a losing battle of trying to keep the sand out of his eye, ears and nose. He cries when we take him inside for dinner and often looks out the window, pointing and speaking to us with words we don't yet understand. So I park his highchair by the open kitchen door so he can hear the birds and watch the flowers while he eats his dinner. And with that he is content. Sunshine just makes for better than average days all 'round.

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Reflections on Sweat and Sequins: The Miami Pro

It seems like a long time ago now that my friend, Aga, and I first spoke about doing a body building bikini competition.  For such a long time, it was something in the future.  Now that it's over the feeling is surreal.

I think we both needed a goal.  For our own reasons, something to work towards and challenge us.  I was still trying to shift baby weight and had just been introduced to what would become a consuming passion, CrossFit.  It seemed like something to keep me training, eating right and on track.  And it was a strange kind of challenge.  A kind of slow, daily grind of a challenge to persist in the workouts, the dietary commitments and stay focused on this date in the future when it would hopefully all come together in a brief stroll across a stage.

Sunday was the day.  The evening before, Aga and I met up at hotel near the arena, went to be covered in very brown tan and tried to keep each other calm.  By 11 am the next day, we were make-up-ed, hair-sprayed and waiting to be registered.  There were over 200 other toned and tanned people there.  After we were given our numbers, all 200 of us clambered for some space backstage to prepare and settle in for the inevitable hours of waiting.  

Backstage was a strange world.  Amongst the splashes of fake tan still  being applied, competitors did press ups, practised poses and texted their friends in the audience.  Aga and I tried to relax, but I think was probably just gawking at all the muscles, glitter and chaos.  Groups of women passed around bottles of Jack Daniels and wine.  Other guys and girls acted like they were on something different - chattering away like spacey energizer bunnies and not making much sense.  Some very large moody muscle men glowered in the corner, spreading their giant quads across the tiny sofas, leaving no room for anyone else to perch.  People planned their McDonalds orders for the way home or pre-ordered pizzas to be delivered when the show ended.  Though it sounds naive of us, this was not the fitness wonderland Aga and I had imagined.

But, none the less, we were there.  We got our abs and we were feeling fitter than we ever have before.  That was all we wanted, I suppose.  The pageantry of the day was just like a giant tribute to our hard work.  

Then somehow, there I was at the edge of the stage, in a bikini that barely had me covered, waiting to walk out and face the crowd.  I was a bag of nerves and it showed.  But I did it.  Aga did, too.  Neither of us have any shiny trophies to show for it, but it certainly is an experience I am glad to have had.

The next day, and now, there's an emptiness without the goal that loomed over me for so long.  In some ways, I find myself being surprised that I am the same.  Getting the bikini competition hasn't changed my life. I am still the same person, with the same problems and the same insecurities as before.  Monday morning, I woke up to the 6am baby-alarm-clock and got on with the day.  What it has given me is proof that I can do what I put my mind to; I can overcome the things that will inevitably get in the way and, damn it, I can do it.  The question is, what next?