Beth Vrabel lives in West Manchester Township with her daughter, Emma, 6, and son, Benny, 3.

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Weighty Issues

BETH VRABEL

Smart Mama

When a friend, entering the second trimester of her second pregnancy, lamented how much faster she was gaining weight this time around, I told her that was nothing.

I put on about 70 pounds with my first and did not, as expected, give birth to a third-grader. Emma was a little more than 8 pounds.

Partly, I overate because of nerves and anticipation. Mostly, it was because of hot fudge sundaes. Nightly hot fudge sundaes. For the calcium, of course.

Four years later, I learned to control myself a bit more and gained only 45 in my pregnancy with Benny.

Despite the joys of learning how to move about with planetary chunkiness with the first pregnancy, I didn’t worry much about the weight. I had other things on my mind, such as the piles of sweet-smelling tiny clothes in the nursery.

After Benny’s birth, I joined Weight Watchers and traded the sundaes for salads. Long walks pushing a baby stroller helped, too.

I have no excuses for some recent plumping up I’ve been doing. I became a vegetarian a little more than a year ago, and actually gained weight. Seriously. As it turns out, trading pastries for pot roast isn’t great for the waistline.

So I’ve been watching the calories lately. I’m not alone. My husband said yesterday that he wants to get in shape for the beach.

“The beach vacation we leave for in four days?”

“Yeah,” he answered. Irritatingly enough, he probably could drop 5 pounds in that time.

I, on the other hand, have been walking the dog twice daily and going on the elliptical machine every day for a month to no avail. This slow going is thanks to Jasper, the puppy, needing to smell every stray leaf and tinkle on each mailbox, stop sign and clump of grass. (“Rise above the stereotype,” I whisper to him when he raises a leg on the fire hydrants. But he doesn’t listen.)

It’s even worse when the children’s mommy radar blips, letting them know I’m about to leave the premises. “I want to come! I want to come!”

With Emma, age 6, the walk goes to the soundtrack of “How much longer? Do we have to go up the hill? Do you know where you’re going? My legs aren’t as long as yours, you know.”

With Benny, age 2, it’s walk a sidewalk square. Stop. Shout what you see (“Dog poop!” “Bird poop!” “Dead worm!”). Walk a sidewalk square. Stop. Shout what you see. Repeat.

So it might take a while to work off the weight. Luckily, I feel appreciated just as I am.

“Shake your booty, shake your booty,” Benny sings when we dance. His smile huge when he adds helpfully, “That’s a big booty.”

Beth Vrabel lives West Mancheter Township with her children, Benny, 2, and Emma, 6. For more Smart Mama columns, click here.

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