Giddyup, Partner!

A few days ago, I was telling someone that I’ve never been on a horse before.  I always wanted to go horseback riding as a kid, but it just never happened.  There weren’t exactly a lot of horses in Alaska, so I can understand why this dream didn’t come true in my early years.  However, I’ve been in Texas for a good while now.  You’d think I would’ve encountered one by now, but alas, I have not.  I pass a few of them nearly every day on the way out of my neighborhood, for Pete’s sake.*

You’re probably feeling a tinge of sadness for me.  After all, isn’t it a child’s rite of passage to ride on a creature that could throw him/her to his/her untimely death?  So, like, woe is me, right?!  Well, no need to worry friends.  I’ve found some pictures that have helped to fill that horsey void.  Granted, I don’t remember taking these pictures and the horse wasn’t real, but from what I can tell, I definitely thought I was riding a horse and I loved it. 

Please note that these pictures also serve as additional proof that I was an enormous baby.    I had just turned 1 here. 

“Hey, y’all! Look at me on my purdy, fake horsey!”

I have trouble looking at the next one without laughing. I can’t tell for sure, but I must have been going awfully fast to achieve the whole hair-blowing-in-the-wind look.

“This. Is. Awesome!”

Here’s a picture of me, my brother and my sister earlier that year.  It looks like my sister was just as excited, if not more, to be riding the ol’ pony.  This one makes me laugh even more due to the “I like cake!” look on her face.  Ah, good times.

“Remember to always wear your finest dress and cardigan when riding your horsey.”

I think we still have the horse.  If I ever have children (anybody taking bets on that yet?), I’ll be sure to take them horseback riding the way I learned.  It’ll be cheaper that way.

*Who exactly is this Pete character, anyway?

What a Baby!

A few years ago, I was sifting through family photos and found something rather puzzling. It was a picture of a very large baby. I didn’t recognize this person and I wanted to know what family had been cursed with such an unfortunate looking child. I went to my mother and asked if she knew who this creature was. Then, in the blink of an eye, my life changed forever. My mother looked at me as straight-faced as could be and spoke the following words: “Carly, that’s you.”
 

Me at 6 months (beginning of the heavy years)

 This couldn’t be happening. It just couldn’t be true! I went to my father and asked him to identify the child in the picture. He uttered the words I feared: “Carly, that’s you.” So, it had been confirmed. There was no escaping the truth. I was an obese baby.

Double-chin

Roly Poly

 I had so many questions. What were my parents feeding me?? I had very vague memories of eating baby food from those little jars, but perhaps it hadn’t been normal baby food. Maybe someone had secretly put creatine in my mushy carrots.  Normally my siblings would have been the prime suspects, but they were too young at the time to pull off something that sinister. I supposed it could have been my babysitter, although I couldn’t identify a motive. Or maybe my parents had dreams of my becoming a sumo wrestler and knew the importance of starting the fattening process early.
 

Not Me

And what about my doctor? Was he concerned? Were any special tests performed to rule out any obvious causes? Did he instruct my parents to put me on a special diet to keep the weight down? Did he suggest an exercise regimen, which would have included both cardio and weight-training activities? I remembered seeing my mom’s calisthenics book lying around the house when I was younger. Maybe it was intended for me all along, although I certainly couldn’t remember having worn a leotard as an infant. 

Packing on the pounds and loving it!

And what about daily life? Did other babies make fun of me? Was I required to wear compression stockings to keep the blood flowing in my mammoth legs? Did my parents purposely make sure I was fully bundled during outings to keep me hidden from the cruel world? And what if gastric bypass had been around back then? Would they have considered it? I wondered if my parents had joined a support group for families of enormous babies. And what about my future? Were they worried I would have weight issues as I grew into adulthood?

I’ve spoken to my parents and they whole-heartedly dispute my claims of obesity. Their arguments were as follows:

1) “It was baby fat. Most babies are fat. You were just a little fatter than the rest.”

2) “It was in your genes to be a large baby. Your brother had been even bigger than you at that age (nickname: “The Michelin Man”) and he eventually shed the pounds after a few years.”

Michelin Man

3) “You were a sedentary baby. Crawling was not your thing and you were perfectly content just sitting there.”

4) “We made sure you were well-bundled because we lived in one of the coldest climates in the world. Do you not remember that? What is wrong with you?”*

I couldn’t argue with any of the above, it was all true. Touché Mom and Dad, touché.

Surprisingly, I ended up being an extremely skinny child, as did my brother. There was nothing to worry about after all.

The Scrawny Years

I still enjoy sitting and doing nothing. It’s my thinking time.

If you own a large baby, don’t worry, it’s natural.

*They didn’t actually say that. Also, the quotation marks used throughout this story do not indicate actual quotes. Sometimes you have to make your best estimate of what someone may or may not have said.

For the Love of the Brain

I think we can all agree on one thing: the brain is important, nay, vital to the functioning of the human body.  So, riddle me this…why aren’t we doing more to safeguard our precious noggins?

The American people have long believed that helmets are the best method to protect against brain injury while bicycling.  But friends, since when is riding a bike more dangerous than so many other activities we engage in on a regular basis?  I argue that it’s not.

A few months ago, an ominous storm was rolling in and everyone in the city was preparing for the worst.  The power had gone out at my house and I received several text messages warning me that there were tornadoes spotted in my area (I’ll go ahead and add “weather radio” to my shopping list right now).  I took my flashlight, bottle of water and Wheat Thins and hunkered down in my bedroom closet.  The tornado sirens were blaring.  I was afraid, but I knew I would be okay, for I was wearing my helmet.*

And you know what?  I was right.  I attribute this primarily to the fact that a tornado did not hit my house, but also because I had taken the proper precautions by protecting my head.

I’ve been thinking about this ever since and have compiled a rather extensive list of occasions in which the use of a helmet may prevent injury.  Many of these are based on personal experiences.  While reading, please try to think of how a helmet could have helped you during situations similar to those mentioned below:

  • Natural disasters:
    • Earthquakes
    • Hurricanes
    • Tornadoes
    • Dust storms
  • Shopping:
    • $1 flip-flop day at Old Navy
    • Fighting the crowds during the holidays
    • Walmart
  • Outdoors:
    • Sledding
    • Being attacked by a wild animal
    • Falling off the side of a mountain
    • Snow machining
  • Driving a:
    • Car
    • Boat
    • Train
    • Tractor
  • Fun:
    • Roller-coasters
    • Bowling
    • Games:
      • Twister
      • Darts
      • Red Rover
  • Housework:
    • Changing light bulbs
    • Roof repair
    • Painting
    • Climbing on a ladder or counter

      Decorating can be dangerous! Wear your helmet!

  • Sports:
    • Baseball
    • Skiing
      • Regular
      • Water
    • Gymnastics
    • Basketball
    • Golf
      • Regular
      • Mini
    • Tetherball
  • Flying in a:
    • Plane
    • Helicopter
    • Rocket ship
  • Exercising:
    • Treadmill
    • Elliptical
    • Kick-boxing class
    • Stationary bike
  • Fights:
    • Food
    • Bar
    • Gun
    • Cat
  • Jumping:
    • On  a pogo-stick
    • On a trampoline
    • Rope
    • For joy
  • Miscellaneous:
    • Showering
    • Sitting back in your chair at school
    • Wearing high-heels
    • Standing anywhere near others who are playing sports
    • Sleeping

I hate to think that so many innocent people may endure unnecessary trauma simply because they haven’t taken the proper precautions. Therefore, I officially propose that all human beings wear a helmet 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  I realize that this will not be a popular sentiment.  But you know what I learned from Albert Einstein and a poster on the wall in junior high?  “What is right is not always popular and what is popular is not always right.”  Think about that.

Every once in a while, I’ll invite my parents’ dog, Coco, to stay at my house for a few days (in lieu of owning my very own dog).  She came for a visit last weekend and had a bit of an accident. She slammed her head into the corner of my glass coffee-table.  I quickly decided the need for helmets is not limited to human-kind.  Here are the types of accidents in which a helmet may benefit your furry friend:

  • Getting hit by a car (I know this is sad, but it’s a very real part of life)
  • Falling off the couch while trying to get comfortable
  • Running into the wall or household objects while:
    • Playing
    • Being blind
  • Actual cat fight

While I believe the use of the helmet is a no-brainer (pun intended), I also understand that you may have some superficial concerns.  You needn’t worry though.  I’ve found that most circumstances can be improved by incorporating a bit of creativity, and this situation is no exception.  You may be concerned that while wearing your helmet, your gorgeous hair will be hidden, unable to blow in the wind.  I’ve taken the liberty of doing a little research and have developed a method that will protect your head while also helping to retain your beauty.  See examples below:

The Everyday Look

can be worn at the office, out to dinner, shopping

So Stylish!

The Relaxed Look

can be worn watching TV, reading, knitting

“I didn’t even notice there was a helmet under her ‘do!”

Instructions for obtaining a beautiful helmet head:  buy a helmet with holes in the top, pull your hair through the holes, style as usual.  Would you look at that?  Your helmet is almost completely concealed beneath your beautiful hair-do! You’re safe, yet stunning!

Now, even if you don’t believe that you look beautiful in your new helmet, I know you’ll decide that enduring a little humiliation is worth it in the end.  Friends, danger is all around us.  You can’t be careful enough.  Please, purchase a helmet and wear it often.  And most importantly, have fun discovering ways to wear your helmet!

*I got the idea from a co-worker who said that he regularly found his girlfriend wearing her helmet during tornado warnings.  I found it to be hilarious at first, but then realized it was actually brilliant.