Friday, June 23, 2017

Swimsuit Season

“After I put on my bathing suit, you must not look at me until I get into the water.”
“Why not?” asked Frog.
“Because I look funny in my bathing suit. That is why,” said Toad.
(Frog and Toad Are Friends by Arnold Lobel)

Last year, I successfully avoided wearing a swim suit. With a clever bit of inception, I convinced my husband and daughter that swimming was a special father/daughter activity and they went to the pool without me once or twice a week, coming home chemical-scented and hungry. I fed them, hugely pregnant, and was thankful.  Then, my son was born at the beginning of July and swimming was forbidden for six weeks because of my cervix or something. I rode that excuse all the way to fall.
This year, with a nearly one-year-old and a three-year-old, pool time has to be a family outing. Two kids at the pool is a bit much for one adult. So I pulled out my swim suits and tried them on.
First was the tankini I bought to wear rafting before I knew I was pregnant with my daughter. I wore it exactly once and back in the drawer it went.  The top is a medium and the bottom is a large because…pears. Still fits, though my nursing boobs are kinda smushed in and my stretch marks are showing. I decide it’s not going to work and move on to option number two.
Maternity swimsuit. Worn only during the first pregnancy to water aerobics. That’s a whole other post…but it fits. It looks like a maternity suit, though. It has that ruching on the sides. But my boobs are contained.  The bottom is super pilly…but who can tell?  Who’s looking? I decide it’s not going to work and move on to option number three.
Post-partum suit.  Purchased the summer after my daughter was born. It’s from Old Navy and has that “vintage-inspired” one-piece look: strapless except for a shoestring holster. A piece of fabric over the whole thing that can be bunched up to hide fat rolls and/or pulled down to turn the one-piece into a tube-dress suit. It is doing nothing for my boobs. They are seconds from popping out. I remember that they often did the summer I wore it. My husband is called in for a consult and declares it “not the worst thing” if my boobs pop out at the community pool. I decide it’s the worst one yet and take to the internet.
When it comes in the mail I’m initially happy with the fit. It’s a high waisted, pin-up style. It has significant coverage but is purposefully stylish. I stash it in my swim suit drawer. Cut to today. It’s the first hot day in forever and we decide it’s the day we will go to the pool, which has just opened for the season this week. I pull out my suit a couple hours early, just to make sure. I plop the baby in the pack-n-play in our room and he amuses himself with his own reflection and a pretend piano while I don the fancy new suit.
It’s terrible. Maybe my boobs shrank but the cups sit perched atop my wobbly “there used to be a person in there” abdomen and there’s a sizable gap on all sides. The halter pulls at the back of my neck and the back strap keeps rolling around.  The swim bottom is fine but it is perhaps TOO high-waisted, making me look short and stubby…TOADLIKE even. Husband is pulled in for a consult. He declares it “Fine. Sexy. Good.” And he’s gone, his two cargo-short suits folded neatly next to his actual cargo-shorts. Life is easy for him. I decide the new suit is the worst yet and go back through each of the above.
I finish where I started: tankini. It’s fine, I tell myself. By this time, the baby is getting bored of this activity and wants up. I pick him up and glance at the mirror. Now that I’m holding a baby, the suit takes on a ghoulish fun-house mirror shape. The twenty-something pound baby can’t be held while I’m standing upright and pushing out my chest, sucking in my gut. The giant baby, who doesn’t hold on at all by the way but rather leans away, trying to see the world, must be held on a hip. And when I do that, there’s my “there used to be person in there” abdomen, jutting out for all to see. My boobs are in great danger of exposing themselves and my posture is not runway-appropriate.
And he’s laughing at me. The baby. Just like in the story—all of Toad’s friends laugh at him because he DOES look funny in his bathing suit.  To which Toad says, “Of course I do” and picks up his clothes and goes home! The baby is laughing at me and so will everyone else. Or worse, they’ll look at me with pity and disgust.
Wait. No, he’s not. The baby is laughing at himself in the mirror.  And I smile at him and he goos enthusiastically, wrapping his chubby little arms around my neck and giving me a slobbery, open-mouthed kiss. He could give two shits about me in my bathing suit. He just wants to be near me. Duh.
At the pool, I notice the other mom-bods. Don’t try to tell me you don’t scope them out, too. Obviously, mostly, I was watching my children, but as it turns out, the baby is terrified of the pool and just wanted to sit in the shallow end, holding onto me for dear life. So I had a moment to scan the crowd. There were mom-bods just like mine—pale and untoned and doing their best in tankinis, one-pieces, skirt-bottoms, t-shirts, some full-blown bikinis, and all other variations of swimwear. I saw them pulling down their tops, pulling their bottoms around their bottoms. I saw them trying to adjust their posture while holding a baby and realizing that would result in back injury. I saw them too focused on the safety of their kids to worry that their love-handle had made an appearance. I saw them yank up their tops to avoid a near nip slip. And I saw the dads, carefree and heartless in their man-uniform. And I saw the inexplicably fit moms and the naturally petite moms and the nannies who don’t have kids and the friends who still have shape and the teenagers who look perfect. And all the cute kids in their colorful swimwear and hats and floaties, not caring at all about stomach flab. And everyone was fine. It was fine. They saw me and I saw them and, sure, I’m probably gonna go buy a suit so I have something that fits a little better, but then I’m just going to wear it. Because, believe it or not, it’s not about me. Or my stomach.

In the end, my boob did come out. The baby’s hydrophobia was so great I decided to nurse him to ease his panic. So I sat on a bench, giant baby on my lap, and popped my boob out of my tankini. And no one cared. Except the baby…he was pacified. 

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Mom Guilt Gifts

I am the ultimate mom stereotype at Target today.  I pulled up in my minivan, strapped the baby to my front and lifted the toddler, LOUDLY SINGING a song in gibberish loosely inspired by "Hakuna Matata" into the cart.  I'm feeling svelte today in my Costco jeans and flannel button up, one day out from a fast but furious stomach flu that touched the lives of all who met it like a dead person who did nice things except this virus did horrible things and it seems it will never die.

I'm at target to buy an "I'm Sorry My Daughter Threw Up On Your Rug: I Didn't Know She Had the Stomach Flu" rug and an "I'm Sorry I Infected You and Your Whole Family With Our Stomach Flu Because My Baby Put His Hand in Your Mouth: I Thought He Was Well Again" card.  The second one doesn't exist but I looked. It's kinda niche market, the whole "throw up apology gift" thing, isn't it? But, Target, if anyone were to start carrying a line of these items, it would would YOU.

I also had to buy an assortment of mismatched frames to compensate for the fact that I can't hang pictures correctly, Gatorade, rice, and other delicacies. Basically, I spend $150 as per usual.

They are remodeling my local Target, so I got lost and then the toddler had to pee before I found where they'd stashed the kid water bottles because none of ours have a complete set, so I was in Target for a LONG time today and thought of some more apology products.

Disclaimer: I'm of the mind that we don't need to apologize for our kids like those parents who hand out goodie bags to the "poor, unfortunate souls" who have to share an airplane with a child who may or may not have an inner ear catastrophe while in flight.  HOWEVER. I am kinda the worst in this stage of life and I hope the following gifts will help people forgive me.

To the person I cut off during the confusing four way stop by my house:
"I'm Sorry I Can't Figure Out Whose Turn it Is to Go Because I'm Fielding a Hungry Toddler and a Hangry Baby and Probably Shouldn't Be Driving Because I'm Super Tired" cactus

To my Mom Friend:
"I'm Sorry We Can't Be Friends Anymore Because Our Kids' Nap Schedules Don't Align" candle

To the Waitress:
"I'm Sorry I Didn't Pick Up the Cracker Crumbs my Toddler Left on Your Floor: I Just Wanted to Get Out of There Before She Decided to Lie Down on the Floor and Have an Exit Tantrum" coffee mug

To My Husband:
"I'm Sorry the House Looks like This and Also I Didn't Make Dinner But Everyone Cried All Day Today and I Didn't Want To" decorative vase

To My Childless Friend:
"I'm Sorry I Dramatically Rolled My Eyes When You Said Caring for Your Pet Is Just Like Having A Child" flower pot

To the Baby:
"I'm Sorry Your Nap Got Ruined by Your Sister Coming in And Asking If You Wanted To Go to the Zoo: I Was Peeing and Didn't Catch Her in Time" teething toy

To the Toddler:
"I'm Sorry I Snapped at You for Licking a Stranger" sticker book

To the Stranger:
"She Licked You Because She Likes You: I hope You Don't Get the Stomach Flu" gift basket

To Myself:
"I'm Sorry You Have to Wait Just a Little Longer for Lunch Because the Baby Had a Blowout and the Toddler is Protesting Nap: Just Reheat it One More Time" wine glass

I admit a couple of these are sorrynotsorry apologies, but mostly I do feel bad that I just can't get it together and keep the world healthy and basically I'm just thankful that people generally give me a break and find my child's vocal improvisations endearing.  So next I'll think of THANK YOU presents and I'll try not to make them too snarky....

To the Target Checkout Lady:
"Thank You for Giving My Child a Sticker Even Though I Am Not Sure She Met All the Requirements for Deserving One" tote bag

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Day Dream and Night Terror

Day Dream: wakes up smiling, even when his sister has woken him up.

Night Terror:  Hits his wall and begins crying and rage babbling.

Day Dream: Eats solid foods for breakfast while laughing at his sister and Daddy.

Night Terror: stays asleep for a long stretch which starts at 6pm and ends when I'm juuuuuust fallllling asleeeeeeeeeeep.

Day Dream: plays independently in his playpen. Hits developmental milestones for gross motor.

Night Terror: "Is he STILL not sleeping through the night?" as if I have failed somehow even though my first born TOTALLY SLEPT.

Day Dream: Takes two solid naps a day. Can be put to bed awake and will play until he falls asleep.

Night Terror: 2:30 am. The moaning begins.

Day Dream: Can go to restaurants and loud shopping malls without incident. Smiles at older women, evoking sympathy and platitudes. "Enjoy him.  It goes so fast!"

Night Terror: 2:45. still crying. Daddy attempts to soothe.  JUST PISSES HIM OFF.

Day Dream: Feeds himself off his tray, sensually licking his fingers.  Is not picky like SOME PEOPLE I KNOW (Looking at you, husband and toddler). Avocados are allowed back into the house.


Day Dream: Laughs and plays while I read to his sister. Happy to observe her antics. Is forgiving of her when she loves him too fiercely.

Night Terror: Dying of starvation, he pulls at my shirt until I relent. 80th percentile baby is not actually needing to eat.  I hear the pediatrician's disappointed rebuke as I erase any sleep training with each let down.

Day Dream: Gives me open mouth kisses and squeals with delight as I sing to him and change him into his PJs.

Night Terror: Husband echos the pediatrician's mansplaining, that if only I were strong enough, I could sleep train this baby. But my feminine resolve is TOO WEAK.

Day Dream: Nurses and begins to drift into drowsiness. He complains a bit when I drop him off, but does not persist beyond when I shut the door.

Night Terror: Asleep in my arms, he does not want to let go.  Sweet, sweet baby, all he wants is me. His darling loneliness manipulates me into holding him just one more minute. I plop him down clumsily, drunk with sleep deprivation, and shuffle back to bed, flopping down on the mattress, willing myself to fall back into deep sleep because...

Only two more hours until the toddler wakes up...

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Why I Wear Leggings as Pants

1.      I have no pants. 
All my pants seem to fit wrong.  Too big too small to low too high to much crotch too much leg.  They are never right. 

2.      No one lets me buy new pants
I just now tried to buy pants and I don’t know what it is about Nordstrom Rack, but my kids HATE the dressing rooms there and have had some epic crying jags.  This time it was the boy baby and I picked him up finally, thinking he was hungry but he just looked at me in the mirror and smiled so BIG as if to say, “Mom I love you just the way you are…in your ratty, decade-old underwear and nursing sleep bra.  I love your stress-sweat aroma and your fogged up glasses (from embarrassment).  We are bessssst friiiiiends. Never let me go.”

3.      Deep squats
All I do is bend down and pick things and people up.  I don’t need my butt slipping out.  I need something that works with me. 

4.      I could exercise at any moment
You never know.  It could happen now.  Or now.  Or now.  Or later.  Or never. 

5.      My life is casual
I’m not rushing into formal meetings.  I’m not teaching a seminar.  I’m wiping people’s body parts and going to kids’ music classes. 

6.     I can buy them online
Unlike real pants which require a dressing room debacle in order to determine that they don’t look good, leggings look pretty much the same on everyone.  Tight. 

7.      I can sleep in them
If I slept.

8.      One compound word:
Moisture-wicking.  For all the moist things that touch me with their moist little fingers and moist mouths. 

9.      Black is slimming.
So I’m told.  Or at least hides stains like when I lift the stroller into my car in the rain and hit myself in the leg with the muddy tire. 

10.   Shaddup I want to be comfy gaddammmmit.
I’m already holding a twenty pound lump of open mouth baby kisses in one hand and wiping a newly-potty trained toddler with the other while deep squatting and covered in mysterious moisture while sleep-deprived at a Nordstrom Rack.  I can AT LEAST be comfortable when I do it.