To Bikini, or Not to Bikini

My son's year-end band trip was to Splashtown last week and since I was out of town the week that the $25 and permission slip was due, I got to spend slightly over $300* to take all three of my kids. On Field Trip Saturday. To the only waterpark in Houston. By myself. That was fun.

waterpark ftw>

*In fairness, it would have been closed to $250 but season passes were $10 more than a ticket and I am incapable of turning down a good deal. Busydad tells me this is because I am almost an honorary Asian. And then he pulls his eyes all slanty and says, "What a baahgain!" and his ancestors are currently accepting bids for the outsourcing of the avenging the dishonor he shows them. Bygones.

So my sons run off in search of school friends and I am left alone with my daughter to tackle the waves pools and ride on the not-so-lazy river and I realize I'm getting old as hell because all I want to do is run around covering up every little girl I see in a slinky little string bikini.

And I realize why it bothers me that those girls all wear stuff like that when it really has no right too, since my daughter modeled suits just like that in her toddler days. For me, it's not what those girls look like, but how they are seen.

No one mistakes a 2 year old for a teenager, but it isn't so hard to look at a 12 year old today and see a 16 year old, an 18 year old, a woman. A very awkward woman constantly tugging on her swimsuit trying to make it sit in all the places that it needs hips or breasts to properly sit, and will never on a child's body. Which just goes to accentuating all the things that are not, but soon will be, and makes the problem that much worse.

The thing is, adolescent children just aren't capable of understanding how they are perceived. Most adults aren't really, either. It's not fair to assume our girls can grasp what it means to wear something like that, and it's not fair to let then strut around with "naked and clueless" signs strapped to their backs. Every time one of those kids passed by me wearing a teency little bikini, I caught myself scanning the crowd to see if anyone was looking at her the wrong way. I can't help it, I'm wired to protect. I'm the damn Michael Ohr of under-clothed children.

We had a lot to say about this on Momversation. A lot of what we say gets edited out for time on these things, and my favorite point - made by Jessica Gottlieb - was (paraphrased) that it's pretty hard to go be a kid and splash and ride rides and have fun when you constantly have to watch that you didn't lose your swim top, and maybe we should just encourage our girls to have as much fun as the boys do, and part of that is making letting them dress for the occasion properly. My 10 favorite points on this entire subject were made by Mom 101. We'd love to hear your take, too.

Washed Away

There are little bits of Mexico in my clothes and in my hair and on my sheets and swirling down my bathtub drain. There are fragments under my daughter's fingernails; more every day that she makes me lay down on the floor so she can pull them off of my back and rub lotion into the empty spaces they leave behind. She calls those spaces my big hurts, and she tells me that I need wotion to make them awl beddhur, but fast before they sting.

She couldn't be more correct.

When the skin rolls off my thighs, this day rolls away with it, this day that burned into my legs and my mind and left me swollen with the heat and the joy that watching my family just simply play filled me with.

Legs Eye View Take Two

As my shoulders heal and the tan lines flake off and fade back to white, the vision of floating beside my son, watching him discover a whole new world he never knew existed, fades with them. The amazement that filled his eyes, that he silently shared with my under water through goggles, amongst schools of fish we couldn't even identify, is fading to white in my mind.

Shut Up. No One Looks Good Snorkeling.

The shorelines on my back are receding into my sides, parting the Red Sea that holds the flood of memories I carried home, heavy on my back, heavier still in my heart. Visions of silliness, echoes of laughter, whispers of contentment, waves of joy, all loose their foothold in the layers of my body they etched themselves into under sunny Pacific skies.

Mexico In A Box
1. A Moment Alone, 2. Sandcastles Made Of Kids, 3. Channeling Abraham Lincoln, 4. Trix Are For Kids, 5. Sister and Brother, 6. Building Castles, 7. *bleeeeep!*, 8. Walking, 9. SPLASH!, 10. Yeah, He's Pretty Hot, 11. A Little Too Small, 12. Whee!

My fingers feel dry around the pen I hold, writing out complicated grocery lists that accommodate the different needs of my different children, and it makes me ache for the days without lists, the days my lap wasn't full of school work and projects and laundry, the days my lap was filled with the only thing I've ever wanted it to be.

Holding On To Mom For Dear Life

My eyes adjust to the grey of fall, surrendering to it the blues and oranges that draped us in the perfect harmonies of nature.

The Great Wide Open

I fight to hold on to those days, those first days in the life of our family simple and sweet. I'm afraid to let them go, to forget the magic that nestled into our skin and burrowed into our bones and left us bronzed and burnt and sore and perfectly content. And then my husband reminds me that the magic only lives if it's a wanting, a retreat we have to return to, and I think he might be right as I listen to my daughter rubbing lotion into my sunburnt, peeling back, telling me it will all be okay, that she will take my hoits away, asking me to not be afwaid. I realize that she's learned empathy, possibly from her days caring for a friend.

Baby Herman

And with that I know that I've brought home everything I needed to, that those shores will wait for us to return and refill our cup until it, once again, runneth over.

Our Patio

{I took 1,750 pictures while we were gone. I will be 102 before I get them all edited, but they'll show up here as I get them done.}

{Also, I've got drugs over here today and I don't even know how I got heroin, hemorrhoids and eye cream in the same post, but I'm giving away one of those three at my review blog, too. You know, if you don't have anything better to do than read my dumb posts all day.}

The Cure

For the summertime blues.

Pwaying Owside
Realizing you can finally ride a big kid scooter.

Pwaying Owside
And also realizing you can play in the sticky forest with your best friend all by yourself. Ish.

Pwaying Owside
Sunlight on your shoulder


And hose-water in your eyes, apparently.

Caught a little baby bumblebee

Busy As A Bee
Catching baby bumblebees

End of the Rainbow
And finding pots of gold.

See all of Lotus' Weekly Winners here, and the rest of mine on FlickR.

At Least It's Not Teletubbies This Time Around

We've had some unusually nice weather here in Vancouver, and by that, of course, I mean we've had some nice weather and that is unusual.  Friday was a Pro-D day at school, and it was actually warm, so the entire neighborhood came out side.  We've got my three kids, my neighbor's three, the three two houses up, the two two houses down, the one across the street, two more next to them, two more next to them, two three houses up from them, and four behind me.  That's a lot of kids.  And they all were outside.  

Everyone came out with their bikes and their scooters and their trikes and their ripsticks and proceeded to tear it up.  3of3 and I went outside, and as I sat on the curb watching everyone she started trying to ride her brother's Razor scooter.  Except she barely has enough of a center of gravity to run, so things were not going well for her.

And that's when I decided it was time for the kid to get her first bike.

We went to Toys R Us and parked outside were a stack of 12" bikes that looked perfect.  They were light blue with light pink accents and some of those tassle things on the handbars.  They weren't excessively girly, but just girly enough that the little Jewish boy up the street wouldn't think Santa had finally come around and left him an extremely late Christmas present.  So I went right over to them, thinking I'd just grab one and be done with it, and that's when I realized that they weren't exactly the kind of sturdy I'd like to strap my only-begotten daughter to in traffic, so we went in.

Friday was evidently British Columbia Bike Buying Day.  Big fun, no whammies.

Every bike they had was either made of PVC and pipe cleaners or was drowning in Bratz.  I found a really awesome orange scooter, but she was having none of it.  And by none of it, I mean she was screaming at the top of her lungs and throwing herself on the floor, shouting, "I CAN'T WIKE A NEW BIKE!!!!"

This is where I should have dropped everything and walked out the door, but I was determined to get this kid outside playing with the kids in the 'hood, so I ended up grabbing the first well-built bike of proper size and specification that I could find a moderately matching helmet for (and goddammit, why didn't they make Paul Frank helmets and pads when my boys were little?  I swear, you people get all the cool stuff these days) and making a run for it.

We arrived home, I pulled out my toolbox, poured a drink, and got started on this.
So ready to make this sucker my bitch.
About 30 minutes later, I ended up with this.
Pretty sure that's coated in Princess vomit.
Holy Gender Neutral FAIL, Batman.

That is a Sleeping Beauty bike with a silver Disney seat and Disney Princesses helmet and elbow pads.  There's even a Princesses bell on the handlebar and a detachable Sleeping Beauty purse on the front, and the whole thing is lacquered in a super-water resistant layer of princess vomit.  I swear, it was the only acceptable thing they had.  Really.

I got done assembling it, tossed her on it and the thing didn't ride.  The problem lay in the one part of the bike that came pre-assembled, and so I pulled out my big guns and took the whole thing apart down to the screws and put it all the way back together.  And I FIXED it.  I felt really big and bad a tough and  all, "Who needs a man, yo?  I can assemble a bike and change my own oil and have sex with myself if I absolutely have to.  I am WOMAN!" and then I realized that I'd assembled a Sleeping Beauty pink glitter-ridden 12" bicycle.  

So it goes.

Anyway, she's ridiculously cute on it and I have grainy proof with terrible audio and you can see that proof filmed on my Blackberry thanks to the magic of YouTube.  Which we didn't have when my boys were little, either, you lucky bastards.