High maintenance

Last night while Caroline was taking a bath, I was in the bathroom putting away clean clothes and examining my eyebrows in the magnifying mirror. (You don’t even want to know the state they were in. Like two caterpillars fighting for space above my eyes.)

As I moved around the bathroom and went in and out of my closet, Caroline filled me in on the rules of some kind of game we were supposed to be playing that involved me guessing which side of the bathtub she was on and if she was on her back or her stomach.

I wasn’t really in the mood to play this game that didn’t really seem like a game so I was just half-heartedly answering “left” or “right” whenever she yelled at me that it was time to choose my answer. So she came up out of the water and told me I needed to be more excited about the game.

Then she said, “You know what, Mama? Some people tell me that I’m high maintenance. And you know what?”

“What, baby?”

“They’re totally right.”

At least she owns it.

Fashion Friday: Edition I’m sorry but we have to talk about swimsuits

I feel like before I can write any further that I need to apologize to those of you who had no idea “Greased Lightning” is a dirty song. In fact, several of you seemed so surprised that I began to question whether or not I was right about the whole thing and wondered if maybe I’d just made it up in my head. So I went and googled the original lyrics from the movie and YEP, it’s dirty. I’m so glad my six-year-old mind didn’t comprehend all those words or I might have spent the rest of my life with a fear of cars. Or maybe I would have just been afraid to go anywhere near an auto mechanic shop. Maybe this whole thing explains a lot about Jesse James.

Anyway, the fact that I could have become someone who rides a bicycle or a horse everywhere isn’t important right now because I need you to prepare yourselves for today’s discussion of swimsuits. I know. You don’t want to think about it. Honestly, I don’t want to think about it. Especially since I’m sitting here eating a box of Four Cheese Cheez-Its while I write this. But it’s April and we all just gave a chunk of change to the government yesterday or are now facing jail time, so we might as well endure a little more pain and agony before the week is over.

And I don’t want to get on my soapbox, but I’m going to anyway. (Before I get on my soapbox, I just have to say that I watched “The Incredible Shrinking Woman” with Caroline the other night and I’d never noticed that a miniature Lily Tomlin actually stands on a soapbox while she lectures her family. Brilliant film-making.) If you have a child that swims in the summer who is not a strong swimmer, you need a swimsuit. No one wants to be the person who has to catch your kid off the diving board ten times in a row because you won’t cowgirl up like the rest of us and put on what is essentially lycra underwear. Put on some shorts, wear a swimskirt, buy a scuba suit, but don’t go to the pool with your young child if you’re not willing to get in the water. No one is going to talk about your thighs, but they will talk about the perfectly coiffed mom in full makeup who’s letting everyone else save their child from drowning.

Don’t hate me. I speak the truth in love. IN LOVE.

I have conducted an internet wide search for the best swimsuits. Some have underwire (thank you, Jesus) and some help hold your tummy in and some are just cute. You can choose what works for you according to your needs.

1. The suit with underwire (Let’s start at the top.)

I am a firm believer in the importance of underwire. Or maybe I should say I’m a saggy believer in the importance of underwire. A few years ago, I discovered a site called Aerin Rose and became a big fan because every top is sized just like a bra. And comes with underwire, just like a bra.

Everything is sold as separates so you can choose a tankini top, a bikini top in several different styles, a one-piece, and various bottom options.

There is also a brand called Sunsets that are sold as separates and offer a variety of top and bottom styles. I’m particularly in love with the Metro pattern and am seriously considering the twist tankini top version for myself. Although I really like the emerald and the cobalt, too.

Last year I ordered a suit from Athleta and have been really pleased with it. They have several different underwire options, including this darling batik print.

I also love this top in a tropical print by Tommy Bahama and Victoria’s Secret always has some good underwire options although their models might cause you to fall into a deep depression and vow to put away the Cheez-Its.

2. The suit that performs miracles

Behold the Miraclesuit.

It promises to make you look ten pounds lighter in ten seconds. Which is the total opposite of what eating a box of Cheez-Its can claim.

The Miraclesuit comes in a variety of cute styles.

But while we’re discussing miracles, I have to talk about the Lands End swimsuits. They have so many different suits that offer all manner of support and suck innage qualities.

And then there is this one-shouldered number that Sophie and I discussed on the phone yesterday. We agreed that it’s very Betty Draper. And while it’s normally not a good idea to go through life asking “What would Betty Draper do?”, it’s a question that works when it comes to fashion.

Yes. Suck innage is a real word.

3. The suit that’s just cute

There are some people who just enjoy a cute suit and get to choose it based on the fun pattern or whimsical details. They aren’t worried about support or what have you. I call those people the ones who haven’t hit puberty yet.

Oh I kid. They could be the ones who get up and do stuff like bootcamp or dance at halftime for the Dallas Cowboys.

But if I were one of those people, I would choose a suit like this one from Lucky Brand. Or maybe even the tankini version.

There are so many cute suits to choose from. I don’t know how I’d decide.

So I guess it’s a good thing that I am limited by a need for underwire and suck innage qualities.

The Cheez-Its have totally paid off.

Next week I’ll discuss cover-ups and other swim accessories.

Y’all have a great Friday.

Girl world

Yesterday was one of those days where it threatened to rain all day, but it never actually poured down rain until the minute I walked out the door to pick up Caroline from school. I was so glad I was wearing a white shirt. Nothing like a peep show at the elementary school.

After we got home and changed into dry clothes, I emailed the soccer team to let them know we would still have practice unless it was pouring down rain at 5:30. If we’re going to continue at our current level of mediocrity, we need all the practice we can get. Especially since I missed last week’s practice and P reported that he’d basically spent an hour being beat up by a bunch of six year old girls. To which I replied, “Oh, that’s too bad. Did I tell you that I chose a color called Bubblebath for my toes during my pedicure today? Wow, I’d love to hear more about soccer practice but I’m on my way to eat delicious sushi with grownups at Nobu. Love you.”

We checked the radar around 5:00 because we are big meteorology nerds and determined that practice could go on as scheduled even though there were definitely some showers to the south that appeared to be heading our way in the next hour or so. But we decided a few measly showers wouldn’t stop the Cheetah Girls. The Cheetah Girls are warriors who may or may not occasionally cry when one of them falls and scrapes her knees.

After about twenty minutes of practice (insert picture of P and I herding a very cute group of feral cats), the skies opened up and the rain came down. Most of the girls’ parents were there so we called practice and everyone ran to their cars to head home.

But there were two girls left whose mothers weren’t there yet because they had to shuttle other kids to other various practices all over town, so we told those girls to hop in the car with us and we’d just all wait in the parking lot until their mothers arrived.

A little over seven years ago, I was pregnant with Caroline and P was in Colorado chaperoning about sixty high school students on a ski trip. Normally I would have been on the trip with him, but I had a host of issues with riding a bus for seventeen hours with high school kids before I ever got pregnant so there wasn’t really even a remote possibility that I was going to attempt that kind of torture while carrying a child. He’d arranged to have a few other female chaperones on the trip, but they’d all had to cancel at the last minute.

P, bless his heart, ended up being the chaperone and small group leader for ten fourteen year old girls during that trip. He’d call me every night after he got back to his hotel room and report that they’d put gel in his hair or that they’d used something called a “straight iron” on him. On the last night of the trip he called to tell me that someone had a pair of scissors and he wasn’t sure what happened but the girls all started cutting each other’s hair and, the next thing he knew, three of them were crying in the bathroom while the other girls gathered outside the door and tried to console them with loving statements like “it will grow back” or “it doesn’t look that uneven from the left side”.

In short, he was slightly traumatized by the whole experience.

He arrived home from the trip on Wednesday afternoon and I was scheduled to have an ultrasound the following Friday. It was the big ultrasound. The ultrasound that can tell you if you’re having a boy or a girl. And if you think I was going to wait to find out that piece of information then you don’t know me at all. Of course it wasn’t like I really needed the ultrasound to tell me I was having a girl because I’d known that for a long time thanks to the science of peeing on some Drano Crystals and seeing them turn a lovely shade of seafoam green. Not to mention that I felt that God was speaking to me through Neil Diamond every time I heard “Sweet Caroline” come on the radio.

On the way to the doctor’s office that Friday morning, P looked at me and told me he knew we were having a girl. I thought maybe Neil Diamond had been speaking to him too, but he said that he knew when he was on that ski trip surrounded by all the chaos and squeals of those girls that God was preparing him for life with a daughter. And as much as he didn’t understand all the drama and the high pitched voices and the nail polish and why they thought it was a good idea to cut each other’s hair, he knew that it was exactly what he wanted.

Fast forward to a rained out soccer practice seven years later. We pile in the car and we’re all soaking wet. The girls are all squealing in their high pitched voices and I put some Taylor Swift on my iPod because I know the love language of six year old girls. And from the backseat, all three of them start singing “Our Song” as loud as their little voices can sing. The fact that they didn’t know the majority of the real lyrics didn’t dim their enthusiasm and confirmed why I never realized that “Greased Lightning” was a really dirty song until I was in my twenties.

They sang their hearts out and laughed and tickled each other. And in between they were all yelling “COACH P! COACH P! DID I TELL YOU ABOUT THE TIME THAT MY MOM TOLD MY SISTER SHE WAS GROUNDED FOR A WEEK BECAUSE SHE STAYED ON THE PHONE TOO LATE?” and “COACH P! COACH P! DID YOU KNOW THAT I HAVE AN IMAGINARY FRIEND NAMED ZUM ZUM?” and “COACH P! COACH P! DID YOU KNOW THAT ‘WHITE HORSE’ BY TAYLOR SWIFT IS MY VERY FAVORITE SONG IN THE WHOLE WORLD OR MAYBE IT’S ‘PARTY IN THE U.S.A.’?”

At one point he asked me if Taylor Swift had been a contestant on American Idol and I replied, “No, she was just a seventeen year old girl who got struck by lightning.” (Because I like to mix metaphors.) And Caroline yelled out, “MY MOM JUST SAW SOME GIRL GET STRUCK BY LIGHTNING!” All the girls screamed and I had to explain that no one got struck by lightning, I was just using an expression that ultimately didn’t even make sense.

P just looked at me in amazement that so many different conversations and activities were taking place all at the same time in the backseat of our car. It was like his official welcome party to GIRL WORLD.

And I don’t know if anything has ever made me happier in my whole life.

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