Saturday, June 9, 2012

Swimsuit dilemma

Ah, swimsuit season.  How I loathe thee.

I have shed some weight lately.  Not as much as I had hoped to by the start of summer, but 20 pounds is no small feat, either.  I'll keep trying.

Meanwhile, I need a new swimsuit.

I was wearing a 16/18.  Not anymore!  That's the good news.

I've been swimsuit shopping twice in the last week.  No more plus sizes for me!  Now, I'm trying on 12s (and even some 10s!).  This is a Big Deal.


Suddenly I realize that I will never be able to buy a swimsuit in a size 10 or 12.

It appears that the swimsuit manufacturers think that only fat girls need bust support.

"Oh, we have bra sizes.  We go up to DD," says the sales girl proudly.

Well isn't that fantastic.  I was a DD in college before pregnancy and breastfeeding took their toll on the girls.  We need to travel a little further along the alphabet to get to where I need to be.

Thankfully, there are some beautifully made bras out there that help to mould your poor, sad, tired girls back into shape.

Seriously, ladies... Most of you are wearing the wrong size bra.  I promise.  A quality bra that fits correctly will do wonders for your figure and your self esteem.  Stay away from department stores.  They are not your friend.

But I digress...

Unfortunately, the same does not hold true for swimsuits.

Bust support is non-existent, even with the suits that proclaim their supportive attributes.

The girls end up either squished flat, oozing out the sides, pouring out the top in a grotesque parody of a d├ęcolletage, or just totally distorting the intended shape of the swimsuit.

It's a nightmare.

I found one (ONE!) that would work for me.  It was a miracle.  It was also $135 dollars.  Just for the top.

Back to the drawing board...

I decided to try a local plus size store, thinking I'd have better luck.  They laughed me out of the store.

Girl, what you think gonna fit you in this store?  What are you, a size 8?
Why no, but thank you, you just made my day.
Try Old Navy, they carry your size.

No one seems to fully understand The Boob Problem.

The husband's advice? Wear a T-shirt.

Why yes, nothing says I'm uncomfortable with my body like a chick hanging out in the pool with a T-shirt on.  Sigh.

Disclaimer: The husband says I make him sound like a jerk in my blog posts.  My answer to that?  Wow, Honey, why does it always have to be about you??  Kidding!  Only kidding.  So, just so we're all clear:  I love my husband.  He's a dear, dear man and a wonderful father. There, are you happy now?   

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Growing up

I look into her sleepy grinning face, and her daddy's blue eyes sparkle back at me.  She should be in bed, but for some reason she keeps reappearing at my side.

I am busy; I am always busy, though, and they grow weary of my inattention.

She's so young, but her young body is growing in ways for which she is not ready.  She's going to be an "early bloomer," as they say.  As was her mother.  This is not something her mother is happy to have passed on.

It is also her mother's voice that emerges when she speaks, the flippancy and sarcasm that is a routine part of their daily banter.

She is so much like me.

And yet...

She is so much more than me.  She shines in a way that is unique to her.

I am tired.  Work is done for the day, dinner is cooked and cleaned up, [some of the] chores are done or can wait.  I would like nothing more than to have a few minutes to write something, anything - just write, dammit - but she needs something.  Just me, I think.

She is on an estrogen fueled roller coaster these days.  She is at the mercy of her hormonal surges.  This is a hard place to be, even for more mature girls.  Emotions are raw, unexpected, uncontrollable.  Tears are frequent.

What's wrong with her? The males in our home ask, exasperated.

They make jokes.  In her fragile emotional state she cannot find the humor, only the hurt.

I find myself being her adversary and her emissary simultaneously.  I am battered by the onslaught of her emotions.  I try to fend her off for my own self preservation.  I will point to the doorway and tell her to go out, to leave me, to go spew emotion somewhere else, pleasefortheloveofgod.

But she doesn't know what to do with it.  She doesn't even know why she's so upset most of the time.  She is a mystery to herself.

Then I am intervening on her behalf, begging them to please let her be, to please understand that she's a biologically crazy person right now and she deserves their sympathy, not their ridicule.

Her father is out of his element.  This is not the daughter he knows.  How can he dote on her when there are venom and fangs and claws where once there was only sweetness and light?

He doesn't handle it as well as he could.  His response is defensive, visceral, accusatory.  She's impossible, I'm done.  

I beg, harass, and challenge him to be the dad she needs; we don't always get to be the parent that we want to be.  We have to meet them where they are. 

She needs softness, she needs rationality, she needs forgiveness.  This business of growing up is exhausting.

She needs to hear that she's beautiful.  She needs to hear that this is natural, normal.  Her body is changing, growing, has become a place where she is no longer entirely at home.

Her clothes don't fit the same.  Yes, this too is a source of emotion, tears.  Nothing fits.  Even things that fit last week are snug and awkward this week.

Her best friend makes comments about how they can't share clothes anymore.  They've known each other since infancy, and they've always shared clothes.  Suddenly, she is taller and several sizes larger.  She has hips.  Who does this body belong to?

She tells me she looks different than all her friends at school.  I nod in sympathy.  I remember it well.  I let her know a secret I never really understood; they'll all grow, too.  It will just happen later.  I ask her to talk to me about how she's feeling, because I know it's hard.  I was just like you.  But you're braver than I was.  I know you're going to be okay.  Let's always talk, though, always tell me what you're thinking.  Promise?  She does.    

She stares at my stretch marks in fascination one day while we're lazing around in the pool.  

Wow, they're still there?
And you're... ya know.  Those.  I don't like to say the word.  
I don't like that word.   
Well you didn't mind it for the first three years of your life.  That's what you called them when you wanted to nurse, you know.  
I know, don't talk about it!  
Okay... So, what about them?  
Are mine going to be like that?  
Not if you're lucky.  But, genetics say probably yes.  Sorry, chicklette.  

Now she is afraid puberty will bring stretch marks and droopy those.  No, I tell her.  That comes after babies.  You have a while left yet.

Later, she watches me pensively as I climb out of the pool.

What's on your mind?
I just can't believe that's going to happen to me one day.

I just smile, because it's okay.  Because she doesn't know.  She won't understand until she gets there.

She doesn't look forward to all the growing and changing.  I don't blame her.

Tonight, she is clingy.  She needs us to put her to bed.

Why tuck her in? She's 8, her dad wonders aloud.

It wounds her, and she runs away, embarrassed.  Again, he does not understand this foreign land of the prepubescent female.

I understand.  She's growing up too fast.  It's scary.  She needs that connection to the girl, the little one that gets tucked in at night.

I send him in to make amends.  They do their best to come to terms with each other.

This is only the beginning, I tell him.  This is 8.  You're going to love 16... just you wait and see.