Lessons From Little Ones

I have mentioned that I have a three-year old.  And I have also mentioned some of the challenges she imposes me with.  So why not talk some more?

My daughter engages in a list of things that upset me daily.  From rubbing Vaseline all over her face and hair to crushing my toes with her “princess heels” as she walks around the house.  Or wiping her hands on her pretty dress at dinner rather than on the napkin she just asked for 30 seconds ago.  There’s a ton more but I’m sure you get the idea.  Well, right now, I am torn as to how I should feel when she does something like, say, pour water all over the counter and floor for no apparent reason or spoons soup out of her bowl and places it under the placemat at the dinner table and proceeds to smash it into the table.  Once I realize what she’s done, she immediately shouts out an: “I’m sorry” along with the appropriate level of ‘sad face’ to fit the crime.  Although these are the most insincere apologies, they are still well-timed and what I have been training her to say after doing something wrong.  The thing is, after one of her befitting apologies, she promptly goes into singing, talking to her dolls or going so far as to tell me how much she loves me! All thought of her recent wrongdoing seem to be erased from her memory and she goes on like it never happened!  Doesn’t she realize I just yelled at her and that my blood pressure has gone up at least two systolic decimals and that I’m still angry with her?  I recognize that this could be a ploy on her part to deflect my thoughts from deciding to punish her any further than I already have.  But nonetheless, here lies my dilemma.  The kid has a point–neither of us should be reflecting on the wrong that was just done.  We should be moving past it and getting on with our lives. But I don’t want to!!

Even though she is displaying the best attitude to have toward any negative situation, that’s not how it all usually goes is it?  When someone offends us or hurts us in any way, we want them to know what they’ve done, realize how it has affected us and to feel some kind of anguish for it.  We want them to stand there and listen to us explain how hurt we are and why.  Perhaps allow us to delve into soliloquy to truly define the torment and pain they just caused.  Then we want them to prostrate themselves at our feet and plead for our mercy. Stress their ignorance to the sensitivity of our emotions and request a plan for how they can do better–no, be better–in the future.  After my daughter engages in one of her many transgressions, I want her to carry a ‘look of shame’ for the rest of the afternoon.  Bow her head in humiliation any time I walk pass her to show deep remorse for the wrong she has committed.  Talk to her dolls about her well-developed plans to be the ideal adolescent for years to come.

But none of that is happening with a toddler, let me tell you.  She doesn’t care about the infraction 10 seconds after it occurs.  So it is now up to me to let it go myself. I need to remember there is no use crying over spilled milk.  Literally. (or juice or soda or oatmeal or ice cream)  I have to stop looking for more from her and just accept her apology. However contrived I think it may be.

I’m hoping I can get better with it in time because right now, I’m still battling with it all.  But I already see how following the example of my little hellion will be a good trait for me to attain.  It’ll help me to be more patient.  More forgiving.  Less stressed and angry.   It’ll enhance what we have together as well as benefit me and all of my relationships. What a good little lesson this little booger is teaching.

So if you catch me fussing at her for grabbing onto clothes as we walk by with our cart, nearly toppling over the rack…just know that I’m really going to try to be done with it after she apologizes.  And not fester with anger as I pick up all the items that have fallen to the floor.

Welcome to the Valley of Pits and Dimples

I went to an event over the weekend where everyone was dressed in business attire.  I am a people watcher, so during the noon break I sat back with my boxed lunch and watched folks mingle. I checked out what everyone was wearing as well.   (This coincides with one of my previous blogs “Dress to Impress” https://elesjackson.wordpress.com/2013/02/08/friendly-influence/)

So you know I was checking out my fellow ladies to see what is trending in our fashion world.  Getting a good look at all the new styles I’ll be behind in catching onto.  (Another previous blog https://elesjackson.wordpress.com/2013/03/28/fashion-failure-again-and-again-and-again-and/)   And I got to seeing young women in their dresses and the outline of their thongs underneath.  What tickled me was the smoothness of their cheeks under their skirts.  Before you get confused and wonder about my sexual preference, let me explain.

For you fellas, the original purpose of the thong was not for your erotic pleasure.  It was an accessory for us women so that the bulk of our pantyline would not show through our clothing.  Something I laugh at because I tend to see thong outlines now just as often as I see a panty outline!

Let me tell you of a recent experience I had and then we’ll get into these youngens and their smooth butt cheeks.  I was getting dressed for some other event recently and put on what I thought to be a pretty cute dress.  When inspecting myself before leaving, I looked at myself from behind and saw my pantyline. I have grown out of the causal use of a thong and now only wear them for their intended purpose.  No lascivious use here.  And this situation was cause for a thong.  After digging into the absolute bottom of my drawer, I finally found one that still fit (sort of) and put it on.  Re-checking myself in the mirror.  And that’s when I found other shapes and misfortunes protruding through the polyester/spandex combo material of my dress.  No longer is a pantyline the height of my fashion fears.  Now, I must try to hide the divots and craters that have infested my thighs and butt cheeks from cellulite!  Through my dress, a child could have the best time driving a toy car through the valleys of my butt!  So, where I felt I was making the choice to wear a thong only when necessary, it has now been a forced issue that I can no longer wear one at all!!  What accessory is going to be made to hide all of the butt dimples I have acquired?  I hope Bali and Maidenform will get with Home Depot to create a “Spackle Panty” that will hide these grooves in my backside.  So that I can feign a smooth bottom like I used to have.

This gets me back to the women I saw at the seminar over the weekend.  Yes, I admired your smooth cheeks as you walked by.  Because it made me remember the time when I could wear a thong and walk around with confidence that there was no sight of a pantyline and not even a thought of a dimple!  **sigh** It seems like just yesterday. You ladies: Google ‘how to avoid cellulite’ and don’t forget to add squats as part of your regular exercise routine.  I do not want you to end up taking longing looks at younger women’s butts in the future and sadly reminisce of better backsides and smoother buns…!

(Oh yeah, check out another blog I wrote before about my butt https://elesjackson.wordpress.com/2012/07/16/unsexy-realization/)

But, why?

I have a three and a half-year old. I have experienced the dreaded “terrible twos” which actually started earlier than two and extended beyond the threes. I’ll venture to say that they are just now starting to subside. Finally. And thank God for that!

I was always told about the “Why?” stage. That my child would bombard me everyday with ‘why’ questions. That I would grow tired of the endless questions like: “why can’t I have it?, why do I have to wear it, why is that blue?” I got myself ready for the endless questioning. But to my surprise, it never came. Sure, she would ask it every once in a while. But in a more controlled and understandable way. It actually made sense when she asked and it was easy to answer and/or explain her request.

But…! (you knew it was one coming, right?) I was never warned of the “Can I have…”stage. No one ever told me how bothersome this phrase would become because of the overuse of it. So I am here to educate you moms and dads of this displeasing and less often mentioned phase of childhood.

I don’t care what it is that I am doing or have in my hand, my child is asking if she can have it as well. I have never counted the number of times my child asks this throughout any given day. But I can tell you that the annoyance from it is considerable. Some things I understand her asking for. The typical things like snacks or treats. The unending request for candy!  But it starts to get out of control when she’s asking to have some of my heartburn medicine or some of the Bacitracin I’m putting on the cut in my nose!!

What is it about kids and them wanting any and everything you (or anyone else) have?!  My kid won’t even know what it is I’m rubbing on my arms, spraying in my hair or dropping in my eyes.  And it doesn’t even matter to her.  She must have it.  So, all day I am grieved to hear “Can I have some of that?”  “Can I taste it?”  “Can I smell that?”  “Can I have a flashlight?”  “Can I have some chapstick?”  “Can I have a rock?” I am sitting here and actually calling to mind a plethora of things this kid asks for throughout the day.  And I am strongly tempted to write them ALL in here.  Just in case you don’t have a child that has gone through this phase.  Or maybe you don’t have children at all!  Misery loves company and I’d love to share that long list of “Can I have’s” with you.  But I don’t want to lose you as a reader. So I better not. lol

I don’t know if my kid traded the ‘why?’ with ‘can I have?’ and that the irritation of both is the same. I can see that being the case. So, if you have been lucky enough to bypass either of these stages in your own children, sing your praises now and rejoice!  If not, brace yourself for it.  And if you have any warnings for me of any phases I’ve got in store–ones that aren’t abundantly mentioned (and kept secret) such as this one–please share it with me so I can be prepared!  Together, we parents can be triumphant!

Fashion Failure again, and again, and again, and…

I just need to vent. I don’t know what my problem is. I have no clue why I am such a fashion misfit. And why I won’t spend the time to correct it! I get in these moods where all I want is to match a great dress with the perfect shoe, wear a cute shirt with nice jeans and all the right accessories or just put together a banging outfit. But I still end up walking out the house wearing jeans from under the bed and a pajama top!!
Right now I am so annoyed with myself because I have once again let a season go by without wearing the awesome clothes I bought for the winter!!! Let me explain what I do. I’ll go shopping one day and see something that I think is really cute. The problem is that I’m not sure what to match it with or whether it goes better with jeans or a skirt. But I get it because it has potential to someday make me look hot! I take it home, and then put it in my closet and that is where it sits for months. And I really do mean months! Years even. Like I said, seasons pass and these items sit in my closet longing to be worn. But as I also stated, I don’t take the time to figure out what I’m supposed to do with these things! I wait until one day when it just comes to me what to do. Or I’m so fed up with seeing it sit there that I just grab it and wear it with whatever. I’ve kept things on the shelves in my closet for so long that it started to go out of style before I’ve even worn it once!! Pathetic isn’t it?!
I tend to shy away from trendy items. Again, because I either don’t think they will look right on me, or I can’t think of the right way to put it together. Then after months of seeing the item, I’ll finally decide it’s not that hard to wear a scarf around my neck or to mismatch bangles on my wrist and finally give in to the trend. But what is with this hesitation I have? It is really so annoying.
I hate winter. I think I suffer from SAD. And I am so happy, every year, to see it leave. However, I am just now settling into good ideas for outfits in this winter weather! I’ve just found a cute pair of brown leggings that match these awesome boots I just bought. So that automatically gives me three cute outfits I could wear. I also just found some sweater stockings in my closet that I bought last winter that were supposed to hook up some really cute something (still never quite figured out what to do with those) that I’ve never worn. So this will now mark two winters that these stockings have sat unopened! Oh! And those other super hot boots I bought at a great deal?–Yeah–Just found the perfect skirt and jacket that will set them off!! So now I’m actually mad that there is no snow on the ground for me to wear this outfit!! So I’ll have to yet again wait eight months before I can wear the boots, the outfits and the sweater stockings! And you know by next winter I’m going to forget what the heck I planned to do with all of these items, right?!!!

Dress to Impress

A good friend of mine (an older gentleman) once told me: “Women don’t dress to impress men, they dress to impress other women.”  My first thought was to debate this comment.  But after a brief moment, I realized what he was saying was true.  I attest some of this to the fact that men (husbands, boyfriends, brothers, close male friends) are so pathetic and lame when it comes to complimenting us women on our new shoes or the fire-red dye highlighting our hair.  I won’t spend time on that right here and now.  Perhaps I’ll talk more on that in a separate blog.  But they either don’t notice or care to comment when we look appealing and perhaps exceptionally dapper one evening.  However, take those same shoes and that same day you colored your hair, and you will possibly get compliments from women as they pass by.  I too am one to blatanly walk up to some woman I have never seen before and earnestly tell her how much I love her purse.  Or ask where she got those sexy shoes she’s wearing.  I’m not shy to tell a woman the jeans she’s wearing fit her really nice.  (stopping short of telling her that her @$$ looks great in them!) I think it may be because we as women know what it’s like to find items that make us feel good or to help us feel hot and sexy.  So we are quicker to let a fellow comrade know that we agree and approve of their decision for that shoe or that fire engine hair color.

But I feel I am going a little wayward of what it is I really want to discuss here.  I actually want to talk  more on what my friend mentioned a few years ago to me.  The statement quoted above.  I couldn’t argue with him because I immediately knew who it was that I dressed for.  And no, it was not (is not) my husband.

I grew up with a friend that I will call Bonnie.  I’ll spare you the history of our relationship and just let you know that we used to shop for clothes together.  There were no jealousy issues of any kind.  We were completely honest with each other of how we felt the other looked in an outfit.  And we would go to great lengths to help the other find that perfect pair of jeans and even the shirt that would accent the breastline just right.  We would annoy sales clerks asking if we could use the same dressing room so that we wouldn’t have to waste time while trying on outfits.  Even if not together, we would look out for each other–knowing what the other was in need of in their wardrobe.  I could get a call at any time with Bonnie telling me she found a shirt that would match that green skirt that’s been in my closet for two months waiting for a mate.  We didn’t even care if we both liked the same outfit.  We would both just get it.  Surprisingly wear it to the same function?  Sure!  Who cared!  We were like that.  If it looked good on both of us, then we couldn’t outshine each other.  It was that simple.

Explaining all of that lets you know that Bonnie was who I dressed for at that time.  For years even. Her and I were a great team.  I still think of how we were truly there for each other in the stressful world of retail.

But I got married one year with her getting married the very next.  I moved, she moved and we both just got busy with our new lives.  We still talk and are still good friends.  But as it goes, we grew apart.  I began to hang more with friends my husband introduced me to.  (Not on purpose.  It just sort of happened this way.)  Which now leads me to a friend I’ll call Alicia.

Alicia was different from Bonnie in many ways.  Her style was a lot more hip than what I was used to.  Her expense account was a little bigger than mine also.  When we would go shopping, we went off into separate sections of a store.  I’d be alone in a dressing room and would have to text her to see if she’d come and tell me her idea of what I was trying on.  She’d get in line at the checkout without me even seeing a glimpse of what she purchased.  If I asked where she got a certain shoe or skirt, she’d feign memory loss.  I guess in fear of me buying the same thing.  But still, even though this was completely different from what I was used to, I found myself slowly giving way to the style she portrayed.  I liked it.  It looked good.  And then, there I was, getting dressed for her!  Wondering if she would notice the way I accessorized my jewelry to match my shoes and purse.  I would think really hard about what I was going to wear before we went together anywhere.  I thought more of what she felt about my clothes than I felt about them myself. Although our shopping experience didn’t copy what I was used to, she would give me her advice and ideas on things when we were together.  She knew how to make me look like a trendy million bucks.  (It was at this time that my friend made the comment to me about women dressing for women.  And it was Alicia that came to my mind.)

Sadly, Alicia and her husband are no longer together.  It’s classic in these cases that the friends split like the couple who decided not to stay together.  So my husband and I are friends of Him.  Not Her.  (Again, not on purpose.  It just happened this way.)

So what do I wear now?  Sweatpants and old EMS sweatshirts from my husbands fireman friend.  When I’m at a store trying on jeans or a cute coat (Is it cute?  I’m really not sure without someone there with me to testify.) I feel as though I have no idea if what I’ve picked out is alright.  But alright for who?  It may be okay to me.  But, who gets dressed for themselves?  That’s so boring!!  It’s not the same to walk away from a mirror saying : “I look nice tonight”, knowing your husband won’t even notice you bought new boots and skinny jeans.  How much better it is when you have that girlfriend to assure you that yes, those boots are perfect  and your are “rocking” those jeans!  Right now I go shopping with my three-year old.  She has no influence yet on what I buy.  But will she be the next woman I dress to impress?  She just might be! ha

I don’t say any of this to say I am having an identity crisis.  Just that I realize that his statement was more true than I would have realized without being told.  You ladies, think about it–who do you dress for?  Be honest and let me know.  Are you expecting compliments from the man in your life?  Or do you think it’s more reasonable that you’ll get more from me if we pass each other at the club tonight?

Unsexy Realization

So, I have a question for you.  When did you realize that you look nothing how you’ve imagined yourself?  Have you gotten there yet?  Did it hit you years ago?  Is it a manifestation of a mid-life crisis ?

My demise came a few months ago.  My daughter was “graduating” from her Little Gym class and my family all came up to help us celebrate.  Video cameras and all.  Yes.  Video cameras.  Who knew that a fun family event would turn into a sad source of a memory for me?

I have what I’ve always considered to be a cute and fashionable jogging suit that I frequently wear when I need to be comfortable yet still want to look in style.  I got it from Victoria’s Secret.  Let me here mention that my body habitus in no way resembles a model from that company!  But I swear there must be something on those pages that gets etched in your mind that makes you feel–no, makes you think–that you don’t look like them, yet you don’t look far from them either.  Perhaps their “sexiness” in the outfit you buy lingers in your minds eye and then that’s the only thing you see.  Even when you put it on and stand in front of a mirror!  I don’t know.  But as stated, this was my ‘go to’ jogging suit.  And I wore it for my daughter’s little shindig.  Needless to say, those horrible cameras my husband and father had nerve to bring, captured a side of me that I thought looked A LOT different.  It was in those videos that I saw the real me.  From behind!!!

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like I haven’t looked into the mirror and inspected my backside before.  Who doesn’t?  But still, what I saw surprised me.  It shouldn’t have–but it did.  I come from a long line of inherited square booties.  My mom has a square-shaped booty, one of my aunts had a square-shaped booty.  Her daughter, my cousin, has a square shape. And sadly, my sister has the square!  Boy how I would “tsk” at her as she walked by me.  Sad that she was unfortunate to inherit the infamous square!!  Little did I know I’d be sporting it soon enough myself!  To be fair, I have no idea when the square actually showed up!  (Dear God has it been there this entire time?!) I had always checked out my butt when I got dressed, after a shower, at all the usual times one does it.  And never did I realize that it was not heart-shaped.  Well, let me not lie–I did realize it wasn’t heart-shaped, but believe me, it wasn’t a square either!  You do believe me, don’t you?

Watching that video totally changed everything I felt about myself.  I used to saunter past guys and not worry at all about what they were going to see when I went by. No, I didn’t flaunt it at all. But I wasn’t ashamed of it either.  I wasn’t nervous wondering if they were going to be checking me out as I strutted on.  But now, after seeing that video of myself, I want nothing more than to walk backwards away from folks.  Male AND female for crying out loud!!

So let me just tell you that I have come to a definite new idea of myself.  Sadly it is not a good nor happy one.  I am still trying to come to grips with it all.  Because it for sure took me by surprise.  And all thanks to a two-year old needing a recording of her graduation on learning how to do a roll.  (or somersault as they called it there)  Curses to my husband and father for bringing those wretched cameras!!  (Who ever invented those horrible things anyway?!)

In conclusion, beware those mirrors, folks!  They do not show you truly what others see.  My suggestion, have someone video tape you before you go anywhere and play it back before you walk out the door!!!  Be 100% sure you know what everyone else is going to see before you leave!!

You have been warned!!!