Friday, July 27, 2012

Olympic Memories

The Olympics start tonight. With all the hype leading up to them, I have had a warm feeling of nostalgia. I haven't really been able to explore the feeling, it was more in the back of my fleeting deja vue.  I mean, the Olympics are awesome.  Everyone loves to watch them and cheer on our athletes. But this felt like more..and it felt more personal.

Last night I had a rare dance with insomnia.  During this time, I realized why the Summer Olympics make me feel a happy longing and a nostalgic buzz.

Four years ago I had two 10 month olds. Being preemies, they were still tiny and still ate frequently. They also still woke up twice a night to take a bottle.  So four years ago, I would huddle on the couch with two warm bottles and two warm babies, with the gymnastics and swimming competitions on mute in the middle of the night. I would nuzzle two little fuzzy heads and sniff sleepy baby smell times two while watching a medal ceremony live at 2 in the morning. 

That's what the Summer Olympics will be to me. Not just something that can bring the country together, but memories of my babies..who are growing, growing, gone. Replaced by little boys. 

Friday, July 20, 2012

Sugar and Spice and nothing nice

Girls can be mean, nasty little things. I am not sure exactly what age it starts. I don't remember. But I do know by High School it is full blown in your face bitchiness. Girls are jealous, competitive, vindictive brats. Most of the sugar and spice has disappeared, replaced with catty remarks and insults towards other girls.  This doesn't mean true best friends don't exist as a teenager, it just means that motives are questionable. Even the girls who "have your back" can mislead you.
  There was an acquaintance freshman year who had long, thick blond hair.  All of the boys in school noticed and commented on it.  One day during gym class she told me she was thinking of cutting it.  I encouraged her, and told her it would "show-off her pretty face better". Petty, right?  But really a minor indiscretion in the world of HS girls.  (She didn't cut, it by the way.) Smart bitch.

Boys were the major point of contention.  They could make girls tear each other apart. Turn on each other. Ruin each other's lives. So sad to look back  on. Very few of those teen-age boys were probably worth it.  And at the same time, those teen-age boys sometimes made much better friends than a lot of girls. Boys are not petty, jealous or vindictive. They are not nearly as calculating or dramatic.  They get pissed, they get over it. They don't wage verbal assualts and nasty lunchroom wars that can span over 4 (or more) years.

 We moved to a new state late in my High School career.  I was devastated, because life was pretty good and I didn't want to leave. And I certainly didn't want to start over.  But I had no choice, so I put on a brave face.  I made my first close friend soon after we moved in. He lived a few houses down the street, and offered me a ride to school. He and I stayed close friends the remainder of high school, much to the chagrin of his on again/off again girlfriend. 

A few girls reached out to me, offering hellos or directions to classrooms. But mostly it was the boys who were helpful, nice, accomodating. And this was my downfall.  I was unknowingly making enemies...girls who were dating, had dated or wanted to date these guys who were driving me to school, walking me to class, calling me in the evenings.  I was naive, and I shouldn't have been. Most of these kids had gone to school together since kindergarten, and I was an outsider. It wasn't long before my house was toilet papered on a regular basis. Plastic Forks decorted my yard. "Bitch" scrawled in shaving cream on my car. And all the while, I just wanted to make friends. Sure, I was still on the homecoming court, still made cheerleading at the new school, but every victory also brought me another round of vengeance for the perceived wrongs I had done these girls. By moving there, by flirting, by trying to fit in.  I had a few girl friends, but they came and went with the everchanging wind of anger at the school. Or they had boyfriends of their own that consumed most of their social lives.  Pretty soon I knew I just had to ride it out..graduate and get the hell outta Dodge.

College was much better, although it was still the norm to watch young women tear each other apart if they got the chance. True friends seemed more true as maturity prevailed. I made friends there I still love today.  But there was always an underlying current of competitiveness.  Whose grades were better, who got engaged first, etc.  Some women could use this competitiveness to motivate them, while others let it consume them.

Unfortunately, adult women in the work place are not immune from the cattiness and drama we indulged in while teens.  Before I had kids, when I had a "carreer", I would witness women tear each other apart in the workplace, usually back handedly and in a duplicitous manner.  But there were women who were good and true friends. Women who supported each other and cheered each other and revelled in each other's successes.  But if there was drama and pettiness going on, you could almost always contribute it to a group of women clucking like hens.

Moms are a different story. I think there may still be underlying competitiveness. Still criticising and complaining behind one another's backs (mostly to one's husband), but that is human nature. I think in a group of moms, you can find more support and empathy than any other group of women around. Because being a mom is hard, yo. And we all want what is best for our kids. Maybe we can unite in the fact that we all want what is best for our babies, rather than fight over "that cute boy" or "that promotion".  Maybe loving someone else so whole heartedly more than we love ourselves let's us put the cattiness and competitiveness aside.  Well most of it at least.  I still think people with long gorgeous hair should cut it off, because it is just too distracting. And if you look better than I do in yoga pants, you should stop wearing them and buy mom jeans. And if your house is spotless, you must be ignoring your kids..and so on, and so on.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

My daughter is a girly girl, and I love it.

During a week long family reunion, we all wrote our names on plastic cups with sharpies to avoid mixing up our drinks. I asked my daughter if she wanted "Sophia"  (her name) or "Sophie" (what we call her) on her cup. 

"PRINCESS Sophia" was her response.

"Oh, of course", I acknowledged and wrote it on her cup as requested.  Her red (solo) cup, because there were no PINK cups as she really wanted, but red was the closest to pink.

Out of 10 pajama choices she has every night, we are relegated to three. The nightgowns that "spin" are the only acceptable choices right now.  The frillier the better.  Ruffles and lace. Sugar and spice.

She loves to play with my makeup. She begs me to paint her nails. She admires my jewelery. She stands in my closet looking at shoes and pointing out her favorite pairs, saying in a valley girl voice."Oh Mah Gawsh, those are beeyootiful".

She wants to grow her hair as long as Rapunzel's.  She likes Barbie, and Hello Kitty and Disney Princesses.

She is a girly girl.  And I love it.  I stuck bows to her head before she even had hair. I had our pediatrician pierce her ears just after her 1st birthday, and she has donned little pearls ever since. I love shopping for girly clothes. Even her tennis shoes sparkle and light up.

She totally embraces her femininity. She LOVES being a girl. And I encourage it every opportunity I can.

I tell her she is adorable, cute, beautiful all the time. I also tell her she is smart and sweet. And she is all of the afore mentioned. She is so smart and well spoken. She is a sweet cuddler. And she is totally adorable.

Some people are offended by marketing that targets a specific gender.  Others oppose anything that plays into gender stereotypes.  This blows my mind.  What is so wrong with a little girl being girly?  Especially since she enjoys it and gravitates to it.

If she wants to play softball or soccer, I will certainly let her and encourage her and cheer her on whole-heartedly, but if she dreams of being a ballerina I will support that enthusiastically, tu-tu and all.  If she wants to be a fairy princess for every Halloween the next five years, wonderful.  If she wants to be zombie, too bad.

She is a tough little girl, who can wrestle her brothers and kick a ball across the yard. She is messy and sloppy.  She doesn't mind dirt, and will seek out a mud puddle to jump in.  She'll just have a big bow in her hair while she does it all.