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As we are playing on the swing set in our back yard, I am telling my girls they have 5 minutes left before we go in for naps. They ignore me, as most often they do. I say once more, “5 minutes til we go in for naps!” (that by the way never did come to fruition.) Suddenly, my 5 year old looks at me and says, ” Mom, just because I am talking to Gabs and not looking at you, I CAN still hear you….I have a super power!” Me: “Oh , yeah. What would that be? (besides the obvious, ignoring the sound of my voice without even flinching)” Bella: “I’m a SUPER LISTENER! I hear everything!” OK, that’s news to me because she may hear me but she certainly does not always listen:)

The other day, while visiting my in laws (no less), we all go to dinner. On the way home in the car,we are discussing the idea of my husband and I going on a date. My husband and I had been excited about the idea of potentially being able to go out on a date…by ourselves. My girls love having Grandma babysit….junk food, later bedtime, so on and so forth. It was going to be a win win situation. My 5 year old interjects into the conversation,” Mommy, you should go out with Daddy. Have fun! Stay out as late as you want. But NOT TOO much fun or you’ll come back with another baby!” Thanks a lot for the warning. I’m sure your Grandparents loved the information as well. My girls, they know no boundaries! I love it. I had to laugh, it was adorable and just totally hilarious the things her little mind cooks up.

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What’s the love/hate relationship all moms have with yoga pants? Where does it come from?

Earlier today I am getting ready to take my girls to one of their classmates birthday parties, I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror and I reflect on something ( excuse the pun) that just hit me like a ton of bricks. Who am I primping for? Who am I blowing out my hair, curling my eyelashes, smudging my eyeliner for? Well, its not my husband because he is at work and by the time he sees this lovely masterpiece, lets face it, it will look like it has sat out in the rain overnight.

It’s surely not for the 12 to 17 preschoolers and toddlers that I will encounter at this soiree. No, as far as they are concerned all Mommies look the same..we just seem to have our own special scents.You know the ones; baby vomit, baby poop, curdled enfamil, baby soap, and maybe the scent of stale cheerios, or a combination of the aforementioned and the ever popular soap and baby love. So, who am I dressing for?

It’s not completely for myself, because, try as I may, I just don’t have the time and energy to be that into myself anymore.T hough, I am making a very conscientious effort to invest more time into myself. I hear the more we put in, the more we get out.We’ll see!

So, again….who am I dressing for? I know its not for other men because, quite frankly, I think that radar went on the fritz the very minute that my wedding ring went on the finger. It’s like we are genetically predisposed or perhaps its more like pathologically brain washed from birth to know that once that ring goes on, we are no longer allowed to be aware if other men are looking or flirting. And so we are not. Sure there are the occasional, accidental flirtations that we nostalgically catch glimpses of and are flattered by…who wouldn’t be? We are, after all, married not dead. But as a rule, we generally are blissfully unaware.

Then it dawned on me for whom we are truly dressing for…other Mommies. Let’s take a look at the facts.They are the only people we normally see on a semi regular basis, their opinion does count to us, and we usually like to appear somewhat put together in their eyes. Whether we want them to approve or just don’t want them to disapprove, that is our target audience.I’m not alone in this am I?

I know most of us have tried the jump in the car in our Jammie pants and throw on a coat, go through the car drop off line and hope no one makes eye contact tactic. Well, actually I have not because I have heard too many times of the horror stories of the poor , unsuspecting Mommmy wearing her Jammies to drop off only to be suddenly called into the principals office or some other tragedy happening. It’s sorta like that warning your Mom gave you about wearing clean panties because heaven forbid you get into a car accident and there you are, poor schlub, with your period panties on. Yeah,because that is what the EMS notices when they are freeing you from your burning vehicle with the jaws of life! Thanks Mom!

Then there is , my very own personal favorite, yoga pants ( running shorts, tennis skirt..insert comfy athletic gear as you like) , t-shirt, and a ponytail.First,Come on, let’s be honest, when I pull my hair back into that ponytail..I know, in my heart, no grown woman should be rocking a pony!

Second, just because we are wearing our workout clothes..are we all actually working out immediately following drop off? I confess, normally, I am heading for a sweating session of Turbo Jam in my living room or a grueling walk around the neighborhood but on other days ( at least one), oh those “other” days, I drop my 4 year old off at school, walk back to my car, drive to my apartment, change back into my Jammies and have coffee on my sofa while reading Cosmo and I don’t even break a sweat. The scary thing is that I think I am making an effort by actually putting on the workout clothes, that is my step up! Lord, what has my world come to?

A few years ago, I would not have left the house for a million dollars without full face on and dressed appealingly to all who saw me. Now, who’s to say if I care, if I don’t, I think it depends on the day and my mood. How can we go from being so meticulous about our presentation to so profoundly unaffected? I do know one thing, Jammies and ponytails in public are unacceptable unless you are four or under.So that leads us back to my original question..who are we dressing for? We figured out its other Mommies, but why does some times it matter and sometimes it doesn’t? I know that I never want anyone to look at me and say,” Wow! She is really ugly” So, why wouldn’t I try not to be?

I ended up at the party looking somewhat presentable, clothes were cleaned, hair was blown out, icing was on the cake and it didn’t take too much effort. So, why don’t we do it every morning? Do we really think that the other Mommies and teachers deserve to be visually assaulted by our Jammies, bed head, ponytails, and (hmmhmmm) workout clothes? I, for one, say no. So, I am making a pledge to try and dress …before I take my girls to school and greet the fine folks at preschool..and at the very least,I will definitely try to do so before my return visit of the day to pick them up from preschool:)See you all at 12:30, hopefully looking considerably better than I did at 9:30!

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Let me preface this by saying, I am so paranoid about my girls developing body issues that if you ask them ,”What are you?” Their standard answer, with absolutely no conceit, is, “Perfection!” Or as Bella likes to say ,”Perfectional!” I am trying to raise them to know that they are perfect as is; to know that people come in all shapes, sizes,and colors and we are all of the same worth. We are all the perfect us that we are suppose to be.I stress this point to them. Though, of course, being that I am human, I am uber critical of myself but I am conscientious not to exhibit that behavior in front of them, or so I thought. It’s a 24 hour a day job, just trying not to be a bad example :)I thought that I was succeeding at this job.I guess I thought wrong.
The other day, out of the blue, my 4 year old, Bella looks at me and whispers, “Mom, I want you to be tall and straight like Daddy.” With that, she smiled a little sheepish smile. So between the whisper and the (please don’t hurt me, on the brink of a flinch smile) I concluded, she was trying to say something very diplomatically that was in fact an insult. But I wasn’t sure what. My husband is 6’5″, so I understand that he is taller than me but what did she mean by “straight”? I’m married to a man and she has to idea of the implications of the words “straight or gay” ,so this left me wondering, what in the hell exactly she meant. So, I said,”Bella, Mommy is a girl and sometimes they are shorter than boys.I can’t do anything about that.” She said,(in her whispering/defensive stance/hands actually up to her mouth to signify a secret) “But you can get straight!” I look at her, and again, that same impish smile. I’m curious and I’m confused. “Honey, what do you mean that you want me to be “straight like Daddy”? Bella, looks me up and down and says, “You know, straight,with none of this!” By this, I inferred by her hand gestures and the fact that she was rubbing my love handles, she meant my lovely chunkiness. OMG, this is the moment I hoped would never come. I’m not obese, but I’m no size 5 anymore.I am certainly a well established resident in double digit land. I took a mental note and decided that it was in fact time to get back into shape. I want to be a good role model, and all that:)She wasn’t trying to mean, but she obviously knew, at her young age of 4, that Mommy’s weight was a sensitive subject. We’ve had the occasional,”Mom you’ve got a big butt!”, which of course, compared to hers, I do. Let’s face it, I got a big butt. I have always responded, “Well Bella, Mommy would look crazy with a little butt like yours.I’m too big for a bootie that size, but its perfect for your little girl body:)” Which, indeed, I would and it is. Her response is always, “It’s OK Mom, I love your big butt!” So, overall, its all good. My ego gets a little bruised, but I bounce back. That was then.
Today,at dinner, Bella is engaged in a full on monologue with herself, as four year olds are known to do from time to time. Then she leaps into her,I’m pretending I’m somebody else mode.OK, I’m used to this. I hear her having a conversation with herself about her Mom being “straight”. I turn slowly, and my ears perk up, like a nosey dog.I can’t resist,”Bella, you still love me even if I’m not “straight”,right? Families love each other no matter what.” To which she responds, “Yeah, Mom! But some people are like ‘Hey look at that fat girl!’ ( Imagine my aghast face and sheer horror) and she continues ,”But I’m like ,’Hey don’t say that, she’s my Mom and she’s perfect!” And then she looks me dead in the eye, serious as I’ve ever seen her, and says,”I still love you anyways,Mommy!” At this point, I am in shock and mortified that this is the conversation that her and her ‘imaginary friends are having’:) Continuing, as an equal opportunity child that she apparently is, she looks at me and (again with that smile and whisper, since Daddy’s out of earshot) says ,”It’s OK Mom, they say it about Daddy and Saffaron (the dog) too. They’re like ‘Hey, look at that stupid guy walking that dog!’ OMG, all I want to know is who are these horribly evil little imaginary people that live in my daughter’s head and what do I have to do to shut them up? LOL I laughed so hard that I did in fact cry, part, laughing my butt off at her imagination and her keen sense of decorum to know that she needed to be delicate with her Mommy’s feelings, and part at the sad fact that my daughter has, in fact, noticed my imperfections and thinks I’m perfect anyways…or at least that is what she has chosen to let me believe , in spite of the facts.I love my daughter, she is ‘perfectional’ to me, and I am starting a diet tomorrow! I’ve also realized that I have to fight the urge and be more conscious of the “does my butt look big? Does this make me look fat?” comments that slip out of my mouth undetected. But like they say, ” I can lose weight, but poor Daddy..well, what do you do for being stupid?

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I have began to wonder why none, not one,of the parenting books mentions that around the age of 2 children develop selective hearing.Hearing only the things that they want to hear and specifically those things that you don’t want them to hear such as the occasional stump your toe curse word or the fact that your friend needs to lose a couple pounds. Of course they choose to hold on to these nuggets until the most inappropriate times for instance, said friend’s nervous breakdown over her looks, or they blurt out some unexpected four lettered gem in the middle of mass.Why is this information not labeled with a warning in the parenting books. Is it just another one of those secrets we keep because it is too much fun to watch the provisionals experience the embarrassment and humiliation that we ourselves did, not so long ago?Beware this is quite frequently co morbid with Constant Repeat disorder. In a nutshell, not unlike my child, your child ignores you and repeats anything they say constantly as to make sure that you have not acquired their selective hearing syndrome.My daughter’s favorite repeat phrase is ” M..o..m…m.y…EAT!” It is usually repeated in sets of no less then 7 times. Furthermore, even more concerning then the 2 year old selective hearing syndrome, there is the very common but temporary ( I am hoping) 4 year old complete deafness disease. This is a little more frustrating because the onset is normally around the age of 3 to 3 and 1/2 years of age and continues on to about the age of 6, only to reappear at around age 11.So, that is something to look forward to in the coming years. My daughter’s particular strain of the disease leaves her completely deaf to any and all requests from her father and I, of any kind, especially those requests that pertain to the well being of her little sister, aforementioned victim of selective hearing syndrome. Sometimes it can be quite scary when you are asking, repeatedly, for the child to stop beating on their sibling, sitting on their sibling,annoying their sibling, doing something dangerous, to eat, be quiet or clean or pick up anything and the child simply does not hear your voice in any form. They become completely oblivious to the parent who is making said requests. Sometimes, we are overcome with the desire to shake said child but don’t give in. At the very moment you move towards the child, like a bunny, they scamper and scurry to another room. Leaving you even more frustrated because with 4 year old complete deafness disease, once in another room deafness is absolute and there is no hope for said child to hear anything you will ever say fro the remainder of the day..possibly ever again!

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