Friday, July 11, 2008

The Week in Review

First: Another Beach Insight. In years past, you'd go to the beach and most of the women who didn't fit in size 12 or below suits covered up in extra-large tee shirts. Some of them just wore tee shirts and shorts didn't bother with suits at all. They'd go into the water and emerge with their tee shirts plastered to their chests, their bras glowing whitely beneath.

This year almost everybody, regardless of size, wore a bikini.

Oh, not me. I wore a bikini in third grade. It was not particularly revealing. My dad still made fun of me. 'Nuff said.

Anyway, at the beginning of my beach week, noting the glut of bikinis on all sizes and shapes of gals, I wondered what cultural shift had caused for this sudden baring of skin. I decided it had to be one of two things: Denial or defiance. Because I personally can gain twenty pounds in a few months and be in complete denial about it, I wondered if was possible to be a size 20 and still put on a bikini and see a size 8 in the mirror.

But I preferred my defiance theory. I liked the idea that these women had decided that whatever size they were, they wanted to wear a cute suit. And maybe they weren't a size 8, but that didn't mean that their curves were unattractive. And to be honest, I saw a lot of women who looked lovely and rubenesque. I was happy they were enjoying themselves in the sun.

It took til the end of the week to occur to me that the reason I was seeing so many larger women in cute suits was quite simple: manufacturers have started making cute suits for larger women. In years past, if you were size 16 or up, you didn't have much of a choice. Now you do. And I'm glad women are choosing to toss the tee shirts and don the the bikinis. Just as long as they remember their sunscreen.


So this week I've been working harder on working harder on my children. Lately, I've been more conscious of how spoiled they are. Because they are generally well-behaved in public, and pretty okay at home when they're not at each other throats, they get cut a lot of slack. We've not made them do a ton of chores. It's easier for me to cook and clean and get the job done right than to take the time to make them do chores and teach them how to do them correctly, and because they protest so loudly and longly it doesn't even seem worth it. What it comes down to is, I've been a slack mom.

But the good times, boys, they are over.

It started with making Jack make chocolate chip cookies (which is not a bad place to start, as these things go). I got out the hard-to-find-when-you're-a-clueless-nine-year-old-boy ingredients, got out the Joy of Cooking and turned it to the right page, and then I told Jack to get going. And he did it. We've done a lot of baking together over the years, so it wasn't difficult for him. He made a fine batch of cookie dough.

He's been less happy about having to make his bed every morning and put his clothes in the hamper and pick up the books he leaves around everywhere and raking up the leaves under the magnolia tree and writing his birthday thank you notes (two months late) and clearing the table and training the dog, etc. etc.

I, on the other hand, have been very happy. And not just because it means less work for me. I'm happy because I think kids need to do chores and work hard, but as often happens with me, I don't always follow through on what I know is right. I am lazy. I avoid stressed out situations like the plague. By making Jack do what he should be doing around the house, I'm actually doing what I should be doing around the house.


I'm still waiting for the summer to settle into a routine. The weather can't decide to be cloudy or rainy. One of my best friends is moving. Appointments pop up here and there and throw the day out of whack. Sometimes I find myself standing in the middle of the kitchen feeling sad without knowing why, and I think it's because I'm not sure what's coming next.

And then I eat some chocolate, and it's all good.


Tracy said...

The bikini thing baffles me. When I had just had my 3rd baby and was going to the beach and was breastfeeding I bought girls board shorts & a long tank top. LOVE it. I'm covered but I can swim and I don't feel self conscious. Then again I grew up in a 3rd world country where white people would offend the nationals if they wore a bikini. It was a one-piece with a t-shirt over it for us!

Tell Jack there are other kids (with mean mums) who also must clean up their rooms, make their beds and clean the loo. One day he'll thank you LOL.

Victoria said...

I love the defiance theory - and also the fact that they are making nicer swimming outfits for more sizes.
Your post about 'What are people for?' - brilliant. Maybe different people are for different things and it's our job to work out what we are for? (and I don't mean that in a 'discover your wonderful destiny' way, because that privelaged first-world train of thinking totally annoys me).