Monthly Archives: March 2013

Bikinis and the F-word

We are leaving on vacation tomorrow, and I am packing our suitcases. With two young ones, this mostly entails a lot of transferring clean clothes from the dryer to the suitcase before they manage to get dirty again and trying to thwart the kids’ attempts to “help” me pack.

Since we are traveling to a tropical destination (yay!) it also involves trying on last year’s bikinis for me. This is where the f-word comes in. Not that f-word! But the one used unflinchingly by millions of females as they pull on their bikinis. FAT. As in, “Does this make my butt look fat?” and “I feel fat today” or “My legs/stomach/arms/(insert any body part here) are too fat.”

Although my daughter is only just shy of her second birthday, like most toddlers her age she quickly soaks up conversation around her and new words are uttered daily. And I am determined that the f-word will not be a part of Kendall’s vocabulary.

I want Kendall to look in the mirror and see her dimpled rosy cheeks. Her beautiful full lips. Her soft hair kissed by golden rays from the sun. Her strong, sturdy little legs. Her enormous eyes the color of tumbled sea glass. Her full, golden tummy and sweet belly button. Her dazzling smile.

The best way I can do this is by practicing healthy body acceptance myself. Gazing at my bikini-clad body in the mirror I remind myself that those tired boobs fed and nourished two human beings. The deep creases on my forehead are souvenirs from laughing and playing hard.  Those puny arms have enough strength to carry multiple bags of groceries or propel me through the ocean. My legs? They have helped me complete triathlons and herd small children. I try to smile at the reflection that stares back at me and hope that Kendall will see her mother appreciating the gift of a strong, healthy body.

I am making a conscious effort to ban the f-word from our house.

Good riddance.

074

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Grace in my kitchen

We were in the midst of another epic meltdown. Our four year old son’s sobs filled the kitchen. He had been wronged. Life wasn’t fair. Who had caused him this pain? The culprit was his sister. Yes, a petite, doe-eyed, chubby cheeked toddler. Kendall, innocently armed with a pencil had (gasp!) scribbled on two pages of Daniel’s newly delivered magazine. Clearly this was a catastrophe.

My eyes met with my husband’s and we exchanged a knowing glance. You know the look. It’s the we-can’t-decide- if-we-want-to-scream-or-laugh look. “It’s not a big deal, buddy,” Brian reassured him, to no avail.

“But I can’t see the pictures at all. She ruined it!!!” The wails and sobs began to escalate.

Kendall stood by me with both concern and the remnants of dinner plastered on her face. “Your brother is sad because you colored on his magazine. We color on coloring books. Can you tell him you are sorry and give him a hug?”

And then grace found us. Right there, in the middle of our messy kitchen filled with runny noses, dirty dishes, and sippy cups.

Kendall walked over to Daniel, who was practicing for his future best actor in a dramatic series win. “Sorr-ee, Dan-oh.” Kendall spoke with earnest. “Sorr-ee, Dan-oh”, she repeated seeking out his teary eyes.

The wails stopped. “It’s okay, Kendall.”

And brother and sister embraced each other.

Later, as I helped Kendall erase the pencil marks on her brother’s magazine I thought how easy it is to chalk up Daniel’s tantrum to his age. But what was my excuse? How many times had this 30-something year old blown up for something that (if I’m being honest), was really not a big deal? How readily did I let go and forgive? Or did I hold on to my anger over little things, harboring grudges and resentment against others?

And once more, the after dinner lesson in forgiveness for my kids became a lesson for this mama too.

sibling love

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Filed under Life Lessons, Parenting