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Saturday, February 27, 2016

Dresses

One thing that no one mentions when you sign up for this thing called parenting is that the pain does not stop after the child has exited the vagina (or, as in the case of Charlie, the abdominal incision).  No one tells you about things like molars.  Orthodontia.  Caillou and Dora.  Prom.

That's right, bitchez.  Your child, will, at some point, be statistically likely to go to a formal dance.  And if your kid does not, PLEASE share your secrets with me so I can put them into play for the next two.  Unless it involves things such as bullying or severe social anxiety.  I'm pretty much not a fan of those kinds of things.

When your child goes to said formal dance, they will  need clothes for it as it is generally frowned upon to go in your birthday suit.  And not just any clothes...dear sweet mother of God, it has to be a dress.  And one usually finds dresses in a store, which is in a mall.  I fucking hate the mall with all the fiery passion I usually reserve for such things as Katy Perry's singing, food touching, and spring.  This is where having boys would come in handy, cause I could just totally punt that off to Charles as being in his domain.  I'm pretty sure, though, that as tolerant as that man is and despite the number of tea parties he has attended, wearing a crown no less, prom dress shopping is where he draws the line.

You know how I shopped for my prom dress?  I put Elizabeth in her stroller, walked into JC Penny's, and found a cream colored plain dress within 10 minutes.  It fit, was simple, and I did not have to venture any further into the mall for it.  Plus it was like $30.  The entire ordeal took me less than 45 minutes.

I'm not what you would call a girly girl.

It has never been that simple with Elizabeth.  Now mind you, she has attended prom every year of high school so far.  I try not to think about that fact too hard, but I figure her prom dresses are cheaper than the dance I pay for for her sisters, so it's really hard to complain.  (Word of advice...encourage your child to play the less expensive sports.)  That and I tend to be a sucker for my children...not that they are spoiled, as they most definitely are not, but I do try to make special occasions, well, special for them.  So I begrudgingly get in the car and take her dress shopping.

She has learned from past experiences, I think, and did not attempt to drag me to the mall.  For which I am eternally grateful because I don't think I could have handled that today as I had dress rehearsal for competition with the little girls and I was already high on the fumes from hairspray and whatever chemicals sequins and feathers emit.  I would have put this off, but a.) I work 7 days/week, and b.) I completely get the anxiety she would have had because prom is almost two months away and dear GOD, what if she did not find a dress?  I can appreciate that kind of anxiety cause I live it myself daily.  However, she did drag me to a store 2 hours away.  That had literally thousands of dresses.

Holy fucking shit, my ADHD kicked in big time.  I was like a 10 month old baby who was completely overstimulated and just did not know what to do and was running on fumes and completely unable to be soothed.  There were so many dresses.  They started looking alike after a while.  Thankfully, we brought her date, a friend, and my sister with us because had it just been the two of us, this might have been a disaster rivaling the decision to allow me to be on the Internet unsupervised.

We decided against the $700 dress.  Seven.  Hundred.   Fucking. Dollars.  For a prom dress.  My wedding dress cost half that.  That's almost my fucking mortgage.  Just...FUCK.  That being said, we did not spend anywhere near that amount.  But it was still painful.  Maybe not to the point of requiring an epidural, but damn.  Some Xanax would have been nice.  Or a shot at least.  A bullet to bite on perhaps?

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Village

One of the greatest joys I have in this journey of parenting, aside from passing down functional knowledge of how to appropriately use fuck as pretty much all parts of speech, is watching my children develop their talents and interests.

Elizabeth, for instance, is a pretty kickass softball player.  She definitely gets that from her dad's side of the family as I have never been able to get the hang of any sport that required a ball.  Or athletic talent, really.  If wine bottle opening was a sport, I'd be a fucking Olympian, however. I did run cross country in high school but I'm pretty sure that since most of us looked like we were dying out there I blended right in...that and back in the day before children and poor life choices destroyed them, I had a pretty nice rack so most of the teenage boys were likely fixated on that.  

I love getting out to her games, even when it is cold.  If you know me, you know that I hate Spring.  One year I swear to God every single game was below freezing.  Because Spring is an asshole.  But by God, every game I could get to I was there.  Unfortunately I usually forgot my coat, so I also have likely done some frostbite damage...but I was there.  Why?

Because that's what good parents do, and I like to pretend that is what I am.  And also, because those young women worked their asses off, most days of the week.  They came back, game after game, and played their best every time.  Despite losing most games.  Despite being down a ridiculous amount of runs.  It was a pleasure and a joy to watch them grow throughout the season.  It was a pleasure to watch a coach of a team that previously won against them pitch a fit like a two year old when, at the end of the season, they beat his team and he couldn't get it overruled.  Those players EARNED that victory.  Elizabeth was part of a team and was learning important life lessons and shit.  Totally worth frostbite and having to be out in Spring weather.

Charlie and Alexis are on the competition dance team, which thankfully is an indoor sport and does not require me to be outside in weather below 50* for long periods of time.  It does, however, require travel to dance competitions and fun shit like putting fake eyelashes on and learning the best way to bobby pin a hat to your child's head so it won't fall off (the answer, just in case you are wondering, does not involve a staple gun.  I am neither going to confirm nor deny if I ever contemplated that.)  Alexis had started out dance at the age of two and a half and cried.  Every.Fucking,Class.  She then soon got over her hatred of people and public and socializing and realized that she loves it.  She is now getting ready to do her solo.  Charlie...well, it's her first year on competition so we shall see if she decides to continue it or not.  I'm not sure how much of her being on the team is related to her wanting to be like her big sister; however at this point I am just grateful that it is keeping her from hiring herself out for murder or espionage or other devious deeds so I'll take it.

I recently watched the two of them dance at an informal performance.  I still get choked up watching them, just as I do when I see Elizabeth doing her thing on the softball field as well.  All of the work, the injuries, the practices, the tears...all culminating in a performance where they make it look so easy.  These girls go out there and dance despite injuries.  Despite life happening, like cancer or the death of a parent or being bullied at school.  The cost is well worth it, for a variety of reasons.  The life lessons that they learn.  The importance of  hard work.  Or camaraderie, especially with other females.  The sting of losing along side the joys of winning.  The importance of being a part of a team, but also of doing your part and improving yourself.

I simply don't know that as a parent, I can teach these lessons as well as others can.  I am too involved.  Too attached.  Too protective.  Too anxious.  Would I make them take risks?  Would I push them to their limits, even as they groan and protest?  Would I stand by and let them fail when they don't do that hard work?  As hard as it is to admit, the answer to all of those is probably no.  I can't be that for my kids, for a number of reasons (and the first is likely that I am bat shit crazy...)  I freely give them to other adults, professionals in their fields, to shape and to mold.  To make them what I cannot, to say the things to them that need to be said.  To shape them into the young women they will be (or are, in Elizabeth's case).

It does take a village.  So to all of those coaches out there...the dance teachers...the school teachers..., baby sitters... daycare providers...4H leaders...thank you.  Thank you for giving my child, and many others, a chance to grow and learn.  Thank you for believing in my child.  Thank you for seeing worth in my child participating, and for seeing potential.  Thank you for putting my child in their place when they need it, and lifting them up when they are down.  Thank you for taking your time, whether volunteer or paid, to invest in my kid, even knowing that she may not become a professional dancer, or softball player, or whatever.  Thank you for seeing value in children's activities.

Thank you.