Dear Girls, Be Your Own Kind Of Beautiful

My Dear Girls,

There is one thing I can guarantee that you will hear from me every day: that you are beautiful.

There are some people who think that girls shouldn’t hear that. Some people think that I should only tell you that you are smart, and funny, strong, and kind. I will tell you all of those things. And, I will tell you that you are beautiful, too.

I want you to hear me now. Because, when you’re older it will be so much harder for you to. My voice will be drowned out by the rest of the world. Hear this first.

I can promise you that the world will try to tell you what you “have to be” to be beautiful. They will try to tell you what your waistline should measure. What color your skin should be. What color your hair and your eyes should be. But, the world is made much more awesome by all of the different shapes, sizes, and colors in it.

They will try to tell you what kind of clothes to wear. Some will tell you that you have to wear makeup to be beautiful. Others will tell you that you shouldn’t wear makeup to be beautiful. Some will tell you that you should have a thigh gap. Others will tell you that you cannot be beautiful without curves. 

They will tell you a million different things. They will try to sell you a million different things.

And, one day, someone will try to make you feel like you are not beautiful enough.

Why? The truth is, Mommy doesn’t always know why. Maybe it’s because some people are just assholes. Some people like to make others feel small so that they can feel bigger. Some people were never taught to be nice to others because it makes the world a better place if we lift each other up instead of tear each other down. Maybe they were never told they are beautiful.

So, this is what I have to tell you about it. Listen, little birds, this is important.

Fuck ’em.

That’s right. Fuck ’em, and be your own kind of beautiful.

Fuck ’em because there is no beauty that compares to the light that ignites inside of you when you follow your heart and feel good about yourself, no matter what you’re wearing. And, the most precious people you will have in your life will be there because they see your light. 

Fuck ’em because you are your own canvas, and you can make yourself your own work of art.  Fuck ’em because life and fashion and hair should be fun, and not something dictated by anyone else.

You are so incredibly beautiful, my loves. I will tell you every day.

   

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Here’s To 34 Trips Around The Sun

In yesteryears I would have worried and fretted about being a year older. I would have neared panick wondering if I’ve accomplished all of the things in life I should have. Now I just laugh and pour myself a glass of wine;)

If I have lines around my eyes it’s because I smile a lot.

Today I got my very favorite card ever. Sofia dictated to Daddy what was to be on it. It now hangs on my wall next to my bed. Apparently she specified that Darth Vader should look angry, and she signed her own name:)

  
A few days ago Sofia said that she wanted me to get a Darth Vader baby (plush) for my birthday. Hubs and I laughed about it, thinking she just said it because she wanted one to play with.

This morning, when she realized I didn’t get one she started crying. But I realized something as I sat on the floor and pulled her into my lap to hug away her tears. I think I was wrong that she wanted a toy to play with. I think she wanted it for me because, in her mind, that was the very best thing she could give me. 

When I realized that, it tugged at my heart so hard. I have such an amazingly sweet and badass kid!

  
I got to spend a wonderful day with my girls while hubs was at work. We went to dance class and hung out at the park with friends.

  
Squeaker’s nursing the tiniest of fevers. My fingers are crossed that she’ll finally cut those teeth she’s been working on for the last month and a half. She’s been exceptionally snugly today:) 

  

Tonight I am watching shows with Hubs, drinking wine, and eating chocolate.

Not too shabby:)

I’m ready to start another journey around the sun.

Why I Watch My Fucking Mouth Around My Kids

My three year old is starting preschool today. Yeah, we’re late to the game. Most kids start in the Fall. Some start when they’re two. We really never thought we’d put her in preschool. Let her be a kid as long as she can, we thought.

But, we started to realize that she is beyond ready. She’s smart as a whip and has a beautifully outgoing personality. She gets giddy to meet new people, and is crazy eager to learn new things. I think in some ways being stuck at home most days with Mommy and Baby Sister has been torture.

Her smile was so big this morning:)

So, onto my thought. Why I watch my fucking mouth around my kids.

I have a potty mouth. I admit it. I love curse words. Don’t get me wrong, I love myself a Shakespearean insult, or high language conversation. But, I also love the expressiveness of letting out a low and slow “shit!”. But there’s some other things I choose to balance that with.

I think that, in our culture, we have lost a beautiful thing with the ediquitte of times past. Now, I’m not talking about a woman being considered a whore for putting on lipstick in public, or being gawked at for showing her ankles. I’m talking about how ediquitte reinforced and afforded everyone you encountered (including yourself) with a level of respect. Respect for simply being a human being. I think we’ve lost a lot of that.

I speak frankly here because I assume anyone reading this is an adult, and can easily choose whether or not to dedicate a few moments of their life to reading this. If a word here is offensive, I would encourage said person to move along, and find something they find more pleasant to look at.

When I am meeting someone for the first time, or am around a crowd of people with sensitive ears, I cater my language to them. Sure, I don’t have to. Some people may call bullshit on it. But just like I think that looking someone in the eye and saying “good morning” is simply a respectful thing to do, so is occasionally curbing your tongue.

It makes me sad to see little nuggets wearing shirts like “I’m not shy, I just don’t like you.” Or, “you’re ugly”, or some bullshit like that. It’s not funny. It’s teaching children to be cruel and hateful. It’s teaching them that they don’t need to be kind, or have a basic respect for their fellow humans.

The concept of being respectful is something that we have to teach our children. Making way for someone. Saying thank you. Holding a door for them. Wishing them a good day. Saying excuse me and not interrupting. Giving someone personal space. Using nice words. Giving someone the time of day. Those are all things our kiddos learn. Hey learn it first from us, their parents.

How can we expect our children to be respectful to us if we don’t treat them with respect, and without seeing us treat others with respect, as well;)

Also, my kids are just starting out in the world. The last thing I want to do as a mother is hinder their experience in the world. How will their teachers teach them differently if they don’t know how to speak nicely? How will it hinder them from making friends? These are some of the things I think about.

On the flip side, I am not naive. Doodlebug hasn’t busted out an “F” bomb yet. But I know the day will come. And, it won’t be the end of the world. We’ll have the talk about the need to use nice words. We’ll talk about appropriate language. I’ll wait till she goes to bed, and then laugh about it. I’ll dread having her teacher tell me that she’s taught “the word” to the other kids. I’ll delay that all from happening as long as I can.

And, until her vocabulary inevitably expands into the world of curse words, I will continue to do my best to watch my mouth, and use nice words around her. Just like I expect her to do:) Because, I want her to rock this world, and not be held back by anything!

  

Let Us Not Forget the Cool Shit About Being an Adult

As grown ups, we often make snarky remarks about how we wish our kids realized how lucky they have it. We bathe them, cook for them, feed them, clothe them, play with them, push them around in shopping carts and strollers. Hell, we even wipe their asses. And more often than not, they just don’t seem to get how awesome that is of us.

But, seriously, they’re kids. They don’t know it any other way. I consider myself lucky that my three year old is an all around happy girl, and I hear her say “thank you” all the time without being prompted. Makes my heart swell with pride every time I hear it. She bounces with excitement any time she receives a gift, and seems genuinely grateful, no matter what it is.

But, anytime we do have a frustrating day, I try and make myself think about how hard kids really can have it. They have next to no control over their daily lives. How confusing it must be to them when we encourage every new milestone, every new word, every first step, when they are babies, only to be met with “don’t run!”, “don’t touch that!”, “not so loud!” as soon as they reach toddlerhood.
I try to keep all this in mind, and give my girl as many choices as I can. Within reason, of course.

 I also try to make sure she has an outlet for things. Now that she has a seven month old sister, she hears me telling her on a daily basis that we have to be quiet so that we don’t wake up Stella. No doubt she gets tired of hearing it. Sometimes as soon as Stella is up, I ask Sofia to give me the biggest dinosaur roar she can muster.

A big grin will spread across her face as she yawps out a mighty “RRRrroooaaaaarrrrrrrRRR!!!!”

If it’s bedtime and I can’t seem to get her pajamas on because she has so much nervous energy she may as well be tapping out a Fred Astaire routine, sometimes I’ll just stop, take a deep breath, and give her a minute. I’ll tell her I need her to wiggle as much as she can. Hubs and I will clap and yell “wiggle, wiggle, wiggle, wiggle!” as she shimmies around. When she’s finally done we give getting dressed another go. Sometimes it helps. Sometimes it doesn’t. 

And, while keeping an empathetic mind on the frustrations of our children, let us also keep in check our attitudes toward adulthood.

I know. I know. Waking up to an alarm every day to go to a frustrating job, or to deal with all the ups and downs of being a homemaker, can be a real killjoy sometimes. Paying bills sucks. Dealing with traffic sucks. Hell, just having to be a responsible adult is often quite a downer. We worry about our present. We worry about our future. Sometimes we worry about our past.

And, it’s all valid. There’s a lot of shit to worry about, stress about, and obsess about as a grown up.

To soften the blow of that reality, here’s a couple of things that make adulthood not so shitty.

1. Wine. Or beer. Or rum. Whatever your flavor. Having a nice, relaxing drink. Damn, it’s good.

2. Sex. Doesnt really seem like that needs more explanation.

3. You can eat what you want. And, you don’t have to eat what you don’t want to. Generally, there’s no one haggling over how many bites of broccoli you’ve taken. If you’re feeling particularly sassy, you can even have dessert for dinner. Or breakfast! 

4. You can drive. Sure. Sometimes it’s a pain in the ass. But, you can do it. You don’t have to negotiate with your mom over chores so that she’ll give you a ride to hang out with your friends. 

5. You can watch (and read) whatever the hell you want. (Granted, you often have to wait until the nuggets are asleep.) You can have a Rambo marathon, or watch twenty hours of Battlestar Galactica, or watch Showgirls. You can spend weeks doing nothing but reading your favorite trade paperbacks. No one gives a shit. You don’t need anyone’s permission.

6. You pick what you wear. Most days I’ll let Sofia pick from two things to wear. If she gets no choice, she may complain and try to refuse to get dressed. If she has too many options she can’t focus or make up her mind. Then when Mommy decides on an outfit it will inevitably be the one thing she refuses to wear.

Within the unavoidable limit of budget, grown ups dress themselves however the hell they want to. I get in a rut sometimes and don’t think about that. When you’re a grown up, every day can be dress up day. I can wear a fancy dress, or live in yoga pants for days on end.

Now I just need to figure out who to talk to about making some of the kids clothes I find in adult sizes;)

7. In addition to what you wear, you’re In charge of you’re own appearance. I can wear red lipstick if I’m feeling sassy. I can highlight my hair. I can pierce my nose. I can get a tattoo. I can shave my head, or dye my hair green. I can wear flip flops in January, or knee high boots in June. I can do whatever the hell I want. It’s pretty sweet.

The list could go on and on. But, in short, grown ups can do what they want, eat what they want, drink what they want, wear what they want, have a dog if they want, take a vacation to Paris, or ComicCon. Whatever the hell they want. Not too shabby. 

Of course, this is not to minimize the frustrations we feel. Or the circumstances that can limit us. But, we should all try and remember the good stuff on the days when we’re being little bitches, and take it all in stride;)

  

  

A Quote For Today

Time to read is about as rare as snowfall in central Texas these days. Also, I’m a fairly slow reader. As much as I adore to delve into a good book, the journey tends to take me a while. But, I still try and devote time to it whenever I can find a minute. 

  

I recently picked up a copy of Bohemian Paris by Dan Franck. As I snuggled up in bed and opened the book to the preface, I was met with this beautiful beginning:

“A world without art would be blind to itself. It would be confined within the boundaries imposed by simplistic rules. This is why totalitarian regimes, when they rise to power, set out to censor, prohibit and burn. This is how they destroy ideas, dreams, memory, and the expression of differences, which are the fertile soil from which artists spring.”

Love it.

Not only does it remind me to be so incredibly grateful for the freedoms I have, but it is a lovely reminder that art can gift a wonderful reflection of life, and change of perspective. 

It makes me itch to pick up a paintbrush again. But, for now I will be patient and cuddle my snuggly Squeaker.

  

A Great Day

I had a great day with my girls.

As a stay at home mom, I freely admit that I have an incredibly hard time balancing my responsibilities. I feel like I don’t really have to expound on that. Y’all feel me.

But, this morning I decided. I just wanted to hang out with my girls. After breakfast we watched some cartoons while we ever-so-slowly got dressed for the day. Halfway through, my five month old nugget fell asleep in my lap. Instead of freaking out about the time, or worrying about how much I need to get her used to sleeping in her crib, I just chilled while she slept. In hindsight, I don’t really think it made a damn bit of difference that we watched one more Paw Patrol. Except, that I got some exceptional cuddles, and my three year old was pretty stoked about her cartoon.

After somehow managing to put eyeliner on with a wiggly baby in my lap, we loaded up into the car and drove to our neighborhood park. Doodlebug was super stoked that there was another little girl to play with. The little one’s grandma made a passing comment that I resembled Snow White, and my head swelled to three times its normal size.

While Squeaker snuggled up in her car seat where I could keep an eye on her, I climbed the playscape and roared down the curly slide with Doodlebug a few times. After getting Sofia going nice and high on her swing, I hopped onto the one next to her.

If adults spent a bit more time playing at playgrounds too, I think the world may be a better place.

After playing we had leftovers for lunch, and then Quiet Time. This daily ritual in our house came about when Doodlebug started striking against naps, and we realized that without some downtime our evenings were incredibly grumpy and trying. So, she plays in her room for a while every day. No tv. No distractions. Just her, and her imagination.

After that, I decided on popcorn and a movie. We usually reserve popcorn for those rarest occasions when Sofia actually does, by some miracle, take a nap. But today, I thought, what the hell. I want popcorn.

We made a pillow pile in the middle of the living room. While Stella gurgled and rolled around, Sofia and I watched ParaNorman.

There’s a reason that watching that particular movie was especially awesome today. Sofia fell in love with it when she was about two years old. For the longest time we would watch it almost every day. And honestly, I never got tired of it. Around the time she turned three it seemed like out of nowhere she was suddenly terrified of so many things. ParaNorman included. I missed it.

Our pediatrician insists that having sudden fear of so many things is a completely normal phase. But what makes me so proud of Sofia is how we can tell that when she does become frightened of something, she tries to find a way to work through it.

I could tell she was nervous when we first started the movie. She even suggested a couple of times that we watch it later instead. But, I kept it playing. Afterward she told me how much she loved it, and that she wants to watch it all the time now.

It made me so happy.

Then we went on a walk and I pushed Stella in her stroller while Sofia trailed behind us on her bike. We got back to the house around the same time as hubs and went inside for dinner.

Despite my promise to myself that I wouldn’t worry about the house or chores today, I definitely got frazzled this evening when it was time to get ready for bed and all I could see around me was things that needed to be picked up or cleaned. But, tomorrow I can worry again about the laundry, and the floors. 

I’m really glad I had today.