Shopping For Girls’ Clothes

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Courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons. This is not my child. 

 

Ever since I became a mother, I’ve been shocked at how hard it is to find suitable clothes for girls. When Noodge 2 was still in diapers, the rise of all the pants and shorts weren’t high enough to cover the diaper no matter how hard I pulled the pants up. I often wondered why anyone would manufacture bottoms that couldn’t cover a diaper? What 1 year-old needs a low-rise jean?

I didn’t have these problems for Noodge 1 – the boy. Shorts and pants always came up around the diaper.

As time marched on and I could completely control what they wore, finding appropriate fitting and looking clothing for a child wasn’t terribly difficult. I could guarantee certain stores wouldn’t let me down. One of my favorites back then was The Children’s Place. The shorts for girls came down mid-thigh, the price point was fantastic since every season I was replacing a wardrobe, and the clothing held up well wash after wash.

The length of shorts for the boy was never a problem. Every pair, regardless of where I purchased them, came to his knee. Not the case for the girl.

The funny thing about kids is they grow up and if they haven’t developed a mind of their own before puberty, be certain they will have one immediately following. They want a say in what they wear. And they should have a say. But the battle for age appropriate, and school appropriate and plain old appropriate is a big one.

When your daughter enters middle school, fitting in there becomes survival.  That means she wants to look like everyone else. Individuality isn’t in the forefront just yet. Even though as parents we preach: march to your own drummer, don’t jump off the Brooklyn Bridge just cause Taylor did, and stop worrying about what other people think of you. Problem with that age is you think everyone is thinking about you when in fact everyone is thinking about themselves.

Your daughter wants to wear what she sees everyone else wearing and when that includes shorts that barely cover her panties the battle just got harder. Let me digress for a minute if you will. Consider this a public service announcement. Mothers, don’t buy your seventh grade daughter bras from Victoria’s Secret. Cause guess what? When someone else’s daughter sees your daughter’s bra while changing for physical education she goes home and asks her mother to buy her one too. That makes mothers with enough sense to buy plain white bras for their twelve-year-old daughters have to work harder in battle. Don’t make them work that hard. Buy your daughter’s bra in plain, white cotton, without lace and leopard print too please.

Most girls want to shop in the places where her peers are shopping. That practice has been going on since someone decided wearing clothing instead of fig leaves would be beneficial in cold weather. I was that girl too. Wearing the right clothes on the prairie was very important a thousand years ago.

Now I have a teenage daughter and she wants to wear the cute clothes she sees on line. I don’t blame her. I would too. In fact, I do too. Just because I’m older doesn’t mean I don’t want to be fashionable. But I think teenagers, girls, have it harder.

Everything that’s out there for girls, young woman, with real curves and real bone structure and not the body of a mannequin, is too short, cut too low, too fitted, and comes complete with holes in it all strategically placed to show off her underwear.

Why must tops be made to stop mid-belly? And please, spare me the mind set, well, if she has the body for it she should wear it. Which I have actually heard more than one mother say. Why do you want your daughter, at any age, going around with her belly hanging out unless she’s at the beach? I’m pretty sure if I showed up at my mother’s house with a crop-top on she’d be asking me what the heck I was thinking. It would be for different reasons than the mother of a teenager, since at my age my belly is the equivalent of watching a car wreck, but she’s still my mother and still offers her opinions when she thinks I’ve lost my mind. way.

As I go from store to store with my daughter all I see around me are shorts that won’t make the finger-tip length rule at school. And let me add for my mothers whose daughters wear uniforms to school, your kid has to put clothes on every weekend too. So, it doesn’t matter that your child won’t be wearing shorts to school. On Saturdays, those same shorts aren’t Daddy appropriate either. The Coffee King has very specific rules about clothing. It might feel like a double standard, but again, girls’ clothing are too short, too low cut, too clingy. Boys’ clothing? Not at all. Noodge 1 is always in appropriate clothing. I couldn’t find shorts too short for him unless he wanted to start wearing the girls’ clothing. Then he’d be getting the too short lecture as well.

I hate that I have to say no to most of the things she likes. “Too short.” “Too low.” “Too much skin.” I just want to walk into the “it” stores and come out with bags of clothing that my kid likes, feels good in, and won’t get her “dress coded” at school. Why has the fashion industry decided that what’s “in” means show off your tits and ass? (Yes, I said bad words. It’s my blog.) I’ll tell you what adds to the fashion industry’s decision, twelve-year-olds wearing Victoria’s Secret!

I have no easy answer to this dilemma. I could start sending off letters to clothing stores asking them to stop carrying that kind of clothing for girls. Or write to the manufacturers asking for some help. Go ahead and offer the shorty shorts and half-tops, but please also offer full-length clothing that doesn’t cling to her every curve. I basically boycott the stores because we walk out empty handed, but my kid still needs things to wear and wants to tell her friends she went shopping in the cool stores. She certainly doesn’t want to shop in the stores I do. (Where things are more appropriately proportioned because you’re not getting a woman my age into some of those shorts. Nor should we be.)

In the meantime, it’s back to the battle field. Credit card at the ready.

 

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The Most Wonderful Time of The Year

Do any of you remember that Staples commercial for school supplies where the Dad takes the kids to the store, the shopping cart is full of school supplies, the Dad is riding the back of the cart down the aisle the way kids would, one foot in the air, and his two children are dragging up the rear, heads hung low? The music playing over the commercial is the Christmas Carol, “It’s the most wonderful time of the year.” One of my absolute favorite commercials ever.

It’s that time again and I love it. I love school supplies. It’s a weird fetish, I realize, but I can’t help it. When I was in school I couldn’t wait to purchase new notebooks, pencils and pens, a Trapper Keeper and on and on. I loved having folders or a binder to organize myself. New school supplies meant a whole world of new possibilities. I might turn out smarter, maybe the cool kids would like me if I had the best binder, ah, my imagination would run away with itself. Let me tell you what, there is nothing like a brand new notebook just waiting for you to fill it!

When I didn’t have kids and was no longer in school I’d still browse through the new school supplies bursting out of the aisles and buy myself a notebook. And then when I had kids that needed school supplies? Well, look out. The fun was back. I never say no to school supplies. While they searched for the right pencil case, soft with a zipper, I secretly looked for things I could buy for me. I did it again this year! I’m addicted to notebooks. I can’t help it. All that empty space just waiting for stories to tell. A blank screen in Word can’t hold a candle to a blank page in a notebook. Then there’s the sound of my pen scratching across the page as my hand soars from line to line. I’ll take that sound over the clacking of keys any day.

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This year’s purchase.

As a matter of fact, I can’t wait to go to Staples because I need note cards to edit the new book I’m working on and hope to have published next year. It’s all I can do to control myself from running out when I should be writing. Though, Noodge 2 said just last night she needs additional supplies for schools. Yippee!!! I’ll be looking for those note cards for sure.

The start of the school year brings about so many emotions especially as my kids get older, but this time of the year is something like a birth. Everything brand new and smelling good. Endless chances to do it right. A clean slate. New experiences.

It is the most wonderful time of the year. (Next to Christmas, of course.)

25 Ways To Relieve Stress

I’m not a drinker. Never was. You can ask the people who’ve known me for years. They’ll tell you. It’s a control thing. Since we all know I’m a control freak, alcohol can get the upper hand and I don’t like that. Plus I hate the way alcohol tastes. Yup, I said it. It’s bitter and gross. Not for me. Not to mention wine gives me a migraine and beer, even one, can make me sick. I must be allergic to an ingredient. It’s never been worth it to me to drink. Why waste the calories?

But I understand why people do drink. If you’re having a bad day, week, month, year and you need a quick way to untie the knots in your shoulders a glass of wine will do it. There have been many times recently I wish I did drink. I’d like something to take the stress away without me breaking a sweat to do it. I’m having one of those moments right now. (And I already worked out today) So instead of drinking I’m going to blow my calories and maybe ease my stress with the one thing I do like.

cookieI’m sure I’ll hate myself later.

As I write this, I don’t know if I should vent out my stress here for all of you to read (honestly, I’m not a good sharer like that) or educate us on ways to relieve stress, but we know them, don’t we?

  1. Pray
  2. Meditate
  3. Exercise
  4. Sit with nature
  5. Listen to calming music
  6. Take a drive
  7. Scream at the top of your lungs
  8. Take a bath
  9. Call a friend who makes you laugh
  10. Read (big one for me)
  11. Play an instrument
  12. Write
  13. Paint
  14. Get a massage, a pedicure
  15. Shop
  16. Cry
  17. Walk on the beach
  18. Help someone else
  19. Jump on a trampoline
  20. Roll down a hill
  21. Watch a baby discover his toes
  22. Smell freshly cut grass (unless you’re allergic)
  23. Roast marshmallows over an open fire
  24. Eat chocolate
  25. Chase rainbows

I have my Healing Music playing. I’m sitting outside watching the trees push the breeze around. The sky is clear, deep blue marked by fluffy, clouds of cotton. The cookie is half-way gone. I barely remember eating it. What’s next?

Another moment. Another chance to catch my breath. A quiet place to read a book. Tomorrow, hopefully.

If I was smart, I wouldn’t get stressed out. In the grand scheme of things, nothing is that bad. Challenging at times, but manageable. I have what’s important. The rest I should surrender. When do you think I’ll learn that lesson?

Not before the cookie is gone, I’ll tell you that.

So, how do you relieve stress? I’d love to hear from you.

You Can Never Have Enough Gratitude

imageIt snows more in the country than at the shore. I knew this when we moved, but it didn’t stop me. One of the perks to living in the country is the space between you and your neighbors. I desired that space. I’d even like more space because I’m anti-social in my old age. But more space means your house isn’t set on the street like at the shore and that becomes a bit of a problem when it snows.

Twice  this week we’ve had to shovel the driveway and I must remind myself to be grateful and not angry that the cold has creeped into my bones, that the snow pants are binding, that the snow is heavy in the shovel, or that my muscles ache. Instead, to pass the time, I think of all the things shoveling snow makes me grateful for. I thought I’d share my list with you and if you need a reminder to be grateful for the snow maybe I helped.

I’m grateful for shoveling snow because:

We live in a home and not in a cardboard box under a bridge.

My legs are working and I’m not confined to a chair.

My lungs are working and I’m not hooked up to a machine.

I’m still young enough to shovel.

Shoveling is now a family activity away from electronics.

I’m burning calories and I can eat that cookie without guilt.

If I’m shoveling when the sun sets, the snow glows in the warmth of the golden house lights. The neighbors’ Christmas lights twinkle against the dark sky. A soft quiet only a crisp night can bring settles in around us.

Yes, shoveling gives me plenty to be grateful for.

 

Baby, It’s Cold Outside

Do you know that song? “Baby, It’s Cold Outside”? There are a ton of versions from Dean Martin to Willy Nelson. I have a favorite or two. You?

Anyway, it’s cold outside. As you may know, I hate being cold and I’m cold anytime the temperature drops below 70 degrees, so that means I’m cold just about every minute of every day all year long and I don’t live in Florida. Even as I write this I’m wrapped in a scarf, socks and slippers on my feet and my old friend the space heater has just ended its long life. We’ve been together 13 years and it picks today to leave me in the cold. Really?

My son, now 13, likes to wear shorts all the time. His blood must roar through his veins like the rapids. Or maybe it’s the speed of his metabolism, because Lord knows mine runs like it’s in the last leg of the marathon. But, honestly, I get it. He’s young and full of life. It makes sense that he’s warm and wants his legs exposed. Or maybe there’s a young lady at school that likes his socks. I don’t want to know. Really.

So, what’s up with my grandmother? Nan also likes to show off her legs in the cold. I saw her yesterday in her short skirt. Yes, my 87 year old grandmother wears skirts shorter than I do! I told you being  in my Italian family usually equates with unusual. We try not to hold it against one another. But there she is with her legs bare except for the support hose and says, “Boy, I’m cold.” You think? Let me add she weighs about 87 pounds so there’s no meat on the bones to keep her warm. I told her she was going to have to try something new: wear pants. Pants is a bad word to my grandmother. I don’t think she’s owned a pair in 40 years. Really.

Not me. My legs won’t see the light of day again until June. From here on out it’s knee socks, sweat pants, long coats, and high boots. All at the same time. Really. file0001418277242

 

You Can Never Be Prepared

There is no way to be prepared for parenting. I don’t care how many times you babysat, how many cousins, nieces, and nephews you have you will never be ready for what lies ahead. You might think you are. I promise you, you aren’t.

I have pretty good kids. Most days I don’t want to sell them and if you compare my kids to some crazy stories I’ve heard about other people’s children I say a silent prayer thanking God it’s not us. But I’ve got to tell you, no one can fray my last nerve like my kids. The bickering between the two of them has reached new heights. The sound of them going back and forth at each other makes me want to cover my ears and cringe in pain. Yes, it’s painful to listen to them like that. What happened to nice conversation?

And what’s with every time I say something the response back is the exact opposite? And why has every word grown into five syllable rope I want to hang myself with? What happened to those cute little babies with bald heads, big eyes soaking in everything around them, chubby cheeks I would nibble on. Oh, how I miss those cheeks. Now, God forbid you even try to touch these two. You’d think I had leprosy. Which maybe I will get so they will stay away from me and things will be quiet again. Quiet…I miss quiet. Have you seen her?

It’s hard to be a parent and I wasn’t prepared for this journey. There wasn’t an instruction manual taped to their backs on the way out of the birthing canal. (Wouldn’t that be a neat trick?) It’s actually easier to write novels and believe me, that’s no easy feat either. I’ve wanted to pull my hair out many times while trying to make my 13 year old characters do things on the page. Are you noticing a pattern here?

I don’t know what’s coming down the road ahead for us. I don’t even know what’s going to happen in the next five minutes. It’s like hiking through a blizzard at night wearing flip flops. I know I’m not prepared for the next step in the parenting journey, but I tell you this much. I won’t quit.

Tick Tock it’s Time.

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I’m tired, dehydrated and have writer’s block. It’s the second week of school, we had relatives with us all weekend, and I’m Jonesin’ for a yoga class. Does anyone even say “Jonesin’?” anymore?
 
Or maybe it’s part two of my midlife crisis. Do you have these moments? You know, the ones where you aren’t sure what your purpose is or why do you keep trying to put the Advil away in the refrigerator? Or how come your favorite underwear is never clean? Probably because you don’t have a favorite pair and that should lead you out the door to buy some suitable for a woman in the middle of her midlife crisis. Which I won’t do because who has the time?

 
Time. Now that’s a funny word. Not because it sounds funny or because it tickles your tongue when you say it. It’s funny because you don’t have any of it. You can’t buy it, sell it, or make it. It’s not even real because you can’t touch it. Have you ever touched time? I haven’t. I will say it’s hit me a few times racing past at break neck speed. Time is a bit of a prankster. We have a love/hate relationship. Kind of like I did in the seventh grade with David Klein. I wonder whatever happened to him? I hope he didn’t run out of time. Sorry. Couldn’t resist.
 
If I drink some water and take a nap will the writer’s block go away? Once I settle in to a suitable Downward Dog will the words will rush free like rapids running down hill? Can I make my characters run, hop and skip? Will anyone read my book? 
 
All in good time.