Archive for October, 2009

Dressed to Kill

About 6.75 years ago, I discovered I was embarking on the journey of parenthood. I was overjoyed. I was over the moon. I was ignorant.

I fully expected life to be peaches and cream and for my body to bounce back to prepregnancy state fairly quickly and without much ado. I transitioned into maternity clothes with gusto and reveled in the wonderful state of rounded belly and the comfy clothes that drape around your curves like a tent. Going to church and getting ready took about 2 minutes. It was nice. No worries about rolls or pudges or having a silky smooth silhouette. No no. A knit skirt with an elastic waist and a tent-like shirt and I was ready to go.

And then the baby came. Along with a road map of stretch marks. Some women call them “badges of honor”. To them I say, “Bite me.” If they were only red and slowly faded to white and were hardly noticeable, that would be one thing. But they’re not. They are deep, and while they have faded, I can still feel the deep ravine of scar tissue beneath the surface and I hate it.

Getting ready for church these days is more of a challenge than I ever thought possible. After the second baby, I had a much harder time losing weight and fitting back into my “fat” clothes (I.E. the ones that were not so tight before having babies but were now like trying to stuff a sausage) and I refused to go out and by clothes two sizes bigger. I used to take a deep breath, let it out in a long, dying sigh, and go upstairs to try on every article of churchable clothing that I had. Usually I ended up flopped on the bed in tears, begging my husband to go buy me a muu-muu.

Before babies my nylons never rolled up into a tight roll at my hips. They stayed nice and flat and I never could understand why some women hated them so much. Now I know. It’s because they MOCK you. They take advantage of women with stretch marks that sag down and puddle at the bottom of their stomachs who think they can cover them up and tame them down by pulling on a pair of control top pantyhose and SCHWOOP! down they go! Rolled up into a rubber band-like torture device just below the shelf of saggy skin.

So I learned to do what every reasonable woman will do when she has a rolling pair of nylons on: I added a control top panty to the mix. I thought I had it all sorted out, a shapely waist, nylons that stayed up under the tight control top panty, smooth lines, the whole bit. Until I went to church and the top of my control top panty started shifting it’s way down, down, down my sides until I was trying to figure out a way to creatively position my child on my lap so no one would notice me hiking it back up to my bra line where it was SUPPOSED to be.

Back to the drawing board I went. Something had to be done. I was getting depressed and trying to avoid going to church at all after the third baby was born and the next level of damage gained. Or was that weight gained? Anyway, it was time to get serious about this dressing for church situation. I was beginning to think it wasn’t really all that necessary to be able to breathe during church. Who needs to breathe during church, really? No one will really notice if I’m passed out on the pew, right? Besides, it’s not like I got a whole lot out of church services for oh, say, about 5 years while I juggled teething babies, rowdy toddlers, breastfeeding, crying, diapers, crayons, tissues, bottles, binkies, naps, hungry children, etc., etc., etc. I typically got about 10 sentences out of the whole sermon, and I was thoroughly confused by them. Especially when you take into consideration that our pastor is Russian. When he says “face”, I have to remind myself he is REALLY saying, “faith”, because it just doesn’t sound like “faith” at all! And that’s just the beginning of the language barrier issues. Whatever you do, don’t be startled when he starts to talk about having “focus”. Trust me, he is NOT saying what you think he’s saying. Anyway, back to the topic at hand. Focus, Lisa, FOCUS.

So I added one more layer of fun to the package. It sort of worked. But after several months of tweaking, I have finally mastered the art of “How to Dress and Survive Getting Ready for Church After Having Babies”. Maybe I should write the book.

It all starts the day before. First, I skip dinner. Well, to be fair, usually these days I skip dinner. I feel a lot better when I do. And I’ve lost ten pounds.

Secondly, I skip breakfast. Okay, this is where it starts to get tricky, I admit. Especially when I add the layers of foundational garments that constrict my breathing. I’ve only passed out in church once, though, and that was when I was pregnant and wearing my comfy elastic waist knit skirt, so that doesn’t count.

Then, I start with the basics: unders and the all important well-fitting OTSBH.

Next comes the control top panty. I try to trick myself into thinking that it’s really just my new set of tummy skin because I bought it in the color *nude* . It goes all the way up to the bra line and makes a nice smooth line. After that’s in place I pull on the nylons. I wondered at first if I did it that way I’d also trick the nylons into thinking I’d gotten a new set of tummy skin, but no, they still roll if they get a chance. Like if I bend over more than 10 degrees for any reason whatsoever.

Finally, I put on the one piece girdle that looks kind of like the old bodysuits people wore in the 80’s when they went to their Jazzercise classes. Except it’s double layered for extra strength and has underwires. So in essence I’m wearing two bras, but hey, I’ve breastfed 3 babies for a total of 36 months so yeah, the girls need a little bit of extra support.

At that point, I can’t breathe, but I do look like I have a waist, so I’m pretty happy. Then I try on an outfit or two, settle on one that fits my mood (sometimes I even pick out an outfit the day before and I STICK to it!) and put on the skirt, slip, top, sweater, and boots or heels. How many layers is that???

Last, but definitely not least, in the routine is heading to the fridge for a quick swig of straight up cranberry juice. No, no alcohol in it, but it doesn’t matter. I feel a little bit naughty just the same and that’s what really gets me through the 24 hour fast and the clothes I can’t breathe in.

Walking into church I feel like I have a little secret I’m keeping from everyone that I could potentially be excommunicated for. And that’s half the fun. Hey, it’s a lot better than the other secrets I’ve kept!

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The Book of Life

Wow. I just came across this site and was astounded. At first, tears began to well up in my eyes because it touched something, some need for comfort that has yet to be filled. And then I began to really let the information sink in.

http://www.innocents.com/shrine.asp

This is a Catholic church in New York that allows you to submit the name of your unborn child that you miscarried into their “Book of Life” where they will then have a lit candle constantly burning in memory of your child and for whatever other purpose the burning of that candle represents, and will say mass every day at 12:15 for the lost little soul.

Just wow. I do believe only God Himself knows whose names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life and no human should presume to have the authority to have their own “Book of Life” in which they randomly write names. Granted, this is about the unborn children who have died before entering into this world, innocent and pure, but still. I think this is presumptuous and blasphemous just the same.

Observations

A couple of weeks ago at church I was sitting on one of the two pews that face each other in the entry way, chatting with a few other female members of the extended family, waiting for services to start. Across from me was DH’s grandma, the picture of a lady. In her ever present church best, a suit with knee length skirt and fitted blazer, hair and makeup done so nicely, new nylons, and these cute little black peep toe pumps with kitten heels and a velvet bow at the toe. She sat there, legs crossed one over the other, with her right foot daintily dangling her shoe with the tip of it’s toe. One arm crossed at her waist and the other elbow rested on her arm, absentmindedly she pulled at her ear as she leaned forward in conversation. If you didn’t see the aging skin you would never know she was in her mid-seventies.

I want to grow older like that, I thought to myself. Just. Like. That. With beauty and grace and dignity.

Wax On, Wax Off

I can do this, I thought to myself as I grabbed the box of waxing strips from the cupboard and carried them into the bedroom. Why on earth I got the bee in my bonnet at 10:00 at night while my hubby was innocently laying in bed watching football I’ll never know. But I did. Maybe I was afraid I’d get halfway through the process and pass out from the pain or be unable to complete the necessary ripping action and need someone to rescue me.

I set the box down firmly on the nightstand and stripped from the waist down. First, I thought, I’ll just try a few test strips on my legs… I read the directions thoroughly as DH peeked out of the corner of his eye with a wary half-grin/half-grimace.

“What’cha doin’ sweetie?”, he asked hesitantly.

“Just experimenting.”

He chuckled nervously and went back to watching the game.

I ripped open one of the little packets labeled, “cooling pre-wipe”, used it, and waited for the areas I used it on to fully dry. Then I took out a double-sided strip from my box of Nair “Soothing” Wax Kit. I rubbed it between my hands, just like the directions told me to do, until it was “warmed up” and carefully peeled it apart before slapping one side on each shin. I rubbed it on and smoothed it out, then took out another double sided strip to “warm up”.

La la la… I hummed in my head, This won’t be so bad! All in the power of mind over matter, right?

I peeled apart the second strip and placed one half off to the side on the bed and slapped the other on the bikini line. Except these strips are about 4 inches long by 2 inches wide. There was quite a bit of, uh, overlap onto equally sensitive areas of skin.

It’s okay, I can do this! I was really going for the Brazilian wax thing anyway, right?

I laid back and took a deep breath, reached down to my poor unsuspecting shins and ripped one, then the other off my legs. Whew! Okay. I survived that. Wasn’t so bad! I looked at the used strips and was amazed to find that there were really only a few strands pulled off by the wax. So slapped the two strips back together, warmed them up again by rubbing them between my hands just like the directions told me, and tried again! With the same results. Only a few strands pulled off, despite the lovely feeling of ripping half my skin off.

At this point I’m getting a bit nervous about the strip still attached to my nether regions. I laid back on the bed while I tried to get my courage up to do what had to be done. And possibly for very little results.

“How’s it going, honey?” DH asked as he glanced away from the TV.

“he he he he he” I nervously giggled in response.

His eyes grew wide. I think on some instinctual level he felt his life was in danger with a female of the species laying in bed next to him in the middle of some kind of strange painful ritual that he really should not be witnessing! He offered to leave, but I skreeked out in a terse voice that I was “FINE!!!!”, so he instead retreated under the covers further and put a pillow over his head.

Fine. Don’t watch. Don’t help. Don’t rescue me. I’m FINE!!!! I can DO THIS!

I grabbed a pillow and shoved the corner in my mouth and bit down hard, hyperventilated through my nose, and grasped the edge of the wax strip. RRRrrrriiiiiippppPPPPEEEEEeeeeeYOWWCH!!!!Ssssss!!!! I let go of the pillow with my teeth and glanced down. Well. Then. THAT. IS. A. PROBLEM.

I had ripped half way up the strip before losing momentum and I knew there was no way I was going to gain the necessary momentum for ripping the rest of it off, so I began to slowly peel it off as gently as possible. I fell back onto the bed in relief as the horrid torture device was finally freed from my body.

That is, until I drew my knees up and my leg stuck to… … yeah. That.

Uh. What the???? I looked down to find a mess of gooey stickiness had been left behind where I had oh so gently peeled the paper and left the wax. You have GOT to be kidding me, I thought. No. Not kidding. I tried using the “soothing after” wipes they provided in the box, only to have that stick to me too. Finally got up and headed toward the bathroom, walking VERY comically through the house, I’m sure. Realizing that soap probably wouldn’t remedy this issue fully, I stopped in the kitchen and grabbed the cooking oil on my way to the shower.

The results? I tiny spot where the skin actually WAS ripped off with the wax, a quarter-sized half-way bald spot on ONE side of my hoo-ha, two partially bald shins, and a bottle of oil on the side of my tub just begging to have its story told.

Men would never dream to do these things. Never.

What makes this story even better? Two days later I went to the store and picked up a NEW box, Nad’s Facial Wax Strips “for sensitive, delicate areas”. ‘Cause trying it once was OBVIOUSLY not enough punishment.