Brainwashed by Pink

It seems Kate is turning over a new leaf.

Lately, my three year old is a little less “hot mess” and more…more…well, feminine. I can’t say she’s been entirely ladylike, though there have been glimmers of a burgeoning Fashionista. But there’s also this other feminine personality making its existence known. It only comes out when Kate wears her hot pink cowgirl boots from Target. Hot pink cowgirl boots paired with a denim mini and whatever dance music is being piped into Victoria’s Secret on a random Monday afternoon.

Maybe it was the bordello-ish atmosphere of Victoria’s Secret that got her all riled up. Those hot pink painted walls and plastic boobies covered in lace demi-bras. Nary a man in site except for that one little blonde boy in a striped shirt who growled at everyone he passed. My girls stopped, turned, and stared at him in horror, their expressions indicating his kind wasn’t welcome there in Pinkville.

I maneuvered past a mannequin wearing a marabou covered thong which was covering the mannequin’s plastic vag, then looked back to see Gwen and Kate petting it. “Ooooh, this is soft Mommy!” Gwen said. “You should buy it.”

“I wanna touch it Gwen!” Kate hollered, stomping her tacky boot-clad foot on the floor. With a dramatic roll of her eyes, Gwen stepped aside and let Kate have at it. First, Kate rubbed the marabou covered mannequin crotch, then stepped forward and pressed her check against it. Her eyes closed and her tiny lips broke into a smile, “It’s so tickly,” she breathed.

Now, I imagine that most mommies would have tactfully steered their daughters away from the marabou crotch, but I stood there watching in a mix of amusement and horror and said nothing. It was like I was hypnotized by the whole scene and all I could think was, “Why the fuck do they put the cotton mommy panties all the way at the back of the goddamn store?”

Personally, my friends and I think it’s because VS doesn’t want those of us who have aged out of the whole “Pink” line lurking near the front of the store. We’d be holding up cotton panties for size while our children patted the mannequin crotches. Not sexy. Also, it serves as a public service announcement of sorts – this is your future high school girl!

You see, first forays in Victoria’s Secret entail thongs and cute little nighties. Maybe a pair of shorts boldly emblazoned with the word “Pink” across the ass – suggesting to the world, “Hey, fresh meat over here! Come and get me you dirty old men!”

Yikes

Next, having secured boyfriends and fiancé’s and husbands, we move into the edgier goods VS has to offer. Things like that marabou thong and crotchless panties.

Finally, thanks to the marabou thongs and crotchless panties, we wind up with three kids, frizzy hair and the need for underwear that doesn’t get lost in the girth of our post-pregnancy asses. Thus, we have subtly and unwittingly been relocated to the rear of the store to make room for the next crop of breeders.

I quickly moved to the table holding the 5 for $25 mom skivvies and began digging for ones that don’t say anything like, “Boyfriends are Recyclable” or “Pure Pink” or “Pink University.” I wondered why they don’t capitalize on the mom set and start some new sayings like, “Pink Playdates” or “Drink Pink Wine” or “Not So Pink Anymore.”

Lost in my reverie and piles of Cheeky underwear, I slowly realized the other women where nudging each other and giggling at something over my shoulder. Of course, I initially thought they were laughing at me, because I’m a self-absorbed neurotic who thinks the whole world is out to get me. Then I realized they were looking past me, at something closer to the floor.

And so it was that I turned and saw Kate in the midst of a very funny, albeit oddly sexual dance. Her brown bobbed hair pulled back in a tiny flower barrette, her eyes filled with confidence and her lips pressed into a saucy pout, she ran her little hands down her Hello Kitty t-shirt and onto her denim mini. With her right hip jutting out, she moved her leg to the beat of the erotic-sounding music – was that breathy a French woman singing or just Luann from Real Housewives? Kate’s arms slowly rose back above her head and she launched into a spicy little pirouette before starting her spontaneous set of moves again.

Gwen and I looked at one another and tried not to laugh. Clearly, Kate was serious about the artistic nature of her dance. To interrupt with laughter could only serve to squelch a future career in dance. Besides, all it generally takes to stop a three-year-old from a public display of lewd talent is to say, “Wow, Kate that is a beautiful dance!”

So I let her go for a few seconds and pondered whether or not I had time to whip out my cell phone and record a video. I couldn’t. I was too entertained to break the spell. Kate was lost in a sensual dance of self-expression. A slightly alarming dance for a three year old and one that nearly called for a pole and some singles, but a dance nonetheless.

Finally, she snapped back to present and noticed the gaggle of women who’d stopped to watch the show. Rather than running off to hide, Kate stood her ground and cast a hairy eyeball upon her audience. She placed her hands on her hips, one still jutting out at a dangerous angle while her leg kept the beat of the music. I was reminded of Jodi Foster’s character in The Accused, so I promptly said, “Nice dance, Kate. Let’s go pay,” and ushered her toward the counter.

So it seems that VS is already grooming my little girls. On Monday, we walked in and each one scanned the interior with sparkling eyes and a slackened jaw. It really is a little girl’s dream. Pink walls, oodles of makeup, perfume, and “pretty clothes.” I was forced to take a step back and have a look through their eyes. Then I vowed to never bring them back to that place again. From now on, I will make a show of purchasing my underwear from Target. The ones that are white and cotton and come neatly rolled up in a transparent plastic bag. Functional and decidedly un-sexy. Plus, no stripper dances are required to purchase.

Used Booby Traps

Sometimes I feel like this has become a blog about my three year old, Kate. All Kate, all the time. Kate and her potty mouth. Kate not using the potty. Kate mortifying me. Kate being Kate.

I’ve actually hesitated several times, fingers poised over my keyboard, pondering whether or not I should really write yet another play-by-play of Kate’s ability to drop salty words like a world-weary sailor. Really? I thought. Should I? People must be tired of this storyline by now. I know I am.

Whatever. In the end this endless cycle of blog posts dedicated to Kate will become part of her history, her moments of naughtiness preserved future consumption. Maybe it’s because she’s the baby of the family, or because she’s so petite, or because she’s so petite and now sports a saucy little bob. She insists on pulling her own crazy outfits together each morning and she’s just so.darn.cute.

She has the best comic timing.

She makes me laugh when I know I shouldn’t but I just can’t help myself.

Part of her charm comes from her vast range of facial expressions.  She also punctuates her words with her hands. As in those open-handed chopping movements while she impatiently reminds me, “I toad you I don’t wike hot dogs, Mom!”

A few weeks ago I decided to kill some time while Gwen was at preschool by hitting the local Goodwill. Kate loves Goodwill. She finds Beanie Babies like a champ and, during this particular visit she discovered an unopened package of SpongBob paper cups. Her excitement was infectious. I understood her joy at having found an unexpected treasure in an unlikely place. After all, that’s why we hunt at the Goodwill, always searching for white American pottery or vintage oil paintings. I didn’t score that day, but Kate sure did.

She loves the tactile experience of touching things I’d rather she didn’t touch. Though this particular Goodwill is clean and lacking that musty thrift store smell, I have a slight problem with her diving into a rack of ogre-sized bras. I mean, are they used? Who the hell buys a used bra?

“Oh.My.God,” I heard her say, “Wook.At.Dis. WOOK AT DIS, MOM! It’s a gweat big booby twap!”

“Jeeeesus, that is big!” I breathed, and was momentarily hypnotized by a set of bra cups the size of my head.

I shook it off and said, “Kate, put that back now and let’s walk over that way,” pointing to anywhere but the vicinity of potentially used undergarments.

“Wait, wook at dis booby twap. It’s got polka bots!” she screamed, holding a giant black and hot pink polka dotted bra up to her chest. She gave a little twist back and forth and admired herself in the mirror.

“Pretty!” I cooed, “Okay…let’s go this way now.” I began leading her away from the booby traps…erm, used bras.

Reluctantly, she hung the bra back up and began to follow me, the heels of her yellow rain boots thunking against the floor. As we neared the checkout, the thunk, thunk of Kate’s boots abruptly stopped. After a moment of silence, I turned to see what distracted her. The moment we made eye contact she shrieked, “Oh, no! I weft my SpongeBob cups! My SpongeBob cups!” She took off, her boots thunking at a high rate of speed as she retraced her steps.

I couldn’t see her anymore, but I followed the sound of her boots and the heads of other Goodwill shoppers who looked down as she ran past, their faces breaking into a smile. Eventually, her boots came to a stop and I heard her little voice say, “Oh! Dere dey are!”

On her way back up the aisle, and once more in my sight, she triumphantly held the SpongeBob cups up and called out, “Don’t worry, Mom. I got the ficken SpongeBob cups!”

She must have noticed my wide-eyed look of horror because she immediately said, “I said ficken not fuck. That’s okay, right Mom?”

A woman perusing winter coats began howling with laughter and turned to look down at Kate as she passed by. Then she looked at me and said, “She makes a good point!”

Monday

I spent the last seven days of my life immersed in writing samples, trying to select the perfect pieces for my residency’s manuscript submission. Thank God for David who took the bull by the horns and dealt with the financial aid stuff, made dinner for the family all weekend and entertained the kids while I sat at my computer telling them all to shut the hell up. I hate noise when I’m under pressure.

One of the side effects of ADHD is that when I’m focused on something with a deadline, something that needs to be just right, I’m not capable of acting like a normal human being. I forget everything else. I’m sure that to the rest of the world I appear to be a complete moron. David understands this. He might not necessarily appreciate it, but he gets it and works with me. He flips the pancakes that I started then walked away from to go clean the bathroom. Thanks to David, the house doesn’t burn down.

I picked my essays and started fine-tuning them yesterday afternoon. I felt good. Yup, I had it all together. No sign of any ADHD induced memory lapses at all. David and I even stayed up later than 9:00 last night.

This morning I was exhausted, yet for some reason when I rolled out of bed, I decided to flat iron my hair and slap on some makeup before driving Gwen to preschool. If only I had taken off the t-shirt that I slept in and put on a bra.

We were walking up to the front gate of the preschool when Gwen asked, “I’m the leader today, right Mommy?”

You know those dreams where you show up for school/work/your wedding and you’re naked? Yeah, well that’s how I felt as I stood on the sidewalk in front of Gwen’s preschool when I realized that it was my day to be parent helper. Technically, I was late, I didn’t have the fruit for snack, I didn’t bring a roll of paper towels and most alarming, I wasn’t wearing a bra.

I wracked my brain, trying to recall the contents of the mini-van, praying that I’d left a sweater in there at some point. For a brief moment, I was relieved when I remembered that I took my bra off at a red light a few weeks ago. Then I remembered that I hated that bra, took it off because it was uncomfortable and threw it in the trash at the Dunkin Donuts drive-thru.

image courtesy Google image search

We walked inside and I apologized profusely to the preschool teacher who, by the way, I swear is a direct descendant of Mary Poppins. She was totally cool with our late arrival and full of ‘don’t worries’ and ‘no problems’.

Sighing, I took off my coat and tried to pretend it wasn’t cold. I was thankful for the thin camisole I was wearing under the t-shirt. I took a deep breath and held my head high, as if going braless was a conscious decision and then Gwen said, “ummmm, Mommy…are you wearing your booby traps or no?”

I spent the morning playing memory match, circle time and serving snacks in what was, technically, my pajamas. Kate, who had dressed herself this morning, was clad in a pair of pants, a sweater dress and a pajama top. Her hair was sticky from breakfast. I tried to brush it with my fingers and ended up tucking it behind her ear.

That was my day.

image courtesy Google image search