Ditching the Cover-Up at the Pool

Early this summer, one of the first times I took my girls swimming for the season, my oldest daughter said, while pulling down her bathing suit shirt as if to cover her rear end: “Oh my gosh, I’m so embarrassed!”

A few weeks later during a week of summer camp, my middle daughter asked me, “Mama, am I fat?” Then she started to cry.

Both of these scenarios shocked and confused me and broke my heart. I truly don’t  know why one of my daughters would express embarrassment about her body while another would voice concern to me that she is fat. I’m pretty vigilant about not sharing my own body image issues with my girls. I don’t talk about my weight (or theirs) with or in front of them, and I never criticize my own appearance in front of them.

I have lost 40 pounds since January, but I have done it without mentioning weight loss or calorie counting in their presence. I don’t think they’ve even noticed a change in my appearance.

And yet, somehow my girls went from this innocent place where “fat” was just a word to describe something, to a place where the idea of being fat is embarrassing to them or makes them cry. I can’t help but feel physically sick just thinking about it.

I feel like I’m doing something wrong, like I’m failing them.

Then, a few minutes later, I feel like I’m not doing anything wrong, and there’s just nothing I can do to completely block the “fat messages” of our society from invading their innocence.

I’m not sure which is worse.


Why do I get so freaked out about this?

Because I remember being a tween/adolescent girl and feeling like I was fat and how much I hated feeling that way.

Because I remember some of my friends in high school taking diet pills and/or binging and purging (either by vomiting or using laxatives).

Because when I was a psychologist, I worked with people with eating disorders and body image issues. It’s so hard to help people who have lived most of their lives thinking they are ugly and/or fat.

Because even though I’m almost 40 years old and I just lost around 40 pounds, I still struggle sometimes with being accepting of my weight or appearance.

Right now, I weigh roughly what I did when I got married.


Unfortunately, my body looks drastically different. Back then, pretty much everything was where it was supposed to be and was fairly sleek and smooth and toned.

After three children in three years, “sleek, smooth, and toned” are not the right descriptors for me. Saggy, dimpled, and deflated are more accurate.

Fortunately, I have come a long way from my adolescent self, and the truth is that I usually don’t really mind these bodily changes of motherhood too much, as it’s a very small price to pay for the three precious daughters I’ve been blessed with (I’d happily gain 50+ pounds of “baby weight” all over again given the chance). When I’m dressed in regular clothes, I even feel pretty good, actually.

But when I’m a little less covered, like at the pool for example, I struggle.

In summers past, I have always just worn a big loose, flowy cover up over my bathing suit. But this year, in the moment when I heard my oldest daughter say, “I’m so embarrassed,” and I responded, “Honey, you have nothing to be embarrassed about when wearing a bathing suit,” I decided that my days in a cover up at the pool were over**.

This summer, even when I’m not in or near the pool, I’m not throwing on a cover up or wrapping myself in a towel anymore. This was uncomfortable at first, but after the first trip to the pool, I just don’t even pack the cover up anymore, and now it’s no big deal.

Except when I’m noticing how my thighs spread unattractively when I sit down to eat lunch, or when I feel the jiggle-jiggle as I walk around the deck of the pool, or when I notice that even with a midriff covering, somewhat loosely fitting top on my bathing suit, I still can’t hide my permanently pooched-out belly.


Yeah. Except for those times.

I wish this wasn’t an issue for me, but sometimes it just is. However, I’m going to continue to do everything I can to make sure it won’t be for my girls.

This weekend we’re having a pool party with some friends for Lass’s fifth birthday. I’ll be strolling around the pool in just my suit. I’ll feel self conscious, but hopefully I won’t show it. Sometimes it really is helpful to just “Fake it ’til you make it.”


**I’d like to quickly add that this post is not about shaming anyone who chooses to wear a cover over her suit, or suggesting that moms wearing bathing suit cover-ups cause their daughters to have poor body image. It’s just one small way for me to battle back at the anti-fat culture.

What I Loved This Weekend

I’ve been loving lots of things this weekend.

– Family time watching, and explaining, the Olympics.

It was nice, even though Miss repeatedly asked to watch something else.  “I don’t really like this sports,” she’d say, making a bid for “Super Why!” or “Sesame Street.”  She did get into watching fencing a bit though.

– Pool time yesterday morning.  I’m so bummed that almost all of my photos were extremely over-exposed.  Most of them were even worse than this:

I guess my favorite lens isn’t so great for sunny day at the pool photos.

We did have a great time.

Pool time is always capped off with an ice cream picnic on a towel.

– Somebody is four months old.

She’s been working hard on rolling over.  She managed to go from her belly to her back a few days ago.

Today she mastered getting from her back to her belly.  We were in the midst of lunch preparation craziness when Lass looked over to where Sis was lying on the floor and said, “Sissy-Girl woll ovuh!”  Yes, that’s right.  The first time she accomplished this milestone we missed it.  I turned to look at her and there she was on her tummy, head up and looking at all of us expectantly.  Of course once Lass pointed it out, we all cheered and whooped it up appropriately.  I don’t think she minded the slight delay.

I don’t know how in the world four months have gone by already.  Here’s to a beautiful weekend.  Hope you had one too.

Braving the Pool

I took the girls to the pool this afternoon for the first time this summer.  It’s pretty hot here, so I figured it would be a good way to get some outside time after naps (or non-nap in the case of Miss).  My husband had a meeting, so I braved the pool on my own.  Through having the girls in the water at my sister-in-law’s in the past few weeks, we have learned that Lass is fearless when it comes to the water, so I was a bit nervous.  I figured we’d be okay though since the pool has zero-entry and I put a floatie on her.  At first it was super easy, and I wondered what I had even been nervous about.  Sis sat in her car
seat in the shade and Miss and Lass splashed around harmlessly in less that one foot of water, pretty much right by my feet.  Then a friend, who is about two months older than Miss showed up.  It was great for the girls to be able to play with her, but her arrival disrupted our little peaceful, safe, easy playing.  She and Miss immediately headed for deeper water (“deeper” in this case meaning one to two feet) and of course Lass went right along with them.  They were playing “horsey” on some of those pool noodles.  That, in addition to the slightly deeper water, was enough to throw Lass off her balance a bit, and twice I went running though the water and hauled her up after she lost her footing and went face first into the water.  With the noodle under her she couldn’t quite get her feet back under herself.  After the second time, I had to call it quits for Lass for today.  I think I’m going to get a more substantial life jacket and maybe we’ll try it again in a few days.  That girl freaks me out.  She’s my little dare devil.  
I really would love to have some photos of our pool time to post, since it was mostly lots of fun and the girls were, naturally, oh so cute splashing around.  But between hawk-watching Miss and Lass, trying to keep the sun off Sis (she was perfectly shaded in her car seat, but then got fussy, so I put her in the Ergo), and making life-saving dives for my middle child, the camera never made it out of my bag.  So instead, I’ll share with you a few of the photos from last week at the farm.
Of course my husband did tons of fishing and the girls were very excited to see some of the larger fish he caught.  No filleting this time, though.
Foos-ball-room for the princesses to dance in.
We had a very big and somewhat scary storm the last night we were at the Farm.  It blew up right around snack time, so we took our stuff to the basement for a picnic.  The girls seemed unfazed in spite of all the thunder and lightning, the 40-50 MPH winds, sideways-falling rain and hail. 
Of course we celebrated Father’s Day morning at the Farm before heading home.  During the week prior to our trip, I had the girls make Father’s Day paintings.  They painted canvases for their Daddy.

Then Miss did paintings on paper for my Grandpa, my Dad, and my Father-in-law (Lass lost interest after her canvas was done).  At the end as she was finishing up the painting for my Father-in-law, her Papa, she decided it would be funny to stick her face in the still-wet paint.

She seems to be our little budding artist.  She really loves to paint anything.  She got really into painting some gourds with my Mother-in-law when we were at the farm.  She seems to understand the power of art to make people smile too.  When she created her painting for my Grandpa she said, “I think this will make Great-grandpa happy.”  Yes, I think so too.


Starting swimming lessons and gymnastics class and three forensic cases to do and trying to get in my 20 days of exercise this month and watching Chopped last night. . . and this week is quickly getting away from me. So I realized, “What happened to my Independence Day post?” Well, it got combined with my Wednesday July 6th post, that’s what. Here you go!
As I predicted, our 4th of July celebration consisted of more of the same festivities that filled the rest of our holiday weekend.

Well hello there Hunk.

Celebrating the birth of our country with my sunscreened babies, splashing and loving the water. Cherishing family. Perfect.

That and great outdoor food. We had grilled kielbasa, veggie kabobs, potato salad, the works. Even ice cream!
Miss loves her “Chocolate ice cream on a stick” – otherwise known as a Dove Bar.
And this little one had her first taste of the sweet stuff.
The brat making continued. Here’s my hubby making sausage.
My hubby after I pointed out to him that he’s wearing his “Wiener Shop” T Shirt.
We ate some for dinner tonight. Fantastic. There’s nothing like fresh, homemade sausage. He also made chorizo, which I love to cook with. I can’t wait to try out a new recipe using it.
Speaking of new recipes, my “Chopped” ingredients this week are cherry tomatoes and raisins. I wasn’t able to get to the grocery store until today, but I got my ingredients and have something of a plan for my dish. I need to refine it in my head before I dive in to make it, so it’ll be Friday or so before I do it. Stay tuned.
I think I’ve written about how I have ordered some new big girl outdoor toys for Miss so that the push-behind lion can be passed down to Lass now. We are still waiting for her trike, but her roller skates arrived yesterday. And so did these:
We had to try them on today to make sure they fit. I ordered them with the intention that they would fit her now and also be gear she can grow into, so they look a little big but they do fit. Naturally she didn’t want to take them off and had to dance around in them until I had to nearly pry them off her for nap time.

Soon to come will be photos of this ensemble, outside, with little Barbie roller skates. I love it.
Right now we’re busy in a great way. Miss loves her gymnastics class and seems to be enjoying her new swimming class so far. We’re having play dates.
I’m enjoying work. Being a professional. Sorting out the intricacies of psychiatric diagnosis when a case is a little unusual. It helps me to be well-rounded. To be challenged and stretch my brain in a different grown up way. Then I come home and get back to my real job. And it’s good. My life is full. In the best possible way.

A Daddy Weekend

I can’t really even put into words how much I love having a weekend when all the stars are aligned and 1. we are not traveling, 2. the weather is nice, and 3. my husband isn’t working. Oh, it’s wonderful. Fortunately, I do not need to rely solely on words to describe this happy time. I have photo documentation.
Daddy has been making lots of forts and Little Sister has been able to join in the fun. The girl loves to roll around on a blanket.

“Can I come in?”

This one lights up at the sight of her Daddy.
This morning we baked our banana chocolate chip muffins for Daddy.
This is the face she makes when she says, “Cheese!”
“They’re puffing up!” She kept calling the muffins “mushrooms.” This kid cracks me up.
After they baked, she “painted” honey on top of them.
She was so proud of herself!
She said, “I eat a bwownie out of the mushwoom!” when she picked a chocolate chip out of the muffin.
Sharing a special snack with Daddy.
And can I just gush for a moment about how ridiculously easy it is to take the girls to the pool when I have another pair of hands along??
I was even able to take photos for once!

Lass is happy when she can play with a ball. Or two.

Easy, easy, easy. I’m gushing here.

Did I mention this one loves to play with a ball?

We’ve been playing very hard this weekend.
And even after all this playing, Daddy is making bratwurst tonight. I can’t wait to eat them. Homemade bratwurst are the best.
I’m listening to fireworks outside right now. I tried to get Miss out of her bed (she’s not asleep yet) and take her out to see, but she didn’t like the sound. She wrapped herself around me, clung on for dear life, and said, “I want to go in my bed and go to sweep.” So she’s missing the fireworks tonight, but tomorrow we will celebrate the 4th of July. Mostly our day will consist of more of what you see here. Family. Love. Fun. Eating. Pool. Mix in some patriotism and perhaps a sparkler or two, and you have a celebration. Happy 4th of July.

Weekend Fun

We had a wonderful long weekend here. We had a visit from a long-time friend of mine (a former college roommate!). She met my girls for the first time and became fast friends with Miss.

Lass is experiencing some stranger/separation anxiety right now, so she wasn’t exactly warm and fuzzy with our guest, but she did lots of smiling from a distance.

It seems that the weather has finally cooperated with the calendar (though not until yesterday, which was 90 degrees!) and summer has arrived. We spent the morning yesterday at the pool. My husband had to work all weekend, so I took the girls by myself and therefore have no pictures of our first pool outing of the year. I was doing good to keep track of Miss while holding Lass constantly, so photo time wasn’t really going to happen. I tried to set Lass down in a tiny bit of water in the zero entry area of the pool, but she didn’t want anything to do with that. Then I tried to put her in our portable exersaucer thing. I should have known better. She didn’t like it the first time I put her in it at home.
But on that first day she eventually got a bit used to being in the thing, so I thought maybe she would do better at the pool. When I put her in it she immediately started screaming and trying to climb out. So she spent the entire pool time in the Ergo, which was okay too.

During nap time I finally got out our water and sand table, which has been in the box for a few weeks since it has been too cold to play with it. We didn’t have any sand but the girls didn’t know the difference when I filled up both sides with water.

Lass felt like such a big deal being able to stand and play with her sister.

There was tons of splashing.

Miss was just scooping the water onto herself!
And she was very diligent about watering the landscaping.
Including the rocks.
Then she realized how wet she was and begged me to get a towel and dry her off.
I wiped the front of her clothes with the towel and dried her feet. I thought she might be upset about her wet clothes and ask to get dry clothes on. But she just went right back to splashing herself and pouring water everywhere. It’s going to be a fun summer.