I’ve learned a lot of things in the almost nine years I’ve been a mother. Friday I learned that I shouldn’t take my oldest daughter with me to shop for bathing suits if I want to keep my dignity and self-esteem intact.
Ella and I were out and about Friday, running pre-4th of July errands, and I decided to take advantage of my escape from the house by looking for a new bathing suit. It’s been four years and two babies since I’ve bought one (maternity suits don’t count). We were near Old Navy, so I stopped in; I’ve gotten cute suits there in the past.
Their bathing suit selection was pretty thin. They had lots of tops and bottoms, but very few that actually matched. Ella helped me sort through, and she would hold up matching sets that she found. Unfortunately, none of the suits she found were in any way, shape or form appropriate for an almost-40 mother of four. They were barely appropriate for an 18-year-old. Each time Ella held up a teeny-bikini, I’d have to hiss at her, “NO! Put that away.” And then I’d have to explain, in hushed tones, why I didn’t want it. When I’d say something like “It’s too small!” or “It’s too skimpy!” She giggle and wave it around before hanging it back on the rack.
Finally, I found a cute one-piece suit and headed to the fitting rooms to try it on. While I changed, Ella climbed the walls, literally; turns out she can climb more than rocks.
My kids see me in all states of undress on a regular basis. I don’t remember the last time I was able to take a shower without one of them poking their head in to tattle on the others or to request a snack. But trying on a bathing suit with an audience was more than I could handle. Ella wanted to know why I was leaving on my panties to try on the suit and helpfully pointed out that she could see them sticking out from the suit. Then she asked, loudly, why my “boobs” were showing so much, did I want them to show like that, and why do “grown-up ladies” like to have their boobs stick out of their suits. At this point I heard giggles from neighboring fitting rooms. The final straw was when she cracked up and told me that I looked like a pear. More laughter from other customers.
The suit was ruined for me after that comment. I’d never be able to wear it without thinking I looked like a pear, even if I didn’t. So I got dressed and headed for the exit, Ella giggling the whole way behind me.
I think I’m going to have to buy a suit the same way I did last time – order several different styles and sizes, try them on in the comfort of my own home, and send back the ones that don’t fit. And you can bet I’ll be locking Ella out of the room when I do.