I posted yesterday that I have sick kids. Eadaoin missed her bus due to oversleeping so my husband took her to school as he was leaving for work. I didn’t see what she was wearing when she left because I was tending to Milly, but I saw what she was wearing when she got home.
Pause: Of all my girls, Eadaoin is the girliest of the bunch. She likes Momiji dolls, pastel colors, and Peter Rabbit. She likes chick flicks, the idea of romance, and wants to get married one day and have babies. That’s just her. She’s also the least squeamish about The Facts of Life. When I had The Talk with her, she was the least shocked about where men put their penises. Grace, on the other hand, fell off the couch. I’m not kidding. Grace suddenly turned some kind of ashen color, went stiff, and fell off the couch. Eadaoin has always enjoyed taking care of herself, practiced good hygiene, and loves that lip gloss comes in so many shades of pink. She also loves watching “What Not To Wear” with Stacy and Clinton. She’s a budding fashionista. This is why it was so shocking to see yesterday’s ensemble…
Play: I was in the kitchen when Eadaoin hugged me from behind. She looked rather tall. She was wearing her only pair of heels–3-inch heels to be exact. They are really more of an autumn shoe made to wear with skinny jeans and trousers or a tailored skirt so why was she wearing these shoes in May? Then, I saw the dress. Firstly, she was wearing a new sundress, but she had washed it recently and put it in the dryer. It was smaller now than when I bought it for her. The bodice was too tight emphasizing her growing cleavage, buttons looking ready to pop. As I observed further, I noticed that if she were to, say, drop a pencil in class, she would be taking her life into her own hands to pick up that pencil. She would be showing off her entire ass to everyone in the immediate viewing area! The cotton dress was scarcely a few inches below her “cheeks”. As a mother, I wanted to grab the nearest blanket and cover her up. As a woman, I needed to sit this girl down and have a heart-to-heart with her STAT!
Milly was in bed horking up a lung (and she’ll be heading to the doctor today. I fear she’s been exposed to pertussis! Damn that Wakefield!) Grace and Doireann, however, saw Eadaoin’s dress and heels as well as my horrified expression. They didn’t want to miss any forthcoming discussions so everyone gathered in the living room when I called Eadaoin.
“Eadaoin, I really do like that dress, but it’s a bit short. When I bought it for you, I specifically said that you were to wear it with the leggings that I also purchased.”
“But, it was so hot today!”
“It was 55 degrees this morning. It was hot yesterday.”
“Well, I was hot.”
“Eadaoin, you don’t think the dress is too short?”
“Okay, well, I just dropped that tissue on the floor over there. Would you please go over there and pick it up for me…without walking like a Barbie doll?”
“I don’t want to.”
“I can’t bend over.”
“Okay, I get it now. But, Mom, the girls at my school all wear short dresses.”
“Don’t compare yourself to the girls at your school who are taking their sexual cues from the Victoria’s Secret models who look like they are practically masturbating in the stores’ ad posters.”
“What does masturbating mean?” Grace asked.
“Mom will tell you later,” Doireann managed to say between laughs.
“You may not see yourself as you look, but your shape is changing. You might feel like a girl on the inside, but you’re starting to look more womanly on the outside. You have to think about how you present yourself because others are paying attention. You like to look pretty, and I relate to that. So do I. But, please, take it from someone who has embarrassed herself too many times to count, don’t set yourself up to fail by wearing something like this to school. All it would take is for someone to bump into you, and, POW, you’re on the floor with your ass visible for everyone to see. Please tell me you at least thought about what underwear you wore today…you know, in case…”
Eadaoin left to go change or, at least, put on leggings. Doireann was laughing and shaking her head. “I thought that she would be the last person you would have to talk to about that stuff. Geez…but she can’t go around dressed like a hooker! It’s just not right. Have some self-respect for God’s sake!” I whipped my head around and stared at Doireann. “Doireaann! So judgmental!” Suddenly, I heard Doireann yelling from upstairs. “You’ve gotta be flipping kidding me! Really, Eadaoin? That’s what you’re gonna take away from this? MOOoooOOOm! Eadaoin is saying that she’s a screw-up! She’s not understanding that there’s value in making mistakes, and I don’t have time for this! Come fix it!”
Now, this is a big deal. I have been working with Doireann since she was a tiny thing on her perfectionism and tendency towards self-flagellation when she feels that she’s messed up. We stress failure as an opportunity to learn in our house–not a bad thing. Make mistakes. Embrace the process of learning, and make your mistakes now, when they cost you less. Slowly but surely Doireann has come to see that mistakes are a valuable part of life and the learning process so her rather blunt announcement was music to my ears.
I went upstairs to find Eadaoin curled up in Grace’s room looking rather embarrassed. “No one was supposed to hear me say that!” Doireann ran in and pointed her bony, pedantic finger at Eadaoin, “Well, I did! And, that’s just enough of this self-pity stuff. So what? You dressed like a hooker. Who cares! Don’t do it again. Dress like you like yourself tomorrow.” Grace stood by and observed. She finally had to say something. “All the girls at the middle school would wear booty shorts. I could see their bottom cheeks. I don’t know why they did that. But, I liked your dress. Maybe just wear leggings with it so a wind doesn’t come along and blow it up. You know, showing off your underwear or something. That would be very embarrassing.” Eadaoin was starting to look mortified.
Doireann can be a bit of a firebrand as if you couldn’t tell. I needed to step in. “Eadaoin, you did not look…inappropriate. You looked pretty, but what you wore was too revealing. And, I know that you are feeling weird now what with your sisters coming at you. Let me just say that this does not compare to what I did my freshman year of high school. I wore a very short skirt to school. I was sent home to change, too, after being sent to the principal’s office. The principal’s secretary took out a ruler to measure the length of my skirt to determine whether or not it violated the dress code. She insinuated that I was a slut and called my mother. Also…uh…I forgot to wear underwear under my pantyhose, and I might have flashed my entire Theatre Arts class which is why I was sent to the principal’s office in the first place.”
There is nothing like one of my embarrassing stories to add much needed perspective to a situation. And, believe me, I have a metric ton of ’em.
Eadaoin’s eyes became impossibly wide. Grace covered her mouth, and Doireann shouted, “Mom! Oh my Lord…you did that? Wow…just…wow.”
“Yes, I did that. And, I wasn’t trying to flash anyone. I just turned around quickly. And, your dress is shorter than my skirt was. Do you see now why I am so concerned?”
Eadaoin quickly went into her room and changed.
I suspect Eadaoin will be undergoing a neuropsychological work-up soon. She’s on the bipolar spectrum, and I need to have that in hand for so many reasons. Between trying to use a butane lighter to bake meringue cookies, her avoidance of school and homework, and her burgeoning sense of self, I would like to stay ahead of what might be headed our way.
Gosh, I never imagined it would be quite so challenging. Do you suppose it’s like this with boys? Even my girls wrestle and break windows. Hmmmm…