Most mornings I awake to my two sons and some sort of mayhem. It could include, but is not limited to, someone’s extreme hunger; children eating sugary contraband after sneaking downstairs unattended; a lost doll; a lost password for a computer game that is expressly forbidden until at least 7 a.m.; a lost T.V. remote control; someone’s dire thirst; or death by morning breath as one of my children spit-whispers directly into my face “Mommy? Are you awake?”
As part of the morning routine, I make six meals (three breakfasts and three lunches). I do my makeup in a small decorative mirror that hangs above our wet bar, which also allows me to keep an eye on the kids as they eat their breakfasts and watch cartoons. I get them dressed. Three sets of teeth brushed. I do their hair. I load their backpacks. I load my bags. Then I can get dressed. Then, sometimes, I have time to do my own hair. All of this in an hour and a half.
On Wednesday I was upstairs. Hair in hot rollers. In only my bra and panties. The boys were ready for school, waiting for me on the couch and watching the rest of the latest episode of Pokemon.
“I see ballerinas!,” I heard C.J. say downstairs in the living room.
“I SEE BUNS!,” I heard C.J. exclaim. Then came laughter. I continued to hunt for something to wear. Hot rollers burning my ears.
“I SEE BOOBS!” Uproarious laughter.
I ran down the stairs. C.J. and his brother were pointing and giggling at the T.V. I rounded the corner to find them watching the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, which I had recorded the night before.
“All right, settle down,” I said hunting for the remote control. Throwing decorative pillows to and fro.
“I see YOUR boobs and buns, Mommy!,” C.J. declared. Now both boys were pointing and laughing at me.
“Where’s the remote?,” I asked.
C.J.’s Brother handed it to me and informed me that he turned on the fashion show because he and C.J. wanted to watch it. I started to change the channel and C.J. started to cry. I started to think that my hot rollers had been in way too long and I would now look like more like Little Orphan Annie and less like Sofia Vergara. Great.
“Mommy, pwease don’t change it. Pwease, pwease, pwease,” C.J. pleaded. “I love dare costumes. I love dos angels. I love da wings.” Of course my sweet, creative gender nonconforming son would fall in love with pageantry and exhilaration of a an amazing fashion show.
C.J.’s Brother was blushing, shaking his head yes and giving me a glimpse of what a pre-pubescent boy might look like. I took a good look as Miranda Kerr bounced her perky way down the catwalk. I lost focus when I saw Orlando Bloom. He smiled. I smiled.
“You’re in the way! Her shoe came off!,” C.J. yelled, waving me to the side.
The show cut to interviews and quick snippets of past Victoria’s Secret Fashion Shows. I looked at the clock. We were going to be late.
“I have to put my clothes on. You have two minutes until we load the car,” I called over my shoulder as I took the stairs two at a time and started to take the rollers out of my hair. I threw on some clothes, put my hair in my standard “Bad Hair Day” style and hoped the curls would fall with time. I raced back down the stairs and herded the kids into the car.
“Can we watch the rest when we get home from school,” C.J.’s Brother asked.
“Yeah, can we Mommy? Can I get one of those underwear costumes for Christmas?,” C.J. asked.
“We’ll see and they don’t sell them in the store,” I answered both boys. I had no intention of letting them watch the rest of the show or getting C.J. an “underwear costume,” but didn’t want to argue at that point.
“C.J., you might be able to order one of those angel costumes online. We can check it out when we get home,” C.J.’s Brother offered.
There were no words. I had no idea what to say. We arrived at school.
“I can’t wait to tell my friends about dos angels. I love dos wings,” C.J. chattered as he skipped to class, holding my hand. I said nothing.
That was the day that my little boy, wearing socks made for a little girl, told his four girlfriends in class about the angels in their underwear and the dress up costumes that they might be able to buy online.
That night, with the boys tucked in their beds, I sat down with a new bag of Pepperidge Farm’s Nantucket cookies to watch the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show. C.J. and his brother really would have liked the Super Angels portion of the show; I was tempted to show it to them. The cookies started to not taste as good as I watched the models work the walk. “Yeah, but they are in their twenties and haven’t had kids yet,” I scoffed to myself. Not true anymore. I was lying to myself. They are in thirties, just like me. They are moms, just like me. I closed the bag of cookies. I deleted the show. I went to bed and counted angels until I fell asleep. I’m sure my boys did the same.
I had a friend in elementary school, who was like your son, C.J. Back in the late ’80s and early ’90s in the postcommunist Hungary it certainly wasn’t an easy situation for his family. He became an award-winning fashion designer. I like your blog 🙂
Is it Matcho Suba, who now lives in Australia? LOL. I can totally see him in your post, Passaggia!
No, it’s not Matcho Suba 🙂 My schooltime friend lives in Hungary, the international fashion world still has to discover him 🙂 Actually, I’m not sure if M. S. is Hungarian, he comes from Slovakia but it doesn’t mean any nationality at all, because quite a big Hungarian population is living on the Slovakian side of the border. He can be both Hungarian or Slovakian, I really don’t know.
The reasoning behind your title for this blog made me laugh so much that I kept reading it over again…that had to be an entertaining morning
I also felt sad when I got to the end of this entry: Why didn’t Orlando Bloom pick me? Of course, we never met. But I’m also not an underwear model. Nevertheless, I feel small.
Either way, I have spent my lunch hour devouring your top blog entries. Incredible.
“As part of the morning routine, I make six meals (three breakfasts and three lunches).”
You deserve a medal – and an assistant!
I like dos wings!
My heart smiles at your son’s cute, simple, love for the fashion.
A bit unrelated but I came across this posting: http://io9.com/5867440/ of “Disney Princesses reimagined as Punk Rock Heroines” and I immediately wondered what CJ would make of them! But he is bound to like his princesses just the way they are.
I was also taken by the boys bonding over the video. Glimpses into adult life are fascinating for kids but there is a lot that still passes them by, don’t worry.
Just wondering: could CJ’s brother get his own name? You know the sort of thing, if he liked Thomas the tank engine then perhaps something like Big T, or whatever else occurs. He is very much his own person and it would be nice for him to be referred to as more of an individual.
I so enjoy reading your blog! I am very much hoping that you will want to write it for a long time to come.
Don’t know if you’ve already see this article, but I found it touching to know that there are other great parents out there like YOU
I truly enjoyed this post until I got to the end of it, and heard what you were saying.
Please. Please stop being so hard on yourself. Those models? That’s what they do for a living. And it isn’t NEARLY as glamorous as it looks. When they get home from a hard day of work, and trust me, for them, it IS a HARD day of work, they would like nothing more than to be in your bathrobe, snacking on cookies, and dealing with your issues rather than theirs. You are doing an amazingly awesome job at being a mother, the hardest job in the world. You have already heard so many of us give you support, love, and encouragement. You do not need to be a supermodel.
You are super enough already.
Love your children. Raise them well. Know that you can’t be everything to everyone. But that you will always be there for your children.
Oh, and look out for the Kyrptonite. It’s not as fatal as you would think, but it does tend to spoil your day…
I really enjoy reading your blog. It’s full of humor and truth. Yesterday my son decided to strum his guitar, sing, dance, and do push ups all in order to impress a girl. You would think no big deal except that he was born a she and the girl knew him before transition so it was quite interesting for them both to be flirting with one another when they didn’t even pay attention to one another before. Come check out his story. http://www.lifeuncharted5.wordpress.com And I hope CJ finds an angel costume to wear to bed…lol not sure about playing outside in it though. Good thing it’s so cold!!!! 🙂
You know the old story where the kid asks his parent “Mom, where do I come from?” and the mom goes on this long tirade of sexual truisms and then the kid says “But mom …. Kimmy says she’s from Saskachewan. Where am I from?” That’s probably a lesson to be gleaned out of here. This would be a great time to teach CJ about the nature of INSPIRATION, and what it means, and I agree with the above poster about creating his own ‘angel costume.’ Channeling the FASHION elements of what he saw will demystify them and ALSO show your older son that the emphasis in the fashion show should be on the beauty of the clothes and NOT upon objectifying the women. If he sees you NOT reacting negatively, or denying, he won’t even think about obsessions and will instead see it as “more girl stuff” which he seems not to care too much for. And he’ll move on. Meanwhile, CJ can learn about inspiration and turn the sexuality-laden nature of the fashion show environment into something healthy and positive instead, by taking what he saw, using it as personal INSPIRATION, and making something beautiful, personal and respectful – which are hallmarks of true fashion.
Can’t you undo the delete? You just created an orchard of forbidden fruit and shaped C.J.’s curiosity by denying him da angels. I also think boys entering puberty, like C.J.’s Brother, go through a certain “imprinting” window where something like this could make his forbidden fruit into a life long eroticized obsession. You only deleted the show because of your own sense of inadequacy, which was the worst response of all three of you. Why not take the opportunity to explain to Brother about how women like that aren’t realistic and how they make normal women feel bad about themselves…like his mommy. I’m sure C.J. will acquire his own bra, panties and angel wings at his earliest convenience. Maybe Dad could help in this conversation too.
If CJ’s brother grows up to identify as a straight male, I’m pretty sure Victoria’s Secret models will be a lifelong eroticized obsession regardless of what his mom does or doesn’t do. She didn’t want the boys watching it, she deleted it. Not everything has to be a major life decision! 🙂
I love how the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show was such a bonding moment for your boys, yet they both loved it for two completely different reasons!
How could you NOT know that CJ would love the Victoria’s Secret Fashion show?! For all the reasons you gave plus the models cross the gender line. They are female impersonators who happen to be biological women– gender nonconforming! If I were a betting man, I would put my money on CJ become a fashion designer or stylist. He’s got a good eye!
About the book http://www.amazon.com/Gorky-Rises-William-Steig/dp/0374427844/ref=sr_1_15?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1323069395&sr=1-15
My bias is that kids need plenty of time just being kids…developing their basic imagination. And that their relationship skills are to develop relationships as friendships and acquaintanceships.
There’s plenty of time once they get into adolescence to deal with the sexual side of themselves and figure out what they want to give or get out of their sexual self. I think a seminar given by a specially trained adult would be the way to go: http://www.nytimes.com/schoolbook/2011/11/21/sex-ed-with-an-emphasis-on-the-sex/?scp=4&sq=sex%20education&st=cse I think many kids want to run in the other direction out of embarrassment when an untrained parent introduces the subject.
Here’s thinking that it might be fun to do a crafts project to make a pair of wings. Everyone can identify with the urge for freedom of flight. If you do a search for “wing costumes” on http://www.etsy.com you can find many different gossamer wings for design inspiration http://www.etsy.com/listing/81586325/huge-gossamer-custom-fairy-wings-with?ref=sr_gallery_3&ga_search_submit=&ga_search_query=angel+wing+costume&ga_view_type=gallery&ga_ship_to=US&ga_search_type=handmade&ga_facet=handmade
Another option is to make an airplane out of cardboard boxes with control panels up front and taped on wings sticking out side slots.
A good book to read to the kids about flying is Gorky Rises by William Steig. It’s about a frog who invents a flying potion. I remember dreaming at night about flying myself after reading this book to my kids. It was wonderful to fly in my dreams.