By Heather O.
Summer is here, which for us means swimming. Lots of it. I actually put J on a swim team, which means practice every morning, as well as “practice” with mom in the pool afterwards, and then playtime in the pool after lunch, which means that we are averaging about 4 hours a day poolside. No joke–4 HOURS DAILY IN THE FREAKIN’ SUN. Yeah, we’ve already gone through 3 of those not so cheap bottles of Neutrogena sunscreen I raved about, and we are all still pink all over. Not lobster red yet, but I even went out and bought an Aloe Vera plant, per Tracy’s instructions, and we’ve used it. Twice. I am even (gasp!) sporting a watch line, which makes me want to run to the dermatologist to check for skin cancer. There is no such thing as a safe tan, and now I have a watch line–AACK!
Ok, calming down now….
So actually, this post isn’t really about sunburn, although that is a topic I could speak at great lengths about. (Clearly). This is about frog goggles.
If you are fair skinned and grew up swimming, as our family did, you associate a few things with summers in the pool: sunburn (already covered, yes, move on), shiny, crunchy, green hair(it’s true, blond hair really does turn a lovely shade of green from chlorine), and burning, bloodshot eyes caused by the chlorine in the pool, which also makes everything look sort of filmy and have halos around lights. J experienced this eye thing the other day. He said, “Mom, you look a little fuzzy and blue, and I can’t really open my eyes”. DH, Utah boy that he is, sorta panicked. I, on the other hand, grew up in LA, the land of backyard pools, and I knew exactly what he was talking about. So we made a quick trip to Target post haste to get that kid some goggles.
Have you ever been to Target in the middle of the summer looking for water paraphenalia? I swear, it was like locusts had stripped the store. There was hardly a swim suit in sight, the only water shoes left were pink “water socks”, whatever the heck that means, and the goggle section was just sad. Luckily, however, J had his choice, which was more than I hoped for as I walked past the consumer carnage on the way to the goggles. His choices were thus: black speedo goggles, shark goggles, or froggie goggles. After much deliberation, he chose the frog ones. I approved, we made our purchase, and set them out to be worn today.
As we were walking in the pool, however, he said to me, “I hope the other kids don’t think my frog goggles are weird. Mom, do you think they like frogs?”
What? Who cares? They’re just goggles, for heaven’s sake!
I didn’t actually say that, though. I just said, “Yeah, everybody loves frogs. Your goggles are cool, don’t worry about it.”
Some kids were peeking through the fence, messing around and stuff, and J stopped and said, “What are they looking at?” Then, in a panicked voice, “Are they looking at my goggles? What if they don’t like my goggles?”
I assured him those kids weren’t looking at his goggles, and proceded into the pool area. I then surreptitiously asked the coach to make a positive comment on J’s goggles, which he did. J lit up when the coach told him he thought frogs were awesome, and seemed to visibly relax. After that, he was back to his old bouncy self, showing everybody his new eyewear and proclaiming their everlasting awesomeness.
Thrice I ask you–WHAT?
He’s 4. He’s a boy. They were GOGGLES. And he’s already concerned with what the other kids think about his fashion choices. I thought I had avoided all this crap by giving birth to a person with mixed chromosomes. But no, apparantly absurd fashion insecurities are manifested by the male species as well. And, true to form, no amount of assurances from his mother helped. It took an outside authority figure to confirm his standing, to affirm his choice.
He’s now quite attached to the goggles, which I suppose isn’t all that surprising. We left them at the pool this afternoon, and I had to trudge back there to get them, lest they get lost or stolen. Watching my son obsess about losing something new is actually not new to me–but I gotta say, this new fashion insecurity, coming from a kid who is usually perfectly happy to play in a size 6 Superman shirt while going commando underneath, is a little perplexing. And it was a little hard to watch him react more positively to the coach’s thoughts about how awesome those little plastic reptiles were than to his mother’s. Yes, I asked for it, I knew he needed it, but did it have to WORK?
Any other thoughts on fashion crises with children under the age of accountability?
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