She Wore an Itsy-Bitsy, Teeny-Weeny…Muumuu?

I did it. I put myself in a bikini. And went out into the world. Without a cover-up. No one screamed. Or fainted from shock. No one ran away in hysterics, including me, so I guess that’s a good thing.

Saoirse’s been begging to go to what she calls the “wading pool” since, oh, about January. Yes, we have our own pool, which sparkles prettily in the back of the yard, but its only problem (other than harboring amorous frogs and spiders the size of your head) is that its only “proper” entrance (besides the jumping, cannonballing, shallow diving options, of course) is a step ladder into the shallow end.  We don’t have those nice, wide stairs that you’d typically find gradually descending into the water.  Which means that there’s no place to sit with a child, and no safety net of sorts to make a kiddo feel comfortable once she’s in.  So, if I’m on my own with a baby and a 3-year-old who can’t swim yet, no one’s going near that pool.

Instead, on pleasant afternoons like yesterday, we completely ignore the beautiful, lagoon-like depths of treachery 40 feet beyond our back door to instead pile into the car, drive 20 minutes through the congested streets that cut through our town, schlep a stroller and snacks and towels and drinks through a parking lot, through check-in, and over the grass so that Saoirse and Quinn can splash around in waters that don’t threaten to engulf them in a whirlwind of terror. This, of course, is Saoirse’s idea of joy for the precious three months of summer.

Me? Oh, man. That just means I gotta put me in a swimsuit.

Before we left, SK was running around the upstairs, babbling a mile a minute while she gathered up her swim clothes and sunglasses. I, meanwhile, was standing in our bedroom contemplating my old bikini and the new tankini both lying on our bedspread. I’ve never been one to freak out about the whole swimsuit thing. Bodies are bodies, I’ve always thought. Why do people get so high strung? Just put on the stinking thing and go for a swim, already.

Then I had two kids. Um, yeah.

So, there I was, looking back and forth at my two options–the tankini that’s more “mom”-like, even though I hate the danged things, because I can’t find one that looks good and I get all annoyed by the torso part that always floats skyward once I get in the water, or the bikini, which is the comfortable option, but well, at what point in life does one stop wearing the itsy-bitsies? I’m pondering, dreading, huffing and puffing, when SK comes tearing into the room: “Bathing suits are FUN!!” She goes racing back out into the hallway. Yeah, kid. Sure thing.

I ended up choosing comfort and just hoped I didn’t run into anybody I know. We got to the pool. SK squealed and splashed: “Mommy, I’m having fun!”  I concentrated on holding my shoulders back and sitting up straight. I casually gazed around the pool area to surrepitously check out what the other moms were wearing, only to notice instead that they’re all checking each other out, too. You think a college girl in a sundress has it bad walking through a frat house? That’s got nothing on a woman surrounded by other moms in a confined place where they’re all half-nekked. And sunglasses don’t hide anything you’re looking at, people.

Later, I sat with the girls on our blankets while they had a snack. “Madeline,” I heard the mother directly behind me chide. “If you’re going to spit try not to spit when someone’s around.” I scooted forward a little. At this point I was over the whole swimsuit thing. I’d worried, I’d gotten self-conscious, but as I sat there and saw my two girls, with their wet hair and sopping clothes, happily digging into their graham crackers, I just didn’t care. What’s the big deal?

Saoirse looked around. “What a beautiful day to swim,” she said. You got it, kid.