The first arrival

sometimes I wonder
where you came from
so stylish
so à la mode
you know just how
to pick out those clothes
(unlike me)

Every day I look
and see
in you

You float
you glide
into a room

You dream
you dance
you read
you laugh

My heart-strings tug
with your sweet

You’re open
and relaxed

You bring to our family
a calmness

Princess Crinkle Toes

Akasha is at the moment obsessed with being a princess. She comes home from Kindergarten and insists on stripping off and redressing in a princess costume on a daily basis.

I don’t mind her swishing around the living-room, or her operatic singing attempts (always at the top of her voice) or the constant fluttering of eye lashes. Though I did ban the plastic slippers, aptly named it would seem, as she regularly slipped across the laminate floor. And I instruct her to take the dress off each day before dinner because now, being over ten years old and having attired four children, its holes grow with every spin of the washing machine.

Today on asking for help out of the lovely new dress she had worn for this mornings Kindergarten, I dared to ask if she didn’t just want to wear her normal clothes?

And I, the mother who tells her that she’s beautiful every single day, was shocked at her response:

“Without the dress I’m just not beautiful enough!”

Hello? Where has this come from? You are gorgeous! You are adored! Why aged four, would you think something else?

So I took action.

I banned the dress for a day. I took a rubbish bag from the kitchen drawer and I cut out a head and two arm slots. Then I explained to her that I wanted her to wear this thrown-together-dress for the rest of the day.

I watched her swish and twirl and swirl and pointed out the bonus sound effects of the homemade dress.

Her skepticism did concern me. So I spent a large chunk of the afternoon explaining that a person does not have to wear beautiful clothes in order to be beautiful. That I find her beautiful whatever she wears, even if that’s a bin bag. Even when she’s naked (which made her laugh).

Akasha loves being photographed, so to prove the point we had a little photo shoot of her in her bin bag dress.

The dress finally broke in the early evening, and Princess Crinkle Toes (renamed for the afternoon) showed visible signs of distress. I’m hoping that’s an indication that my message, at least partially, got through.

Today is the first day of the rest of my life…

I got up this morning and impulsively decided that instead of designing the lava filled volcano birthday cake, that I’ve promised to supply in two days time, or doing the washing, or the dishes, or cleaning the house for the hoards of children that will come to the birthday party on Sunday afternoon, I would go shopping.

For myself.

I had had this image in my head the past few weeks of a floaty, summer, gypsy style dress I’d seen many times in the window of a local store. Reaching out to me, taunting, “You want me, don’t you?”

Until now, I’ve managed to ignore the urge. Well, until today.

Today, I dressed in my long straight-ish green dress and thought, “Oh my God!”

It’s not my first time of thinking, “Oh my God”, on dressing myself in the morning, over, say, the last three years. But today it really hit home.

In my head I am still the size 8 I was as a teenager. As a size 10 in my 20’s, my fantasy could still be maintained. The difference being negligible. But now heading on my daily curse to my 40’s I’ve suddenly realised: the top half of me is a size 12 and the bottom a wobbly 14.

And when I say that in my head I remain a size 8, I mean that when I look at clothes, my purchases are made with that in mind.

Hence the straight-ish green dress.

It’s not that I buy the wrong size. Just that I want to wear skinny clothes, and, of course, it doesn’t really suit.

I have avoided the glaring-at-me-truth for as long as I can. Not looking in mirrors very often is a typical trick. But today, I caught sight of myself and had to flinch. The dress itself is ok. The problem is, it accentuates the problem areas, being on the verge of straight.

An undeniable issue for me is also one of proportion. Almost three and a half years of breast-feeding and four caesareans have naturally taken their toll.

Boobs that prefer the direction south to north.

And a stomach that looks like an implant of an enormous wobbly jelly.

Plus there’s all that chocolate, cheese, cake and wine…

So this morning a decision had to be made.

Face facts Sarah. This is who you are.

Sarah wobbly belly.

Sarah south-facing boobs.

Now what about a floaty dress? Off to C&A and there I found it. The one remaining and in my size. Fate.

In my acceptingness of myself, I became excited. There were lots of pretty floaty things. And I tried them all on.

Although the allowance is only five articles in the changing rooms – Why is that? If I had seen an assistant I would have asked, “Am I only allowed to purchase five articles as well?” But I didn’t. See one. So I took in as many items as I could carry. In true standing with my rebellious self. And I bought more than five things as well…

On my way home in the car, (once I’d retrieved it, I had been convinced I’d left it on the first floor, and not the second one, where I later discovered it), I found myself feeling happy that I’d accepted myself. For who I am.

I know for a fact that my love affair with Mr Chocolate, Mr Cheese, Mr Cake and Mrs Wine are all far from over.

I know in my heart that half of the clothes that remain hopeful in my wardrobe, of seeing the light of day, are never going to be worn again. At least not by me. Especially not those green trousers, the ones that I can’t fit my bottom in, let alone attempt to close. That is just an unreachable dream.

I decide on my return home, that I will dismiss all unfitting clothing from my wardrobe, and donate it to anyone willing to take it off my hands.

I feel somehow, lighter. Free. I’m going to be ruthless.

Even with the few things I’ve kept since I was 18. Well, I’m going to try.

Today is the first day of the rest of my life. Perhaps this is what they mean by life begins at forty.

But to be honest, I realise that I have more pressing issues than my wobbling stature. Yesterday, I again did not remember to pick my daughter up from Kindergarten. I was on my way to collect her, on my round-trip to the shops. But somehow I managed to forget her, only realising partway into town. I had to turn around and drive back. At least this time though I noticed ‘something missing’ by myself and my son didn’t need to inform me.