Frog Goggles

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?" Again, what? 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?


Blogger hairyshoefairy said...

When my DH was growing up his family didn't have a lot of money and his mom made their family shorts. When he was 6 or so he noticed they were different from other kids shorts and was totally embarassed. He began insisting on store-bought shorts from then on. His poor mom was shut out cuz her stuff was no longer good enough to be worn in public. Sad day. Now he feels bad about making her feel bad, but you can't change the past.

6/22/2006 09:12:00 PM  
Blogger hairyshoefairy said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

6/22/2006 09:17:00 PM  
Blogger Maralise said...

Heather--my husband is also very picky about his clothes and is somewhat (can I say it?) insecure about his fashion choices. It's not that he makes poor choices, in fact, he dresses very hip (looking better dressed than me on most occasions).

However, his lack of money as a child made him nervous about his clothes and the way he looked. I am very proud that he does not sport the requisite dockers and button up that most men my husband's age wear. I love that he (this is very cool, I swear!)pairs a U of U sweatshirt with an 80s-style suit coat. Or that he looks good in and loves Banana Republic. Or that he makes a special trip into H&M in DC to buy cool jeans and linen pants for the summer.

So, I guess men are not immune from fashion insecurity or the desire to look good. However, I don't view that as a bad thing. Speaking form a wife's perspective, I really enjoy it!

6/22/2006 09:30:00 PM  
Blogger Tracy M said...

Jeff has the same Superman outfit as J does- even the same "bottoms"!

6/23/2006 01:59:00 AM  
Anonymous Mary said...

I think that is very sweet actually. J sounds like a great kid. All kids like to hear that their froggy goggles are the coolest!

6/23/2006 04:11:00 AM  
Anonymous AudreyTX said...

I think the insecurity comes as a natural consequence of children hearing other children tease someone about something new or different. In their mind they may not be sure why that child is getting teased about whatever, they just know that someone can be teased for doing or wearing something new or different.

As to the outside affirmation, it is probably needed because we as Moms always make our children feel good about their non-essential choices. We're going to love and support them no matter what they are wearing, and they know that. They somehow know that our opinion is biased.

6/23/2006 09:38:00 AM  
Blogger Mabel Maybe said...

c'mon, they're FROG GOGGLES. Not exactly a classic understated item in one's wardrobe. Even if you're a four-year-old boy, you've got to LOVE them or HATE them. They're too outre for casual neutrality.

6/24/2006 04:30:00 AM  
Blogger ubercyl said...

My best friend's son started worrying about his short-sleeved white church shirts when he was 5. He just thought everyone was going to pick on him because of the sleeves. (???)

My own 6yo boy doesn't seem to suffer this particular insecurity. He doesn't care when people call him weird for playing princess dressup with his little sister and enjoying every minute of it.

7/06/2006 12:06:00 PM  

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