This blog chronicles my life as I try to balance healthy lifestyle habits with my husband's penchant for pizza rolls and my daughter's desire to watch iCarly 8 hours a day. It contains a mostly humorous, kind, and somewhat spiritual look at everyday life and the people who live it.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

She wants an Itty Bitty Teeny Tiny Hot Pink Flowered Bikini...

My daughter's BFF just bought a new swimsuit. Sigh. Did she buy the standard Land's End Tugless Tankini with privacy liner, you may ask? Nope, she did not. Then she must have bought the LLBean Rash Guard with matching Swim shorts, you may be thinking. Sadly, no, not the rash guard and swim shorts either.

She bought a tiny little hot pink hibiscus flowered bikini with lime green trim, circa Target, 2009.

So guess what my daughter wants now? Yep, you guessed it, she wants to know when she can have a bikini. Now for the record, I am not actually against the bikini. I think there is a fairly wide spectrum of swimwear and I know we can find plenty of 2 piece suits that fall respectably within the bikini part of the spectrum but are still appropriate swimwear. I also know that to forbid the bikini is essentially to throw down the challenge: how frequently can you wear a bikini behind my back and get away with it? I know this because I was forbidden to wear a bikini. When I was 12 we visited my cousins in Kentucky. My aunt dropped us off at the pool where I immediately went into the restroom and changed from my mom's-choice-really-cute-one-piece to my cousin's friend's mom's quite-ugly-but-at-least-it-is-a-bikini abomination from the early '70s. Then when I was 14 I had babysitting money so I simply purchased my own bikinis, wore them underneath my clothes, put my one piece in my bag, was dropped off at the pool and mom was none the wiser. This went on for probably a year or so before I was "found out." My mom was mad at being lied to, mad that I went behind her back, mad that it had been going on for so long, and felt helpless because she realized that there wasn't much point in telling me I couldn't wear something I had been wearing for years.

I'm hoping to avoid that particular fight with my daughter by applying some of what I've learned from own poor behavior and from other friends' stories: I won't forbid the bikini because in forbidding it I set myself up to be lied to and my daughter to be sneaky. I also completely forfeit any say in the style of bikini because my daughter would be choosing it with her friends or (God forbid) her boyfriend and I wouldn't even know she was wearing it.

So back to the bikini issue, it's not really me that will be the great roadblock in her plans to bare her midriff. It's Steve. Steve cannot imagine any situation in which it will be okay for so much of his daughter's skin to be on display. He cannot fathom why I wouldn't be as adamant about this as he is. Well, I guess it's because I've been there. I've done that. I realize that wearing the bikini is (right now) more about fitting in with friends' cute fashions and not really (yet) about sexuality. There will definitely be a time when the swimsuit choice is all about attracting a mate, showing off what the Good Lord gave her, and trying to be mature and frankly, more than ever, that's when I want to be able to weigh in on the swimsuit choice. I recognize that there will still be times when I will be lied to. When my daughter will sneak around behind my back. When she will see just how much freedom she has or can take. I'm no fool now and I was no angel back then.

But for right now I still have her. She's still mine. She still obeys because she doesn't realize yet that she has a choice. And for these last few precious weeks, months, or years that this is true I want to cultivate as much of a my-mom-is-reasonable-and-can-be-reasoned-with relationship as I can.

'Cause I know this for sure: it's not about the swimsuit. It's never just about the swimsuit.


Chellie said...

Oh god! I am so not ready for that with Cyd! I'm torn. I hear you as a mom, and agree with you. However, because she is my god-daughter, I also agree with Steve. I think you should just tell the friend's parents they need to get her a different suit!!!

Deb said...

Speaking as a mom of an 18 yrd old girl-and a 10 year old girl- 2 pieces are ok- if they are modest. Many of these bikini's are way too revealing- (especially for these young girls.) compromise- you can find a bikini that's cute and modest- and shopping together will be part of the fun.
ps- my biggest issue is the padding they put in these bikini tops to make these young girls look like they have cleavage. HINT- they can be removed and I have done that to each of my daughter's bikini tops..