We ate whatever we could get our filthy little hands on, we perfected the art of reusing grocery store paper bags for our trash cans and we wore whatever was given to us.
Usually, we looked like absolute trash.
The problem with that is simply that children reach a certain age when they stop caring at all about what they look like, right in between the "I got dwessed all by myselfes!" phase and before the "I'm getting laid, dammit" phase, and couple that with some significant levels of poverty and the daily dumpster dive for discarded treasures (one man's trash, yo) (is still just trash) (but is more fun to dig through rotten fruit and old coffee beans for than reading the fucking Bible) (again) and you have some stank-ass children.
My middle brother's feet smelled exactly like week old vomit, all the time. Not kidding.
One of the little rich-bitches that I lived near growing up, who's family was probably in the same income bracket as I am now, but whom then seemed like she, as all of those girls seemed to me, was dripping in Hamilton's, she asked me why I looked so much better than my little brother and sister all the time and the only answer I could come up with was that I cared enough to try.
My children do not share my dedication to personal appearance in the face of great adversity. Perhaps because I stopped caring enough to try once I could afford not to. Or perhaps because fuck if those yoga pants aren't the most comfortable things ever invented.
My children are lucky enough to not have the slightest inkling as to what the words hunger or need mean, but they are still disgusting little piggies, and it infuriates me. Of course, I am that mother that is all, "when I was a little kid" and "you have no idea how good you have it" and it infuriates them. We are at an impasse.
My oldest son is full-on in the middle of fucking puberty, which makes me feel so old I kind of want to see how much I'd go for at Sotheby's, and means that he is having all sorts of issues with his T zone. And he knows what a T zone is, which means he's only a few months years away from knowing what a G spot is and that will officially be the last mythical thing he believes in and my job will be OVER.
I've fully lost my train of thought here.
Oh, that's he's almost too big to cuddle but is far and away big enough for me to smell, all the time, everywhere I go, even when he's not there, and it's wigging me out.
Yesterday, I made him let me groom him. Death. By. Mother. I might as well have grabbed a coat hanger and started ranting about how hard I work and dishrags or something. I brushed his teeth, properly, made him floss AND rinse, and then I *gasp* washed his face. WITH NOXEMA. Sorry if I don't want to spend the next 6 years looking for my son's gorgeous face under a blanket of oozey pimples, but I didn't gain one hundred and five pounds for him to run around looking like semen-filled bubble wrap.
He's got my skin, which means he's either very oily or Sarhara dry, so Noxema is just about his only real option. And it smells like yo gramma, which is awesome. So I slathered him up, taught him how to wipe it all off, gave him his very own pint-sized tub of Noxema for his bathroom, and then basked in the glory of his perfectly soft, clear skin for one whole day.
Later that night, I watched him reading his book and I couldn't help myself. I reached out and rubbed his little cheek, and then told him how beautiful his skin looked. He told me that was the worst thing I've ever said to him in his whole life.
And that is music to any mother's ears.