To Bikini, or Not to Bikini

My son's year-end band trip was to Splashtown last week and since I was out of town the week that the $25 and permission slip was due, I got to spend slightly over $300* to take all three of my kids. On Field Trip Saturday. To the only waterpark in Houston. By myself. That was fun.

waterpark ftw>


*In fairness, it would have been closed to $250 but season passes were $10 more than a ticket and I am incapable of turning down a good deal. Busydad tells me this is because I am almost an honorary Asian. And then he pulls his eyes all slanty and says, "What a baahgain!" and his ancestors are currently accepting bids for the outsourcing of the avenging the dishonor he shows them. Bygones.

So my sons run off in search of school friends and I am left alone with my daughter to tackle the waves pools and ride on the not-so-lazy river and I realize I'm getting old as hell because all I want to do is run around covering up every little girl I see in a slinky little string bikini.

And I realize why it bothers me that those girls all wear stuff like that when it really has no right too, since my daughter modeled suits just like that in her toddler days. For me, it's not what those girls look like, but how they are seen.

No one mistakes a 2 year old for a teenager, but it isn't so hard to look at a 12 year old today and see a 16 year old, an 18 year old, a woman. A very awkward woman constantly tugging on her swimsuit trying to make it sit in all the places that it needs hips or breasts to properly sit, and will never on a child's body. Which just goes to accentuating all the things that are not, but soon will be, and makes the problem that much worse.

The thing is, adolescent children just aren't capable of understanding how they are perceived. Most adults aren't really, either. It's not fair to assume our girls can grasp what it means to wear something like that, and it's not fair to let then strut around with "naked and clueless" signs strapped to their backs. Every time one of those kids passed by me wearing a teency little bikini, I caught myself scanning the crowd to see if anyone was looking at her the wrong way. I can't help it, I'm wired to protect. I'm the damn Michael Ohr of under-clothed children.

We had a lot to say about this on Momversation. A lot of what we say gets edited out for time on these things, and my favorite point - made by Jessica Gottlieb - was (paraphrased) that it's pretty hard to go be a kid and splash and ride rides and have fun when you constantly have to watch that you didn't lose your swim top, and maybe we should just encourage our girls to have as much fun as the boys do, and part of that is making letting them dress for the occasion properly. My 10 favorite points on this entire subject were made by Mom 101. We'd love to hear your take, too.