F the LBD

The amazingly beautiful Audrey Hepburn, wearing an amazing little black dress like a boss. This was a promo shot for Breakfast at Tiffany's.

Brittany looked at her dress, benignly laying across the bed. She looked at her reflection in the mirror. She poked at her belly. Yes, it was a belly. Rhymes with jelly. It didn’t bounce back as quickly as with the first two babies. The third time was definitely not the charm. She was like the stretched out elastic on an old pair of panties. Droopy drawers.

The dress was looking much less benign. She heard the baby shifting positions in the next room. She wondered how moms ever got anything done before baby monitors. One thing about being on baby number three, she knew better than to jump at the first shifting and snuffling. It would likely stop. It did. She turned her attention back to the black dress that seemed a little more hostile.

To be honest she barely gained much more weight than the baby, yet she was still lumpy. There was a party to go to and she was committed to getting into that form hugging dress. She pulled on her “firm-control” black hose and lifted her saggy breasts into what had been a pretty bra. She decided to iron her hair and then address the dress. She’d also do her makeup. She was going to wear the very pretty, very shimmery gold shadow from the Gwen Stefani Urban Decay palette. Where was her mascara?

Ashley would be at the party, too. This was Ashley’s first baby. When Britt saw Ashley last week, Ashley looked absolutely fabulous. Her chubby cheeked infant snuggled into the stroller that Ashley jogged behind, her yoga pants hugging her jiggle-free ass. Britt had the clumsy double stroller with her own Anna on a scooter nearby. They were heading to the “make your own cornucopia” class at the arts center. She was wearing yoga pants, too, but with her husband’s oversized college hoodie covering her hips. Hips, slash, lumps.

“Almost ready?” It was her husband. He was always impatient with her when she got like this. She could almost chant his words, “You look beautiful. Don’t be hard on yourself. Look at these beautiful children. How could you be feeling like you’re anything less than amazing?”

He didn’t understand. She wasn’t worried about him. Women dress for each other, not for men. She wanted Ashley, and their friend Kelly, to look at her as a peer-mom, part of the hip supermom sorority. She wasn’t going to sink to the suburban mini-vanned, sweat-pantsed, sweet lattes with whip demographic. The hair in her pony swung clean and shiny.

All three of them had babies in the past four months. She didn’t want to be the one that didn’t quite recover. Intellectually she knew it was stupid, but in her heart, no, in her soul, she needed to look fabulous. Her four-inch Louboutins–what a great find they were last year, before she became a waddling baby vessel–were at the foot of the bed. She stepped into them. Her right foot was a little squeezed, but as she walked in front of the mirror she felt stronger and the pain vanished. Sexy shoes did that. She kicked them off.

Britt went into the bathroom. She needed to pee. This would be the last time for the night. It was time for the Spanx full body shaper. Control was definitely what she was going after. She liked to have her hose on first, it made the Spanx a little easier to get into. She wondered if she should have bought a new, bigger size. Too late for that. She adjusted the legs, moved the fabric around, pulling some of it up higher, evening out her body. She could still almost breathe. She looked in the mirror and couldn’t find a lump to poke. There was no give to her artificially compressed body.

The dress on the bed looked benign again. Britt pulled it over her head. Her stomach wasn’t really flat, but it was not obviously fat. Her back end had a bit of a perky lift. She put her heels back on and made a circle in front of the mirror, smoothing the knit fabric over her curves. She clipped on her shiny earrings, grabbed her bag and headed to the baby’s room to scoop her up and go to the party.

Yeah, this was a lot of effort for a neighborhood holiday get together, but they all did it. Didn’t they? Still, she felt that the pressure to perfectly wear that little black dress was a drag. She wondered if she’d ever move beyond this stress. Maybe when the kids get bigger. Maybe.


A baby with fat cheeks.

He was definitely still a baby, but was increasingly more independently busy. Increasingly, in this case, used as a multiplier for more. It was happening fast.

Walking was always at top speed so you’d call it running. There was jumping and dancing, too. Words, and sounds that mimicked words, would tumble from his mouth. They would have the cadence of conversation, and likely a meaning that was uninterpretable, for now. He could clearly convey, “No,” usually when admonishing the dog. “No, babau” or whatever he said that meant dog.

It was time for his nap–remember he’s still a baby–but he was using his found power of no on his mother. She needed him to stop being busy for a bit. She had some busy of her own to do. Also, he was tired and she wanted to stay ahead of that.

She lifted him up and gently placed him in the bed. He sat up. She knew if he stopped for a few moments, sleep would win. She stretched out next to him and put her hand on his little back. He turned his head toward hers, lifting his chin so he could see into her eyes. They were just like his.

She saw her reflection in his eyes. She whispered a little hushing sound just above his head. She looked at his big round cheeks, rosy pink in the center dissolving into the smooth, clear porcelain at his rounded chin and his tiny nose. She brushed her hand on his cheek. It was warm, fueled by his little furnace inside. He sighed a baby sigh, and she felt his body relent a bit.

She locked eyes with him. He wasn’t going to let her out of his sight. She thought his eyebrows were perfectly formed, a light brown hinting at auburn framing his green eyes. With those lashes. Those long curly baby lashes coveted by all the women. He blinked. It was starting. He blinked again. She answered with a slow blink of her own.

She loved watching him fall asleep. The long, slow blinks that would get longer and slower until his lids were too heavy and would not flutter open. She couldn’t move too soon, otherwise, it’s back to the coaxing stage. She rubbed his back. He lifted his little hand and placed it on her cheek. Her heart swelled. She knew he was sleeping when she felt the wet, warmth of his perspiration. He would flash just as he fell asleep. And then she, too, was asleep.



colourful plastic blocks for a baby

The baby was fully concentrating. Her brow was furrowed as she rotated the red box. She was very impressed with herself. She picked up the box, and she also manipulated it. FTW!

She lifted it a bit more quickly than she calculated and knocked herself in the head. She was quite surprised by the velocity she created. She actually forgot that she was responsible for the collision. She didn’t cry. She just looked at the box in a confused way.

Not to be defeated, the baby shook it. More activity that caused something. She was reminded that there were contents in the box. She dropped the box the three inches to the carpet.

She dipped her hand in the box. It emerged attached to a green block. This was unexpected, but delightful. She raised the block to her mouth so she could steady it as well as taste it.  She pushed the block more solidly into her hand with her chin.

She pulled the block away from her face and looked at it anew. Because everything for her was new.