Bullying the Chocolate Chip Face

When I was 2yrs old, I developed a birth mark on my face. Unfortunately, it was not quite Cindy Crawford-esque & my parents reasons for not having it removed are questionable (aka I still don’t know the answer to this!).

Fast forward 16+ years—7th grade is when things turned ugly. (Funny how 16+ yrs later I still feel the heat rising from the pit of my stomach and the tears pooling in my eyes.) It all started the day ‘Brad’ turned around in his seat to stare. Instinctively I put my hand up on my cheek to cover the quarter-size ‘beauty mark’. After living with this birth mark for almost 13yrs I had grown used to the stares and it had become second nature to tilt my head to the side, look down at the ground, fake a jaw ache and hold my hand to my face, etc. ‘Brad’ was a dark haired, loud-mouthed popular boy who enjoyed attention–good or bad. On this day, ‘Brad’ was seated next to one of his buddies, ‘Scott’. They had become bored with throwing spit balls at the teacher and had now turned their attention to me. ‘Scott’ whispered something to ‘Brad’ and they started laughing hysterically. ‘Brad’ stuck his finger inches from my face pointing at my cheek.

“Hey, chocolate chip face! Chocolate chip face!!”  -Brad

“Hey, Hairy Mole! Look at that thing! Did you eat some ice cream, Chocolate face??”- Scott

“Brad, here’s a quarter tell her to have a rat gnaw that thing off her face!!”- Scott

I just kept my head down staring intently at my Social Study book praying the ground would either swallow me up or the teacher would do more than just keep repeating ‘Quiet down!’. The hour felt like eternity and the horrible, hurtful barrage of insults continued. I was anywhere but in that classroom. I wish I could say it got better, that the teacher finally did something, ‘Brad’ and ‘Scott’ were vaporized by a UFO, or my parents decided to homeschool…. but no. I survived an entire school year being bullied. First it was just ‘Brad’ and ‘Scott’ but then it gradually caught on and soon others joined in. The majority of the taunting was from the boys but there were 1 or 2 girls that were trying to impress the boys by joining in on all the fun. l tried everything to avoid having to go to 5th period social studies— nurses office, pretending my locker door was stuck, even going to principal’s office to ask for extra pencils, paper, ANYTHING but doing what I should have done. Looking back I wish I could have stopped hiding behind my hand and asked for help, told someone–my parents, counselor. teacher.

There is a deeply disturbing epidemic out there that is killing our children. There seems to be more and more in the news lately about kids taking their own lives due to bullying. I feel their pain and remember the absolute helplessness I felt. At that age its you and your peers in one social sphere— and the rest of the world in another. Why didn’t I tell an adult about the cruel taunting I was enduring? Thinking back on it I remember thinking that I wouldn’t be believed or I would be told the same thing my parents told me when I would tattle on my little brother for calling me sillyhead or poopooface. “Amber, sticks & stones can break your bones but words can never hurt you.” What I was most afraid of ,however, were the kids finding out I told— the taunts and name-calling would just explode–at least that’s what I imagined happening.

“Nearly 1 in 6 high school students has seriously considered suicide, and 1 in 12 has attempted it, according to the study by the Centers for Disease Control (NY Post, Youth at Risk, 2012). That’s terrifying. Back when I was in school there was no Facebook or Instagram— and I’m thankful there wasn’t! With more and more communication avenues opening up there are inevitably more ways to bully and harass so not only would there be classroom bullying being hurled at our very vulnerable, fragile pre-teens, teens (Yes, fragile! All the hormones, changes physically & mentally, trying to ‘find your identity’.), there will be bullying coming from so many more directions. Now how on earth can we save our kids and boost their immunity to bullying?? I wish there was a vaccination for it, but reality is that there is no one, all-encompassing answer to this question.

I think community or school social media cops should be put into place, and they should be a priority on the budgets of school districts. With the ever-growing trend of the breakdown of the family unit and more single parent households it would be unrealistic to expect bullying immunity to come only from a child’s home. There needs to be more repercussions for bullying. Being suspended from Facebook is just not enough (The bully will just find another avenue!). Putting specially trained ‘bullying’ authorities in charge of overseeing students social media accounts, classroom discussion on the importance of asking for help, and having continuous education to keep up with the rapidly evolving internet trends should be seriously considered by school districts nationwide.

Now going back to where I left off on my personal bullying account. At the end of 7th grade I noticed the birth mark changing shape which grew concern from my parents. The “poop smear”, “chocolate chip”, “hairy beast” was bid farewell by the time the next school year started, and on top of that my father was transferred jobs! I was able to start fresh at a new school— which I happily attended and graduated with honors from. I mention ‘with honors’ because throughout 7th grade my grades had plummeted. Instead of studying in my room like my parents had assumed I was doing after dinner every night, I was watching tears fall onto the pages, and imagining what life would be like if I looked ‘normal’.

 

The 3in scar is still visible when I’m not smiling. I view it more as a battle scar now. I do catch myself from time to time talking with my hand resting on my cheek—I mean I did it instinctively for so many of my early years. I consider myself lucky though, my bullying experience is absolutely nothing compared to so many others from my generation, and it doesn’t even compare to what this generation and future generations will have to fight. I can’t only pray that our children and our children’s children will be protected & the bullying epidemic is eradicated— my words & actions as well as the words & actions of thousands of others are a vital component in the recipe to end bullying.

A Mom’s Secret Weapon to Looking Human

Self tanner is my #1 secret to looking awake… or really just alive! I put it on my face/neck/chest and arms once a week during winter AND summer. The only thing I do differently during summer is that I use a self tanner that’s a bit darker and less moisturizing. My favorite time to apply is about an hour before bed, and I throw on an oversized tshirt—please don’t wear your favorite Victoria’s Secret pjs! Staining sometimes happens.

There are many great brands out there… and there are many not so great ones. In MY opinion, Neutrogena is by far the worst when it comes to color and fading/wearing off. The color tends to be on the more orange side. Even with the perfect application of any of the Neutrogena self tanning lotion/gel/mousse/spray there are streaks. When it starts wearing off it falls off in scales and you end up looking like a reptile as opposed to fading evenly. L’Oreal is a little better when it comes to application due to a better color guard, but it wears off the same way. The best of the drugstore brands that I have found is Banana Boat. Specifically, Banana Boat Sunless Summer Tanning Lotion. I use the light/med in the winter and deep dark in the summer. Sorta a drugstore brand but not really is Ulta’s Sunless tanning continuous spray. It’s under $10 and there are often BOGO offers AND it’s AMAZING!!! It has the perfect color and fades evenly and is a breeze to apply!! If I’m feeling blah in the morning and haven’t used sunless tanner in awhile I will spray this on my face (hold about 12-20in away so it applies evenly) and proceed to get ready–doing my makeup last and using a mineral foundation as you don’t want to rub your face. The tan will develop within a couple hours and adds a beautiful glow under your makeup. You’ll walk by a mirror in the afternoon and go “Wow! I look like a million bucks!”
Also, another tip that will save you a lot of frustration—many people have trouble with their hands/wrists. Well after suffering from years of orange wrists/spotted fingers/brown palms—I have figured out the perfect, easiest technique! Apply the self tanner and skip your hands and about 2-3in of your wrists. Scrub your hands front AND back really well. Regardless of whether you used a mousse/lotion, etc. ALWAYS use a mist spray like Ulta’s Sunless Continuous Spray on your wrists/hands. Don’t worry about the brands being the same or color matching perfectly— just spray/lightly mist the tops of your hands and undersides of your wrists allowing the mist to also spray on the forearm and underside of your arm… it will all blend in so don’t worry, just be sure not to spray your palms because with this technique you do not want to wash your hands after. I have tried using mitts/latex gloves, etc. and I would always end up with funny looking fingers/wrists. This way has been super easy and the most effective at creating a flawless look.

Sunless tanning..."must-have" tools!!

The Top 10 Reasons I am Jealous of Lady Mary of Downton Abbey

Lady Mary employs a fulltime nanny and can skip off to tea or go horseback riding without making plans weeks in advance and then worry about the sitter not showing.

Lady Mary can eat slowly–enjoying every bite of tarte or quiche. Babies and children at the Grantham dinner table?? I think not!

Lady Mary doesn’t need to go thru the exhausting & downright painful ‘shopping for clothes after baby experience’. She doesn’t need to squirm her way into the size 4 jeans while trying to avoid that woman in the dressing room mirror or worry about the cut being too low and looking like a teenybopper. Her outfits are carefully selected, custom made or tailored perfectly to her lithe figure–and if she did indulge in an extra slice of pie–there are industrial strength corsets and someone to tighten them to her 18″ waist—at her beck and call.

Lady Mary lives in a 50,000sq ft house with well over 100 rooms— plenty of places to hide from children…. and husbands for that matter!

“I just want to be left alone to read my book!!!”

Lady Mary has the most perfect complexion that I have ever seen. A natural beauty with flawless, ethereal pale skin. If I went that pale—I would be thrown in the morgue. She can pull it off. I could not.

Lady Mary doesn’t have to spend an hour straightening her hair with her arms going stiff to get her locks polished and regal looking. She has Anna, her personal maid.

Lady Mary doesn’t clean, yet her house (ahem… castle) is spotless, and she can lounge around without guilt.

Lady Mary doesn’t have the distraction of technology/cell phones getting in the way of having genuine adult conversations…especially with the men as they hang on her every word!

Lady Mary has an incredible, out-of-this-world library. Not like she uses it but just to have it available to her! *drool*

Lady Mary doesn’t have to be woken up by a child staring at her and asking repeatedly for chocolate milk…. seriously… repeatedly. A broken record.

The Tummy Tuck Adventures Part 1

I hate the name ‘tummy tuck’. Just looking at it screams ‘self-absorbed’, ‘self-centered’, ‘shallow’. The name abdominoplasty just sounds better to my ears. I think it has to do with the guilt I feel for wanting this procedure done when it is not absolutely necessary. It’s elective. I wonder if other mothers who have had this procedure done or those that have just danced the idea around in their heads have had similar thoughts. Well I am shoving those thoughts down the garbage disposal and am going thru with it. For 2yrs (Well actually longer than that as when I was pregnant with the twins I could physically feel my stomach muscles be ripped apart and see the stretching of the skin with my eyes.) I have dreamed of having my stomach put back together again. I’m not concerned with my weight. I believe weight comes off with proper diet and exercise… period. I’m 5’3 and weigh between 120-126lbs…yes I could stand to lose another 10lbs but that just comes down to my lack of consistency in exercise… no excuses there! However, exercise cannot repair my stomach or take off the extra skin sagging above my pubic bone area.

After the twins were born via C-section (No choice there due to Kate being breech!)—- my abdominal region was literally destroyed. Diastasis recti, where the muscle of the abdominal region separate was moderate to severe, and the lose skin was definitely there. At this point I need to add my husband always, to my annoyance, says ‘Be proud! You carried twins–4 kids in there! How could you think that gross?’ Um… this makes me want to scream and or cry. Ok, maybe I shouldn’t think it gross or be so self conscious about it, but I. AM. If that makes me shallow and a bad person so be it! I can’t help it. I wish I could put him in my head, he just doesn’t understand. Do men understand? Can they understand?

So, where am I at in the process of having my long awaited abdominoplasty? I am at the very beginning. I just had my consultation yesterday. Talk about feeling embarrassed, try having a Dr. view your most self conscious area of your body— studying, prodding, measuring, pushing. Ugh. I kept reminding myself ‘he does it all the time–breathe’…’ he has seen much worse–breathe’. After that was done, I received the consultation quote for the procedure, including hospital fees. $7600.00. Yes, $7600.00. Breathe. No, insurance doesn’t cover it, and no, you can’t use funds from your HSA. Double ugh. I am looking into the payment plans and the Care Card and discussing dates with the husband–as he would have to take off a few days to help out at home. Yes, when I do get it done, before and after pictures will be posted.

To be continued….

Bullsh*t Free Zone

Truth #1 You will always love your kids but you will not always like them.

Truth #2 Formula feeding does not mean you are a selfish mother who doesn’t care about the well-being of your baby. Period. The end. Move on.

Truth #3 Having ‘celiac’ or buying overpriced ‘GF’ products doesn’t make you look hip. Unless your kids have celiac disease— stop buying into the hype! Let them eat it! It’s called marketing & companies are making $$$ on this trend. (Yes, trend!! Congrats! You just bought a $8 loaf of bread!)

Truth #4 Vaccinations will not give your child autism. (Thanks, Jenny McCarthy for scaring the crap out of expectant mothers everywhere! Well done!)

Truth #5 You do not need the $500 HD 6in screen baby monitor. Just no….

Truth #6 You will end up saying “YES!” to the question “Mommy, can I have a piece of birthday cake??” while you are still struggling to wake up & smack that damn 7am alarm clock.

Truth #7 Breakfast, lunch & dinner are 3 very stressful points in the day.

“I don’t like this…”

“She has MORE noodles!!”

“I’m NOT hungry!!”

“Why can’t I have mac n’ cheese?!?!”

Truth #8 You will be elated when your baby starts talking. You will be not so elated 3 yrs later when in the checkout line your 4 1/2 yr old tells you loudly that the lady in front of you has a VERY big butt.

Truth #9 You will end up singing/humming songs from kids TV shows at random intervals throughout your day. You will catch yourself singing/humming them & want to ban Barney, Blue, the Einsteins, and Jake from ever setting foot into your house again.

Truth #10 Scott from Imagination Movers is kinda cute.