The Day I Started Wearing Leggings as Pants.

Leggings as Pants

It’s a tough row to hoe, sharing one’s principles on the internet.

Because sometimes you end up changing those principles. And there’s nothing the internet loves more than hypocrisy.

For instance, the time that I made fun of Toms, then had to admit that it was all my son would wear – and worse, that I was starting to like them.

Since I wrote that, my son’s collection has only grown, Ali has a couple of pairs, and I now own four (four!) pairs of Toms myself, with one more on the way.

Toms Collection

I know. Right? I should fire me.

But leggings not being pants is a principle I’ve long stood by. Crotches were meant to be covered by more than cotton/lycra stretch fabric – because extraordinarily unsightly things can happen when they’re not.

But then.

Then I began running this summer.

Running voraciously, daily, and passionately.

There was no problem at first because it was summer – I was running in shorts and a tank top, blissfully unaware at the wretched corner I was self-painting into.

I realized my error and began fretting as we entered September. It wasn’t time to make the decision yet, but I knew it was coming.

What would I wear for cold weather running?

This was a serious situation for me to grapple with. A perception-shattering dilemma. A potentially credibility-crushing decision.

I realize that running leggings are not at all the same thing as an Aztec-print legging that doesn’t line up in the crotch. But my town is brimming over with girls who wear workout leggings to hang out at Starbucks with full makeup and hair to accompany them, and I admit I’ve judged that, as well. It’s the “I want to look like I’ve been working out so I can get away with this outfit but I still want to look good while doing it” look.

At least I am aware of my stranger-judging problem. And that I am a terrible person.

So I began considering my options.

…There were loose running pants. This seemed fraught with issue. Knowing my level of grace I was sure to get my foot tangled in the cuff right as I was passing by a cliff and fall to my death.

No, I don’t want to die over my stand on pants.

…There were the skirt-over-leggings running pants.

I wore enough skorts in Junior High. No.

…I could wear shorts over my leggings. This was the most reasonable option, but it felt rather like a homeschooler trying to be overly modest at a 90’s track meet.

(I have reason to feel this way. We actually had to sew extra-wide ribbons on the ends of our already-long Umbros for our track meets. I feel it necessary to say that even the homeschool parents thought this practice was ridiculous – it was the private school sports association hosting the track meet that required such full coverage, along with the sleeved t-shirts.)

Track Meet Nineties

Umbros have never felt so violated.

(It should also be noted that there were no corresponding Rules of Decency for males at this track meet, as my brother’s Creeper Mustache more than adequately proves.)

Shorts-over-leggings was not a viable option for me.

And so my choices seemed to sift through my fingers, nothing left but grossly trespassing my principles.

And trespass I did.

I clenched my teeth, balled my hands up into determined fists, and bought four pairs of running leggings – one pair’s tag even used the phrase “Running Tights.”

And I wore them.

In public.

With a shirt not covering my butt.

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And when I finished running, I went to Target.

And I bought coffee.

And I even ate a meal out with my husband.

And I judged myself harshly.

Then one day, the universe gave me the opportunity to complete my full level of hypocrisy – I went running after being super dressed up for something else.

So I was in public in running clothes and full makeup and hair. Which means that perhaps all those other girls at Starbucks had also just been running in their full makeup and hair. And that I’m a terrible person.

Chris demanded that I take a photo of my moment of breaking every principle I held dear (and looking downright ridiculous).

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At least you can’t see my leggings as pants. Or the Frappuccino.

The Brush of Death.

I’ve made many humiliating parental admissions on this blog.

You guys know that I only bathe my children twice a week.

You are aware that I never make their beds.

You have been apprised of my issues with Sippy Cups and Mold.

So you probably won’t be shocked that I’m not the best teeth-brushing mother, either.

(And although I’ve tried to be a flossing mother, it’s really a ridiculous undertaking since the gaps between their teeth are so large that it’s like rubbing a piece of yarn between two houses an acre apart and expecting to pick up some paint chips.)

But back to brushing.

Ali is responsible for her own teeth, and she does a decent job, although she must be reminded two times a day because heaven forbid a kid actually realize that they are responsible for the same things every single day.

I mean really. There’s just no logic to expecting her to know that she is required to brush her teeth today just because she was required to do so yesterday. And last week on this day. And last month on this day. And last year on this day.

Moving on.

Then there’s Noah.

I’ve been riding high on the fact that he’s gotten four good dentist reports, and have let this undeserved success fuel me in my lack of proper attention to his teeth.

(And I might also occasionally tell myself “Eh, they’re only baby teeth!”)

It’s not that I don’t try.

Really.

It’s just that he doesn’t appreciate my efforts and he’s a professional wiggler and whiner, so short of me buying a cast-off set of stocks from a medieval torture chamber estate sale or a second-hand straight jacket from a Mental Institution Going Out of Business Everything Must Go Sale, I’m not going to be able to force him to let me properly clean his teeth.

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So I do my best at night before he starts screaming and thrashing (because I’m supposedly hurting him but just wait till he feels how comfortable a straight jacket is), and sometimes I don’t even try in the mornings.

If I’m feeling really lazy, I’ll just ask Ali to brush his teeth while they’re in there together, and I don’t check up on them so I don’t have to feel guilty about her seven-year-old sub-par cleansing of her brother’s mouth garden.

Because I’m the best sort of Mommy.

Last Thursday night was one of those times.

I had taken the kids out of town by myself (more on that adventure later), and by nightfall I was exhausted. We’d skipped nap, we’d had adventure and intrigue, we’d walked and shopped and explored, I’d never had a second of alone time to regroup, and they’d asked a combined total of 1,238 questions.

There was no hope of having the patience for a screaming teeth-brushing fest in my immediate future.

So I sent Ali and Noah to the tiny hotel bathroom and instructed Ali to brush her teeth, then Noah’s.

The difference, however, was that I could see the children from my reclining comatose position on my hotel bed.

And what I saw changed the world…forever.

I did not see a screaming, whining, thrashing toddler.

Nor did I see a seven-year-old make a cursory toothbrush swipe across her brother’s face to be able to say she obeyed me.

I saw this.

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A toddler willingly opening his mouth for his sister.

When she told him to.

Wider than he has ever opened his mouth for me.

Then, this.

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My son accepting a thorough brushing of his teeth – with a smile.

A SMILE!! And even a giggle or two.

Then, THIS:

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She said “Say eeee!” And he actually said eeee.

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Every single night I tell that same kid to say eeee and he acts like he has no freaking idea what I’m talking about. Never, has he ever, put his teeth together and opened his lips to allow me to brush his teeth like a real human being!

I had chalked it up to him being three and not a bright firstborn and simply not understanding my commands. Now, I see that he is certainly bright. And extraordinarily talented at hiding his brightness.

And that his mouth can indeed open happily when a toothbrush is nearby.

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And that his Magical Sister will forevermore have the responsibility of brushing his teeth.

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The game is up, son. The game is up.

The Cost of Extroversion.

140604 Downtown Inside Out

“Hey…did you know The Redmont Hotel is still open? I mean, who knew, right?”

I groggily recounted this extraordinarily urgent information to Chris at 6:15am Saturday morning. I had not slept all night, and was entrapped in a heavy delirium that later made it impossible to walk in a straight line.

“I mean, I figured that place had been closed for years. Decades even. You never hear anyone say they stayed there! I mean, have you? But Jamie and I Googled it at lunch a couple of weeks ago and it’s still open!! Isn’t that fascinating?”

“Okay…”

“We should really go there sometime. I mean, we should know what it’s like, right? It’s like…a historical marker or something.”

“Umm….What all did you take to try and help you sleep? And at what time?”

I recounted the list of things I took, all within legal and somewhat recommended limits.

“Are you going to be okay today?”

“I hope so! I should get up and run since I can’t sleep!”

This took place between Friday’s Artwalk and Saturday’s Artwalk.

As Chris was leaving for the football game, I tried to set his mind at ease.

“I think I figured it out around 3am. There’s this part of my brain – like a real, physical lobe or something – that I have to use to talk to lots of people. But if it gets activated, it can’t shut down. Like…ever. Or at least for a lot of hours.”

“Please be careful today.”

Despite my lack of mental clarity at the time, I actually think I was right.

I’m an introvert. I recharge by being alone. I like people, but prefer them in small doses. Just like four ibuprofen is the outer limit of how many one should take at once, four people is the outer limit of the number of humans I can relate with at once.

However, when I need to, I can Transformer-Style morph into an extrovert. If I find myself in an extended situation of extreme extroversion, as I was at ArtWalk where I talked to hundreds of people for six hours straight two days in a row, my brain is able to compensate and allow me to become a temporary extrovert.

However. Once that switch is flipped, I become immediately and intensely aware that I can forget about sleeping. Because my brain will refuse to shut off, no matter how many magically delicious melatonin gummies I chew.

It’s not even that I’m thinking – it’s almost as if I can feel my entire brain buzzing. It plays songs on repeat. It has imaginary conversations that make no sense. It will play iPhone games – all in my head. I cannot escape from my brain, and it holds me hostage with no excuse.

The ability to switch back and forth, according to the aforementioned friend Jamie (who is an Extrovertedness Evangelist), is called being an Ambivert. An Ambivert is someone who has both an introvert and an extrovert side, like having a multiple personality disorder without the loss of memory.

And apparently Extrovert Me is an acute insomniac.

I believe this is because I don’t let her wake up very often, and so when I do tiptoe up to her bedroom door and knock softly, asking her to come out and take over for a while so that Introvert Me doesn’t curl up in the fetal position at the thought of talking to hundreds of strangers, she is like “HECK YEAAAASSSS!!! Do you KNOW how long I’ve been locked in this room? It’s been like two years!! PAAAAAAARTYYYYYY!!!”

(For those of you properly educated in the subject of My Little Pony, imagine Pinkie Pie after having found herself locked in a dungeon for twenty-four months. Now picture her delighted, screaming face pointed at the sky. That’s Extrovert Me.)

And then it takes ten bouncers in my head to shove her back into her cell and lock the door.

BUT.

There’s only one thing worse than not sleeping because of Extrovert Me bouncing off the sides of my brain.

It’s if Introvert Me returns too quickly.

Because then she keeps me up all night also…but in complete and utter horror…recounting every conversation Extrovert Me had with every single person I saw, conjuring up ways that I probably offended half of them, confused half of them, and looked like an idiot to all of them.

Because that’s what introverts do.

Partying all night like an extrovert is always preferred.

So. How does your brain work?


Editor’s Note: That very Saturday, Jamie came to see me at Artwalk and said, “By the way – did you hear that The Redmont closed?” My efforts to confirm this rumor have been unsolidified, but seem to point in that direction. So I sure am relieved that I was able to convey that timely information to Chris at 6:15 that morning.
Updated: The Redmont is undergoing a renovation and will be reopened as a Hay Creek Hotel. Thanks to Katherine for the tip.