look out for the crims


I lean against the pool wall, taking in the scenery while I watch Brooke’s long, lean body move dolphin-like through the water. Since discovering the complete lack of sound under water, she doesn’t come up to the surface much these days.

It’s 90 degrees, which in Mid-August New England has the added benefit of Amazonian humidity. Together, the heat and heavy air translate into something around ‘hot as hell’. Since many of the local camps – like Brooke’s – have finished for the summer, an army of nannies and their charges have migrated to our usually quiet haven.

Early twenty-somethings dot the pool deck, creating a pattern worthy of Team Umizoomi –

Tankini clad mom, bikini bare twenty something, mom with a swim skirt over the last fifteen pounds, bikini bare twenty something, mom in a ruffly one-piece fooling no one … C’mon, kids – say it with me … ‘Bikini bare twenty something!’

I involuntarily tug at the top of my bathing suit. The back pulls ever so slightly. A terrifying image of cinched back fat flashes through my head. It ain’t pretty. In an effort to shake it, I look around. Big mistake.

I’m immediately assaulted by a ludicrously flat midriff. Not even flat, but gorgeously, lusciously, infuriatingly concave. This particular midriff happens to be between two completely mis-matched bathing suit pieces. They’re not even remotely related to one another. They’re not even pretending to be. I guess when you’ve got concavity on your side, top to bottom coordination is optional. I grudgingly concede that she looks adorable. B-tch.

But wait. Hold the phone. I look more closely. I tried on that exact same top! OK, not in the same SIZE, but the same top. And then took it off as if it had bitten me. I looked like a train wreck in that top. As a matter of fact, I’m pretty sure that my boobs still haven’t completely forgiven me for subjecting them to that particular indignity. (Sorry, Dad.) But damn, on Concave Midriff B-tch it looks really cute.

Kill me now.

I will myself to look in another direction. Brooke floats by, declaring that she’s jumping crims. I have no idea what ‘crims’ are, but they are apparently all over the pool and need to be avoided at all costs. I give her an absent-minded smile and go through the motions of saying, ‘Jump!’ when she shouts, ‘Crim!’ but my heart’s not in it.

I pull the bottom of my swimsuit into place for the hundredth time that morning. I try to arrange it just so, remembering from the fight I’d had with it in front of the mirror that the most comfortable arrangement was decidedly NOT the most flattering. I opt for flattering, obviously. I mean, it IS common knowledge that comfort has no place at a pool. Duh.

I continue to fidget with the suit bottom, despite the fact that the entire bottom half of my body is under water. Don’t look for logic. There is none.

I look around again, hoping for a distraction. I find one.

I spend the next couple of minutes trying to make sense of the improbable ratio of breasts to rest-of-body that is currently floating in front of me. I idly wonder if the poor dear ever tips over when she tries to stand up. I find myself humming the Weebles theme song – Weebles wobble! Weebles wobble! Weebles Wobble but they don’t fall down. I spend a brief moment trying to discern whether she’d opted for silicone or saline. I stop just shy of having to face the fact that I’m far shallower than I think I am. Three cheers for denial!

Improbable Ratio gets out of the pool, mercifully leaving my dance space. As she climbs the ladder, I notice that her thighs are riding the cellulite train. Since I have a commuter pass on that particular train, I do an internal happy dance. No, I’m not proud.

Brooke floats by again. This time she surfaces just long enough to say, “Watch me flow, Mom!” (She means ‘float’, but she prefers the sound of ‘flow’. Just go with it. It’s Brooke’s world and we all learn to translate.)

I chide myself. I’m at a pool, damn it. Alone with my girl. In the middle of the week. My girl, who for a very, VERY long time would NEVER have said, “Watch me!” Hell, I remember the very first time she said, “Look, Mama. She had been just shy of six years old. So for heaven’s sake, this is not to be taken for granted.

We have nowhere to be. Nothing we have to do but enjoy the day. And each other. And what am I spending that time doing? Obsessing over twenty somethings with flat midriffs and overzealous boob jobs? Well, yeah, that’s exactly what I’m doing.

I decide it is a LUDICROUS use of my time. And Brooke’s. I watch my baby ‘flowing’ in the water. What matters to her about her body is how it works and how it feels. She couldn’t care less how it looks. I choose to follow her lead. I seem to do that a lot.

I tug on my suit one last time – What, you thought I’d go cold turkey? I reach out to my beautiful girl. As soon as I get her attention, I shout, “Crim!”

37 thoughts on “look out for the crims

  1. Seriously…you had to steal that pic of me and not ask permission, SMH. You may not have stolen that pic of me, but you have stolen those thoughts, and I ain’t talkin ’bout Brook and “crim”….your bright, you’ll figure it out I’m sure:)

  2. I love this for so many reasons. First, you should see what I swim in – 10 yr old tankini top with giant sport swim shorts on the bottom (I don’t even want to say what my husband calls the outfit). Secondly, you captured so perfectly how far you have all come. The fact that you’re able to have those wandering thoughts while watching (not helping, not stressing) your daughter swim is remarkable. Here’s to Pattern Power!

  3. Great post, Jess!! It is hard to make peace with the imperfections of our bodies when faced with improbably ratios!! But as you discovered, it’s far more important to dodge those crim!

  4. I choose to go the opposite route – I focus on the most horribly misshapen people and reassure myself, “At least my ass doesn’t look like THAT (yet)…”

  5. You are always wonderful and your writing is so poignant. Behind your humor I hear your concern and as with all your life challanges you have the power to take action, small piece by small piece. I love you.

  6. Um….what did I tell you on your birthday post Missy? You’re a total hottie!!! Repeat after me- “I’m a total hottie”. Did you do it? No, you didn’t did you. Ok. Take 2. Repeat after me” I’m a total hottie”. There. That’s better. Now work on believing it! Cause it’s true. ;oP
    As for Ms. Silicone- pity her for feeling so insecure about herself that she felt a need to undergo painful surgery just to have boobs. Hell- she can have mine! ( my DH might object but whatever… )
    I had major, painful neck surgery in June to remove several ( thankfully benign) tumors. Whenever you feel a little down about your gorgeous figure remember that a HEALTHY body is beautiful, no matter what kind of fluff is has.
    You. Are. A. Total. Hottie!!!!

  7. /singing voice/Pattern power!

    Milli, she of the pattern power, doesn’t have much of a shape. Shapes are brother Geo’s thing.
    And I can’t listen to Bot without thinking “that’s not Bot, that’s Joe from Blue’s Clues.”

    (Too stresful to think about swimsuits. La, La, La, La….)

    • ooh, ooh, i can play this game …

      is it joe or steve? were they cousins or brothers? which one moved away? wonder what college he went to. do you think his college friends thought it was a little odd that he wore the same shirt every day?

  8. Hi. I was wandering around the internet looking for mother’s who might have some advice and help for me. I think my 3 yr old son is autistic,but am getting NOWHERE fast in the school system. I need advice, I need help, mostly I need support. I couldn’t find your email address on ur website so I decided to leave a comment and hope you will get back to me. Thanks for even reading my comment.

    • jennifer – we’ve all been there. you are not alone!

      here are a couple of resources that will hopefully help ..

      the following shows you what to look for and explains the warning signs in your child’s development …


      the following explains the criteria for an autism diagnosis according to the DSM IV (the diagnostic manual) …


      and if you click on this next one, it will give you a map. click on your home state and then it will show a comprehensive list of local resources. on the very top of the state page, click on ‘where to get an autism diagnosis’. when you click on that, it will take you to developmental practices and neuro-psychologists in your state who can help.

      the problem is that the map is incomplete, so your state might not yet be listed. if that’s the case, i would suggest contacting your nearest children’s hospital and asking for guidance. you can also google local neuro-psychs or developmental pediatricians. they should be able to guide you toward appropriate resources as well.

      if you want to tell me what state your in, i’d be happy to try to connect you with some local parents.

      stay with it – you’ll find what you need!

  9. Gorgeous bodies are one of those many other things that go away when you have a child with autism. Who has time or emotional energy to do the maintenance when you’re running from therapy to therapy and meeting to meeting? When you’re so busy being there for her, the “me” part has gotten squeezed out so much that even spending time on a date with your husband is a treat? Fitness- yes. That’s important. But the maintenance for the external stuff?… Perfect, concave stomachs are for wimps.

    And I repeat CeeCee’s chant- I’ve seen your picture too, and you ARE a hottie!

  10. I am a shameful, shallow person whose body has not been in a bathing suit in many years. Trying to stop believing what ad media is trying to brainwash me with.

  11. Athleta.com and Landsend.com–suits for everyone–swim shorts are perhaps the greatest invention after apple reinvented itself and brought my son the itouch…

  12. Jess, ur awesome! Thank you so much for taking the time to respond. I didn’t mean to hi-jack your time or comments. I am calling them today and trying to find a specialist for an evaluation. We’ve already done all of the hearing tests and they still insist on not making any further determinations. Time to be a Mama Bear and stand up for my baby. I don’t know if it is Autism or not, but whatever it IS, requires diagnosis and treatment. *sigh*

    • No worries! Mama bears gotta stick together, sister. I don’t doubt for a second that you’ll find answers and get your sweet boy what he needs. (Take care of you too,)

  13. EVERY SINGLE word here is right out of my brain!!!!!!!!
    My tummy is definitely far away from (if I use your words) “ludicrously flat midriff. Not even flat, but gorgeously, lusciously, infuriatingly concave”

    Once upon a time I had the energy and time to do pilates..no mas…now I have back cleavage in my wedding dress and am too exhausted to do anything about it!

    *please excuse my 29 going on 30 in 17days minor breakdown… don’t shoot me!!*

    Umm anyway I love you for this and like 10 other things…
    but today??
    definitely for this!

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