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BEAUTY CAPTURES YOUR ATTENTION, PERSONALITY CAPTURES YOUR HEART
How many gazillion posts can I start writing with no clue as to what I'm going to write about, limping solely along on the determination to post something or die trying? 1703 apparently, as of this one.

My daughter has been, for whatever reason, lamenting the fact that she is THE ONLY PERSON IN THE WORLD with an outie bellybutton. I'm not sure exactly how this bit of information has suddenly come to the forefront of her consciousness. Comparison tests in the locker room while changing for gympa? She is the only person in our family, at least, but I hardly think that warrants wailing and despair at her extreme other-ness. To stem the angst, I promised I would conduct a poll of my friends and acquaintances online so I'm asking you: innie or outie?

Her outie is, I think, the result of a rather botched umbilical tie-off, but I think it's cute. It's a little button in the middle of her darling little tummy. She seems to be fixating more and more on her appearance lately, something I keep trying, with a rather decided lack of success, to head off at the pass. Her feet are "ugly", her hair is "bushy", she's "not cute". When I ask where she is hearing this, who she is hearing it from, her answers are evasive. She's certainly not hearing it from us, and frankly, I don't think that it can all be credited to sibling affection in the form of regular teasing from her brother.

It's weird to me, because she's so very much a tomboy in so many ways, that this very feminine affliction would be bothering her at the relatively tender age of nine and a half. Isn't that early for self-image introspection? Are they really growing up THAT fast? It's scary to think that she's already aware of the way she looks and that it CONCERNS her. I know things start young nowadays, but I was hoping we had a few more years leeway.

Her emotions swing from the wildest high to a crashing low, one moment to the next. It's never dull around her, that's for sure. Giving her a compliment can send her spiraling with joy and an off-hand, teasing comment can be completely misconstrued and agonized over to the point of tears. This tough kid of mine has paper-thin skin apparently, and she's already learning about what gets through it. She's weighing and measuring and considering every angle and aspect of her revelation of self. Comparison is just a part of that process, but it's a scarily important part that can have repercussions for years, depending upon which side she comes down on herself.

As someone who has never considered herself much of a beauty, and who frankly, hasn't given much of a hoot EVER for make-up or hairstyles (no need with Barky on the job!), I'm not at all sure I'm equipped to deal with this beyond frequent and honest applications of love and affirmation. What your MOM thinks of how you look, when you're young, has no bearing on reality. It's just your MOM and she's biased, right? Of course she's beautiful to me, she thinks, I HAVE to say that. But my lord, it's true. She's so beautiful! When beauty is blossoming in a healthy glow and crackling energy and funny faces and a boundless capacity for affection, how could I NOT think she was beautiful? How could anyone, including her, ever think otherwise?



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We are all three innies in this house.

I think Karin is beautiful, and has become more and more so over the years.

I agree with you! :)

and so it begins.............argh
I think she's lovely! Full of sparkle and sizzle!
We are all innies but I have known an outie or two.

Sparkle & sizzle: that's perfect :)

Poor Karen, such a sensitive thing. I don't remember that age very well, I must have blocked it out. But I had frizzy hair and buck teeth - a far cry from the shining example of cute I am today. Or maybe I just got more self-confident...

You can tell her the internet thinks she's a gorgeous girl and we love reading about her because she is so smart and funny and interesting.

You ARE a shining example of cute. Self-confidence has a lot to do with that I'm sure, and she has that, too, but it's still wobbly, I think, because she's so young.

I've let her read all these comments. She was quiet & smiley afterwards. :)

I had an outie until I hit puberty. Then it caved in. Or, maybe my tummy grew a bit womanly around it. But ever since puberty, whether I've been thinner or heavier, my belly button has been an innie.

Nathan has an outie, too.

I used to have an outie, too.

Karin's smart as a whip, and so cute. I always love your posts about her :)

My not to scientific Internet research has revealed that only 10% of the population is an outtie. Karin is unique and special and beautiful. You and I know this and so do most of the adult around, but try to convince the only outtie in her class that this is a good thing.

Fergie the singer is an outtie. Other celebrities that are outties are Britney Murphy, Jennifer Gardner and Mischa Barton. I'm sure there are more out there.

Apparently some people seem to have almost no belly button at all, e.g. underwear model Karolina Kurkova. I think in the post-editing of a photo shoot last year, the Photoshop people had to add one to not make her look freaky. On the other hand it has been reported some retouchers (by mistake?) remove the belly button on their model pictures so I don't know which fashion sense is the one to go by. Some people possibly even have plastic surgery to minimize or remove the belly button.

Michelle has an outie. Karin is beautiful and I'm not just saying that because she is yours (although I suspect genetics may have something to do with it). There are some ugly kids out there, believe me.
Hm... I have more to say on the subject, so I better write my own blog post.

Yay! Another outie! :)

I'm the mother of an outtie and he's also wondered why no one else has a belly button like him. I told him that while it's uncommon, it's not out of the ordinary and that he's lucky to have something that most people don't.

There is a lot of information out there about building up girls' self-esteem. I don't think K has *bad* self-esteem, she's just starting to think more about herself in comparison with her peers. First of all, I have no idea what her perception and definition of "cute" is but I think even without her spunk, she's definitely cute.

Everyone has something about them that they aren't thrilled with, I guess she's going to have to decide how much she's going to let it bother her. Even people she might term "cuter" have something they'd change about themselves. I think letting her know her dissatisfaction is normal but that there isn't anything wrong or ugly about her. Does she have a friend who worries about her looks?

I was a tomboy too and I didn't start to care how I looked until about 7th grade. It was when I overheard the boys making comments about the girls and I realized that I was being evaluated. I've heard that parents and teachers are (usually) more likely to comment on what a girl is wearing or how she looks and with boys on what they know and how they perform. So without meaning to, we start to look at the boys' achievement and the girls' appearance. I can't control what people focus on when they talk to my kids and I can only hope that my not commenting too much on looks will somehow override what others do. Like you say though, I'm just the mom.

When I think of Karen, her energy is so vivid through your description. Although I've never met her I feel like I've heard her laugh, seen her run and jump, and felt how she attacks life full throttle. Those are the children that brings smiles to our faces and warm our hearts. Besides, we bushy-haired girls have more fun. ;-)

I agree with you that Karin doesn't have "bad" self-esteem...I'm more surprised that it's an issue for her at this point at all. I wasn't a tomboy but it was about 7th grade for me, too.

(Anonymous)

James has an outie too, so 1 in 4 in our household. The great thing about bushy hair is that, as Hermione Granger knew, you can always tame it for special events and in between times it is awfully easy to not worry about.

julia@kolo

I let Karin read these comments, and yours made her laugh because we've been in the middle of a Harry Potter film extravaganza lately :)

(Anonymous)

Tom, Rachel, and I are all innie. Bryce, on the other hand, I was looking at last night (coinky-dink???) has a half innie, half outie. It is sticking out at the top (almost 2/3's of his bellybutton) and the bottom distinctly has an innie. So talk about even more weird than just innie or outie. :)

As to my niece's cutie-ness, I am of course biased as well. BUT...... everyone who sees her pictures up in my house comments on how striking she is.

Aunt/Seester Sarah

Not as weird as that model that zapac mentioned who doesn't have one at all! :)

I am an innie, but every single child under the age of 2 that I've babysat has been an outie. I thought maybe it was a new medical technique. (Over the age of 2, I don't see too many of their belly buttons.) Maybe she could do something that celebrated her body, like a cool henna tattoo?

How funny that all the kids you've babysat were outies! I wonder if it IS actually fairly usual for it to change as kids grow up. Hmm...

(Anonymous)

Oh, she is. She is creamy beautiful. And a dash of mischief, too.

Yes, it starts young. My daughter was five when she came home from school hurt. She loved dresses. She wore them everyday. She was teased. She did not wear a dress again for two years, I think. It hurts them. And we, who care not of brushed hair or matching socks. It's even harder for her, perhaps.

Innie. All innies. Sorry.

argh, that was me. forgot to open my id!
(waving madly from Canada)
erin

What a shame about your daughter! Teasing is such an awful thing. :( I hope she's back to wearing dresses and learning not to care what the teasers say!

Emily started the same thing about the same age. Where does she get the message? If Sweden is 1/100 anything like America, the answer is EVERYWHERE. Girls are going through puberty much older. I would be on the look out for underarm hair. I didn't expect it so soon either, but Emily will be 11 in May, and she is in full on pubescence --boobs, hips, hair, mood swings, boy craziness -- everything except her period has arrived.

As for the beauty issues, I told her that there are times when we are feeling more vulnerable and insecure, times when we are more apt to pick on ourselves, and when she's feeling that way she needs to take special care NOT to think about how she looks. When she was picking on her individual body parts (she also has an outie)I tried to ask her what SHE really thought, not what she thought she should think, not what she thought others thought, but what her honest opinion would be if she had never seen a belly button (or whatever part d'jour) before. 7/10 times, she was fine with it. Which is a pretty good average.

Sorry I'm totally hijacking your comments. I also think that it makes a big difference being told you're beautiful. I compliment my kids a lot on how they look, not because I'm trying to get them to focus on it but because I'm trying to counteract the only other message they'll get from the media: you are not ______ enough.

You're not hijacking my comments at all, on the contrary, I was really interested in your answer. Also scared, because EEK that is so soon!!

I had a half-innie, half-outie. Then I got my umbilical hernia and had an outie. Then I had surgery and I have an innie that's way the heck too small.

I think Karin is beautiful. If we adopt a little girl, I hope she's as beautiful as Karin.

Too small for what? :D

And thanks :) I bet your daughter or son will be as beautiful as Karin (or Martin), for sure!

me, innie.

tell her outie = no fuzz to clean out. :)

haha! that IS a bonus!

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