When you have five kids, life generally feels like a circus. When you go out with five kids it really feels like a circus what with all the spectators and gawkers. When you meet up with a friend who has her own four kids, two of whom also hail from Vietnam, I think there is some legal qualification you meet to actually be declared a circus.
Or at least the freak show.
At any rate, the people in the mall seemed to think we were a curiosity. One man, himself definitely not a “white guy” (middle eastern maybe?) asked where my boys were from and then wanted to know what the difference is between Koreans and Vietnamese.
“The eyes, maybe?” he suggested.
“I really don’t know,” I smiled at him, and then he gave all the kids lollipops. Obviously he isn’t aware that I watched one of my children nearly choke to death on a lollipop and, therefore, only let the oldest four eat them if they are seated, and don’t let the baby eat them at all yet.
But really, this all isn’t the part of the parenting circus that has been on my mind the past several days. No, what I’ve been thinking about the most is the whole balancing act that is parenthood.
A big part of the balancing act, of course, is time. I must find time for each of my children, time for my husband, time for my church responsibilities, time for myself, and time to prevent my house from looking like a post-performance circus tent. Lately I have really been struggling with the time thing. I feel like I am behind on everything I need and want to be doing.
But that isn’t even the specific balancing act I want to talk about today.
No, today I want to talk about . . . gulp . . . don’t laugh.
Please. You can’t laugh.
Well, okay, yes you can.
Today I want to talk about the balancing act of the unibrow.
There. I said it. Yes, I have been walking the unibrow tightrope.
First, just let me say, I think my girls are beautiful. Truly beautiful inside and out.
But that doesn’t change the fact that my oldest two have had something of a unibrow for . . . umm . . . forever. We’re not talking Frida Kahlo density or anything. No, not nearly that pronounced, but still . . .
So when do you bring this to your child’s attention? Our society is so image conscious already, and it just never felt right to point it out to them, to make them too aware of perceived physical flaws too soon. I don’t want to create self-consciousness unnecessarily over such a petty, minor thing. At the same time, however, I don’t want them to find themselves in some situation someday in which a peer might be mean and tease them about this. That would be a lose-lose situation since they would feel bad about the mean comment and then feel worse when they find out that their own mother has realized it for years and, oh by the way, could have fixed that problem in a matter of seconds, and DIDN’T!!!
So there is the balancing act of the unibrow. I don’t want to make them feel needlessly self-conscious, but I want to protect them from the unique brand of mean that can be children. I didn’t want to start brow waxing at age three, thereby over-emphasizing the importance of physical appearance, but I don’t want other kids asking them about their pet caterpillar.
What to do?
Well, I’m not actually asking you what I should do. I’ve already done it.
About a year ago I bought some of those eyebrow shaping strips you can get at any grocery or drug store, figuring my eyebrows could use a little maintenance and I could use them on the UniCrew. They sat in my vanity drawer, unused, until we moved, at which time they wound up in a bathroom drawer; and there they have been, unopened, ever since.
I have been tweezing, thank you very much.
A few days back I about pulled out the tweezers again, but then decided it was time to put that little black box of mystery adhesive strips to work. As I fixed up my eyebrows, I once again wondered if I should just go ahead and take care of the girls’ eyebrows as well. I didn’t.
The next day, however, as I was drying their hair to get ready for church, I decided it was time to get off the tightrope.
I started with A~, dried her hair, sprayed it a little bit, then asked her to look at me while I pulled out the little black box.
“I don’t know if you’ve ever noticed,” I said, “but your eyebrows kinda grow together just a little bit over the bridge of your nose.
She heaved the Sigh of Reticent Embarrassment and Mortification.
“I know,” she said. “It’s bothered me for a long time. I’ve been afraid it makes me look like Count Olaf.”
iiiiiiiiieeeeeeeeeeeee . . . splat
That would be the sound of me falling off the unibrow tightrope. Of course, it happened months or even years ago, and I’ve been lying flat on my face without knowing it all this time.
I told her that if anything like that ever bothers her again she should tell me. Please, tell me! Because sometimes there is a very easy solution. I mean, no boobs for your sixteenth birthday (that part was only in my head), but let me know so we can see what can be done.
I had L~ come into my bathroom next, and I went through the same routine with her. She didn’t seem to be bothered either by the fact that she had a unibrow or by the fact that I was calling attention to it by removing it. I think she was just happy to be doing “girl stuff” in my bathroom. That girl is all about shoes, shopping, and at-home spa treatments.
So I think . . .think . . . I did a decent job balancing on L~’s unibrow tightrope while lying in a pool of my own gore underneath A’~’s.
Gah! This parenting stuff is hard.
I’m just glad the skimpy, sequined unitard is optional.
And George, if you’re out there, Tewt the Newt is rocking his sequins.