Thursday, 23 May 2013

It's different for girls

With characteristic lack of foresight, I chose to wear a swirly whirly twirly dress yesterday, just as the wind was getting up and the chances of flashing my granny pants increased...

Well might I look a little sheepish.

I don't think I was too embarrassing, a bit of billowing about the nether portions never hurt anyone, did it?

This is another easy (breezy...) dress which I wear a lot. 

I usually pair it with a cardigan to pull in the silhouette, but this time I layered it over a blouse.

This photo demonstrates why I usually streamline the dress with something fitted over the top; it has rather an old-school maternity smock look about it. Not sure that's a look I want. You know, being as I'm not pregnant.

Equally, there is something slightly schoolgirlish about it too.
A soon-to-be-49 year old pregnant schoolgirl.



Funnily enough, the dress and the ruffles of the blouse underneath called to mind this photo - me in 1971, aged 7.

1970s Lerose maxi dress - Ebay
Sheer blouse - jumble sale
Denim jacket, sunglasses, shoes and bangles - charity shopped 
Pendant - gift from Vanessa

I was overjoyed to receive this 1960-70s Lord Python Sheffield-made stainless steel pendant, a gift from darling Vanessa of Two Squirrels Vintage. She found it in her jewellery collection and felt it should return to its city of origin, so she sent it back to live with me!

Thank you, Miss V - I love it!

Look, a breezy, over-exposed outtake.

Never mind the answer, my friends - the washing, my dress, my hair and the cherry blossom are blowing in the wind.

So while I am considering friendship, women, kindness, schoolgirls and childhood in this post, can I also bend your collective ear for a moment?

I don't write all that much about my kids on this blog. Sure, they do feature on it but really, it's supposed to be all about me round here. Oh, they pop up from time to time, passing references and photos, we do live together and hang out, and they're pretty much central to my life.

But I never had any interest in being a Mummy blogger.
Those teeth-achingly saccharine accounts of the achievements, cuteness and oh-so-hilarious doings of someone else's offspring... Nah, not for me. The stories and comments I share about my kids are more likely to be of the bloody hell, they're driving me bonkers, the little buggers variety.
I don't always find my children fascinating, so why should you?

But please bear with me while I tell you something about my Eldest.
Our personalities are very similar in many ways, hence we butt heads from time to time. We are both stubborn, pedantic, think we are always right, and like the last word.
But just recently, I have realised that for all our shared traits, we are also very different.

She's better than me.

She's less judgmental, more tolerant, more forgiving.
She doesn't bear grudges (I am an Olympic-standard grudge bearer.)
She's calmer in the face of the bad behaviour of others.
She doesn't make a fuss.

Dammit, she's a better grown-up than I am, and I am both astonished and proud. Really proud.

She's got chocolate cake mixture on her face here. Bloody hell, she even makes better chocolate muffins than I do.

Most of us know how mean girls can be - at 11, or any other age. How is it that girls/women can develop and sustain the most wonderfully supportive relationships, yet at other times treat each other with such unkindness?

Eldest has had a tricky time lately, due to a friend being mean to her. Mean, manipulative, controlling, unkind, and rude. These are not the characteristics of a friend in my book. But after a mum-to-mum conversation (I had to, the behaviour was too bad to overlook and leave unchallenged) and some discussion, she decided to forgive her friend, and carry on as normal. No judgment, no grudge, no payback, no fuss.

I couldn't do that. She's nicer than I am.

So I am contemplating what I can learn from my girl, and what we can tell each other about friendship. We'd both love to hear your thoughts and experiences, either from your own childhood/adolescence, or from a parent's perspective.

I'll stop now.
Thanks for listening.

My next post will be all about secondhand shopping and frocks, I promise!



Fiona said...

Sorry to hear about Eldest's recent troubles Curtise, my 13 year old niece went through something very similar not long ago. (I blame facebook)
ELB sounds like a very mature and kind young lady, I'm sure she must have inherited up some of those wonderful traits from you. I am fifty and still remember the girls at school who were horrid to me and you wouldn't want to know what I did to an ex-bloke! But then I am an unforgiving cow unlike your lovely daughter.
Good for you Claudia. xx

Fiona said...

inherited up????

Ivy Black said...

Two gorgeous girls!
We can definitely learn from our kids, eh? My sons are are more grown up, reasonable, and affable than I am!
Girls falling out is always a toughie I always think as somehow you expect sistas to stick together but of course they can be vile to each other. Some of the girly bitchery that goes on at school does my head in.
You've brought your lass up right and she has risen above it. I don't think I would...I'd have gone in for the kill but your girl is much nicer than me!
I do love that billowy frock and the photo. I've got one of me not unlike it except I've got ringlets and I'm trying not to smile because my overbite was like something out of the Simpsons! Oh the has much to answer for.
See you soon

Vix said...

How cute is 7 year-old Curtise? Very!!!
There's nowt wrong with flashing your knickers to all and sundry unless they're 6 years old and as skanky as mine are!
Love that frock and the cute blouse beneath, it looks very Austin-esque, you need your bonnet. You look so gorgeous in your breezy, over-exposed glory. How wonderful of darling V to reunite Lord Python with his homeland, too.
Of course Eldest inherited her common sense (and good looks) from you, you daft bat. I'm mega impressed that she shared her problems with her Mum rather than to bottle it up and that she behaved so charitably to her mean friend. That girl will go far.

Connie said...

When I first saw your dress without the jacket I immediately thought Jane Austen and here you go having your own Jane Austen-esque drama at your house. I still see little Curtise in grown-up Cutise. Always adorable. Just like your oh so cute daughter. I do so remember this age. Mean Girls abound. And they seem to pick on the most sensitive sweet girls. My own went through a phase where she was constantly ridiculed by her "best friend" and the "friend's" mother. It was messy and very upsetting. Lots of tears. It was based on jealousy and competition. And just like your babe, mine forgave her friend for being such a shit. I couldn't believe it!!! She said that it was difficult for her friend to be nice because she didn't have a very nice mom. Incredible insight for a 12 year old. Yeah, it's tough to be a girl. Still I wouldn't want it any other way.

Becky said...

I am queen of the pregnant smock look--and I don't want to be! Those stainless steel pieces you get are the BEST!! I don't know if it's 'cause I'm a mom, but I enjoy the little bits that include the kids. I had it easy when I was young, no mean girl shit. Your daughter sounds amazing. It shows that you're doing a great job and it's good that she has such open communication with you. My oldest is six and I am hoping she has good experiences with friends. It's heartbreaking to think of them having any troubles!!! Mine is already upset because she says no boys like her :( I'm like, you're six!! Who cares! I asked her how she could even tell and she says when they like you they act quiet and weird. Smarter than me at six, I tell you.

Lynn Hasty said...

It's a lovely diversion to talk about your beautiful girl! And you were (and are) beautiful too! Just look at those eyes on 7-year-old you!!

I am not sure where to draw the line between you-are-mean-and-I-won't-forgive and forgiveness. I mean, of course we should forgive, but some kids are just mean. Your little princess sure showed a kind spirit.

My girl is unlike me in that she stands up for herself in ways I never did in school. She's a tough cookie, as they say! But she's sweet. I like the mix I see in her!


Krista said...

I love this post!!!! I have no kids, I love kids I'm weird.
Now let's get serious because I totally have an opinion on this. I believe that our children are suppose to teach us and vice versa. I also think that you have raised a nice young lady who is kind and generous like her Mum. I think as we age we get hung up on all kinds of shit. We start caring about crap that doesn't matter, achieving status and making money, instead of really being a good human being to all. Girls and women can be so back staby and trivial and I think it all boils down to jealousy. It can't be avoided and my guess is that mean girl at school is mighty jealous over your eldest for whatever reason.
I have had two women really hurt me this year, and although I may have pulled back a bit from our friendship I have no ill feelings towards them. It's all about letting go for me. If something makes me feel bad I have to let it go or it will fester and I can't have that.
For the record I was a very very mean kid. I am ashamed to even say it, but I am spending all of my adulthood trying to make up for it.
BTW I got my presents from you today and you have made me oh so happy. I love the tea towel and the ear rings too, but dam my boobs won't fit in that dress:( I will play it forward but I love the print. Thanks you sweetie!!!

Now before I forget you school girl has me giggling but I do love your dress and that expression you still have that!

Max said...

she sounds like a wonderful girl Curtise, and it sounds like your've done a great job raising her that way. the timing of this post is uncanny. yesterday i was praising a friends son on facebook who was strongly refuting the racism exhibited by his school friends in relation to the stabbing in london. it really made me question my quiet tolerance of the racist stuff some of my family members post on facebook (i've tackled it once and was practically disowned) which is why i rarely use my facebook account for a long time, i can't bear to read it). i think if a 14 year old can tackle it, so can i...

Patti said...

You've got a great girl, no surprise there! And how cool that she confides in you about the Mean Girl. She's going to have a good life, I predict. When someone is mean to my ten year old niece, I want to beat them with a stick, so I applaud your good role modeling too! BTW, you were the cutest 7 yr old. xoxoxo

citizen rosebud said...

How proud you must be of Eldest- what an evolved way to look at things- and I bet she is a true friend- and people of good character will flock to her.

I like you, don't care to read mommy bloggers, but moms who blog are a different story. Thank you for sharing this. It makes your frock post so much richer.

Miss Simmonds Says said...

You know I never mind if you post about your brood! I think I was a forgiving child but turned into a grudge bearing adult. I think anytime there was nastiness, I wanted things to go back to normal as quickly as possible. Eldest is a superstar! You look lovely, very Timotei in these photos. You need to be floating around next to a cool mountain stream. Argh, phone about to die! Don't put yourself down, you're one of the most sensible people I know, why do you live so far away you bitch! Xxxxxxx

Unknown said...

Lucky you are Curtise to have such a girl, llucky she has you as well, she will do well in life
I had a rough childhood and could not count on my parents, could'nt talk to them either about my problems, i kept a lot in and had to face my problems alone
You are such a cute 7 year old!

Ariane x

Anonymous said...

I LIKE the schoolgirl look and loved seeing your actual school girl photograph.

I watched all three of my daughters contend with the "mean girl" stage, a stage I do not recall at all from my own upbringing. It's become more vicious in recent generations--I'm convinced of that.

And, yes, our daughters are often better than their mothers...and we don't say that enough!

Anonymous said...

That's proof of your wonderful and honest parenting. You see her as someone who turned out better than you, but she's actually both a mirror and your creation. Great job!

The Small Fabric Of My Life said...

Wonderful advice for a mother of daughters.

Unknown said...

You were such a cutie at Seven! These days you are a beaty!
You must have done a great Job as a mum! Since i dont have kids i cant share .

Ulla-Marie said...

If you werw a mum-blogger I would probably not follow your blog, but I like this post. I worked with kids and teenagers during many years. All personaliities are representes in children and they are of course equally intuitive an wise (or the opposite) as adults and they tought me how to respond to differenmt kinds of people. I also tought the value of ask children to apologize when I have acted wrong (rarely happends though!)but I do believe that many adults don't do that - especially not educators, which is sad. So this post - humble and wise!

And about skirts blowing up .... It happend to me the other day when a new employee was presented. Such a welcome!

Shortbread and Ginger said...

Lovely post - no wonder you are so proud of your daughter. She is a credit to you.
Liz @ Shortbread & Ginger

Anonymous said...

Sometimes we are worried about our children, we think they inherited with our genes all our weaknesses and it's so surprising to find out that they are better than what we have imagined and probabily stronger than us.
I'm so sorry for what happened to your daughter, I know how those kind of situations can ruin your days, especially if you consider those girls who hurt you to be your friends.
This happened to me for all my life, women are competitive and often weak and they find easier to bully and manipulate others than to look at themselves. My eldest is only 7 years old and she's already been disappointed by her friends behaviours in school, it's never too early to experience pain.
I admire that you helped your girl, I wish I could handle all my girls problems like you did.
Your photo at 7 is lovely, we are all full of dreams when we were children and we have to help our children to live their lives at their best.
Love xxxxxxx

BellaBean Vintage said...

I come from a long line of stubborn, rightous women and I love them!
There's a place for being angry and annoyed I think because some things do matter and there's learning in it about right and wrong, self worth and how you want to be treated. Personality and desire to let go probably dictate how long you stay there. I don't think hanging on to it forever is so good but everyone processes at different speeds. If you're still in it a decade later though I suspect it's time for therapy!
Eldest sounds like a treasure!
As for the outfit - fab as always!

Kelly Jackson said...

Was going to say, "I'm not a Mom" - but wait, I AM! (Thanks for sweet comment on blog, btw). A child in my extended fam is experiencing social issues and possible bullying, and it is truly heartbreaking to see the effects. I'd be proud of Eldest too for her forgiving nature - 'tis Divine, as the expression goes. At the same time, and I hate to sound like a beetch here, but I learned the hard way that that special girl friend whom you've forgiven has the potential to come back and slap you in the face a second time (I forgave a girlfriend once and she came back for more a few years later). How I apply what I took from that experience today: if, say, a good friend gets plastered and introduces me to a stranger in a way that's so malicious I can't even write it here, well, I write that person off for good, regardless of the special times we've shared - because the problem is hers, not mine. I don't think it's a grudge to refuse to open one's self up to further pain and betrayal by a person who professes to be a friend. Eldest's friendship could stay the course or it could derail - either way, she'll have taken something from the experience. Hope that doesn't sound insensitive. Btw you could never be the kind of Mum you describe. :)

Loving the pendant Vanessa sent you.

Kelly xoxoxo

Unknown said...

To forgive and forget is a great quality to deal with an issue and move on from it takes a great character this is something that I do. Hanging onto an issue when it has been dealt with is a waste of energy in my book, life is short we don't know what is round the corner. You are a great mother and you have a beautiful daughter. dee xxx

Anonymous said...

I'm glad your eldest can forgive like that; grudges are a waste of a life. I know that now but not when I was her age. Well done her!
Love your frock!x

Debberoo said...

I love her and I've never even met her. Wise, kind and beautiful.

Miss Piggy Bank said...

Hi, my daughter is 11 and her friend was having a hard time with another child. My daughter asked how her friend felt and the friend replied'' that they did not value that persons opinion so on that basis they were not offended''... I thought that was quite a good way of looking at the situation.

Anonymous said...

I adore your 7 yr old pix and I must say Eldest takes after you!!

And that maxi is stunning with a blouse under it. So what if you may have flashed the neighbors!!

Sigh--the pre-teen/teen years are such a minefield for girls. you are absolutely taking the right stance--keep the lines open to talk and encourage her to take the high road and never sink to their level. I always told Julie it's best to stay above the drama as much as possible. It's not easy but it's the MATURE thing to do.
I also tried to instill in her that being "popular" isn't all it's cracked up to be.
Those girls tear others down because they are insecure. You need to be secure and satisfied in your talents and accomplishments and not need other's opinions for your self-worth.
That approach certainly kept us out of the worst of the "mean girl" crapola.
Sounds like you are raising an amazing young lady.

Unknown said...

Several things:
Love your hair today... that out-take in the breeze is GREAT!
Sweet dress, and you in it.

I'm a grudge holder too. I am always thrilled to meet another woman who admits to it. That way, no one is surprised when you walk off in a huff and stay that way.

The Eldest is going to be a GREAT BEAUTY ... of the Continental kind, that the boys love from afar, and write rock ballads about. Seems she's going to be a "great girl" as well. That's unstoppable given that's she's also whip-smart.
I'm sorry she's having a rough bout with a friend, who is likely jealous and insecure. Tough time for Eldest, and so glad for her that she has you to let her know it will, ulitmately, be alright. So good that you are helping her manage the bumps in the way you are. Sounds like it's just the right amount.

I really admire your attitude toward your daughter. Mine will be 40 her next birthday, and although we're not estranged, we just don't interest each other much. She's right and I'm left, and that covers a lot of territory. We bore each other but we are both stubborn as rocks about it. So, I'm REALLY happy for you that you have this admiration for this one that began as your creation and now is in the process of belonging to herself. So much better this way. You done good, and you're fortunate in your lovely girl.

Unknown said...

she sounds so lovely..i am sure just like her mum, even though you would have us believe otherwise! i have learnt more from my kids than I am sure we will ever teach them in return! I am sure we really grow and discover ourselves when parenthood kicks in! some things ive learnt i don't like but other things are pretty cool! by the way you as a seven year old...oh dress cute! xxx

Louise Mc said...

It sounds like your girl has some lovely traits. It's such a difficult age, and only gets worse with teenage years. It's good that she is forgiving and doesn't hold a grudge, I am very like that too. I'm sure that over the years though, she will learn when a relationship is worth giving a second chance and when to just forget it and move on. Not hold a grudge, but a spit of self-preservation. Xx

Unknown said...

It is lovely to read about how proud you are your daughter and I am sorry about the bullying. Kids can be soooo mean but they can also be so open and understanding and forgiving and mature and they often put us to shame. (I love your frock and really like the cute blouse underneath -damn those tricky winds and nana undie flashing!)

Vintage Bird Girl said...

First things first....gorgeous frock. I love the print & the way you've mixed it up with the top underneath. I need the cardi to pull in my silhouette too, or else I really do look like I'm pregnant! Funky pendant from Miss V too. I love that you see yourself in your daughter, but you also see some of the qualities you would like to have. They do say kids often reflect the best & the worst in us. But I wouldn't really know.....not being a Mum & all! But girls can be mean, I think at another level to when I was a girl! Xx

freckleface said...

Oh you were such an adorable little girl. Just lovely. And your daughter has obviously turned out the same. How wonderful she sounds, so wise to not bother with all the negative stuff and so kind to decide to forgive so quickly. I admire her very much.

I rather like a pregnancy style dress and I particularly like you in this one. There's something rather floaty and feminine about it. I'd much rather flash granny pants than a tiny bit of string and butt cheeks!! :) xxx

CityScape Skybaby said...

I think your daughter is as she is because of you Curtise, (maybe her dad had a little bit to do with it too) you've brought her up well and taught her how to be a decent human being and you're seeing the fruits of your labours now. I am a massive grudge holder too by the way, so it's nice to meet someone else who admits it! I really admire you for talking to the girl's mum about it, I'm never good at dealing with other parents when there's issues and I wish I had your courage to do that. One thing I have to say is it's not just girls who can be nasty at that age. My daughter sailed through school but my son had an awful time because of bullies, and it got much worse for him after he stood up for a girl who was being bullied by boys and girls. I remember him being outraged that some of the boys attacked this girl, he just couldn't understand how boys would do that to a girl. I think people in general can just be nasty arseholes sometimes and they zero in on the gentle natured ones, then there's people who restore your faith in human nature and make up for the nasty ones. Love seeing the seven year old Curtise, your girls are very like you, you were such a cutie, and still a cutie today! Hope you're having a great weekend. xx

barbara said...

What a lot you've given me to think about this last week...I've still got poor old Lucy Jordan on my mind...(a sad tale no-one would deny but at least her husband went out to work I find myself thinking bitterly...!)
I know that motherhood is one of the many areas of life in which you are superbly competent Curtise - so it doesn't surprise me one drop that your children are all such well balanced individuals. I think the 'meanness' of some girls is a real challenge and I find it very hard to separate out my own feelings from the way the kids are feeling when they talk about the ups and downs of their friendships...there seem to be so many triggers that take me right back to my own childhood/adolescence.
I love the photo of you at 7. I have a very similar picture of me same hairdo and similar large wide ribbon - we had a box (an old chocolate box) that housed ribbons of every size and hue - there was no outfit for which a matching ribbon could not be found. I'd have no sooner gone out without a ribbon than without my knickers...And as a special treat sometimes - I used to get to tidy the ribbon box..folding them all up and arranging them in an appealing fashion. Have a lovely week Curtise XXX

Flora Cruft said...

Your eldest is clearly a beautiful chip off the old block, wishing good things for her. Love your maxi dress Curtise, and billowing around the nether regions can only be a good thing! Like you, I tend to keep my dresses streamlined to prevent the big tits = pregnancy look, it does make a different doesn't it!

Emma Kate at Paint and Style said...

Your eldest has the makings of a wise woman indeed. That childhood photo of you is so sweet! xxxx

Anonymous said...

Great dress, Curtise! You always look so beautifully put together. And how wonderful to receive that lovely gift of the silver pin from your friend.

That's an insightful comment about children sometimes having the ability to deal with things better than adults. Their view of the world is not always layered with the histories that we have. I often contemplate taking a perspective on life which includes more tolerance, forgiveness and compassion - the very qualities you describe in your daughter.

11 is a tough age. I remember it being said that it's an age when you're no longer a little child but aren't a teen either. It was certainly a tough age for me, so much so that I told myself that I would NEVER forget what it was like to be 11 when I grew up. That helped me a lot as a teacher. Bless your little one's heart. xxx

Rachel said...

Ah, I know you aren't a mommy blogger, but I do like it when your children pop up on the blog. I don't feel any urge to have children, so am destined to be a Damn Good Auntie, and I like hearing about what you get up to with them. Also because you aren't all la-laa-la-my-children with every conversation!

But this stuff is important. That age is so bloody hard to grow through. I am glad you intervened with the other Mum, sometimes it just needs to be done. You must be so proud of her.

And slightly lowbrow - good to get the air circulating, I say! Hee hee ;-) xxx

The Style Crone said...

I've admired you for a long time and now I feel the same way about your lovely daughter. Though Camille is an adult, I find myself thinking that she's better than me in a similar way that you discuss in your post. As for the 'mean girl' scenario, it's very painful to watch our children go through difficult times, and that doesn't seem to change as they become adults. Once a parent, always a parent! It sounds like you've created a close and loving relationship with your daughter, which will serve her well as the years unfold.

Your 1971 photo is a treasure. Though the wind is blowing, I think your ensemble is beautiful, accessorized by the gifted and lovely stainless steel pendant.

Unknown said...

She's a better grown up than me too! What a beauty she is - in nature and in lovely chocolatey face. Give her a lovely big cuddly kissy snuggly hug from me, please.

And then give yourself one - for you surely must have done something to contribute to her loveliness? And even if you didn't go ahead an give yerself a butt pinch from me, just because.

Now... to the frock... HELLO! I love the almost pregnant 49 year old schoolgirl looks fabulous on you. I LOVE it over the blouse (why do I never think to wear my sleeveless frocks over blouses??) and I love you looking all breezy and relaxed and happy and beautiful.

And I LOVE the 1971 pic so much. Thank you

Love your everything - skype soon?

Sarah xxx

karensomethingorother said...

What a lovely story about your daughter. She looked so charming with the muffin batter on her face as well. Is there a difference between being a grudge holder and saying "fuck you," and then just moving on down the road? I feel like the latter is a little more que sera, sera. I don't know--I'm in my 40's now, and that means I'm fine with who I am, and if someone is a dick to me, I have no time for them any longer, but I still am, and always have been, a fairly nice person in most regards.

OH hell, this is hardly coherent. I don't know--don't you think your girlie can take SOME credit from you? I would think so.

Melanie said...

I'm so glad facebook wasn't around when I was at school, kids can be nasty so and sos. I hope your lovely girls situation is better now.
I love your dress and those ankle strap shoes are just lovely xxx