A Verbal Snapshot

by Pauline Campos

“Mama?” Buttercup’s voice is ending on an up-note. Her eyebrows are scrunched up and her lips puckered in that cute and pensive way three-year-olds are prone to when pondering Life’s Big and Very Important Questions.

“Yes,” I ask, as I throw my bra into the hamper in the bathroom-adjacent closet and step into the bath tub for the same kind of quality time I grew up with. For just a moment, I remember sneaking glances at my mother’s body. The stretch marks. The boobs that kinda just hang there. The baby pooch that never really goes away unless a plastic surgeon is involved. In my Bath Time with Mommy days, there was no judgment. I just accepted her body as fact. But as I grew into a snippy little twenty-something and said, “I do,” I was damned sure I wouldn’t “let myself go” like she had. Catching my reflection in the mirror as I sit down, I quickly send off a mental “I get it now, Mom” into the Universe, hoping for some karmic cleansing.

“Mama?” She hesitates as I sit down.

This is unusual. I wait for it, her uncertainty almost giving it away.

“Mama, why are your chichis down there? They are supposed to be up!” She emphasis the statement by holding her upturned palms near her own baby-flat chest.

I want to say they used to be. I want to explain the everything in between Then and Motherhood. I want to tell her that they used to be, right after I had my formerly ginormous GG’s reduced to perky little DD’s when I was 24. I want to say that DD’s and gravity aren’t meant to get along when silicone isn’t involved. But I can’t. She’s too young to care why bras exist. And I figure I should wait until she is at least 16 to start blaming her for my body doing the whole Softening of Motherhood thing. Which means that the bra is the only thing I can go with.

“That’s why Mama wears a bra, baby,” I say, trying not to laugh. “to help keep them up here.”

I demonstrate by lifting the girls back to their pre-Buttercup positions. While doing so, I make a mental note of reminding The Husband that he promised me a boob lift after I push the next kid out.

“Oh,” she says, still staring at my naked body. “Will a bra help your belly, too?”

Guest blogging for Ermas this month is Pauline M. Campos, a former newsroom journalist turned stay-at-home-writer-mama with a blog that gives her the instant publication gratification while waiting for that book deal dream to come true. She also loves long-winded sentences, making up twitter hash tags, and likes to typo in her spare time. Find her at www.aspiringmama.com or on twitter as @aspiringmama.


  1. Out of the mouths of babes...

    So very funny! I dread my daughter's words every time I drag her into a fitting room with me. It seems the volume is turned up to high in a fitting room and comments about my body abound. At least all the other women get their laugh for the day and feel a little better about themselves. :-)

  2. So funny. I can only assume that as soon as B starts forming questions I will have a very similar conversation.

  3. Your post reminded me of the time my young daughter looked at me naked said, "So that's what celluloid looks like."

  4. Eileen, it gets better. Or worse, depending on how you look at it. You can marvel at your child's rapidly expanding vocabulary while banging your had against the wall trying to explain how cellulite works.

  5. Deb, awesome. I really don't have much more to say than that. just. awesome.

  6. Funny, sweet post! Looking back, my mom aged so much better than me, LOL.


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