Sunday, May 1, 2011

Out, Damn Wrinkles!

When your eyelids look like crepe paper, you have a problem. When you find you can't wear makeup, and heaven forbid glitter makeup, because it settles and draws attention to your "creases", you're in trouble. When you're considering putting a tiny roll out awning on your head to block the sun, prevent wincing, and shield your countenance from your critical fellow human beings, well...

I've foxtrotted with the idea of botox. I've jumped and jived with it. But I couldn't ever do it (until they're offering it for free to random haggard-looking people). People who pay to get botox are vain. And they have too much money. We less affluent mortals must bravely pretend that our wrinkles add distinction to an otherwise bland face.

I blame my proliferation of wrinkles on my kids. It's the sheer magnitude of looks I must give them on a daily basis just to keep them in line. If you're a mom or dad, maybe you're nodding so vigorously right now, you're about to knock your head on the computer screen and add a nasty bruise to complement those warrior wrinkles. know what I mean. And I can classify them, too.

There's the, "Sweet malarkey, Child! What are you eating?!" look. It usually happens when your toddler is about to put something small, black, and from the floor into their mouth. If you have or have had a toddler, you've seen them eat with relish from the great and variable offerings of the floor, but you also know that nothing edible is EVER black. Not one thing. Rotten things, yes. Insects, yes. A washer from the broken kitchen faucet, yes. But nothing meant to be digested by a human. Thence the look of disgust, and the "bleh, blah, bleh!" noises you make while sticking out your tongue, trying to get your kid to copycat, so you can swipe out the nasty object, then twist you face into a look of utter repulsion when you discover the exact nature of the thing.

Then there's the, "The baby is sleeping, so you better cut it out..." look. This one has to be the most powerful wrinkle-generating look known to mankind. It must encapsulate everything that the parent's yell would do without the help of your practiced vocal chords, so you scrunch your face up into the ugliest, most terrifying, eyebrows on the eyeballs, Elvis-sneering look you can muster in order to prevent your older kids from waking up the baby with their shenanigans. Sometimes, you must give this look several times in rapid succession while pointing a finger like a dagger at the perpetrator of the noise. This look is the one that will cause your grandchildren to run from you when you've finally mellowed out in old age, and it is without doubt the one responsible for making your nose look like it's just an overhang of that deep canyon running down your forehead.

A closely related look is the one you employ while you're on the phone. Every child, as parents well know, holds the fundamental belief that a. the phone is their greatest rival, beside any siblings, for their parent's attention, and b. said parent will be physiologically unable to end a phone conversation in order to discipline - no matter how atrocious their kids' behavior becomes while they're thus distracted.

Therefore, children take all phone-parent interaction time as their cue to scream, bang things together, knock each other over the head with wooden spoons, and leap off the furniture - preferably onto a sibling or pet's back. The look a parent must devise in these circumstances is tricky, because it is involves mouthing all kinds of threats at your kids without allowing any actual sound to leave your mouth, preventing said threats from interrupting your conversation. It's rarely works, and it's exhausting.

But, okay, there are some good wrinkles, generally referred to as laugh lines. The look of laughter is one that happens often with children around but is completely unpredictable, sometimes lots of fun and at times a point of contention. It causes the best kinds of wrinkles, friendly wrinkles. This look can burst forth in embarrassment when your daughter catches you and your husband canoodling together on the couch and asks, "Is that how you two rejoice together?" It can erupt uncontrollably when your husband is trying to chide the children, and you find the situation inexplicably comical, so you bust out laughing behind your hands, ruin the lecture and anger your honey. It can happen when you're playing Go Fish with your three-year-old, and she asks for the "rest-a-room star" (you know the one sitting on the toilet with the newspaper?) when what she really means is the "western star".

Well, well. I don't mind the laugh lines, nor the wrinkles on my belly that are the proof of my having provided four tiny human beings with a safe place to grow until they were ready for the world stage. I'm proud, too, of the permanent impressions on my left arm from turning my arm just so in order to support my baby on my hip while I cleaned, cooked, did yard work and walked through stores and parks. As for the crushed silk look of my eyelids and the multiple lines fanning out across my forehead and temples, they're just a hazard of the parenting trade. And they make me look intelligent, a real thinker. Or so I like to believe. But heaven help me during their teenage years! Worry lines...I think I'll just wear a veil.

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