Friday, April 03, 2009

The Modesty Gene


–noun, plural -ties.
1. the quality of being modest; freedom from vanity, boastfulness, etc.
2. regard for decency of behavior, speech, dress, etc.
simplicity; moderation.
4....... Carmella

Origins: 1525–35; italia modestia.

Common antonym:

I use to think that modesty was something one grew into; or rather that it was something life beat into you.

You know, kinda like how a lot of people will be bleeding heart liberals in their youth and then they have to go out into the "real" world and get a job and start paying real taxes and then bam: they are conservative. Or sometimes, they are liberal and then they have kids and of course that changes everything.

Shut up.

I am speaking generally.

Yeah you, I am talking to you who is reading this and saying: THAT totally doesn't apply to me.

Just bear with me please. This is not about you. This is, of course, about ME.

Anyway, I have come to realize that there must be a modest gene and I do NOT. have. IT.
Never have.
Has not beaten it into me.
I admit to being a little dumb. Or as my dad says "hard-headed".

Okay, I will concede that life has beaten a tiny bit of good sense into me-- but not much. Basically it boils down to that I may not be the first to take off their clothes any more but I can also promise you that I am not the last either.
The clothes?
Yeah, they'll still come off.

And by "taking off clothes" you do know I am speaking metaphorically? Right?

Well, kind of. . .

And sure, sometimes I do get embarrassed-- but I am over it in the blink of an eye.
I don't blush.
I am not bashful.
I am, let's face it, a bit of a braggart.
If you see me being quiet there are 3 things going on:
1. I am trying to figure out how to interrupt so I can talk.
2.I am sick or in pain.
3.You have bored the hell out of me and I am no longer even listening to you.

Of course there are good and bad points to having this type of personality.

Wait, I mean persoNATALIE.

But for better or for worse this is who I am.

My poor daughter. She apparently got more modesty gene than any human being should ever be allowed to have. Lucky for her though she has me as a mom to help ease her way into life so those embarrassing, attention drawing situations will be much less painful for her.

Beau, like me, is lacking the modesty gene. In fact, as I write this he is here in the living room in only his underwear dancing on the couch to Spoon's Underdog.
Try as I may I cannot embarrass Beau. And try as he may he can embarrass me-- a little. But, like I said, it is short lived. Like him, my thinking is all attention is good attention. I--and he--can not help it. I swear!

Carmella, by the way, would NEVER dance around in her underwear in the living room in front of open windows.
Totally guilty of dancing around in my underwear.

Let's put it this way; Carmella--at age 8:
Closes the drapes on her window when she dresses.
At age 37?
This still hasn't occurred to me.

Okay I think you get my point.

So today I was mystery reader for Carmella's class. I've known about it for about 2 months. I picked this particular date when the email went out for parent volunteers because I knew I would be recovering from ING and therefore would miss no important workouts and also it was the Friday before spring break and Easter. Automatic themes to work with. I may be a fly by the seat of my skirt kinda girl but I am all about a THEME!

Of course, since my kids go to public school, I can't really do a theme about Easter. And of course I wanted to wear a costume. Because, duh, if I didn't I would not embarrass Carmella. (And if I don't embarrass Carmella then how would that be helping her?)

Thursday I went to Border's Books to look for inspiration. First book I found was Humpty Dumpty Climbs Again. This gave me an idea that I could use plastic eggs with treats inside as their little favor--cause, really, unwritten rule is you can't come empty handed as mystery reader.

Past times I have been mystery reader I have done stuff like make cupcakes with spiders webs with a fly for when I read The Spider and the Fly.

Or, when I read a pirate book I dressed as a pirate and brought the kids chocolate doubloons and pirate outfits.

And earlier this year I read Halloween books and dressed as a witch and brought them candy and mummy eyes and we played Mummy in the Graveyard.

Needless to say I've set a standard by which these kids have become accustom to.

The pressure! This is second grade! Not kindergarten. They have expectations.

The next book I found was Dumb Bunnies. I was a little worried about the word "dumb". But decided to risk it and my plan, my theme began to take form.

Next stop was Target for plastic eggs and a pair of bunny ears--I know I have some but have no idea where they are. It was a dollar well spent not having to hunt down an old pair. I also bought dum dums and smarties.

My plan was to tell the kids to not be "dum dum's" over spring break and instead be a bunch of "smarties" and keep up their reading.

Unfortunately the dum dum's did not fit in the egg. I put tootsie rolls in there too. They totally didn't match my theme and I will admit that kinda did give me a bad feeling on the inside to not have everything "go" but I consoled myself with that "everything goes with chocolate."

I kinda did want to put Carmello bunnies in there too but that was getting too pricey having to make favors for 16 kids. I have to reign myself in one way or another and usually, in my case, it is because of a budget.
Self control? Will power?
Things I do not have.
Wild flying creativity?
In spades.
The way I see it everyone needs a boundary. Unlucky-- and sometimes lucky--for me mine is the pocket book. Having limits forces you to make better use of your creativity because it becomes about finding solutions and work (here comes the cliche; brace for it),"outside of the box."

This morning before my run I took some time to make my favors. Creativity struck again and I decided to make my eggs all Humpty's. Big on creative ideas, small on artistic talent I think they still turned out pretty good considering my lack of talent with sharpies.
The kids LOVED them.! They loved making Humpty climb up stuff, fall down and break apart. Evil little sadists second graders are!
We all played with our Humpty's after the stories.

After I made the favors I went out for a run and hoped inspiration to hit me again for my costume. I got in 6 hilly miles. My first road and hill run since the marathon on Sunday. Really, if I am being honest, I was hoping to run longer. Ideally it would have been 12 but I really didn't have time since I didn't yet have my costume fully realized. Besides, it was really windy and my lower left leg is still not 100% from the marathon. I am sure I could have pushed through it but there is not point. I am in recovery mode and I have run everyday this week except Wednesday because I swam that day (see how I have to say it to make myself think it is okay). So everything is coming along (again, if I keep saying it I will believe it--like my whole "run happy" mentality. Embracing the zen. Exhale).

When I got back Ryan happened to come home while I pulling stuff out of my closet and laying it out on my bed, designing my costume. He asked what I was up to and groaned a "poor Carmella" when I told him I was the mystery reader. He then advised me that the cheetah clogs were too slutty, not to wear any part of my Santa costume and then told me I was an idiot when he saw the final result. I, by the way, was just so excited that I found another outfit to wear with my pink leg warmers that go with the slutty kitten costume .

Ryan may think me a fool but he still took my picture (and he kissed me too and he like, Carmella, is modesty gene endowed.)
I give you Dumb Bunny Momma: (Note the cow bell. I? Am not afraid to have people look at me.)So I will admit to this strange sensation I felt --that I have to assume might be a type of embarrassment therefore akin to modesty-- when I had to walk across the parking lot of the school, sign in at the front office and then walk down to the second grade hall while every single person that passed me giggled, muttered under breath or just stared at me jaw dropped open. But you know what, I own it and just smile at them. I have found that if you don't give forum to self consciousness people tend to have a harder time questioning you outright and making fun of you in person because frankly, and this is just a theory, but I think they might be a little scared. So they say nothing.
At least not to your face.

PS. I think my plan is working on Carmella. When I walked in her classroom she just rolled her eyes and said "not again."
But she did laugh and sat next to me while I read and happily handed out the Humpty's to her classmates.

PPS. I stopped by Beau's class to give them candy and Beau just said, completely unfazed; "I like your ears Mommy" and then went back to talking to his friend. It was like it didn't register to him that it was a costume but rather he was just noticing that I had a fancy new accessory. Which in fact, he asked me about after school: "Mommy, those new ears that you had? Can boys wear them? I would like some but not pink."


  1. Where did you get those glasses? Something about you reminds me of one of the characters in "Steel Magnolias" - wasn't she that mermaid girl in another movie? you know, she worked in the beauty shop with Dolly Parton.

  2. Why, are they yours? When I was getting dressed I told Ryan I needed a pair of glasses and showed him a picture of the Momma Bunny in the book and he came back with a pair of old sunglasses. I popped the lenses out. I don't know where they came from. Just a spare pair around the house.

  3. I too was blessed (cursed?) with the modesty gene. Had you been my mother I would have crawled under the table and refused to come out until you left, and then I would pretend that I didn't know you for at LEAST 6 months in public.

    Having said that...great costume! The eggs were very creative too.

  4. Nat, You are always good for a laugh!

  5. I love the bunny outfit and the theme. : ) Totally not bold enough for a costume to be mystery reader.

  6. Oh you are SUCH a fun Mom! Creative AND a sub-3:30 marathoner! (and we're the same age...until tomorrow). I don't think I can read your blog anymore...

  7. Love it! You are too funny! So glad your plan is working on Carmella - life is too short to be serious all the time!

  8. Embarrassment is tied up to regret. It is the admission (right or wrong) that a mistake has taken place and that one desires to undo that mistake. That's not the same as modesty. Modesty has to do with being purposeful about your relationships, and how you present yourself in those relationships. It stems from a person's desire for people to recognize and fully appreciate whatever value or worth they bring to a relationship. Saying embarrassment and modesty are the same thing makes it sound as if modesty is something to rid yourself of. what's wrong with being serious about how others perceive you?

  9. Submit a photo for the Dum Dums contest at for a chance to win $2500 & other neat prizes!