Monday, June 14, 2010
I'm Just a Girl in the World
It has become apparent that I am, and will continue to be, raising a girl (ie. the Red Baron) and I'm a little freaked out by this fact. Maybe "freaked out" isn't the right term. A more accurate description would be that I have stared right into the depths of female turmoil and shuddered to my very soul. Not to be mildly dramatic or anything (YES I SAID MILDLY!).
The Red Baron has discovered her reflection in the mirror within a social context. This is freaky psycho-analytical/social commentary stuff I'm getting into. Dust off you text books people!! This is about to get CRAZY in here!
This is how it went down:
While in the bathroom and she looked in the mirror and shockingly exclaimed "Oh no Mama!! My hair!! I look terrible! I can't look like that!" in this disgusted, frantic little voice with flailing hands trying to smooth the fuzzies out of her golden strawberry hair (which, for the record, looked perfectly fine). After much fussing, she parted her hair way over on the side and then looked back in the mirror and assured herself "Oh that's so much better! Look how beautiful I am now."
Are we related? Please note the pictures below of me and my best friend, Da Bangs after rolling out of bed one morning. I don't really worry about fly-aways and certainly never thought I would spawn a child that would worry about them at 3 years old.
Look - I've known I would be raising a daughter since that precious ultrasound at 20 weeks gestation. She was the cutest little gummy-bear girl fetus I ever beheld. But I've only now realized that I was raising A GIRL and all the girly anxiety that goes with it. I vividly remember the insecurities and emotional stress that I endured in relation to my appearance and the ups and downs that go hand-in-hand with being a girl. Who am I kidding by speaking in the past tense? These insecurities roared their ugly heads yesterday when I started to sweat justthinking about going bathing suit shopping. Sometimes I feel like I barely made it through thegirly gauntlet on my own behalf - how am I supposed to show this little tyke how it's done when I can't seem to figure it out myself?
Back to the bathroom - in this little scene I was completely dumbfounded. It was practically an out-of-body experience. Everything got very quiet - like the weight of this pivotal teaching moment pressed down on us all - I needed to say or do something that would put beauty and appearances in context for the rest of her life. I swear even the berry flavored toothpaste grew eyes and was just starring at me. Waiting. For something.
Please don't get me wrong - I do try to and enjoy looking nice - but I've told myself that I was above emphasizing appearances. That they didn't matter to me - a practical non-issue. But this little bathroom episode has changed all that. Because the Red Baron spends approximately 98% of her waking hours with me, and if she's scrutinizing her looks, than it's because she's seen me do it. And I had promised myself that the traits I would hand down to my posterity would be hooked elbows and finger toes. But the Red Baron didn't get my finger-like toes - she got something bigger (reference - I have size 11 feet). Instead she inherited.......
MY FEMININE INSECURITY.
Suddenly I realized - it's started. The worrying, the primping, the plucking, the picking, the stressing, the plumping, the pinching, the tweezing, the brushing, the trimming, the waxing (ouch), the shaving, the "do these pants make my butt look big?"-ing. All of it. It's begun. And she's 3.
"You know what?" I said, shakily, "I think you look just right, exactly how you are."
Would that be enough? Would that put the diva-talk away and in it's place a re-prioritizing of values? Would this make her want to be smarter instead of prettier? Would this inspire self-appreciation instead of self-degradation? My mind was racing with less than helpful thoughts like "Who do you think you are, showing someone how to be a girl? You're a terrible girlPIEFACE!" I held my breath.
"Oh. Ok. Let's go sing Jingle Bells."
And like that, it was over.
Obviously she gets her dramatics from her dad.