It's school vacation and my DD gets to go to Grandma's house for a few days of child care. Fun! This means no-stress mornings, get-there-when-we-get-there, hanging out with her cousins, no lunch-packing, and best of all.... JAMMIES TO GRANDMA'S HOUSE!
Off we went to Grandma's in footie jammies and her bathrobe, clutching her new My Little Pony (sidenote: those animals have been quite sexy-fied since we were kids! WTF?) and singing happily... until she suddenly burst into tears.
"I wanted to be pretty for Grandma! I wanted to have a dress so I could be pretty at Grandma's house! Are these jammies pretty? I not pretty today!"
Shoot. me. Whose little boys are on their way to Grandma's going, "I'm not handsome enough today, I wish I had a truck shirt so I could be cute today". This "I'm not pretty" episode stumped me more than the "Who made me?" Big Question of 2012.
I said, "Honey, you are a beautiful, beautiful person. Jammies, or dress, or pants, or nakey in the bath, or sneakers... you are always, every day, absolutely beautiful. You are beautiful inside and outside. You're a beautiful, beautiful little girl". She seemed to accept this but looked pensive. I thought I might change her around a little and said, "Wanna sing about it?" She nodded.
All I've got at the tip of my tongue is, "I am beautiful/no matter what they say/Words can't bring me down/I am beautiful, today". I don't even know if those are the words. I don't know much about this song except I've been making fun of it for probably 10 years now. And I am belting it out with all my might, hoping it will make an impression on the little girl with the trembling lower lip who doesn't feel pretty enough to go to Grandma's house.
It seems to be taking, so I belt it out again. With feeling. And then, before coffee, before 8am, and before I know what the hells bells is going on, I am choked up. Tears are running down my face. I am wondering how we can hold and love these little babies with all our might and they grow up to have to write songs like this. To have to assert you are beautiful no matter what they say.
Soon enough she moved on to something else, as 2 years olds tend to do, and I wondered: Is it time to give up this no-princess, no-plastic fight, let her grow up like everyone else in a sea of acrylic pink and purple ho-dresses disguised as "fairies" and "princesses" and just deal with it when she's older? Maybe it will drive her to write a hit song. Maybe what I resist, persists, and I'm teaching her I don't value something she thinks is important. She already knows "Mommy doesn't like princesses, I do like princesses, and that's OK". Maybe it's not OK.
Maybe I stand by my original parenting theory: No matter what I do, I'll be paying the co-pays for therapy someday anyway.