How Did I End Up With A Girly Girl?
Disclaimer: though I do touch a little bit on writing and my books in this book, this is mostly a post about parenting and my two daughters. If that's not your thing, consider yourself warned.
I have a mini-me. Now, when I say that I don't mean either of my daughters look exactly like me. They actually have a pretty good slice of their dad in them, though most people say they look like me until they meet Matt, at which point they agree, they can see Matt in them too. Also, they look like me when they are in a good mood and like Matt when they are sulking. I'm not just saying this. I've had people tell me, “I thought Coryn looks exactly like you, but when she's pouting, she definitely looks more like Matt.”
But anyway, by mini-me, I mean that Coryn and I have very similar tastes and interests. We watch Doctor Who and Face-Off together. She wants to be a super hero. She illustrates and writes stories. She loves things that are fantastic. We do have some personality differences. She's more of a people pleaser than I am, I think, which may be one of the reasons why she latches on to things I like so quickly and devotedly.
My other girl is two and a half, almost exactly four years younger than her sister (all three of us have January birthdays. My husband is off on his own in June) and doesn't talk much yet. She's extremely advanced in mechanical skills, coordination, and things like that, just non-verbal. For instance, she figured out how to pick the child look on the room we use for storage with a pair of tweezers. She's the sort of kid you have to watch because you just know eventually she's going to get it into her head that she wants to bake a cake or build a tree house and burn down the house or chop down a tree or something. She does not see limits. She likes things just so, and pouts or throws fits if things don't go her way, like if I put her in a pair of pants she doesn't like.
However, since she doesn't talk, it is hard to know what she wants sometimes, which is why I went ahead and chose her costume for her this Halloween. Coryn wanted to go as Wonder Woman, so I bought a Super Girl costume for Claire. Below you can see her reaction to trying it on.
|but I don't want to be Supergirl. . .|
We eventually found out that the pants were giving her a diaper wedgie of sorts and had to perform "costume" surgery to amputate lower half of the body suit which we replaced with a pair of red leggings, but even after that she wasn't enthused by the whole concept and spent a lot of time sulking about it.
We went to the Naval Museum to do their trick or treat event (which had really gone down hill compared to previous years. They used to have volunteers all over the museum handing out candy and tons of other kids, but now they only had five or six assigned stations where kids could pick out candy so the girls got a handful each, not really worth the time).
However, Claire loves airplanes and loves being carried by daddy and loves the indoor play area at the museum. Still, every time something reminded her that she was dressed as Super Girl, she put her pout face on for me, this included just about every time I tried to take her picture.
Now, while neither of my girls could easily be defined as girly girls (as mentioned, Claire LOVES airplanes and her favorite animal is an alligator for some bizarre reason), Claire has surprised me with her girly girl streak. After the museum fiasco, I sort of figured out that I should have gotten her a princess dress for Halloween. There's all this backlash about girls costumes and how we princessify little girls and whatever, and with Coryn, her natural bent is to be a superhero or a scary monster or something away from the conventional princess, but Claire loves princess dresses. She loves ruffles and big skirts and even pink. I dislike all these things, personally, so I know it isn't a genetic thing or her succumbing to pressure. She doesn't go to daycare and we don't have TV (we have a dvd player, but our cartoon collection is fairly diverse, a few princess movies but just as much gender-neutral stuff), so this is just who she is, regardless of outside forces. That's okay, even if it is somewhat unexpected.
I don't think about clothes much. Honestly, I rarely buy clothes for our girls. I'll get a piece here or there if I realize they are completely out of shoes for instance, but most of their clothes have come to us second hand. They have drawers filled to bursting and half of the stuff I'm not even sure where it came from, hand me downs or whatnot. I also let Coryn choose her own clothes starting pretty young and let her go out looking however she wants to look because clothes are not a major preoccupation for me. I run into this in my writing. In critiques I've gotten comments like, "This is chapter three and I still have no idea what the main character is wearing." I think, "Uh, clothes. Does it matter? Okay, I'll throw in a line about a 'green dress.'" I think it is backlash from me reading paragraphs of people describing their character's wardrobes down to the tiniest detail while I think, "Stop getting dressed and do something, you fop!"
However, even I had to notice when Claire started bringing me specific outfits over and over again, outfits with ruffles, outfits with skirts, outfits that are pink. During a recent purge, I got rid of anything too small, ripped, or badly stained (they still had bursting drawers afterwards, just not quite so badly) which included several of Claire's most worn and beloved ruffly dresses. She kept getting them back out of the rag bin so I relented and let her wear them most of the time. Today, though, for church, I drew the line because she really wanted to wear a blue shirt with a big rip in it and half the ruffles hanging by a thread. She was heartbroken when I put her in a plain pink t-shirt dress (still pink and still a dress, but no ruffles), so I promised her a new ruffly outfit later.
When we got to Walmart she was so excited to pick out a ruffly dress. As I said, she doesn't talk much, but if she sees something she likes she points and goes, "AHHHHHHHHHHHH!" If I point to something she wants and say, "This?" she claps her hands. She picked out a pink ruffly dress and insisted on carrying it while we finished shopping. She was so excited to put it on that she started stripping in the check out line and I ended up popping the dress on over her clothes so that she wouldn't streak through the store.
She thought she was pretty hot stuff.
So Claire is my girly girl who likes her pink ruffles and her baby dolls (she loves to tuck toys into bed) and looking pretty.
Oh, and she also likes alligators and jet planes. Kids like what they like, and they don't fit in boxes.
But she does look gorgeous doesn't she?