Today I found out just how I fail at being a mother. While waiting for Thing 1 to finish with her tumbling class, Thing 2 asked me for a snack from the vending. I said “no.” She asked again, and again I said “no”. She asked, like, twenty more times and, like twenty more times I said “no.” She glared. I glared. Then she said “When I become a mommy, I will be the best mommy in the world! Not you! Because, I will hug my kids and kiss my kids and let them get whatever snack that they want from the vending machine!” And there you have it! I suck at being a mom. Let me be clear here, I do hug and kiss my kids. Almost to a fault. It’s pretty constant. However, I don’t let them have anything they want (to eat or otherwise).
This weekend is the Daddy/Daughter Masquerade Ball at my daughter’s elementary school. The corsage has been ordered, new shoes and dress have been purchased (sequins are involved – ooh, la, la!) and daddy has a new tie to coordinate with his little girl. She tried to get a mani/pedi out of this but, I had to draw the line somewhere. Okay, that’s not quite the truth. By the time I got around to making an appointment every salon in the area was booked with all of the other overly indulged little girls. I have to tell you that I have been through numerous homecoming dances, turnabout, and even a couple of proms with my oldest daughter, J, and this was by far the most stressful event preparation that I have ever been through!
The invitation read “Business Suits or Black Tie (optional).” I’m not kidding. I just about fell over. Now, as I thought about it, if that invitation had been directed at adults, the women would be expected to wear cocktail dresses but, alas, we are talking about little girls ages five to eleven, so, there probably won’t be any cocktails. Except for the dads after they get home from escorting all of those prima donnas for two hours. So, think party dresses! Yes, that’s it! Party dresses with tulle and sparkle and of course, the twirl factor must be off the charts! Unfortunately, my daughter did not own a dress that fit the criteria. She had dresses for church and dresses for school but nothing that was quite fabulous enough for a party of this magnitude. It also didn’t help that all of the girls in her class were then talking about their dresses (real or imagined), too. We had to set off on a search for the perfect dress. This is where things got dicey. By the way, did I tell you that my daughter told my husband not to dance?! She actually said to him “Don’t dance Daddy because that would be embarrassing!” I found that funny. So did he…I think.
We were in one of my favorite stores in the Galleria (insert pause for wistful sigh) and Thing 1 selected dresses that caught her eye. Now, I was prepared that this might cost me more than I really wanted to spend but, that wasn’t even the biggest problem. The biggest problem was that a good deal of the dresses were completely inappropriate for a six-year-old. Looking at what was available, either she was going to look like Jodi Foster in Pretty Baby (if you are too young to remember this movie, Google it, but, don’t tell me) or a contestant in a child beauty pageant. Neither of these was the goal. I found myself repeatedly saying things like “That dress looks too old for you!” or “That is not appropriate for a girl your age.” Finally, exasperated with me, Thing 1 looked at me and said “Mommy, if it’s not appropriate for a girl my age, why do they sell it where girls my age shop?” Good question.
This is one of my biggest pet peeves and I guarantee that this will probably be the first of many comments that I have on this issue. Why must we dress our little girls like miniature women?! They’re not! One of the most enjoyable things about having young daughters is being able to dress them in a manner that represents their pure innocence. To make them look as soft as their cheeks feel. This stage passes so quickly, why can’t we just enjoy it? I don’t understand the obsession with sexualizing our young girls. Skirts can be too short, straps can be too thin and a look can be too sophisticated for a young girl. Not to mention, what kind of message are we sending our daughters? One day Thing 2 wanted to know when she could start dressing “sexy”. I wanted to say NEVER but, I thought it was more important to explore her definition of the word. Turns out that she thinks that dressing sexy means that she is dressing like a grown up but, not a mommy because apparently yoga pants are so NOT sexy. Wow.
And I’m not putting this off on manufacturers. Parents have a choice in what we purchase. If we don’t buy it, they won’t make it. I realize that some of you don’t know me personally, so I think that I need to tell you that I’m not a prude. Old school, maybe, but, not a prude. Also, I love fashion! My girls get it honestly. So, this is not about shunning the whole Girly Girl mentality. I am a Girly Girl! I just don’t think that little girls should dress like grown women and, I certainly don’t think that I should pay $150 for it.
Ultimately, we survived and we did buy a dress that fit the criteria, hers and mine. And it fit Big Poppa’s budget. So glad that I could oblige. It was delivered a few days ago and she promptly put it on, danced and twirled in the mirror and declared herself FABULOUS! I thought she looked beautiful and sweet, just like a six-year-old.