Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Beauty redefined.



It's that time of the week ~ when you get to say whatever you want and feel great about it because you know that enough people might pop by to support you from Shell's PYHO linky. Though I don't link up all the time, I'm relieved to know she's there, my bloggy friend, so I CAN if ever I want to.

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Yesterday my daughter wanted to polish our nails. We eventually did it - which is only part of the story.

While waiting (ever-so-un-patiently) for me to do her nails for her, she decided that she wanted to do some magazine skimming. She decided that she wanted to tear out some pictures.

Typical 5-yo behavior, yes? Yes. I agree. It seems to be. And it surely is.

But her goal for the project she had in mind?

BEAUTY.

Beauty?

Beauty.

Write it enough times and it doesn't look like it's spelled correctly after a while.

What kind of pictures did she want? I asked her. She answered, 'Beauty pictures.'

I suppose a part of me held my breath. Would my child tear out pictures of women in dazzling dresses? With long, flowing hair? Pearly white teeth? Super high heels? What defines beauty for a beautiful five-year-old girl?

She started turning the pages. Pointing.

She found her beauty. My heart sunk. Just a drop.

It's make-up.

Make-up of all kinds and colors.

So while I love that she adores the splashes of pink, purple and blue, and I appreciate her flair and style as she coordinates her multi-colored/patterned ensembles every morning, I flinched a little that her definition of beauty was ... is ... make-up.

We're talking nail polish, lipstick, perfume (perfume!?!), and more. And while I'm cool with her tearing out the pages that include Ellen DeGeneres as she exclaimed, 'That's YOUR girl!' (yes, yes it is), I worry what she is thinking. Where this comes from.

How does a child whose mother wears not one stitch of make-up AT ALL find that to be beauty?

I mean, seriously. I probably could stand to use a color or two on my eyes. And something more than the splash of gloss on my lips. Though admittedly I do sometimes use a shimmer that is a bit stronger. But not enough to define beauty. Where DOES this come from?

And then the thoughts flicker through my head. What is it that she thinks of when she tears these pages out? Is it color? Style? Fashion? Flair? Television? Celebrities? Dress-up? Does dress-up always include more than fun/funky clothes? I racked my brain a bit. Our dress-up bin is way more than the standard princess dresses. It includes things like baseball caps, sun hats, fake jewelry, random belts and bags, and whatever else she or I decided might work for her creative play.

We eventually polish her nails. Each finger (all ten!) a different color. Her toes a pretty *pink* that was more a summery coral. She felt beautiful. Even more so when I added the requested sparkle over each color. Perfect! She showed her dad. 'Look Daddy!' Walked back again to show off her toes. Nice, he said. She was happy enough. I had helped her feel beautiful, I supposed.

And then last night, as I lay next to her in bed giving her a few good night squeezes she hid her hands under the blanket. 'Momma?' (This is a new thing. A phase, perhaps? Either way - it intrigues me - her new name for me.)

Yes, I answered, snuggling close.

'Do you want to see my nails?'

Okay. Did they come off? She nodded. Her hands moved slowly. Did you PICK them off? Another nod. A huge giggle. I was slightly frustrated. It took no time at all to do her nails, but would I do them again and again if she was going to pick the polish off? Sigh. Perhaps.

But then a thought.

She took OFF the beauty. She didn't care.

All this beauty talk. These images. The colors. All of it added up to?

Nothing.

Sometimes kids like to think outside of their daily box. Sometimes they like beautiful things. Colors. Flashes of inspiration. Maybe it all looks like paint to her? She adores paint. More than this mom would like sometimes ... but I digress.

She took off the "beauty." It didn't matter. She's still beautiful.

And so am I.

11 comments:

christina said...

LOVELY post. really, really lovely. i especially love the way you ended it. :)

i felt like i was looking into my future. ;) my daughter is the definition of Girl and yet i am far from it. i hate pink, and frill, and princess, etc. yet she loves it all. and i've learned that that's OK and beautiful- just like her. just like me. :D

Lisa @ Two Bears Farm said...

Whew, I think when it comes to these things raising a daughter would be so challenging. Sounds like you're doing a great job Andrea.

Debbie said...

Lovely post. I have a girlie girl, who loves all things sparkly. Moderation is the key.

Jen Has A Pen said...

I talk to Finally Mom about this from time to time. How do anti-girly girls raise girls who want to be girly??? Such a rough place. I'm just enough of a feminist to not want my people to say my daughter is pretty. Rather, I hope they tell her she's funny or creative or smart or observant. But, I know that probably won't happen as often as I'd like.

I think your daughter is lucky, though. You are there to teach her what is really important.

Elisa @ Globetrotting in Heels said...

Yes you are, my darling!

And for the record, here are my two cents: I don't think she is necessarily relating makeup to beauty. She probably just heard them called "beauty products".

Sometimes we read too much into something they say or do, because they are girls, and society is especially tough on girls. But they are also OUR girls. Which means they are smart. And they know they are loved. And they are no shallow ;-)

Leigh Powell Hines (Hines-Sight Blog) said...

Great post. Deep thinking, really.

How did you she pick off the color?

Hope you are well.

Patty said...

Such a beutiful story! You both are truly beautiful, just the way you are.

Jackie said...

It's funny how she thought all the makeup was beauty... my guess is that it's all the bright colors that captured her attention. They really do put some effort into making those colors pop on the page!

It sounds like she's a pretty normal little girl! I don't think that I'd worry to much.

Stephanie said...

They do love the face paint.

And my boys call it beauty while they smear it on their face. :D

Sorta Southern Single Mom said...

How funny that we both blogged about the same thing... I hadn't read this before I wrote mine on Thursday!

The Girl gets on me when I wear make-up... and I don't wear a lot... she'll say, "Mommy, you shouldn't wear it, you are pretty without it" and I tell her that I know, but I'm used to it and it's a habit I hope she doesn't start, like my sister. We'll see!

Shell said...

Maybe it's just something pretty to look at, but not what she feels she needs to have? Let's hope for that! xo

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