Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Claire the Pretty Pretty Physician

Claire is not that into the "princess thing." Claire's outfit of choice is a green shirt, shorts, tennis shoes, and a ponytail (assuming I won't let her just wear her hair down and hanging in her face). She will only wear a dress to church on Sunday and skirts take even more convincing. Heaven forbid she sees me eyeing a perfectly adorable skirt for her on the clearance rack at Target!

Claire: I don't want that, Mom.
G: But this Sunday is Easter and all the little girls at church will be wearing new dresses and skirts...
Claire: No.
G: But skirts are cooler in the summer than shorts...
Claire: NO.
G: *sigh*

She will put on dress-up princess dresses, but only when she is over at a normal princess-obsessed friend's house to play. When Claire has a little girl friend over to play here, I usually see the friend emerge from the playroom within the first 15 minutes wearing the pink princess dress we gave Claire for Christmas while Claire is off doing something else completely. I am just relieved to see our gift get a little use.

Back in October, I thought maybe she was turning into a typical little girl when she dressed up as Belle for Halloween. But alas, it was not meant to be. I have not yet convinced her to wear the costume again. Maybe she just knew that I needed me some princess-clad-little-girl so I could die a happy and satisfied mom. And so I could endure the rest of the year with her and her quirks. I guess I'll take what I can get.

The costume she always wants to re-wear is her doctor costume from the Halloween before last. There was a long line of pretty pretty princesses, and then Claire in green scrubs and a white lab coat (and don't forget tennis shoes!). Back then, I loved it. I admired Claire for being an individual and having a good head on her shoulders. I laughed when I thought about how much more likely Claire's "dreams" were to come true. I enjoyed the irony that Claire had picked a much more realizable way to have tons of money with which to own pretty things. She had picked brains instead of shallow beauty and I loved her for it. In short, I saw a little me in many many ways.

But as is often the case, myself and I don't always get along. Sometimes I really bug me. (Imagine how much I must bug everyone else!?!?!?) I see the things I wish were different about me and of course I try to fix that in my kids. You see, my mom called putting on lipstick doing her makeup. She wore her hair super short and accidentally got called "Sir" because of it when the grocery clerk saw her out of the corner of their eye. So I didn't get a lot of girliness from that source. Not that it would have mattered. My dad told me I couldn't pierce my ears or wear makeup until I was sixteen (though the rules did get bent/changed in the end). I was homeschooled until I was 10 years old for goodness sake! I was SO AWKWARD!!! I feel like I learned everything I know about being "girly" so late in life. I don't want that for Claire. I mean, as much as I truly do love practicality and empowering my daughter and all that jazz, we both know that no mother dreams of making fake hospital ID badges for their little girl (though it was fun). Where are the hair bows? Granted not the giant ones. Or the ones on a bald baby's head. Or anything cheesy...

So maybe I brought this on myself. I mean, I did eschew pink in her nursery. I'm SO not into cutesy. But that doesn't mean I don't want a little taste of girliness. I should have seen this coming when she picked Belle as her token princess interest. She's my favorite Disney princess too. The one with her nose in a book. The one with an errant piece of hair. The one who ends up with the ugly guy because he's the right guy, the nice guy. (M: I probably don't need to add this because you are not an oversensitive woman, but I do not think you're ugly. Or fat.)

I know she may grow out of it someday, but for now, she probably qualifies as a bit of a tomboy. And I'm only making it worse because I'm always trying to push her to be more girly. I don't even think it's conscious. Apparently I am just a control freak. And that is just one more way that Claire is SO like me. Can you say "butting heads"? UGH.

Here is a great example of my pushy stupidity. What did I get Scott as a souvenir from Japan? A small wooden toy samurai sword. Totally kick-a...wesome. What did I get Claire? A red yukata (summer kimono). Totally pretty. And I was stupid enough to give Scott his present first too. Was Claire excited about her present? Of course not. She just wanted to play with Scott's present. And which present cost three times as much as was three times as hard to find? Claire's present, of course. Of course. Why do I not see these things coming? I guess I just want to doll her up so bad I blind myself. I did convince her to try it on once for about 30 seconds. That required so much coaxing that I have probably guaranteed she will never want to wear it again. Because Claire can smell control lust. If she senses that I REALLY want her to do something, she does the exact opposite.

Case in point. I leave you with the following discussion from a few days ago. Claire was invited to a princess-themed birthday party. She was coming off a recent preschool incident where I tried to convince her to wear a princess dress so that the little boys in her class would be left with some dress up clothes that were more gender appropriate. She told us she didn't want to wear a princess dress to the birthday party. M tried to tell her that it's polite to do what the birthday girl wants to do for her party. No use.

G: Well, you don't have to wear a princess dress, but maybe you should take one along. You know, just in case you change your mind once you're there.
(I mean, I'd hate for her to be robbed of the chance to glam up just because she didn't come prepared. Surely once she was there with all the other "royal" partygoers... I don't know if I've ever thought so optimistically about my child being subject to peer-pressure.)
Claire: Okay.
G: Which dress would you like to take? Your Belle dress, your pink dress, or your Japanese dress?
Claire: My Belle dress. That ones' funny.
G: Why is that one funny?
Claire: I like to run in that one because I trip.
(Hmmm. Her Belle dress is absurdly bulky and long.)
G: Oh, well maybe you should take a different one so you won't trip all the time.
Claire: Don't worry, Mom. I won't trip.
G: How do you know?
Claire: Because I won't change my mind.

And there you have it. Claire's infallible logic. Her choice of dress won't matter if she won't wear it.

(And in case you're wondering: She did take the Belle dress. And I picked her up still wearing her street clothes. She laughingly told me that she was having so much fun, she forgot to change her mind. I think she was just trying to make me feel better. I know her. She had absolutely NO intention of changing her mind.)


Janssen said...

What a great post. i just really enjoyed reading it.

Sheyenne said...

You know what? I think I love Claire. ;) If she were my daughter, I'd be doing the same thing as you, I'm sure (just like I did with Gabby trying to make her wear poofy dresses that she hated), but since she's not mine, I'll just admire her spunky little attitude. She's smart and she sticks to her guns, and I like that.

Sara said...

You and M are raising a beautiful, well rounded child that will find some girly-ness when she's ready. I think I was like 18 before my tomboyness started wearing off! The important thing is that she's an individual who is secure in herself...which she is!

Emily Black said...

This was so funny to me!! I can totally relate cause Haley's the exact same way. Every once in a while, if I have nothing to do with it, she'll choose something girly like wearing a dress, but she can't stand the pressure.

She does, however love her nails painted and wearing jewelry...so I guess it isn't sooo bad, but when she was invited to the same kind of princess party... she chose not to go rather than wear a princess dress!!

What to do with these strong-willed little girls?!