Big Bows and Flowers

“I’m pretty sure Zoe is a tomboy.”

She absolutely hates anything with frills or frou-frou. Put a bow in her hair or a hat on her head and she’ll rip it out or rip it off like her hair is on fire. And she’s so confounded by this invention we call a “dress.” After several failed attempts to crawl or stand thwarted by slipping back on the loose fabric, she will resign herself to inching forward with a meek army crawl.

“Is that a good thing or a bad thing for you? I know some parents want their girls to be super girly.”

You know, kids are people, not DIY kits. If she’s happy, I’m good.

But I’m an idiot and this took me a while to understand. Because after the first five times Zoe wrenched headbands off her head, I tried a sixth. Not all on the same occasion, but I still tried.

Not a cute move, Mom.

Here we have a lovely little person telling me very clearly in the only way she knows how that she friggin hates having elastic bands around her forehead.Sometimes I could distract her enough that she would let it be, but it’s pretty obvious that she never enjoys it. And honestly, can I blame her? I don’t like elastic around my head either. And yet every time we’d go out somewhere nice, there I went torture flower in hand, aiming for baby girl’s head.

photo (8)To what end, Mom? So that I can enjoy the brief and unhealthy satisfaction of having my daughter look cute? Yeah, try and unteach that lesson when she’s 16, Mama. When you can’t yet speak it’s apparently okay for me to use you by dressing you for my satisfaction, but when you become a teenager it’s really not okay for you to dress a certain way for the satisfaction of all the roving, hormonal teenage boys and allow them to use you.

Principles are what count. Just because a thing is commonly accepted, doesn’t make it right.

The flower headbands are going into cold storage. Maybe we’ll have another girl who will like wearing them. Or maybe we won’t and I’ll just give them away. You don’t like the hats? Fine, but then we’re going with the sunscreen. You don’t like the dresses? Well, that’s basically all the clothing for you that we own so you’re kinda stuck with those. On the bright side, your army crawl is improving. 

It’s easy for me to convince myself that a particular incident isn’t a “big deal” because it seems innocuous. (After all, what could be bad about flower headbands??) I hope, Zoe, that I can notice these mistakes quickly enough to not rob you of the parenting you deserve.

You do you, baby girl. It is not your job to impress anyone.

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