Sunday, September 25, 2011

How to talk to girls....

I may be a little biased, but being the mom of daughters is simply wonderful.  However......I am continually praying that I'm doing a good job of raising them.  I cringe when they come into the bathroom and see me weighing myself and then want to step on the scale to know what their number is.  The list could go on and on.  The thing that bothers me the most is the fact that they are only 4.  A conversation on the way to school the other day went something along the lines of:
M or M: Mom, what does 'healthy' mean?
Me: Well, it means that we eat food that is good for our bodies and that we get regular exercise so that our bodies continue to work well.
M or M: Are cookies good for us?
Me: We should only eat cookies and candy AFTER we've eaten foods that are good for our teeth and bodies.  Fruits and Vegetables are really good for us, and we should eat a lot of those (like we do), and cookies and candy have a lot of sugar in them, and that can make our tummies hurt if we eat too much of it (like we sometimes do).
It was really hard for me to hold back the 'fat' word.  I don't even want them to begin thinking that they are fat or that other people are fat.  They are fully aware that mommy goes running to stay healthy and that daddy exercises downstairs because exercise is good for us.  The other day, Brandon was going to take the girls to the park and they debated between walking or driving to the park.  Myah's response was 'we need to walk so that I can get my exercise.'  Again, it's great that they are aware that exercise is important, but I worry about that 'line' and going to far.  I want them to understand that there is a healthy amount of exercise and then terrible extremes.  Part of me wants to shelter them from the ugly, reality of life, and part of me wants to expose them to every faux pas out there.

A little while ago, my sister stumbled upon this article about how to talk to girls.  If you don't want to take the time to read it, it ultimately talks about how so many conversations with little girls focus around their cute hairstyles, or fashionable/adorable dresses.  Instead of always complimenting little girls about their appearance, try asking them about their favorite book.  I am really pretty good about this with my own daughters because I want them to be smart, cultured, AND cute.  Beauty comes in so many varieties and I surely don't want them to think they will reach their dreams in life based solely on their appearances.  The other day, Mylie was wearing a onesie that I had bought for M&M back in the day, and on it it said 'Future Valedictorian.'  I remember when I bought it, the other option was 'Future Prom Queen.'  Now, why can't a girl be both?  In my mind, she definitely can be, and SHOULD be both!  However, since I needed (ok, wanted) to make a decision, I chose the Valedictorian because that's the accomplishment that I would want my daughter to strive for first.  Each and every day, I ask the girls what letter they learned to write in school and we practice on the chalkboard in the kitchen while supper is in progress, I ask about the centers available and how they relate to the theme of the week.  We do puzzles and flashcards, computer games and read endless books.

Switching gears here a little bit, so bear with me.......

Now, you all probably know that I'm NOT the fashionista that my sister is (she looks gorgeous everyday!).  I would love to be, but just don't have the time to put that much thought into my outfits each day.  Don't get me wrong, I strive to be presentable, but sometimes that little bit of spit-up on my shoulder is ok and so what if these shoes aren't perfect, it's practically a miracle I got out the door today:)  However, I am beginning to think that fashion is maybe just a little bit instilled in girls and caring about how we look is ingrained in our DNA.  And try as we might to foster other 'likes' in our daughters, those instincts are still there.  Hear me out....M&M have a boy cousin who is just one day older than them, so in May the three muskateers turned 4.  We went to C's birthday party and gave him a toy and a bag of new clothes.  He simply peeked into the bag of clothes and tossed it behind him.  A natural reaction for a 4-year-old, or so I thought.  The next weekend, M&M had their birthday party and got several bags of clothes.  Instead of tossing the bags behind them, they pulled each and every garment out of the bag one-by-one and held them up to show them off.  That spoke volumes to me.  There are some clothes hanging in the closet right now that one or both of the girls won't wear, and they don't really have any reasons why other than 'I don't really like it.'  So long to the days of me buying clothes on my own for them.......

This weekend, we read several books, dug in the dirt at the neighbors AND went shopping.  The girls got to pick out a new pair of jeans and a new shirt.  They chose the same shirt, but different designs in the pants.  They were so proud and had so much fun choosing their new outfits!  I couldn't believe that a 4 year old could care so much.

I have to boast that my girls really are beautiful AND smart and I'm so very proud of that, but as a middle school teacher, I worry about how the priorities and foci (?) can change as girls get older.

NOTE: I am in the process of cleaning out my closet, and I'm planning a shopping date with my sis so that we can put together a few outfits as I DO want to look cute and stylish most days.  I just don't want to spend hours in front of the mirror and I want it to be pretty effortless because I want to communicate to them that beauty on the outside is less important than beauty on the inside.

Miss Mylie turned 6 months old a few weeks ago and Eric took some pictures of her.  She is such an incredibly happy and smiley baby.  The only times she fusses really is when she's tried or hungry.  Enjoy.

Myah and Maysen's teacher has a little girl that's about exactly a year older than Mylie and he daughter was a pig for Halloween last year.  We borrowed the costume, but it's a little snug on Mylie....she's too long for the costume and her cheeks are a bit too wide for the hat part, BUT it was way too cute to not get any pictures of her in it.  She's going to be a ghost for Halloween.  I'm making the costume so we'll be sharing it with you soon!


  1. Great post. I think your kids are so above-normal cute that it is hard for me to not comment on that every few minutes! :) And I am trying to compensate for the fact that I didn't feel pretty growing up. But I totally don't want them to think being physically beautiful is the most important thing.

  2. Those pictures are A-D-O-R-A-B-L-E!!!!!!!

  3. Also I think it's in 1 Samuel where it says "Man looks at the outward appearance, but God looks at the heart." This tells us that what is most important is not looks, $$, or even smarts as our culture is so big on - but what's in our heart. I have been learning to notice character qualities, like when Z shares a toy and say, "That was so kind of you!" or when he tells me when he has to go potty to say, "Thank you for telling me the truth!" The other day he told me one of his toys was not being respectful to the other toy. Kinda funny. But at least he's gettin' the point! :)