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Friday, February 21st, 2014
I don’t think I knew what nail polish was when I was 4. But in this world, Fia knows it all too well. Her friends all wear it on their nails and toes. When friends of ours with older girls come over, they sometimes want to paint her nails. Phil took the stance stronger than I did in the beginning. No way, he said. But now as she gets a little older, I’m torn.
I don’t want to give into peer pressure, but what is really the issue here? We all know kids grow up faster than we did. The whole world moves and grows faster. So where do I make my decisions and pick my battles?
The other day a friend of hers from school gave her a gift: a purse and a package of pretty water-based nail polishes. Fia begged us to let her put them on. Phil was adamant. I was waffling. But he glared at me and said, “United front.” I acquiesced.
As Fia stood there streaming tears, I took her aside, in what I suspect will be one of many “let mama work on him” talks. I just didn’t expect it to happen this young.
“Fia, look at me,” I said, out of Phil’s earshot.
She did as her tiny lip trembled. This is going to be really hard to watch when there are real issues at stake besides blue nail polish.
“Stop asking about it tonight. Let me talk to daddy when you go to sleep.”
She protested a bit, then listened and dropped the subject.
Once she was in bed, I approached Phil.
“How about we just let her have it on special occasions?” I suggested.
He hesitantly agreed.
Fia slept with her purse full of her polishes next to her.
The next morning you can guess what her first question was.
I gleefully whispered, “Yes, you can do it today. But only today. Then it will be on special occasions.”
Her face lit up and she wrapped her little arms around me. “Oh thank you mama.”
We quickly got to the task at hand.
She wanted every color on every nail, so I had to explain to her how it’s done. In the end, we had a blue pinkie and some semi-sparkly pink and peach nails. It was so much lighter than I thought it would be. It was basically like glitter with a hint of color. In retrospect, hardly worth the argument against it.
But what is it about these “girly” things that make some of us hesitate? When do you allow short skirts? Makeup? Is it that society inundates us with how women can “make” themselves beautiful that make parents like us cringe? We know girls and women face tremendous pressure in this regard. But if you push back too much, then does it backfire? What do you gain?
When I took Fia to school that morning she ran up to her teachers and proudly showed off her nails along with the purse full of polish. After the ooo-ing and awww-ing subsided, she handed me the purse, picked up her “work” (she’s in Montessori) and went back to being the 4-year old that she is.
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Monday, June 3rd, 2013
I got a bit slammed by the comments on Facebook regarding my post about letting toddlers wear makeup. I will say it made me think that perhaps I am a bit too protective in that regard. As is Victoria Beckham, apparently. I was thrown down for not wanting Fia to play with a little girl’s purse that was chock full of Hello Kitty makeup. I am still on the fence with how I feel about that. I did find it a bit gross that a 3-year old is running around with blush and lipstick in her purse, stopping mid run to re-apply her cosmetics.
I know I was the only one there so no one else witnessed what I did. But the conclusion that I jerked Fia away in a “judgmental” way is just false.
I didn’t say, “That girl is awful. Look at her makeup. Come on Fia, let’s get out of here.” Or anything even close.
We were leaving the Science Center when we ran into this mom and child on the lawn. The girls played for a few minutes, the cursed-purse was pulled out, and we bid farewell and left. We would have anyway. So perhaps if I had explained that better I wouldn’t have been railed on as much.
I know kids like to imitate their moms and they also like to paint–whether with lipstick on their face or a brush on a canvas. There are extremes to any and all of this. I just choose to not encourage or push the makeup thing on my daughter. And she doesn’t seem all that interested anyway. So I’m in the clear for a bit.
But at the risk of getting yelled at again, I am going to launch into another major irritation of mine: sexualizing our babies. I know, it’s a strong statement. So maybe I should just say “language I find distasteful.” But when I hear parents of toddlers saying, “Oh-Liam– look at you flirting with Lily!” or “Asher–where is your girlfriend Abigail?” I, once again, get grossed out. I guess my prude factor is pretty high. But seriously, why can’t they just be friends? Why does it have to be flirting and boyfriend-girlfriend stuff?
Maybe it’s no different when Courtney and I joke that Fia and Teddy are like an old married couple–he gets cranky with her and she nags him. But we don’t tell it to them like, “Fia, your husband Teddy is getting cranky” or “Teds, don’t get cranky with your wife.” We whisper it to each other, then usually yell at one of them to chill out.
And why do people who have even older kids like 9-year-olds use the “boyfriend-girlfriend” term so loosely? The tween age is on the cusp of teen. Why push the romance language on them any earlier than need be? I heard a mom at the playground say to another mom, as she patted her son’s head, “Oh, my son isn’t cooperating today because he wants to be with his girlfriend. Right, Jacob?” And that is not an isolated case. I don’t know, maybe it’s just me, but I don’t find it cute.
So once again I’m throwing myself out there. Am I being prudent or prudish?
picture of toddlers via Shutterstock
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Thursday, May 30th, 2013
About a year ago I met a woman at the playground. Her 3-year-old was carrying around a purse, chock full of Hello Kitty Makeup. I was pretty grossed out. The mom, who ironically struck me as the hippie type–said her daughter just had a birthday and this was one of her presents. The girl was showing Fia everything before I pulled her away. I left thinking no way will I expose Fia to that crap. I want to preserve her innocence for as long as possible.
However, Victoria Beckham is taking it a step further. In a statement to The Sun, she says the following in regards to her 18-month old girl, Harper: ”I can’t put on make-up when Harper’s around, because she would join me immediately…”
I guess the glam girl goes without or sneaks in the bathroom to put herself together. I admit, kids are curious about everything you do–including makeup. Fia sits and watches me and plays with my blush brush as I put myself together. She often asks what I’m doing. I tell her that sometimes grownups need to put stuff on their face because they don’t have young, beautiful skin like hers. A few times as I’m putting powder on, Fia pulls out one of my brushes and imitates me. I have let her put some translucent powder on her face before. And sometimes I tickle her nose with my brush. I definitely wouldn’t do lipstick–like Suri Cruise at the age of 5. And Heidi Klum who paraded her 2-year old around with bright red lips (interesting choice, since on the other hand she insists on paying her kids $1 a day to drink a smoothie. Seems a bit ironic, no?). Though I do let her put on chapstick for her dry lips.
The Huffington Post has an article about the Beckham makeup statement, and mentions the other celebrity children (like Suri) and Heidi Klum’s kids.
Anyway, the article posed the question:
What do you think: Should little girls be kept away from makeup as long as possible, or is an early love of cosmetics just harmless fun?
So now I’m asking you guys. What are your thoughts? And what about little boys in this equation. Is it different to let them play with makeup if interested?
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Wednesday, June 20th, 2012
It’s really hard to let someone else watch your kid. But most of us have had to take that leap of faith—whether it’s daycare, a nanny or a babysitter. No one is perfect (including us moms), so of course you’re going to find flaws in the help (i.e. read my sitter chronicles). However, I was appalled at the email I got from a friend about a recent babysitter fiasco. It’s so absurd I had to share. I am calling her kid “Y”. He’s three. And now in much better hands. Can anyone top this?
So I really wanted a drink last night because….
I have this sitter a few mornings per week (so I can work). She’s been with us for almost a year or so. She’s young (27) and an aspiring singer. So, you know–her heart isn’t really in this and she’s kind of dramatic and crazy in that performance-artist kind of way. Also, she has my least favorite quality in a sitter: Instead of asking questions, she pretends like she knows everything and is listening to me, when I suspect she’s not.
One time, she came to watch Y and she had no makeup on. When I came back, she was totally made up. She looked great so I asked her about her eye shadow. She said, “Oh, it’s yours!” Yep. She helped herself to my makeup. Since then, I put out some old “dummy” makeup in case she
goes digging for it again. I hide the rest.
I thought about letting her go then, but it’s hard to find a new person. I dread the process. Hate it actually. Plus, I don’t use her that often and Y loves her. He doesn’t take to many people, so to start from scratch just seems daunting.
So yesterday, she shows up and I compliment her on her outfit. “Ugh,” she says. “I just got my period so I took my underwear off. I need to wash them in your machine.”
I leave to go get my car washed and sit at Starbucks with my computer, to work. I get a call around 4 that Y locked her out of the house.
My husband (X) went home (since my car was being washed) and let her go for the day. He’s relatively unfazed. He said, “Well, I guess that’s something that could have happened to us.” It’s like I’m married to an ape. I’m pretty pissed. I asked him if he paid her. He didn’t. Did she tell him not to bother paying since she screwed up? Nope. So now I owe her.
Two nights before this incident, I said she could bring her friend from out of town over. I came home to them all watching Ironman on television (not talking about the Triathlon either). Maybe it’s unrelated, but Y had nightmares that night. The more I think about it, I am going to find someone else. I’m not using her again. But do I still have to pay her for the half-shift she served before she got locked out?
Jill here again: What do you all think? Crazy, right?
Picture of Baby by Himself courtesy of Shutterstock
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