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.Add a Comment