Tag Archives: girls

Lesson Ten: ‘My three year old has cellulite! Trim the fat….talk!’

Lesson Ten: ‘My three year old has cellulite! Trim the fat….talk!’

‘My three year old has cellulite!’

Lesson Ten: New Years Resolution: trim the fat…talk!

‘Look at my legs Mummy, I have cellulite!’ Matilda cried out as she pinched her legs!

Now before you bring out the pitchforks and storm my front door, this complaint isn’t mirroring my talk. In fact, I have no idea if I have cellulite or not! I assume I do, after all I’ve delivered two healthy girls into this world and that was not via a journey of salads and mung beans.

I have a new approach to my cellulite – I don’t look at my legs! That is one part of my body ‘fixed’, but there are many other areas that still need addressing. This is not so much a lesson as a rant. I have been doing my best to improve my body image talk and be a good role model, but as you will read, these efforts are overshadowed by a family tradition of obsessing over your faults, and how we are all drowning in our contradictions.

Getting back to Matilda, and her ‘fat’ legs.

I was having coffee with a (extremely lean) girlfriend the other day who was complaining to me about her cellulite while the girls were playing nearby.

My Miss Tilda, three and a half, is a magnet. She is very clever at collating the language and information around her – ready to pour forth later. She can multi-task – listening as she quietly amuses herself nearby (I have this talent too).

I am doing my best Mumma duty to keep my body criticisms to myself and have been practising killing off my critical inner voice since Tilda was born. It’s hard. I probably used to hear a minimum of ten things a day in my head, but now I don’t notice so much. The girls keep me busy and most days I don’t have time to check in a mirror. That helps.

I have awful eating habits. I have got into the terrible habit of grazing throughout the day and not really eating lunch but having a huge dinner. I live off museli bars and yoghurts and have done this for years (except when breastfeeding, hold the lambasting)! It’s not that I’m consciously dieting, it’s just that I have this habit of having small meals as I don’t get particularly hungry at a set time and have to remind myself to eat. At the end of the day I do enjoy a small square of chocolate with my book and won’t have it if I’ve had ‘the wrong’ type of foods in the day. Does that mean I’m dieting? I’m not sure.

But yes, I am aware of the calories I intake, but it passes through my mind as naturally as water from the tap.

I try not to worry about them and I do love to indulge! I love my Smiths originals and Tim Tams when I am lazily enjoying a movie on the couch.

When I indulge, I have no regrets. I savour every mouthful and enjoy the pleasure; otherwise it is just a waste!

I do still struggle with getting dressed into a new outfit, as you don’t know which ‘part’ is going to stick out. Sometimes my inner voice is bursting with criticisms and I might change half a dozen times before going out for a special occasion. My inner voice is punishing – ‘Oh my God, look at you! Oh your flabby arms, oh no your Mummy tummy is showing!’ Sometimes I am in tears before I can leave the house. I need someone to reassure me, to comfort me.

I can’t do it myself.

When I was in high school all we cared about was the Formal. I was so obsessed and excited that I chose my dress when I was in year 9, and treasured it in my wardrobe for the year before it was needed. I punished myself in the lead up to my year ten formal. The event that I saw would be the absolute pinnacle of my high school experience. I remember flicking through the Rosemary Conley ‘Hips and Thighs’ diet before realising it all looked too hard. Plus my Mum wisely refused to let me diet.

I heard girls talking about laxatives, and I tried that for a few days but was racked with pain and couldn’t sleep due to the discomfort. I have never admitted that. It was very stupid.

There was an adorable girl in my year who had that girl next door quality and she used to eat all the time and was quite happy and confident about it. She wisely suggested to me that exercise was the key, not food. So I started running more and walking the dog and decided that would be my focus. I think I looked quite cute for my formal. I was very pretty in pink. I enjoyed being pretty when I was fifteen. Many years later, I dyed my hair black and tried to shake the prettiness off me. My hair looked like a wig. It wasn’t me.

I was obsessed with presenting the best me, and often felt what I wore failed me. Almost all of the women in my family also suffer with this cringing obsession about how we look, or more accurately, how terrible we look. When we take family photos all you hear is:

‘Oh my god, I look terrible!’

’Oh look at my chins (me)!’

‘God I look fat, I shouldn’t have worn that!’

In my family, skinniness is revered – whether through genetics, ill health or fitness – you are automatically adored and placed on a pedestal. It doesn’t matter what you wear…you will always be mentioned and discussed as looking ‘gorgeous’ and ‘divine’.

Others, the medium sized, averaged among us, fail a mention. Those who have medical issues that prevent exercise, or are taking despised but necessary medication that make your weight balloon – give up at the sheer unfairness of it all and decide to enjoy their wine and not give a f*k. That is until we are all gathered at big family parties. Then, almost all of the women in my family imprison themselves in their bedrooms not wanting to come out. We all hate what we are wearing.

My Mum, who would probably consider herself body conscious, and is often nervous in other areas of her life – shines at parties. She puts together the perfect outfit accessorized with headwear and jewellery. Her hair is freshly done and her nails bright and she is resplendent in her ensemble. She bursts with confidence and never hesitates or changes what she has. She is always ready first. I’m proud of my Mum and the way she does this. I am saddened when she criticises the photos later.

Compliments don’t come our way very often. We hurl insults at ourselves though, and are very good at refuting the comments we hear others say about themselves:

‘No, you are gorgeous.’

‘Your eyes look amazing with that dress.’

‘Stop, you always say that about yourself, it isn’t true.’

We have all learnt to curb our swearing or cursing around our children, as we don’t want them running about spouting these words all over the playground. We haven’t learnt to keep our negative words to ourselves.

I’m fat…my legs are fat, my tummy sticks out.’

These are probably some of the regular sentences and discussions that swirl above my daughter’s playland.

What are the things that you say aloud when you are complaining about yourself?

Is there any purpose in this? Are we seeking reassurance or confirmation from our confidantes?

We all know we shouldn’t say these things, yet we all do. We have heard them our entire lives from our mums, aunts and grandmas. My sister is very good at silencing my inner critic, but if she isn’t around – the words spill forth and tumble like a fountain around me. They remain etched in the tableau.

The spiteful words imprison me and I can’t disagree with myself. I need someone else to do it. That power does not live within me and rather than becoming strong enough to refute myself, I am learning NOT TO SAY ANYTHING when I look at a picture. I am trying to enjoy the memory of the moment. Live in the moment. Be kinder to your self.

It took a long time to find me. I had to reach inside and travel alone a lot. Being a Mum has helped me identify me. I have a label. I am a category. This is who I have become, who I am.

These contradictions and criticisms are of course, common. I’m writing about it for the first time, others shout their disgust loudly. This student did an inspiring (I don’t use this word lightly, she did inspire this post) job or drawing attention to the gender issues of body image and the impact on children. See her roar at:

http://www.upworthy.com/watch-a-student-totally-nail-something-about-women-that-ive-been-trying-to-articulate-for-37-years-6

There are some great groups that are attempting to address the cultural and media forces that affect body images. The people over at http://www.about-face.org have listed ways that we can take action to improve our body image. Listed on http://www.about-face.org/take-action is five ways to ‘make change’.

My favourite is:

Practice looking at yourself in the mirror and finding 5 things you like, and not saying/thinking about what you don’t like. Repeat each of the positive attributes 5 times to yourself, out loud.

Some of my personal tips are:

* Stand back from a photo and look at the entire image

– if you see a play and sit close to the stage you will see all the make up on the performers. The illusion is thwarted, as you can’t see the character but the person. Bring your focus back to look at the mise en scene and the magic is there waiting for you. It is not a young man with lines drawn on his face, but an old man, weary and tired.

– when someone takes a photo of you – look at the overall image. Look at the person standing next to you. Try and find their faults? Can’t? They look good don’t they, as do you. Don’t look at your frown lines or double chin – look at the smile and the memories connected with it and savour that moment. That irreplaceable moment in time when you smiled and were truly happy and the camera snapped that moment.

Photos are supposed to help re-connect us with our happy moments. Not a showdown with our faults. Try it.

This new years, I’m not going to make a silly resolution to myself about dieting or getting fit. I enjoy walking and getting out and about and do so when I’m well enough. I don’t need to make a pledge to myself that will often be unable to keep and make me feel as though I’m a failure! Being a Mum is already tough enough without that extra strain!

Resolutions invariably lead to disappointment, and the year is too fresh and new for those.

I’m going to relax, smile and stand back and look at the whole picture. And curb that fat talk! My three year old daughter does not have cellulite!

 

‘Making castles in the air….here, there and everywhere!’ Lesson Nine

‘Making castles in the air….here, there and everywhere!’ Lesson Nine

 

Lesson Nine: ‘Patience and Creativity’

Matilda’s new favourite past time is to make castles. To build them here….to build them there…to build them everywhere!

This means finding all the blankets and cushions in sight and fashioning them into some type of cavern. She begins her task by busily dragging every toy from around the house towards the construction site. She fossicks about picking up toys, blanets, cushions, shoes, jewellery. until every crevice and crack of the castle is blocked with anything from Dora figurines, teddies and hair ties as mortar for the space.

I am patient. I watch her pulling toys from her room out to the lounge.

I watch her pulling cushions and blocks from the lounge down the hall to her room.

Once, she even blocked our hall with a construction that was mainly scaffolded from a hat box and a stool…..it was hard to get to the bathroom or bedroom that night as every movement of a tutu or shoe in the way was ‘destroying her castle’!

I watch her and marvel at her creativity and ponder her future career choices, possibly in Architecture. I don’t mind the mess, I enjoy the process…and I sit and admire. Although I know that later when she goes to bed, we will have a big task ahead as we dismantle the structure and unpack the clutter remaining.

I allow her this indulgence as she is continuously confronted with my complicated health problems, which often means we spend a lot of time at home. I worry about the effects of having an ill Mum on such a vivacious child – I don’t want to deflate her happiness.

Most of the time I get by with heat packs and rest, and going to bed early. Although, when I have a flare up of pain or other intrusive symptoms, I cannot just take myself to the closest emergency. My history is so convoluted that I need to wait to see my specialists in a hospital almost an hour away, who will need to formulate a new plan. That is the best, although often painful approach.

A few weekends ago I had a bad episode of chronic pain. I should have gone to hospital, but the thought of waiting eight hours to be seen and ‘wasting’ that time away from my girls, when I can just wait to see my doctors and have a clear plan organized with an admittance planned meant I suffered at home with the pain relief on hand. Patiently.

Sometimes my determination to wait it out, means that I am often not the easiest person to live with and can be a bit short with my hubby, and easily overwhelmed.

Being patient as you watch your house being converted into a castle helps me to be patient in other areas of my life.

Although this past month, I just couldn’t wait it out any longer and I needed to take myself off to emergency. There was a plan outlined for the following friday but I had an acute problem arise over the weekend and by wednesday I was a walking zombie barely managing to speak or sit down.

Having children means also accepting when you can no longer be the Mum or wife you want to be. It sometimes means taking yourself out of the picture to get some rest and recover – rather than drag everyone into your web of pain and tears.

Knowing that my girls are so well looked after by my Mum and my darling hubby when I’m sick helps me to give into that decision much easier, but I feel that I am less a person when I have to admit defeat to pain, and voluntarily take myself away from them. I feel such a useless Mum and wife, but this is who I am as a result of the ravages on my body by having my beautiful children.

Having castles in your house shows you the beautiful potential of empty baskets and boxes as they can bear the weight of your castle. Being stuck indoors doesn’t become boring, but rather a way to redo our play area to make it ‘cosy and rosy’ for ‘bubba and Mama’. I have no idea where Matilda picked up this expression, but she loves using it, and puts on a bit of a Yorkshire accent when she does. I don’t know if the voice is an affectation picked up by my (Yorkshire) grandparents, or our Yorkshire cousins who we infrequently skype and stayed with for a few weeks last year. Then again, it could have emerged from something more meaningless via the television through ‘Peppa Pig or ‘Little Princess’ – adored shows in our house.

I am beginning to think that I am writing less about lessons for my girls but rather lessons from them. Matilda sometimes seems three going on fifteen with the kindness and patience she shows towards us. Then there will suddenly be the tornado of a three year old tantrum. At other times, she is my little baby who cuddles into my arms with her ‘num’ (dummy) and ‘Percy’ (Miffy comforter) and falls asleep against my head. I cradle her and kiss her on my favourite part of her which is that little chubby, delicate, soft bit of skin under her neck….and I breathe her in.

As a girl, I used to stretch out on my trampoline and search the clouds for castles in the sky…now I watch my girls building theirs and feel a love in my soul I never knew possible.

‘Ten Dreams for Ten Years’

‘Ten Dreams for Ten Years’

 

As my little baby has now turned 3, here are ten things I dream for her doing or becoming over the next ten years.

 

These aren’t goals for academic results or lofty aspirations for sporting prowess, but dreams of ways that we can add colour and happiness to her development. I know that this list might appear delusive, but I have daily plans for my daughters, so I don’t see why I shouldn’t be wistful about the next ten years.

 

  1. To play by running around simply and barefoot in the yard with her little sister by her side in a world of their own creation (a yard which we do not possess as yet, but plan to, within ten years anyway).

 

  1.  To appreciate others. To show thanks or show gratefulness for what others do for her.

 

  1. To travel (as a family). Within Australia, outside Australia….be exposed to landscape, to cultures to people. To learn how to initiate conversations with strangers – through using us as guides, and with us always supporting her efforts. To clarify, I mean other little girls at camping grounds or children she is sitting next to on a plane. I obviously do not  mean to talk to  ‘strangers’ as in random people on the street by herself.

 

  1. To have at least three best friends. To never limit herself to one friend or one group. I hope that she would try and be friendly with people across a few different cliques, rather than sticking within her familiar group. (Mia Freedman over at Mama Miawrote a fabulous blog post about how many best friends your children should have, but I can’t seem to find the entry. I vaguely remember her talking about five…).

I know that this could be difficult and awkward for a young girl (or anyone), but through travel and other forms of exposure (see list), this experience can be made easier (I had pen pals for years after some family holidays…I wonder if children these days instantly become facebook friends after meeting on holidays…or? I’d be interested to hear input from those who know).

 

  1. Play a team sport. Through my own experience of team sports or in after school clubs I found myself  mixing with people who you wouldn’t normally form friendships with. This can definitely boost your confidence and friendship networks, and I can only assume make yourself less likely to bullying attacks (please correct me or comment on this if my assumptions are wrong).

 

  1. To have tried a musical instrument.

This may sound slightly ‘Tiger Mom’ -ish, but I think everyone should be introduced to music as early as possible.  I am sure my Mother is laughing at this point, as my parents ‘encouraged’ me to play piano for about ten years, and I fought against it every step of the way. I hated practicing. I hated the teachers and I was extremely nervous at playing in exams or concerts (probably because of the lack of practice). The years of piano lessons certainly did not grant me with any musical skill, nor did it help my Maths skills  (working off the theory of left brain/right brain) – neither weakness helping the other really.

What it did show me was the effort that goes into mastering skills in music (and other Arts) and I became a devoted appreciator of musical talent and I enjoy listening to all forms of music including classical, opera, jazz and contemporary pop.

I have a close friend who is a brilliant viola player and I love to attend her Orchestra’s performances (see TMO – an amazing Sydney group) and can truly appreciate the skill and effort that have gone into playing such emotional and intriguing compositions.

 

  1. To encourage her love of books by modeling this passion at home. A place where the television is often turned off (and other electronics) as we enjoy a quiet afternoon/evening reading. My girls and I often already lay in bed together reading – me reading my novels, Matilda ‘reading’ her magazines through the pictures or by reciting her adored picture books aloud (such as the beloved classic ‘Possum Magic’ by Mem Fox) and bubba chewing on board books.

 

  1. To encourage her cheeky humour which already gathers a following at parties and local activities. She is a natural show-off (as are most toddlers), and I only hope that this self-confidence blossoms into her teen years, not fades.

 

  1. To hold her sister in high esteem as one of her closest and dearest friends and to build on that unshakeable sister bond every day as they grow older.

 

  1. To know that her Mother is always and forever her biggest fan and proudest supporter and will love her every moment no matter what (even during her foolish toddler tantrums I often find myself secretly smiling inside at how gorgeous she is).

As we approach Mother’s Day this weekend, I don’t need presents or gifts to thank me – my gift would be if my little girl (and girls) achieved all this and more.

Wish Making

To finish with a fabulous sentiment from Jodi Picoult (to apply to my girls) –

“What I really want to tell him is to pick up that baby of his and hold her tight, to set the moon on the edge of her crib and to hang her name up in the stars.”
― Jodi PicoultMy Sister’s Keeper

 

‘It Ain’t Easy Bein’ Green……or Bein’ Me’ Lesson Eight: Accept Yourself

‘It Ain’t Easy Bein’ Green……or Bein’ Me’ Lesson Eight: Accept Yourself

 

Lesson Eight –  ‘It Ain’t Easy Bein’ Green……or Bein’ Me’

Accept Yourself

My life is pulled in two directions – between my chronic pelvic pain and my two beautiful young girls. Often the pain devours all other demands and sends me to the couch, or bed, and sometimes even to hospital. Through my role as a Mother, I am learning to accept myself.

I may distress people with this diatribe.  For those out there suffering with diseases, or being burdened by life in other ways – my heart goes out to you and I apologise if in anyway I am offending you. This post is part of a blog of  lessons for my girls from my experiences and musings, although I do hope to teach others about chronic pain in the process.

I have had eight surgeries over the past fourteen years. I have suffered with endometriosis – a much maligned disease, since I was fifteen when I started passing out at school in pain with my periods. Although it wasn’t formally diagnosed until I was nineteen. I have had one miscarriage, two beautiful babies, one postpartum haemorrhage and four D&Cs.

I have a lot of scar tissue and a lot of nerve pain.

Although I am very lucky, yes lucky is a hard word to use in this sentence, but lucky that I’ve only been affected by pain with my endometriosis, my girls came to me easily (we didn’t have the fertility issues often associated with this disease).

I have to depend on my Mum a lot of the time to takeover with my girls. As some regular readers of my posts will know, I am a fiercely independent woman who has travelled the world by herself and been through a lot of tough experiences.

I do not like depending on people – but my health has forced me to.

Letting yourself depend on an army of friends/helpers opens you up to getting used to them being there, so that when they are not, or when they stop understanding – it hurts more than if they were never around.

This week, I was in and out of hospital twice. For once, it was not connected to my chronic pain. It was due to a painful infection. I am not relieved…or content…or anything. I am just frustrated. And I hate feeling frustrated almost as much as I hate being in pain. This is where I am trying to change, and where my lesson comes in. Firstly, I should be extremely incredibly grateful that my issues are not terminal.

I do have pain. I do have issues. But doesn’t everybody have some kind of shit to deal with?

If I wasn’t the woman the doctors scratched their head at and rolled their eyes over as they scanned over my long history and many medications. I wouldn’t be me.

If I wasn’t the woman who has had to fight for many years for nurses to believe I am truly in excruciating pain when I am not crying or screaming. That is just not me. I sit quietly, in agony. The biggest clue to my pain is my difficulty to stand, or those many days when I don’t leave the house. This is me.

If I wasn’t the woman who has changed specialists every few years as their sympathy and understanding grew thin, I’d be in bed permanently. With patience and re-newed purpose, I would  re-tell my long medical history again. I never gave up or accepted when they said there was nothing more that could be done. That is just not me.

If I wasn’t the woman who has been in three motor vehicle accidents, and had a painfully slow recovery from one in a fancy Croatian Hotel room (thanks to a loan from my parents) with no pain relief and no assistance. I couldn’t get the hospital to admit me – the language barrier was insurmountable. I didn’t complain. That is just not me.

If I wasn’t the woman who has had to continuously cancel on friends, family and events at the last minute…repetitively..losing friendships…for many years. I never sat at home all night crying with disappointment or frustration, (okay…maybe for just a few minutes…but then no longer). That is just not me.

I have been able to fall blessedly pregnant with two beautiful girls. I am writing this blog for you girls to learn from as you get older. I struggled with being me, but because of you two – I came to accept myself.

I have to accept myself because my chronic pain, my endometriosis, my miscarriage, my arthritis – is all part of the woman I am. I have the best life in the world. I am a Mum.

I am turning 32 and I am accepting myself. I am often in pain, but that doesn’t define me. I am a Mum to two amazingly wonderful gems. My girls. My daughters. I am the luckiest woman in the world.

To finish with a literary genuis:

“Never be bullied into silence. Never allow yourself to be made a victim. Accept no one’s definition of your life; define yourself.”
― Robert Frost

I hope my readers have never felt silenced or defined by others.

How do you define yourself today?

Do you truly accept yourself? Or are you struggling with “‘bein’ me

 

Update – I’ve now got a beautiful almost two year old boy, and yes, my body was completely broken by the pregnancy. I’ve gone on to have two more surgeries and now have a Neurostimulator in (but more on that later).

Lesson Four – Let it Go

Lesson Four – Let it Go

Lesson Four

This is one of my husband’s favourite phrases and I really am trying…but maybe if I wrote about the ways in which I am doing this, it might help others to implement this valuable (although often annoying) advice faster, and be a helpful lesson for my daughters about living in the present.

There have been two recent incidents that have made me laugh about how much I tend to hold on to things, and how much easier it would be just to let it go.

The first incident involved an old classmate. Having left school over ten years ago, I was finding it ridiculous that I was still distressed over the antics of a few ‘mean girls’ during my schooling days. I managed to reconnect through the omniscient powers of facebook with a girl who often said horrible things about me, and seeing as we both had young babies we thought we’d have a play date and catch up.

I was so nervous about it, both in accepting the invite and during the drive over, but she was lovely and has morphed in to an all embracing Earth Mother type after some hard times and the birth of her beautiful baby.

We both laughed about those days, and as she went on to talk about how bitchy she was at school, I was both relieved and surprised.  This self-awareness made it much easier for me to let it go. And to laugh at how silly I had been.

The second let it go incident was with HP  after we had just had a family picnic end in tears. Our two year old daughter Matilda Jayne (MJ) fell off the picnic table in a sickening two stage collapse. I could only watch hopelessly  as my legs failed to get me there in super(wo)man speed.

HP was the first on the scene and as he was picking MJ up, her eyes locked onto mine with the pain like a forgotten labrador puppy and I rushed to unload AM so that I could hold her.

The only sound I remember before the wailing from MJ burst forth was the sharp intake of shocked sighs emerging from a wedding party who were in the process of being video-graphed and photographed in the park.

I carried MJ away from the trauma scene so that she could be distracted by the boats on the water, but as the volcanic swelling slowly erupted from her forehead, I saw it as our cue to fast track it home to ice pack and rest.

We endeavoured to pack up the picnic food, a rug, a ball that was being blown towards the water, as well as trying to keep all our rubbish from flying away while carrying screaming girls.

What bothered me most as we drove away from the accident site? That nobody in the wedding party had offered to help, or offered any kind words or even sympathetic looks as we struggled in between them all out to our car. The only look I did register was the frustrated look of their videographer as he was obviously foreseeing the audio dramas MJ’s wailing was going to play havoc with.

‘Just let it go sweetie…just let it go’, said HP as I fumed away in the car.

I went on and on about the ignorance and rudeness of people. There were no interruptions to my tirade as MJ, traumatised, had immediately fallen asleep in her car seat.

We had been in a park only ten minutes away from home, and as I got out to carry her inside, I suddenly saw her bruised forehead, grazed arms, and the clean streaks that the tears had made through dirty face, and I felt nauseaus.

I didn’t have time to think about those people again until today, three days later, now that the drama and fear over MJ’s potential head injury has passed.

Worrying about the past, or other people’s reactions to events, or worrying about anything outside my little family has no place in my life today.

Sometimes our girls take up so much of our time that I really don’t have the time to even remember how to let it go. It just happens. So being a Mum is healthy for my worries and healthy for my girls who benefit from my constant focus and thoughts…if they aren’t with me then I am thinking about them.

I only hope that my daughters don’t have to wait until they are my age to retain focus on their own life. The phrase, Let it Go should be the soundtrack to your teen years when people around you wrong you, which they will..and disappoint you, which they will..and anger you, which they will.

Don’t wait until being a Mum to start learning how to let it go – practise it as early as you can!

And in honour of my husband who has been doing his best to get me to practise living his favourite phrases, here is a quote from an author he introduced me to when we first started dating (and is the reason I discovered the brilliant ‘fahrenheit 451′)

“Learning to let go should be learned before learning to get. Life should be touched, not strangled. You’ve got to relax, let it happen at times, and at others move forward with it. It’s like boats. You keep your motor on so you can steer with the current. And when you hear the sound of the waterfall coming nearer and nearer, tidy up the boat, put on your best tie and hat, and smoke a cigar right up till the moment you go over. That’s a triumph.”
― Ray BradburyFarewell Summer

 

Final note: I wrote this before ‘Frozen’ came out obviously, so I find it quite funny looking back that adults could get away with saying ‘let it go’ to each other without instantly conjuring up images of an Ice Queen. Bloody Disney! Nah, I still love it, even though Miss 6 has moved on.

 

Lesson One – What are little girls made of?

Lesson One – What are little girls made of?

Lesson One 

I have tried really hard not to inflict gender stereotypes on to my daughter, MJ (two years old), allowing her to become the type of girl that she was born to be, not what I want her to be.

We send her to play soccer, she doesn’t have Barbies, she sees Daddy do the washing and cooking too, she often wears boys t-shirts and pjs (the best style for fulfilling the dinosaur need) and I try to create gender neutral play.

I have to admit that I’m pretty surprised at how quickly she has gravitated towards ‘girly’ things -such as handbags, jewellery, shopping and, more recently nail polish!

I have never given her any of these things, but she has sourced them out for herself. She found an old bag of mine that had make up in and started walking around the house telling me that she was ‘going shopping’!

She started noticing my necklace or earrings I put on each day, and asking where hers is, and her awareness of make up must have stemmed from her waiting and watching me getting ready so that we can finally get out of the house!

On a recent shopping trip where she delighted at walking past all the colourful new spring dresses released, and proudly pointed out each bright colour she recognised, her sharp eyes spotted the nail polish! Exciting, vibrant colours had been released and were on special at her eye level so that she could marvel at them herself.

I decided to indulge her and allowed her to choose two colours for us to paint our nails with. Her favourite colour is orange and she also chose blue (which happens to be mine, so that was nice of her).

I felt guilty putting off our doing our nails as I looked for free time, and the last few days I kept seeming to be running out of time!

After asking me for what unfortunately was about the twentieth time, I decided to stop absolutely everything I was doing and give her all of my attention. We had a delightful half hour painting our nails, and I allowed her to paint my toes which was a difficult task with her little fingers and my big feet, but she did a pretty good job! I was amazed at how still she was prepared to sit to let her nails dry, and how she let me do each nail carefully, although creatively stipulating that her feet be two different colours.

Lesson? Just stop and be a girl!

The washing, dinner, clothes and emails will all still be there. I know that sounds like a reworked cliche, and I am pretty sure that I know how to stop working to give my girls time. But this wasn’t about stopping to give them time…this was about putting things aside and sharing in some girls stuff together, and loving every second of it! Being proud to be a woman and let the girl out to play without worrying about anything else!

What are little girls made of?

Handbags, jewellery, shopping and nail polish that’s what my little girls are made of!