Spin Cycle: Wish I May, Wish I Might

September 28, 2008 6:44 am

This week’s Spin Cycle topic over at Sprite’s Keeper is  “Wish I may, Wish I might.” This one might get deep, I think Jen likes to make us touch on our cheesy side, really make us squirm. Thanks Jen! I think it’s a good thing, otherwise you might only get to read my writings about fart jokes and pr0n. Here goes!

I am totally head over heels in love with my daughter Elliot. Really, I am. As I write this, she is laying next to me on the bed, watching me intently and smiling from ear to ear. After every few words I type, I stop and smile at her and she bursts into the most adorable laugh I have ever heard. It’s hard for me to concentrate, almost enough to make me overlook the fact that she’s supposed to be napping but fought like hell to be able to stay up and play.

Having a daughter worried me in many ways. There’s the obvious me being a tomboy and not knowing what to do if she turns into a princess. There’s the stuff about “girl problems” and having to protect her from all of the boys out there that are going to try to get in her pants. Mostly, there’s the fact that as a girl, she’s going to grow up in a world where looks, popularity and being thin will turn my precious girl into a self conscious mess if we don’t work extra hard on building her self-esteem.

Growing up, I spent most of my time around boys. At home, there weren’t any other girls in the neighborhood so I played alongside the boys. I raced BMX and there were only a handful of other girls in the state that raced so I was usually the only girl. Boys didn’t care if I wore makeup, or what I dressed like. They cared about if I could beat them out of the starting gate and how I rode the doubles going into the second turn. Boy stuff. Because of this, I never noticed my weight or thought to eat a salad instead of a burger. I was accepted by my peers and never gave it a second thought.

I recently read that 20-40% of girls begin dieting by the age of ten. TEN. A ten year old shouldn’t know what a diet is. Kids these days are being pushed into adult situations long before we were at their age. It scares the shit out of me. It’s not just dieting, it’s also sexualization, peer pressure and drugs. Little girls are dressing like sluts (I’ve heard them called prostitots), preteens are developing eating disorders and becoming sexually active. What the fuck is going on with the world?

Elliot is only five months old and I’ve already caught myself slipping up. When we play, I call her “Pretty Pretty” and tell her she’s the most beautiful girl in the world (she is, by the way). It comes naturally to tell her these things, but I know I should be telling her she’s smart and capable instead. When she’s old enough to understand me, I will. We plan on buying her gender neutral toys and not toys geared solely towards little girls. She WILL NOT own a Bratz doll. We will encourage her creativity and her brains and help her to feel good about herself. We need to teach her that it’s ok to wear clothes that cover her body and it’s ok to eat a decent meal.

When I look at Elliot, I worry about how I will be able to make her strong enough to be happy. I want her to know that it’s her brain and her heart that make her special, not which shade of Revlon she puts on her lips or what size clothes she wears. How am I going to do that when the odds are against us? I wish I had the know how to help turn my little girl into a balanced person with a healthy self-image. I wish I may, I wish I might, have this wish I wish tonight.

How could you NOT want to protect this kid?

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  1. April

    Do what comes naturally and you’ll do fine. I think it’s absolutely necessary to tell kids (everyone!) that they’re capable AND beautiful. Nothing wrong with feeling good about yourself in every way 🙂

    Aprils last blog post..Video Mania!

  2. Sprite's Keeper

    I’ve got tears. Beautiful, Casey! I worry over the same things for Sprite and wonder if every little pink toy or castle themed pillow I look at with Sprite in mind will turn her into a girly-girl or if every little outfit I see will fit the term of “prostitot”. I was actually in a shop at the Hard Rock Casino in S Florida and saw toddler lingerie. I left immediately. Great spin! You’re linked!

  3. cyndi

    I have those same fears, slanted toward hoping the boys find someone whose parents are thinking the things you’re thinking now 😉 It seems like you’re the perfect person to teach her to love all aspects of herself – having two boys has shown me that they will gravitate toward what interests them, regardless of what we put in their hands. Maybe you can put a whole new spin on the girly world!

    cyndis last blog post..Scissors Cut

  4. Katie

    She’s adorable! You are correct when you call her “pretty pretty”, I call my son “Mr. Handsome”. I also tell both my son and daughters how smart and tough they are. It kind of hurts not to be told you are pretty, I never was and I still remember the first time like it was yesterday. The trouble starts when they think, “pretty” is all they have to offer. With you as her mom, Elliot will never have that problem 🙂

    Katies last blog post..Sometimes you gotta learn the hard way

  5. mrsbear

    I’m with you. I had all sorts of self esteem issues growing up. Shit, I still do. I don’t want my girls to have to carry that kind of baggage, but it’s hard, especially once they hit puberty. It takes a lot of confidence to navigate that road unscathed. I worry about my boys too though, they might not struggle with the same issues but there are quite a few macho stereotypes that I hope they’ll never feel they have to live up to.

    Being a mom is tough work any way you put it.

    mrsbears last blog post..Bad Mommy Moments, Joining the Ranks

  6. HeatherPride

    I know what you mean! Have a daughter puts a whole new level of anxiety on parenthood! I fall into the same traps of calling Claire “pretty girl” a lot. I want her to feel pretty, but I think I’ll try to start throwing in a “smart girl” more often! (I do, but not as often as I say the “pretty” thing.)

    HeatherPrides last blog post..And This One Time? At Swim Class?

  7. Krystal

    Honey – I know exactly what you mean. Princess right now is not too much of a girly – she loves the Disney Princesses but that’s about as far as it goes – we just have to wait and see and guide them as they grow. It is the only thing we can ask for right?

    Krystals last blog post..What a romantic weekend I had

  8. Arwen

    I have the same worries about having a daughter. I was a tomboy too, and I still have trouble at times getting along with other women (they can be so petty). Boys can be a handful, but sometimes I think I would rather raise a whole pack of boys than have to worry about what to do with girls.

    Arwens last blog post..More Calvin (Spin Cycle)

  9. WickedStepMom

    I have the same worried about my three girls. It really doesn’t help that their egg-donor calls them fat. That is a beautiful wish. I hope it comes true.

    WickedStepMoms last blog post..I wish…

  10. DeeMarie

    Great spin, Casey!! First time reading your blog and I’m already misty!! Elliot is beautiful and I wish for you that your wish comes true!!

    DeeMaries last blog post..Great Way to End My Day

  11. Katie

    I think you daughter is very luck to have you. She will be strong and happy. I already see pieces of my husband and me in our daughter. I my daughter (and yours) will take the very best of us. And I’ll be there behind her every step of the way to make sure no one gets in the way of her happiness….don’t mess with the baby cubs!!

    Katies last blog post..To Choose or not to choose….

  12. Debbie

    It’s a worry we parents all share, isn’t it? My youngest is 15 and in 10th grade. I can’t tell you the number of times that I’ve said “If I can just get her through high school, we’ll be ok.” Mind you, she’s a good kid … not running the street, doesn’t talk back, is nice and polite, no boyfriends (yet, thankfully) – and I’m holding my breath until she’s out of school.

    Debbies last blog post..Is It That Difficult?

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