I just had an argument with my 3 year old daughter. Nothing new. But we actually argued freakin’ gender roles. Good God Almighty, I’m so in over my head with these kids.
So my oldest two, 3 and 5, got kid makeup kits for Christmas. They love them. Every single day I’m telling them that no, they may not go to school with their make-up on. (Mostly because they’re too young. But also because the kits only come with colors like Skanky Blue and Hooker Red.) My 3 year old sneaks off and paints her fingernails about three times a day. Which is terrible because it gets everywhere. (But, being kid nail polish, it comes up pretty easily) And it’s also kinda nice because it’ll be gone faster. Whatever, the point is, my girls put their make-up on all the damn time.
Which brings me to my fight with my middle kid this morning. She was angry that I wouldn’t let her put it on before we left. She screamed and cried because she wasn’t getting her way and she’s three. Telling her no to anything is basically the same as curb stomping a puppy in front of her. But the way she argued has me a little stressed. Her main point was this:
I won’t be pretty if I don’t have on makeup!!
Um. Huh? First of all, you have to understand, my middle daughter is effing gorgeous. This isn’t just mom bias, she really is. During her parent-teacher conference, her teacher told me she literally stops traffic in the halls; people come from all over the darned school to look at her in her adorableness. She knows she’s pretty. So … wtf?
I spend a solid half hour off and on explaining that a person’s beauty comes from a person’s soul. Her actions are what make her beautiful. Kindness is beautiful. Forgiveness is beautiful. Problem solving is beautiful, Her worth has nothing to do with her appearance. This is not the first time we’ve had this conversation, she kind of rolls her eyes and nods her way through it, mostly.
Also, I think she’s probably seen me with make-up on … oh, maybe a dozen times. So what? Does she think I’m not pretty? She always says I’m “pretty” … ya know… when I put on something other than yoga pants and sweats. So I ask her that and her damned response is:
But you’re a lady. I won’t be a girl if I don’t have on make-up.
Again. Uh… Huh? She explains that she thinks girls wear makeup and boys don’t. Grown ups don’t have to wear makeup because they’re already grown up. (I assume this means grown up girls have boobies, but I really don’t want to make this conversation any more complicated than it needs to be so I don’t press that.) I have bigger things to worry about in this conversation, I feel like.
So I show her pictures of David Bowie.
I feel like that ought to shut her up about the boy/girl thing at least. And it totally does. But that backfires because then we’re back to “He’s so pretty!” … Because he’s wearing makeup.
Ugh, society sucks. Because she definitely isn’t learning that crap at home. I don’t even know where she’s getting it. So my current plan is just address each crazy thing as it comes up. Because I literally have no idea how to handle this shit.
And isn’t that just the motto of parenting? “Um… wtf? No.”