The first color she recognized was “pink!” She squeals over dresses. Her favorite toy is her pretend make-up kit. She’s vain about her painted fingernails and insists you look at her toes, as well. She’s a girly-girl, and I have no idea what to do with her. Because I’m a tomboy. And I’m her mom.
When I was little, the bane of my existence was getting ready for church on Sunday. I lamented stockings and found patent leather shoes confining and impractical. Dresses were more than clothes: they were nightmarish hindrances of mobility. My friends seemed to relish staying in their frilly frocks as long as they could, but me? I couldn’t wait to run home and change into my jeans and a t-shirt, complete with flip-flops. The Birkenstock trend could not have come at a better time for me–just slide them on beneath your flare-leg jeans and you’re out the door! What a time to be alive!
Make-up and I have a rocky history together. My first memories of it involved my mother making the same bizarre faces in the mirror as she methodically applied her mascara and blush. Later, I would come to begrudgingly accept it because I did community theater in my youth, having to wear “stage makeup.” I felt like a clown. My childhood best friend, a dancer, had a caboodle spilling various powders, sticks, and brushes. Everything looked like it fell into the two necessary Southern Shades of “Blush and Bashful.” I didn’t know what most of it meant or was used for. I still don’t. Honestly, I was 28 before I owned my own tube of lipstick. I still have it because it’s barely used. Chapstick is my go-to, so if I want some color, I just get some poppin’ flavor like “Razz-berry!” or whatever it was that the first-grader suggested at my last trip to Walmart. When I went for my makeup consultation for my bridal portraits, the patient ladies asked about my makeup routine as if it existed. I learned to call it a “natural look” and almost panicked when they whipped out shades of purple “to bring out the eyes.” No, thanks. My daughter officially owns more “makeup” than I do.
So after having two very manageable, low-maintenance little boys and finding out that baby number three was a girl, I became immediately intimidated. How am I supposed to navigate Barbies when I never owned one? Are they pre-programmed knowing the name of every Disney princess? Because I swear she knows them all, and I certainly don’t! How does she know what the pretend eyeshadow brush is for?!
I try not to roll my eyes or in any other nonverbal way express my loathing for coordinating her outfits, but now I’m worried that I haven’t stood my ground enough. She becomes outright giddy when she gets a new dress. Gift from Maw-Maw? Elation. Special occasion outfit from Nana? Ecstasy. And then she insists on putting “a pretty bow” in her hair. And oh! the hair! I’ve struggled to maintain my curly locks ever since puberty reared its ugly head, ultimately resorting to some gel and air-drying. She bears the same curly curse, which is easy to handle now, but what do I do when it grows out? I always resort to a pony-tail, but there are some Pinterest-inspired looks that I’m definitely unprepared for.
The boys and I have a healthy understanding. We like The Great Outdoors. We only have about three pairs of shoes (Tennis shoes, dress shoes, flip-flops. How many does one person need?!). Our style is Functional Meets Thrifty.
I think it’s too late for me to try out this whole “style” thing, but maybe I can learn along with her as she grows. I certainly can’t teach her. This little girly-girl and all her paraphernalia sure keep me on my toes. My unpedicured, unpainted toes.