One night at bedtime, I was lying in her room waiting to read stories, and I asked her for the eight-forty-billionth time go brush her teeth, and she left the room to do it but then popped back inside to make air quotes around a sassy: “oKAY”. She returned seconds later and repeated the gesture, asking: “what does this mean, anyway?” Teeter.
She is a wee one, a full head shorter than all the other girls in her class. And she also stands out for pretty much looking, dressing, and acting like a little girl. She doesn’t care if her pants are 6 inches too short, or if her clothes are stained and mismatched. She likes what she likes and if it’s pink? She likes.
There are girls in her class who wear platform shoes and face glitter to school, and who dress like they are much older. What is up with little girl clothes, anyway? How and why would a size 6-8 shirt have a freaking bustline? There’s no bust! How does a 2nd grader wear low slung jeans while sitting criss-cross-applesauce on the carpet? Her princess panties will hang out for all the world (ewww, boys) to see! Teeter.
Recently, my girl has started addressing me by saying things like: “whassup yaw?” I don’t know if she’s saying y’all or yo or what the hell, she’s a seven year old suburban white girl! She wants to know why I tell her not to talk like that, and lists the names of other girls who talk like that all the time. It’s hard to explain – it’s disrespectful to people with legitimate ghetto cred, yaw. I told her it sounds like she’s not smart. But that’s not cool either; I don’t want her to assume that people who speak this way are unintelligent.
I just want her to slow down and be my little girl with the jack-o-lantern smile. I want the nuances of her speech to simply be the way she says “breh-fixed” and how she says she needs to get “nused to” something and that she has burgers in her nose-holes.
She’s teetering, and I want to drag her back down to the safe side, where boys will always be gross and moms are cool and smart and worthy of giant mooshy love notes of apology taped to their bedroom doors after a particularly rough day:
I want to always be asked to read books at bedtime. Last night, I read this passage:
Mothers for miles around worried about Zuckerman’s swing. They feared some child would fall off. But no child ever did. Children almost always hang onto things tighter than their parents think they will.
My baby girl looked at me knowingly and said: “That’s true, mommy”.