i copied this from a blog i follow. i think it'd be cooler and more relevant if i had kids. but i don't, obviously so i'm not entirely sure why this piques my interest so much. although sometimes i wonder, while i embrace my public school experience and the horror of being shunned from the cool group in the middle of seventh grade, i dunno if i would put my kids through that considering the state of kids these days.
i go back and forth between wanting to shelter my fictitious offspring from mean kids and the effects of puberty - or to throw them right into the community pool full of whatever crap kids leave in there and hope for the best. i never thought this is what parents have to deal with and how potentially heartbreaking it can be to have your little angels get broken into the cruelty of our world. psalm 82 says, all the foundations of the earth are shaken. it doesn't take much effort to see the aftermath of sin around us and that sucks. i've heard people at my work say they wouldn't want to bring kids into a world like this. and it's true. the devil is behind a lot of the things that destroy our home here and he has minions (not the cute yellow cyclops kind) and all sorts of people doing his work for him. but he's not the ultimate power. god is.
i guess that's why they say parenting is the best way to bring people to christ. because you need the sovereignty of god to make sure you're teaching your kiddies not to make out with guys before they turn 30 and to live holy and honoring lives for god.
plghh i'll stick to raising my bunny for now ^__^ anyways, the blog post i originally wanted to share: ps. i love how she writes. must take notes.
Tessa came home from school one day, (about 3 months in), and said to me: "Daddy, I want to be pretty too." She said it casually, not overly pouty or dramatic, sort of like the way a kid asks for a cookie or a juice box. How could this confident little girl actually be asking me this, I was truly stunned. I asked her what she meant by that, and she followed it up by saying: "pretty pink dress." I was pissed. She had just started school, was just two years old, just really starting to talk, and she was already made to feel inferior because she wasn't dressed like a ridiculous doll to go play on playgrounds and make macaroni art. I had no idea that this would happen at this age. Then again there wasn't anything I could do about it besides work really hard to make enough money so I could send her to a school where all the kids are referred to by number, wear genderless space age jumpsuits with tall boots, only color with earth tones, and play with a single wooden block that can be "anything they imagine it to be."
Tessa was in school now, two days a week, and surrounded by everything we had been avoiding here in our house, and there wasn't a thing I could do about it. By the end of the year she was coming home and shouting with glee that she was a princess, and I would cry into Cole's neck at night about how I didn't do a good enough job of protecting her from it all. I admit I felt a little sheepish about straight up putting all the blame of this influence on the shoulders of her school, until she came home on the last day with a little adorable yearbook they had put together. They had placed single portraits of each child with a sweet little accompanying nickname next to them on the page, and when I turned to Tessa's page, there she was, wearing a tacky princess dress complete with a bullshit pageant smile, and right above her photo in big bold letters it read: "Princess Tessa."
My blood flash boiled, and then I melted like I had just snuck a peek into the Ark of the Covenant. What a mess.
Actually, I just barfed in my hands and then fainted 10 times before I started waving around this photographic evidence at Cole, shouting about how "I knew it all along!", THEY did this to her. All joking aside. I was sincerely bummed. I don't have any real anger left over about the school-- I immediately let go of it all. I had eyeballs and saw all the other little girls sitting on the swings with bows in their hair, buckles on their shoes, and wearing party dresses. Tessa absolutely looked different from them, I just didn't think she would care. I was wrong. I knew that the second you let your kids out the door (that includes into television land) every hand that comes in contact with them will influence them in some way, from her teachers and peers, to even ol' cheeky Peppa Pig. I guess I just didn't think at this age that she would start to feel inferior about her looks, I guess I should have asked the school, "so... do you dress the girls up in princess dresses and tell them how pretty they are when they are wearing gowns and crowns?!" because if I had asked that in the beginning and they said yes, Tessa would have been given a Doctors note to please excuse her from that one activity.
It's embarrassing and shitty to walk into a school and start barking about all the things you don't want your kids around. I can't imagine being a teacher today with all the different schools of thought about how things should and shouldn't be that are floating around. Seriously these people are heroes for what they put up with. All the sudden half their students are allergic to fucking peanut butter, the other half can't eat wheat, and then you have me with a list of toys and phrases I don't want said around my kid. Teachers are still trying to figure out how to keep cupcakes from hurting anyones feelings, they certainly aren't going to worry about their influence on gender roles and inferiority complexes. It's all a real shame.
It felt terrible to have to explain to Tessa that clothes aren't what makes a person beautiful, she was two years old. Talk about a blank stare. You can't get some thirty year olds to understand that concept. So we did our best to explain to her that dresses and shades of pink have nothing to do with beauty, all we can do is keep talking about it until she is older and can grasp larger concepts and ask detailed questions. We are smack dab in the middle of the "why" phase. Once that is over, I am hoping she will start to really understand some of the deeper meanings of these words we wield.
So whatever, it happened, and Cole and I decided the best thing to do was to just embrace the phase and plow through it, get it over with as quickly as possible. The compromise was that if she wanted to wear something soft and frilly it had to be balanced. So she started wearing a lot of ballerina skirts with muscle shirts. She could have her toenails painted, but not her fingernails. Stuff like that. She seems pretty happy about her situation, and I don't feel like she has been completely kidnapped by the Pink Posse. Her favorite thing to do is make her skirt twirl, we play princess with her when she wants, we even started her watching Game of Thrones so she could see what being a real Princess is really all about. (I'm kidding)
In the end, this was just a reminder about what my real job is at this point-- I'm a filter to her world, not a dictator. Cole and I are here to help our kids make sense of all of this life, and media, and relationships. On top of all the normal shit there is to deal with like boys have a penis and girls have a vagina, we have about 10 million media messages per half second aimed straight at our kids eyes and ears to combat, navigate, and explain. And if that wasn't enough already, we get to explain things like Bath Salts, and Incurable Gon-O-rrhea. Holy cow. It's time for a new handbook.
**The majority of this post is just me making fun of myself for being hypersensitive about things that in the end won't matter to Tessa if Cole and I just keep doing what we do. Please don't take it too seriously, I really didn't melt like the dude from Raiders of the Lost Ark.