Interstellar Adventures

March 28, 2007

Little Girls, Little Girls

Filed under: Elle & Zed,Mom Life — by InterstellarLass @ 10:41 am

Where have  you gone!? Where is the sugar and spice and everything nice?

Elle has a couple of friend we’ll call Ally and Lynn. Elle has known both girls since kindergarden, and they have gone to each other’s birthday parties and whatnot. Ally’s birthday was most recent, back in February. She had a slumber party, and Elle, Ally, Lynn and a few other girls were all there.

The next week, Elle came out of school almost crying.
Elle: I don’t think Ally wants to be my friend anymore.
Me: What makes you say that?
Elle: She wouldn’t let me play with her today. She was playing with 3rd graders.
Me: Did you ask if you could play with them?
Elle: Yes, but they said there were enough people playing already. I had to play with a first grader.

This continued for a couple of days, with Elle asking to play, and being excluded from the group. At the end of the next week, I had a parent/teacher conference with the teacher and speech therapist (Elle will be getting speech therapy to help with the soft ‘r’s in her speech). During the conference I asked her teacher about the issue with Ally and Lynn and if she was being excluded. Her teacher said that yes, she had been.

Evidently Ally and Lynn are ‘growing up’ faster than Elle. They’re interested in their hair, are carrying purses, match their jewelry to their outfits, wearing ‘makeup’ (lipgloss), etc. Elle is still very tomboy, will put her hair up in a messy ponytail, will wear wristbands and her soccer shorts to school, mismatches her socks on purpose to be silly, etc. So, because she’s not ‘cool’ enough, she’s being excluded.

Let me just go ahead and say it. I didn’t like girls when I was growing up. There were a few nice ones, but most of them were bitches, a la Kate. I’ve always found it more difficult to make friends with girls that are very girly. I don’t wear makeup on the weekends unless I have to, I pull my hair into a ponytail when I get home, I will wear sweatpants to the grocery store, and sometimes I’ll even wear my glasses out! My mom didn’t do that. She would take me to the store and make me go inside with the short-list…she couldn’t be seen without makeup! I don’t care about that kind of thing.

And I don’t want Elle to have to care either. I want her to be who she is. Comfortable with who she is. Comfortable with what she wears and how she looks and not self-consious about her appearance. Now don’t get me wrong. I’ll tell her an old t-shirt she has on looks tacky and to go change it. I want her to be presentable when we go places, and I expect her to be clean and groomed. But I don’t want my 2nd grader to be all dolled up like those Bratz. And really, it’s this kind of stuff that I blame. I don’t buy them for her. Her dad does though. And that bothers me. I don’t want her to have to grow up obsessing over her appearance, the size of her body parts, or anything else. She is still a little girl. Still into little girl things. I’m not ready for her to grow up, but neither is she.

 I had a talk with her about it being OK to be different from other people. That it’s OK to play sports and run around at recess instead of playing ‘shopping mall’. That it’s OK to do what she wants to do…she doesn’t have to follow anyone around and do what they want to be liked.

And still, yesterday, Elle came to me and asked me to curl her hair before school. She’s never done this before. The last week she has also been carrying a purse. She’s still wearing her wrist bands and holey jeans. But today she walked out of the house with a hair clip, which is rare.

Ally is moving at the end of the school year. Lynn will still be there though. And there will be more girls like them. And Elle will hold out hope that she can change enough for these girls to like her. And maybe she can and still be happy with who she is. I hope so. But my crying shoulder is ready to take her tears and her hurts, and the mom in me is going to continue to build her up for the greatness that she already possesses.

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