“She’s so pretty!” And I’m SUCH a girl.

Oct 10 2011

photo courtesy of Erica Ann Bader

“Hi, girls!” I said to my friend’s two insanely adorable daughters.  The very two pictured above, in fact.  “You just look so PRETTY today.”

And, really.  How could I help myself?

But… Shoot, shoot, shoot! I said inside my head.  I did it AGAIN!

I read an article recently.  And, CAUTION!  DANGER!  Articles can make you think.

This particular article noted that we greet girls by complimenting their looks.  And we don’t do the same for boys.  It suggested that, rather than succumb to the overwhelming desire to “oh, you’re so cute” our girls to death, we should, perhaps, focus on their minds, their souls, their dreams, and their ambitions.

Oh, the pressure!

“What are you reading these days, Abby?”  I practiced in my bathroom mirror.  “Let’s discuss the European debt crisis, Elsie.”

I swear I tried.  Cross my heart.  Needle in my eye.  All the rest.

I tried.

But I can’t seem to help myself.  It falls out of my mouth.  It falls out of my mouth the same way the four-week-old-tortilla-chip-I-once-found-in-my-car fell out of my mouth, um, after I realized I was eating it.  Quickly.  It fell out quickly.

“You just look so PRETTY today.”

ARGH!

I’d kick myself a little more over this – I am a mom, after all – but, over the last week, I informally polled a few of my girlfriends to find out how they feel about this issue.

This is what they unanimously said:

“BY ALL THAT IS SWEET AND HOLY, DON’T STOP TELLING ME I’M PRETTY.”

So they didn’t care much one way or the other.  Which is exactly the way I feel.

Hold that thought.

Today, I got to talk to a big city news reporter.  It was fun!  Amy Wang, assistant bureau chief for The Oregonian, is a mom, so we covered all the important stuff: poop-smeared walls, showing up at work with booger-covered pants, and the strange truths that all new moms discover.  Like the one about how being a new mama is isolating and lonely.  And that the isolation ends when we toss perfection on its ear and find others who will laugh with us at the inanity of mommin’ life.

Amy and I didn’t know each other before today.  But our conversation was peppered with all of the Yeps, Yesses, Uh Huhs, and For Sures that I’ve come to expect from talking to all of you like-minded moms.

Ready for the “and thens?”  Here we go!

And then Amy wrote this lovely article about our Five Kids blog.

And then some kind and lovely readers, led by my Kim, found Amy’s lovely article and started Facebook-sharing it.  (I just posted a link to the article on the Five Kids Facebook page, too!)

And then I saw this, my friend Sally‘s status message, linked to the article:  Eeeek! My friend Beth was in the Oregonian! If you’ve not checked out her blog, please do… and please vote for her in the contest mentioned in the article. She’s so nice, AND SO PRETTY and and soooooo funny!

Er.

Um.

OK.  Fine!  That AND SO PRETTY emphasis might’ve been just slightly mine.

(Oh, good grief!  I am SUCH a girl.)

(And I have a kiss for your wips, Sally!)

(And THANKS, Amy and Kim!)

(And I won’t really kiss you on the mouth, Sally.  Just in case you were thinking of avoiding me now.)

(Sorry.  I thought I was done with the parenthetical statements, and then I just wasn’t.)

(Anyway…)

I feel that I must, in order to preserve a modicum of truth-telling integrity, reveal the following:

When I was 13, my parents helped me with a science project.  I believe there was screaming involved.  Mostly mine.  I’d say “all mine,” except that I could see some screaming in their eyes.  It wasn’t pretty.

I worked with my eldest on her book report yesterday.  She’s 13.  (She is SO PRETTY.)

My daughter is approximately one gazillion times more mature at 13 than I was at 13. So there was actually ZERO screaming yesterday.  From our mouths.

We took a homework break.  Partly so we could keep things pretty.  But mostly for homework lecturing purposes.  I find that a good lecture frees my mind and soothes my soul.

Rather than listening to the lecture, Abby elected to use her time to preserve a visual record of my eloquent instructions.  Then she chose the color filter she felt best reflected our special time together.

I call it: Screaming From The Eyes.

Or I could call it: I’m SO PRETTY!

You decide.

……….