If you know me at all then you know, by the title, that I am not the author of this post! You may recall that last week Nicole from Work In Sweats Mama allowed me to invade her space and write about parenting my two boys. Well, now we’re pulling the ol’ switch-a-roo and she’s here today to talk about something I have zero knowledge of – raising little girls. You could argue that parenting is all the same, but you would be wrong. Sorry, it’s just totally different raising each child, and then factor in gender, and it’s another game completely.
I have the absolute pleasure of opening my space to Nicole today. She’s the mom you would meet at the adventure park (no, she wouldn’t be hanging out in an ordinary park!) who you would instantly want to schedule a play date with. She’s fun, athletic and has a way with words when speaking about her two true loves – Monkey and Bean.
I’ve never been a girly girl.
Equal parts tomboy and book worm, if I wasn’t trekking through the woods, my nose was buried in a book.
My Cabbage Patch craze was short lived. Barbie? Boring. And I escaped the princess proliferation by at least a decade.
I had better role models anyway. Mary Lou Retton. Mary Martin as Peter Pan.
See the pattern here?
Perhaps they influenced the boyish haircut I sported for most of my adolescence. Or maybe it was my complete inability to master anything beyond the basic ponytail, a skill that still eludes me.
I never had a makeup drawer.
I didn’t accessorize.
I was most comfortable in warm-ups and flip-flops.
Wow. I haven’t changed much in 20 years.
Sugar and Spice
Pregnant for the first time in 2009, I secretly hoped for a little girl.
Not to parade in pink or ply with princesses. It was never about ribbons and curls.
I yearned to build that unbreakable mother-daughter bond forged by years of drama, heartbreak, and histrionics.
A daughter would mean late-night giggles and whispers.
Serious and silly conversations about boys.
An adult friendship unlike any other.
When my precious Bean arrived, I received the gift my heart desired.
And the girly girl I wasn’t.
Bean is like me. Fiercely competitive. Stubborn.
Sensitive to a fault.
She also dons tutus and fairy wings. Shakes her hips while she belts out the latest pop tune. Paints her nails and braids her hair with Grandma.
Bean proudly rocks a twirly dress and Puma sneakers.
Skirt or not, a girl’s got to be ready to outrace the boys on the playground.
Pregnant a second time, I again harbored a secret wish for a girl. This time, it was about the bond between sisters.
Sisters fight and compete.
They kick, scream, and pull hair.
One moment, they play together; the next, they’re at each other’s throats.
Sisters grow apart, but always reconcile, closer than before. They become maids of honor, aunties, and lifelong friends, forever linked at the heart.
I wanted Bean to have that.
With her little sister, I got more than I bargained for.
Monkey makes my childhood forays into the realm of tomboy look downright prissy.
She is fearless, mischievous, and capable of taking more knocks than Favre, Elway, and McNabb. Combined.
But, far more likely to scramble like Vick.
Monkey is one tough cookie.
She launches herself from the top of her crib. Climbs counters and shelves.
Runs away from punishment – with a “can’t catch me” giggle and sassy smirk tossed over her retreating shoulder.
Monkey falls hard, but dusts off and moves on.
With floppy blonde hair, she’s Jeff Daniels in Dumb and Dumber, preschool edition. She channels Cosmo Kramer when she enters a room with an energetic burst.
When we stuff Monkey into a dress, her mildly annoyed expression says it all, but she’s too busy to fuss about it. She’s off on her next adventure.
She’s got to keep up with big sister. And leave the boys in her dust.
A Mother’s Wish
As different as my daughters are, I want the same things for them.
To understand I hold them tightly now so they can soar later.
To know there is nothing they can do that will change my love for them.
To believe they can be anything their hearts desire.
To embody unshakeable confidence, tempered with humility and empathy.
To be true to their dreams, no matter how difficult their paths.
I want my daughters to become strong, courageous, and compassionate women.
Whether they rock a twirly dress or warm-ups, cleats or high heels.