Saturday, May 22, 2010

Girly Girl

I don't remember playing much with dolls. I know I had them, because I DO remember chewing their hair (okay, commence gagging--but don't most kids have some gross thing that they do?). I know I had a Cabbage Patch Kid I loved so much I didn't eat her hair, but other than that, I just remember reading a lot as a kid. One other childhood memory that sticks out is marching around the block with a parade of girls behind me (okay, it might have been just one girl, but please let me have my fantasy), yelling "Whatever boys can do, girls can do better." I was probably around 9 at the time.

That was sort of a convoluted way of bringing me to the subject of this post--my incredibly girly daughter, who loves everything pink and purple and princess-y AND believes domestic chores are reserved for women. A few days ago, she saw a photograph of her brother using a broom. "WHAT is Alex doing?" she asked her Mimi. "Well, he's sweeping," Mimi said. "Boys don't sweep," Lauren declared. Mimi immediately set her straight, but I'm afraid she still believes housework is women's work.

But why? Are Disney princess movies to blame? In our house, she is just as likely to see her dad using the vacuum as her mom. I'm usually the one preparing dinner, but Brian sets the table, gets drinks for the kids, et cetera, et cetera.

I distinctly remember the day back in October when Lauren uttered the words I had been dreading: "Mommy, I want to dress like a princess." Okay, I wasn't REALLY dreading those words, but I knew that declaration would steer us down a path with lip gloss and frou-frou at every turn.

And I was right. Lauren has turned into a true girly girl, something I never was. She got a vanity table for her birthday and could sit there and primp forever. My mom would say she got that from me (hi Mom!), but I would not call myself a primper. I just take a long time to get ready. There's a difference, right? RIGHT?

She wants to wear dresses all the time. When we are home, she is usually in princess attire. She loves anything and everything about the Disney princesses and likes to call herself Belle (from Beauty and the Beast). She often corrects me when I have the audacity to address her as Lauren. "I'm not Lauren; I'm Belle," she says, and then refuses to do whatever I asked until I call her Belle. At least Belle is a little more obedient than Zia.

Then there are the "jewels." She prefers to be dripping in them. I had no idea how much pastel-colored plastic could adorn one child. I do think it's cute, though, that she is exhibiting her own sense of style.

Lauren chooses dolls and other "girl" toys over the cars and trucks in abundance at our house. She has strong feelings about her dolls' attire--she prefers they wear nothing. To the uninitiated observer, it would appear there is a naked Disney princess orgy going on at our place. She DOES actually play with them, though--in appropriate ways. It's pretty cute to hear her running commentary directing Belle to do this and Snow White to do that.

I know many--dare I say most?--little girls go through a "girly" phase. But some don't, and I really wonder why. I have found it's virtually impossible to prevent little girls' exposure to "princess-y" things. I'm pretty sure Lauren learned about the Disney princesses at day care. Which was fine--the introduction was bound to happen eventually, unless I kept her in a bubble. And there ARE good messages at the end of all the Disney princess movies--you just have to observe some stereotypical gender roles to get there.

For now, I'm just going with it--and, I will admit, enjoying it, as long as Lauren understands men are allowed to use a darn broom (or vacuum, or dust cloth, or dish towel ...). As I wrote in a previous post, it's fun to have a little girl who gets excited about dressing up and painting her nails and wearing jewelry ...

... and shopping. When I tell Lauren we're going to Target, she usually responds with "I love Target." Swoon ...

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The Princess Posse

Lauren has a posse--of imaginary friends. Her good buddy Zia has been fodder for many a Facebook status update, and was actually one of the reasons I started this blog. Then there's Emily, who is often the victim of Zia's antics. I consider her the meek one. Other posse members come and go, including Emilena and various Disney princesses. I have no idea where Lauren got the name Zia (alternately pronounced Zee-ah and Zi-ah). I suspect Emilena is a combination of Emily (obviously) and Alayna, the name of one of Lauren's cousins.

Zia is definitely the "mean girl" of the group. She bites, she steals toys, she's generally disruptive. Lauren blames her for everything, from minor mishaps (spilling a drink) to actual misbehavior (throwing a toy). Before Lauren was completely potty-trained, she also used to blame her for potty problems. "Mommy, Zia pooped in her pants [actually Lauren's pants], and I'm NOT happy," she once informed me. Fortunately both Lauren and Zia now make their deposits where they belong.

Zia was causing LOTS of trouble in our house during the winter. Then her behavior began improving, and I did not see (well, hear, to be more accurate) much of her. She has been hanging around a lot again, though. She always seems to be biting Emily's finger. Now can someone tell me how you discipline an imaginary child who is hurting another imaginary child? (fortunately Lauren has not actually been biting--perhaps she is living vicariously through Zia?)

One recent afternoon, Lauren helped Zia and Emily into the car before climbing in herself. I had to clear off the front passenger seat to make room for Zia. That meant I had several bags at my feet when I was trying to drive. After a few minutes, I tried to sneak a bag onto the front passenger seat. "Mommy, you put your bag on Zia," Lauren said. I tried to convince her that Zia agreed to hold my bag. "No, Mommy, she did not. You're making her very upset."

So I removed the bag. I couldn't have an angry imaginary friend who was prone to biting under normal circumstances.

When I first started posting my status updates about Zia, some people asked me how I felt about Lauren having an imaginary friend. It was almost like they thought it was a bad thing. While it is a little frustrating at times, how can I be upset about something that demonstrates my child's creativity and spunk, not to mention imagination? Have you ever met a dull kid with imaginary friends? I didn't think so.

I don't know how long the posse will stick around, but I think I'll be sad when the girls are gone. Zia's behavior is not always ideal, but she's pretty entertaining. And the playdates are awfully easy to organize.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Love Is in the Air

I have so many things to write about, but those longer posts will have to wait a bit until I recover from my princess's third birthday party.

I don't want to leave my hordes of followers hanging for too long :), so I'll tell a quick story about my sweet son's burgeoning love life. I already wrote about his new hairstyle. Well, it seems that his newfound interest in his looks has to do with a new girl in his life. With the hair, I honestly believed he just wanted a haircut that would be cooler--temperature wise, not style wise. But two days after he got his hair cut, he asked to wear khakis and a button-down shirt to school instead of his typical jeans and polo. Considering he used to complain about wearing a shirt with a collar, I knew something was up.

The same day he got dressed up, he wanted to take a trinket from home to show his (girl)friend. I think we're lucky he brought it home! That evening, I asked him what was going on between him and H. "I don't know," he said, with the world-weary wisdom of someone who has loved and lost. "So do you like each other?" I asked. "Yes, a lot," he said. "So you like HER a lot, or she likes YOU a lot?" "Both," he said.

Oy vey. I refrained from asking if she was pretty, and instead asked if she was smart. He said she was. I then rushed upstairs to look at his class picture. I can now confirm that she is pretty AND smart. I assume she is also nice, so our bases are covered.

For now. One strike and she's out. If she hurts him, this mama bear is going to show her claws.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

He's Got the Look

My son got a haircut last night. Not really a big deal, except this cut requires ... "product." He has gorgeous hair--dark brown, thick and full of body. But of course it has been the bane of his existence. It makes him too hot, or his bangs on his forehead bother him, or he's just generally in a bad mood so he's going to blame it on his hair.

He recently decided he wants to wear it combed to the side, so he got it cut quite a bit shorter, and had it styled with gel and hairspray. I could tell he was quite taken with himself when the stylist turned him around to see the results. He DOES look quite handsome. I'm anxious to learn if any of his "friends who are girls" have anything to say about it (he seems to have quite the following, including a girl who has given him--gulp--a massage).

When we got home after his haircut, he disappeared upstairs for awhile and was suspiciously quiet. When I went upstairs later, I discovered he had displayed an array of hair products on his dresser--shampoo and conditioner, a water bottle, comb, gel he had stolen from his dad. In my bathroom, I discovered he had pulled a stool up to the closet so he could get the full bottle of gel that was on the top shelf. Obviously he is SERIOUS about his hair.

The next morning, he came downstairs still in his jammies, but his hair was already slicked back. And I mean SLICKED back. Don't know how much gel is left in that bottle. Before he left for the bus stop, he had to add some more hairspray. Like I said, he is SERIOUS about his hair.

During preschool, he would often go to school with bedhead--he didn't want us to comb it, and I tried to convince myself that look gave him "character." I was choosing my battles. It was really not until the past couple weeks that he expressed any interest in his hair. Last year I tried to get him to comb it to the side, but he would just pull his bangs straight down again.

I remember my brother was several years older when he started to care about his hair, probably age 10 or 11. Until then, he was a willing "client" when I wanted to play "hairdresser." Starting around age 10, though, he would lock himself in the bathroom for what seemed like hours (at least to my 13-year-old self) to fix his hair. It apparently was a frustrating task, because I clearly remember one morning when he threw a brush at the doorframe because his hair wouldn't "go right."

While I think my son's concerns about his hair are cute now, I'm afraid this is an ominous signal of things to come. Considering his "elementary angst," I'm going to prepare myself for some meltdowns related to his lovely locks. I'm also going to get ready to spend more on hair products. I might need to buy some stock in Suave.

Monday, May 10, 2010

The Birthday Post

I have read many bloggers' long, heartfelt posts written in honor of their children's birthdays. Reminisces about the day they were born, their first steps, their first day at school. Attempts at putting into words how much they love their children, how they could not imagine their lives without them. So I'm just going to cut to the chase: I love my daughter to pieces and cannot even contemplate a life without her in it. Okay, sappiness over.

My little lady is 3 today. Three going on 13. I'm sure many parents out there would agree that age 3 is much worse than 2. At 3, they are even more stubborn, and although you can reason with them, their tantrums are bigger and bolder. My daughter is also sassy with a capital S. The other day my mom told her she was cute. "No, Mimi, I'm not cute--I'm beautiful." Okaaay, then.

Three-year-olds' desire for independence is more challenging because they actually CAN do some of the things they want to do on their own--but it makes a mess, or is potentially dangerous, or takes FOREVER. It's hard to find a happy medium between encouraging their independence and taking over because you just don't have time to wait--or don't want to clean up after them. For example, my princess has started to climb up on the "big potty" on her own. I thought she had been doing pretty well, until I sat down on a wet toilet seat yesterday. My husband was quick to note it was not HIS fault.

Last week she was climbing into the car by herself. I was trying to be patient, even when she insisted that I turn around and not watch her climb in. I gave her 30 seconds, but when I turned around, she was in her brother's seat. I raised my voice, and she burst into tears. Hours later, she told my mom that I had yelled, but she admitted that she had not been listening. I hope she toughens up before I REALLY have to discipline her!

So 3-year-olds are challenging. But they are also loads of fun. My daughter and I have conversations now. They sometimes involve imaginary friends and Disney princesses, but that's okay. She likes girly things that I also enjoy--nail polish, jewelry, clothes. She primps in front of the mirror just like me. She even turns around so she can check out her back view, which is cute at this age (not so much for image-obsessed teenagers).

Of course, there is much more. Such as: "Mommy, will you snuggle with me?" "Mommy, I like your necklace." "Mommy, this book makes me SO happy." "I love you SO MUCH, Mommy." You get the picture.

My own picture would not be complete without my little princess. Happy 3rd birthday, baby girl.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Elementary Angst

So can 7-year-old boys get PMS? Like, every other day? Overall my son is a sweet, funny and all-around good kid. But he has moments of emotional turmoil that would put the most PMS-y teenage girl to shame.

He has been obsessed with hotels lately. We had a houseguest a couple weeks ago, and he added some "amenities" to her room--extra towels, magazines (with a bookmark!), pad and pencil, etc. I had already put a candy dish in the room, but he added Skittles on the pillows :). It was totally adorable, and fortunately my friend appreciated his efforts. This morning, he tried to turn my bedroom into a hotel room. He made my bed (awesome!). He put lotion samples on my dresser (wonderful!). He nicely placed bath towels and washcloths in different parts of the room (which I will have to put back later, but whatever...).

But then he tried to move things on my dresser to a different location, under the guise of cleaning up. I asked him not to, and he burst into tears. I explained that those things were there for a reason. He pointed out those things had been there "for years" and that they probably really belonged somewhere else. Well, he may be right, but when I'm rushing around in the morning looking for something the last place I left it--even if it might technically "belong" somewhere else--and I can't find it, I won't be a happy camper. So I asked him not to move the items in order to ensure future peace. He sniffled for awhile longer, refused to eat breakfast, and then got upset all over again when his hair wasn't quite right. As soon as he was on his way out the door to the bus stop, though, he was fine.

Another incident occurred on Monday night. I kept my cool until he told me I was the worst mom in the world; then he got sent to his room. Of course I'm not a perfect parent. But what I did on Monday was far from heinous. Actually, I didn't do anything at all, and my son still managed to blame everything on me (I swear he is going to be a lawyer or a politician). I was joking with him on the way home from day care and said he better remind his dad about Mother's Day. He started to whine about not knowing what to get me. He said he had a good idea, but he did not know if his dad could help. He came out and told me the idea, and I told him how his dad could assist him. He wanted to put together a special photo album, so I said I would explain to his dad how to get pictures printed (of course he could figure it out on his own--but I would make it easier for everyone involved by giving him my password to my photo account, etc.). I guess my son does not have much faith in his father, because he became convinced he could not do it. And that became my fault--because I did not "teach" my husband how to order pictures from our Walmart photo account. A flurry of tears ensued. This exchange occurred during a 10-minute car ride.

So we get home, and Alex starts scurrying around and says he's putting together an early Mother's Day gift in the office. I am not permitted to enter. But then he needs me to find something for him--something that's in the office. I cover my eyes and walk blindly to the closet in the office. I turn around so I cannot see what Alex is working on, find what he needs, cover my eyes, and leave the room. But Alex is convinced I saw what he was doing. Then he realizes his removal of an item from the kitchen was a clue to his gift. Again, this was all my fault. Hot, angry tears ensued.

He must have wanted to really blame me for everything, because he asked me if I remembered our conversation the other day about hiding his sister's birthday gifts. He wanted to know how I managed to hide gifts from him. Of course I did not tell him. So on Monday night, during his crying fit, he said I was at fault because I did not tell him how to hide gifts from other people. And that made me the worst mom in the world. Oy.

Maybe he will get all this angst out of his system now and his teenage years will be a piece of cake. Or maybe I'll just keep dreaming.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Skinny Knee

Yesterday my husband took our daughter to opening day at a local (and very small) amusement park. Rides were free for the first two hours, but the hubby shelled out some cash to stay longer--because our daughter LOVES to ride. She is just barely 36 inches, which means she could go on a number of "big kid" rides--like the Himalaya. The one that goes around in a circle very fast, in the dark, with music blaring. Apparently she loved it (except for the music--she said it hurt her ears).

I personally HATE rides. I think I have been on 2-3 roller coasters in my entire life (but I'm only 22, so I guess that's not really a big deal :) ). I have passed that "hate" on to my son. He likes to stick to the kiddie rides, although he's getting too big for them. He's probably the only 7-year-old who says EPCOT is his favorite Disney park.

While at the amusement park, the little lady tripped and skinned her knee. When she got home, she kept talking about her "skinny knee." She sounds so cute talking about her "skinny knee" that I don't bother to correct her. Now if her subject and verb did not agree, that would be a different story. No poor grammar in our house--3-year-olds included.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Why "In a Minute"

Whoa, two posts in two minutes! That's because I forgot to address the title of my blog. Like most moms, I say "in a minute" A LOT. Maybe even more than I swear. For better or for worse, those three little words sort of sum up my parenting. I guess it's better than saying "no" all the time, right?

Start Me Up

Well, I did it. I started a blog. Saying "I did it" makes me think of Dora repeating those words because she went over the river and through the woods and found the super-special smiley star, or something similarly insipid (yeah for alliteration!).

Yes, this is another "mommy blog." I don't have a problem with that label, considering I plan to blog primarily about the joys of motherhood. Work is off-limits, unless I spy a particularly heinous fashion faux pas in the vicinity of my office. That is the closest I will get to talking about work.

Many people have told me I should start a blog after reading my Facebook status updates. Yes, I try to make them funny. Now I hope I can bring the funny for a couple paragraphs at a time. Shouldn't be a problem, considering I have a 7-year-old son obsessed with disco and tie-dyed socks, and a 3-year-old daughter with a slew of imaginary friends who get into all sorts of trouble (shout out to Zia!).

Thanks for stopping by!