Sugar And Spice And Everything Awesome

September 21, 2009

Emilia does not want to be pretty. Nor does she want to be beautiful or adorable or precious or sweet. Emilia does not want to have anything to do with anything that smacks of putting ‘lovely’ and ‘little girl’ together in a sentence. To wit:

Emilia: (in response to a suggestion that she wear a sweater that features some flower applique) NO. I don’t want to wear that because I DON’T want to be pretty.

Emilia: (upon being presented with a perfectly ordinary red shirt that happens to have some minimal ruffle detailing at the sleeves) NO. I don’t want you to buy that for me, Mommy, because it will make me TOO PRETTY.

Emilia: (upon being told by some well-meaning little old lady on the street that she is a very pretty little girl) (*with grudging pout*) Thank you. (Upon walking away but still within hearing-aid-enhanced earshot) Mommy, that lady said that I was pretty. I DON’T LIKE THAT, MOMMY. I DON’T LIKE THAT AT ALL.

Which, fine. It’s kind of awesome, actually, that, at three and a half, she’s determined to reject labels like pretty and beautiful and precious. If she doesn’t want to wear dresses or floral applique and will only wear princess attire under strictly controlled circumstances (combined with Space Ranger gear), that’s fine. It makes it a little hard to get her dressed, sometimes, but I can live with that.

Still… is it wrong that on the rare occasion when she decides that pretty is not such a bad thing (as, here, when her cousin successfully implored her to join her in dressing as a princess for their grandfather’s memorial), my heart leaps and I can’t keep myself from exclaiming, oh! my pretty little girl…!

princess budge

… and feeling a burst of pride at her loveliness…

princess budge II

… her wonderful, recalcitrant loveliness…

princess budge III

… and thanking heaven that she is a (smart, funny, PRETTY) girl?

Is that so wrong?

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    Geordae September 21, 2009 at 7:20 pm

    A bit of a rebel eh? lol She looks absolutely adorable in her little princess dress.
    .-= Geordae´s last blog ..Youtube Sensations: Sasha and Jacqueline Adams =-.

    MrsDesperate September 21, 2009 at 7:20 pm

    Oh she is gorgeouos! In looks as well as in spirit. Love it.
    .-= MrsDesperate´s last blog ..Something for nothing (and the zoo for free) =-.

    tuesday September 21, 2009 at 7:20 pm

    Nope. Not wrong at all. In fact it is lovely.
    .-= tuesday´s last blog ..What Happens At Borders…….. =-.

    Rebecca (Ramblings by Reba) September 21, 2009 at 7:21 pm

    No, not so wrong at all. :)
    .-= Rebecca (Ramblings by Reba)´s last blog ..Pirates make me smile… =-.

    Elizabeth September 21, 2009 at 7:23 pm

    I understand exactly what you mean, we aren’t supposed to focus on their looks, and yet, when Kaitlyn brings me a doll and asks me to dress it, or wants her toenails painted, I can’t help but think how glad I am I have a girl so I can do all those traditional “girl” things.

    And Emilia does look really cute in that dress :)
    .-= Elizabeth´s last blog ..LG Lose The Ugly, Find Your Bliss Contest =-.

    Aidan Donnelley Rowley September 21, 2009 at 8:34 pm

    Absolutely love this. I love that she is adamant about not wanting to be all of the things we adults strive so pathetically hard to be. Genius. Ah, to be a kid again where opinions are totally, unequivocally ours, drummed up by our own nascent minds and raw experiences and not force-fed us by hovering forces – society, fellow mothers, media, etc.

    I have two little girls and I revel in the fact that when Toddler was potty-trained she picked Diego underwear over the princess panties, but that she also likes to wear hair bows. I love the tomboy un-selfconsciousness peppered with moments of girliness. You are more than allowed to cherish those odd moments of unabashed girliness. Enjoy your patently smart and funny and, yes, pretty little girl :)
    .-= Aidan Donnelley Rowley´s last blog ..I Screwed Up =-.

    Her Bad Mother September 24, 2009 at 2:25 pm

    Emilia much prefers Diego to Dora as well.

    Rebecca @ Playground Confidential September 21, 2009 at 8:42 pm

    Everybody knows that the coolest girls are always the ones who dress like boys and play like boys but are still gob-smackingly beautiful. Who wouldn’t want that for their daughter?
    .-= Rebecca @ Playground Confidential´s last blog ..Dessert For Dinner =-.

    Sarcastica September 21, 2009 at 8:59 pm

    She’s one of a kind, and so cute!
    .-= Sarcastica´s last blog ..Boxes with neat little labels =-.

    Jillian September 21, 2009 at 9:03 pm

    I want to be as cool as your kid.

    Lauren @ MOMMY IS ROCK N ROLL September 21, 2009 at 11:20 pm

    She IS pretty! My mom always told us that we were pretty but made sure that we knew how smart we were too. She’s a good kid for recognizing that physical beauty only gets you so far! You’re a great mom!
    .-= Lauren @ MOMMY IS ROCK N ROLL´s last blog ..Bed of nails. =-.

    Ginger September 22, 2009 at 1:59 am

    No, no, a thousand times no: it is not wrong to love her loveliness. When you look at her you see her beauty, and the way her personality shines through, and the blend of features from your family and her father’s, and the way her eyebrows move with what she says, and the hints of her feelings in the corners of her mouth while she talks, and the curve of her leg and the softness of her arm are all best displayed in girl clothes and girl poses because she is in fact, a girl. Loving that part of her doesn’t mean not loving the brains. You have space for all of it in your heart.
    .-= Ginger´s last blog ..Haiku Friday – I just got back from the periodontist and boy is my jaw tired; or – if it ends in "ectomy" it has to be bad =-.

    Amelia Sprout September 22, 2009 at 6:44 am

    I struggle a lot with how to raise a girl who can be anything, but likes her gender too. I see so many feminists, like my mom, seem to interpret being a strong woman as giving up your gender in the fight for equality.

    It doesn’t have to be that way. You can be strong and still like a little pink ruffle. She is pretty, but she doesn’t have to care about it. She will be no matter what.
    .-= Amelia Sprout´s last blog ..It is just a baby river. =-.

    Her Bad Mother September 30, 2009 at 12:22 pm

    Exactly. One can be a tough cookie – and a smart feminist – and still love a good ruffle.

    Becca September 22, 2009 at 6:54 am

    what a cute little girl. she’s fantastic!
    .-= Becca´s last blog ..and some more =-.

    Jennifer September 22, 2009 at 8:13 am

    Those are some awesome pictures. Nothing wrong with enjoying the prettiness once in awhile.
    .-= Jennifer´s last blog ..Hope can be a scary thing… =-.

    Kelly September 22, 2009 at 8:15 am

    When my daughter was an infant people would trip over themselves to get close and tell me what a beautiful baby she was. I tired of it quickly, especially when those people seemed to be blatantly ignoring/neglecting their own lovely children and, you know, trying to touch my kid and stuff.

    My daughter still wants to be a Princess. I wish she would develop an aversion to pink and ruffles.
    .-= Kelly´s last blog ..A Little Action on the Side =-.

    MommaSunshine September 22, 2009 at 8:19 am

    We need to teach our girls to listen to their own inner voices and decide what THEY want. Sounds like you’re doing exactly that (while still enjoying those glimpses of things that YOU want). It’s a balancing act, and you’re doing just great with it.
    .-= MommaSunshine´s last blog ..My Lovely Girls =-.

    Jen September 22, 2009 at 9:05 am

    I’m so jealous. I am sick to death of dresses and skirts. And if you tell my 4 year old she’s pretty or beautiful, she answers “I know.” I think we need to work on that.
    .-= Jen´s last blog ..Dodging Illness =-.

    Michelle September 22, 2009 at 9:34 am

    My daughter went through that a couple of years ago….she refused dresses or anything that could be considered “girly”. Then out of nowhere she decided to switch from total tomboy to DIVA. I’m not sure which is better/worse! ;)
    .-= Michelle´s last blog ..♥The Dress. =-.

    Her Bad Mother September 30, 2009 at 1:03 pm

    I’m pretty sure that I’d take tomboy over diva. But the jury’s still out on that ;)

    glummum September 22, 2009 at 9:43 am

    I have 2 girls. I had hoped to dress them in pretty pink and purple dresses, but they would have none of it and were quite adamant about it. They are now 20 and 13 and are just the coolest kids I know. Neither is influenced by fashion or trends or labels, and each is their very own person. The 20 year old will now wear dresses if she picks them out herself, but the 13 yo will still have none of it and is a tom boy. It is such a joy watching them grow…..your daughter is beautiful and good for her for bucking the trends at such a young age : )

    pixielation September 22, 2009 at 10:09 am

    This reminds me of a book called “I’m not cute!”

    She looks very much like my younger daughter who lived in her Snow White dress until it became rags, sort of the anti-storyline. She does like being called cute though!
    .-= pixielation´s last blog ..What I didn’t do next =-.

    ame i. September 22, 2009 at 10:43 am

    Too bad for you, Little E, because you are beautiful ;)
    My older daughter (11) is the same. I was shocked when she recently asked for a SKIRT. It’s a school uniform skirt, but a skirt all the same. She wears athletic clothing outside of school. She is beyond beautiful but NO ONE should dare to point it out. I think she has convinced herself that boys pick her first for teams during PE & sit by her at lunch b/c she is a great at sports. She is great at sports,but wise up, missy!
    My 9 year old is pixy pretty. She will wear the girliest of girly clothes & shoes to the grocery store. Last week, she carefully painted her finger & toenails before her soccer game. Also a great athlete, but the child skips onto the soccer field.
    Little E will eventually become comfortable with her beauty and then you will have to Watch Out, lady! :)

    Jill September 22, 2009 at 10:59 am

    She is lovely.

    My son is lamenting the fact that he is popular. He hates the attention, hates that everyone wants to sit by him and fights over who gets to be with him. He isn’t old enough to know how to handle it (and his non-popular mom is no help).

    LAVENDULA September 22, 2009 at 11:37 am

    catherine my oldest daughter is like that and was the same when small.she is 16 and has 1 dress which i made her buy for our friends daughters quinceanara.heh what are you going to do….my 9 year old will wear a dress occassionally and well baby only wants to wear dresses even when its freezing cold out ….

    6512 and growing September 22, 2009 at 2:50 pm

    She’s brilliant! I’m afraid I’m going to have to un-teach my daughter, who already comes to the call of “beautiful,” about this very topic.
    .-= 6512 and growing´s last blog ..Song for September =-.

    Cristie September 22, 2009 at 3:36 pm

    It might help her if she weren’t so darn pretty. These pictures are fantastic and so it seems-is she.
    .-= Cristie´s last blog ..Swim It Out =-.

    Belle September 22, 2009 at 8:29 pm

    I love that she doesn’t want to be pretty!!!! I’ve babysat for far too many 3 – 6ish year olds whose only concern in this world is princess clothing, princess toys, princess pink anything…. and barf vomit bleeeeh is what I have to say to that.
    .-= Belle´s last blog ..I’m suing NBC because Community almost killed me. =-.

    Belle September 22, 2009 at 8:29 pm

    I love that she doesn’t want to be pretty!!!! I’ve babysat for far too many 3 – 6ish year olds whose only concern in this world is princess clothing, princess toys, princess pink anything…. and barf vomit bleeeeh is what I have to say to that.
    .-= Belle´s last blog ..I’m suing NBC because Community almost killed me. =-.

    Taylor September 22, 2009 at 9:20 pm


    I found your blog a couple of months ago and have spent many hours pouring over your posts (attempting to go in order). So, first, what I want to say is how wonderful, wonderful, wonderful your blog is. I’m not a mom yet, but your candidness and honesty and humor resonates nonetheless. As a law student, I need as much of that as possible. So, thanks.

    And second, your daughter (your children!) are beyond precious. How lovely that your daughter is living by her rules. My mom couldn’t keep me in clothes at all until I was five. Those were my rules.

    I hope she keeps that resolve (and when she feels like she can’t, remind her of her abandon). She’s one lucky little lady.
    .-= Taylor´s last blog ..bridges. =-.

    Her Bad Mother September 24, 2009 at 2:27 pm

    Thank you so much :)

    norm September 23, 2009 at 11:48 am

    Fantastic. I love how she thanked the lady who complimented her even though she was in a mood to disagree. Great kid. Good job, HBM! My experience has been that kids are mercurial. She may pass through princess and plumber phases many times. My son’s princess phase was brief (even though he looked great in Belle’s gown).

    TwinsMa September 23, 2009 at 4:40 pm

    She is so spectacularly awesome! (How’s that for not girly?) I hope she always makes her say known, just like her mommy…

    Heather @ Domestic Extraordinaire September 23, 2009 at 4:43 pm

    You are raising her well Catherine. The fact that she doesn’t want to be pretty & frilly (not that there is anything wrong with that) But when complimented she accepted the comment and thanked the person, even if she was upset about it.

    She is a beautiful, independant spirit. I know I don’t have to tell you to cherish her, it is evident that you already do.
    .-= Heather @ Domestic Extraordinaire´s last blog ..Wordless Wednesday-Sunsets & Neon Edition =-.

    Alicia September 23, 2009 at 10:29 pm

    What a beautiful, smart princess girl.
    .-= Alicia´s last blog ..How Not To Avoid Appearing Batshit Crazy Around Your Son’s Occupational Therapist =-.

    red pen mama September 25, 2009 at 10:46 am

    I have two girls, neither of whom are girlie girls, nor are they pure tomboys. They are simply who they are, and I let them be that way. For all the ways they embrace the Littlest Pet Shop or a doll or wearing a dress, they also embrace running as fast as they can, skinning their knees, and getting muddy.

    And Emilia will embrace her looks someday, too. In the meantime, let her embrace the world.

    I do, however, love the princess dress on her.

    .-= red pen mama´s last blog ..G20 for Under 5 =-.

    kaylen September 25, 2009 at 11:56 pm

    omg – my head hurts with her cuteness!!!
    I LOVE the princess dress on the beach – that is such a great picture, and you have a beautiful subject! :)
    Embrace the loveliness!!
    .-= kaylen´s last blog ..Yummy, Delicious Food =-.

    bubbs September 28, 2009 at 5:59 am

    i remember when a friend had her first baby – a little girl – and she told me that her husband would say all the time “i hope she’s pretty, gosh i hope she’s pretty – life is just so much easier for pretty girls.”

    so depressing. Urggggghhhh.

    Emilia is pretty. She can afford not to care. My very bright, very sensitive but sadly very plain 5 year old niece is going to have a harder road to travel. And, yeah, that makes me really really sad.

    Melissa September 28, 2009 at 1:31 pm

    I absolutely applaud her independence and willingness to express her preferences, but I don’t equate pretty with ultra-feminine. People are at their most attractive, I think, when they are happy and comfortable. I agree with not emphasizing physical beauty over anything else, but I also don’t see a problem with recognizing when someone looks great, just as they are.

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