Tim and I make a concerted effort not to push gendered stereotypes onto our kids. When Eleanor was our only babe we had just as many cars and blocks as we did dolls or dress-up clothes. Early on, she gravitated to things like crayons and climbing and playing with ants, which we thought was great. Why we think it’s okay to feel proud of our daughter’s interest in picking up worms but not caring for a doll is a topic for another post.
We even made it a point of having lots of yellow, green and orange for her to wear as a baby; we did not want her dressed only in lacy, pink, frilly outfits (oh, how trivial and naive that concern seems now!). But despite this, or maybe because of it, Eleanor has become a little fashionista. (And I strongly dislike that word, so imagine how serious it must be for me to use it.) She is keenly aware of what people are wearing – especially their shoes – and will often comment “I wish I had one of those [shirts, dresses, skirts, or pair of shoes] to wear.” Several weeks ago she actually suggested that when I die I might consider leaving her my skirt and sandals so she could wear them. She changes her outfit several times a day, likes wearing bracelets and necklaces, wears my high heels (around the house) more often than I do (outside), and has, on more than one occasion, broken down in the morning because she “can’t find anything to wear that looks pretty on me.” Seriously.
But for all her interest in looks, the one thing that she does not like is having her hair done: brushed, pulled back, braided, twirled or even washed. Bald as a baby, her hair grew in as a distinct mullet, so I couldn’t pull it back until she was over 2 years old. Two years later, I have to fight through even the most basic attempts at managing her hair on those mornings I decide to brave it.
The comment I hear most often when people meet Alice is “look at that hair.” It was dark and full when she was born, and although it’s begun thinning on the sides, there’s still plenty up top. In the hopes that she is less resistant to having it washed, brushed, or tied back in any way, I’m wondering if I should start now. Frankly, I just can’t bring myself to tame it.