Saturday, August 15, 2009

Knowing what to say...

Kylie has said a few things to me lately that have not only caught me off guard, but have made me realize that no matter how much I want to keep her sheltered and stop her from growing up, it's going to happen and it's going to happen alot faster than I'm prepared for. The first thing that has been "weighing" on my mind (don't mind my pun :) is weight issues. It started with a comment last year when she said, "I wish my thighs were as skinny as Emmah's". Every now and then she'll say other comments like when she was sick and throwing up at my aunts house, she came up to me after she was feeling better and said, "look how skinny I am after throwing up so much". Or when I was helping her with her homework and she was saying how she wished her handwriting was as good as a certain girl in her class and I said something along the lines of, "well maybe she looks at you and wishes that she was as good at math as you." After thinking for a minute she said, "yeah, and she probably wishes she was as skinny as me too." I'm really having a hard time knowing what to say. Part of me wants to rave about how skinny she is and how she has the cutest little toned body that I'm insanely jealous of, but then I'm worried that putting a big emphasis on her body will only encourage it. The other part of me wants to blow it off and hope that if I don't make a big deal about it then she won't either. But obviously it's a big deal to her and I know it's only going to get worse. I just feel like she's at such a vulnerable age and I need to take advantage of the fact that she'll actually talk and listen to me now, if only I knew the right thing to say. I also noticed something tonight for the first time. We were at the park when three girls from her school came over. They were all dressed up in their trendy "Justice" clothes with matching hats. Kylie immediately came over and sat by me on the grass and watched them out of the corner of her eyes. I knew exactly what was going on because I've been down that road many a time. It's the equivalent of seeing the "it" girls at the mall....and you're with your parents. Or being excited to go see a movie with your family, only to see that every popular kid in your class is sitting in the row in front of you. That feeling of wanting to sink to the floor and shimmy out of the theater before they saw you. Kylie started whispering comments in my ear about how she didn't like the shirt that she was wearing and about how cute their clothes were. The mom side of me wanted to recite the usuals "it's not what's on the outside that matters, but what's on the inside." But really we all know that what's on the outside matters too. It sucks, but it's true. Even now I still find myself thinking those same thoughts like, "would so and so wear this?". I remember awhile ago a friend had some boutiquey thing at her house. It was at the end of a long day, I didn't feel like chaging out of my grubbies, I hadn't washed my hair for 2 days because I had just gotten it colored (and trust me, my hair is not the once a week washing type) and I just thought I'd stop by for a minute to be nice. Of course I get there and I feel like every diva in Gilbert was there. I just wanted to walk out the minute I walked in. So I totally knew how Kylie felt. She asked if we could leave and I so wanted to take her to another park and let her run around without worrying about what clothes she was wearing or if her hair was out of place. But I didn't want her to give in to the intimidation. I want to teach her to be confident, but how? I want her to know that she's a beautiful girl inside and out and not just because that's what moms are supposed to say. She finally agreed to go play if I played with her (I do love that she's not too emberassed of me--yet) and we found a cool spider with it's egg sac attached to its back in the sand. She decided that would be a worthy conversation topic with the cool girls so we went and showed them. The conversation didn't last long but I was proud of her for being brave, even if it was only for a minute. My heart cracks a little each time I see my kids going through things that I can't always fix. I just wish I knew the right words to say. I need a script. Along with an instruction manual.

11 comments:

Jodee said...

Such a tough one. Keep trying to let her gain that confidence. She is beautiful and she will see that. Love you!

Jodee said...

ps, is Justice really all that? I didn't think their clothes were very cute...

Chelsea said...

Oh my goodness, its so crazy to me the difference in girls and boys at this age...that is a tough one!! I wish I knew some great thing to say. Its just a girl thing. I remember feeling insecure too, she'll will get past it. I just can't believe how early it starts!

Amber! said...

Oh, I want to cry for her! I have such issues to this day because of wearing the hand made clothes that I was made fun of for.
I also agree that though we can say all that about beauty on the inside, it won't sink in unless she really feels it about herself.

I read this book that has helped me tremendously. I HIGHLY recommend it for all women and it might help with Kylie too. It is "Modesty, Makeovers, and the pursuit of Physical Beauty...What Mothers and Daughters Need to Know." by Jeffrey R. Holland and Susan W. Tanner. It changed the way I think about myself.

Another thing we have to start doing as women (and I am so bad at this) is never talk about our own weight issues in front of our daughters. It is so damaging. but, how do we stop????

Kelmarie said...

This scares me, as the mother of a female. My friends' boys, who are SEVEN, only want name-brand clothing. They are so young to worry about that stuff! I'm anxious to read everyone's comments so I can prepare myself for what's to come.

Julie said...

I think you do a great job of making your kids feel loved all the time...Unfortunately there are things that cannot be avoided and when those subjects come up all you can do is reassure her and show her how much you love her...I am in the same boat as you with Noelle and I am truly scared for all the things that we will have to go through as she gets older...I wish we lived closer so at least we could be in the same boat in the same place it would make it a litter easier...We miss you guys and Noelle is Always and I mean Always talking about Kylie...I think they need eachother!! Talk to you soon!!

Janessa said...

I've been thinking about this a lot since we were talking about it on the phone the other day. It's so hard to know the best way to make your children (daughters seem to need it more but the boys definitely have some of the same issues) feel happy with who they are inside and out. I really want to check out the book that Amber recomended. I'm so grateful that we have gospel direction when dealing with parenting struggles. Even teachings from church leaders on the subject are general guidelines and direction. Each mother needs to be in tune with the spirit to know exactly what each child needs. That was nice and churchy, but it's the best place to turn for help with this divine calling. You are such an amazing mom. You are so in tune with Kylie and sensitive to her struggles. She's so lucky to have you! Just knowing that her mom loves her and cares about her will make her struggles managable.

Cammi said...

I don't have any great advice for you. I've heard my nieces say similar things, and it is so sad. Keep being the great mom you are and if the time comes where you need to do something more, you will know. That book sounds great. Having boys makes it a little easier I guess, but even then, my oldest has said he wishes he had lighter colored skin. I have no idea where that came from since his skin is pretty light! Anyway, I think it is a great thing that she can talk to you about these things and that she knows you will help her through tough situations. To me, that is #1.

Michelle Y. said...

I have loved getting caught up on your blog. I wish so much I could have been there for your b-day lunch. I would love to get the boys together asap and do our weekly swap. And, I would love to just hang out! About Kylie, boys and girls are sooo different. I remember being so much like that my whole childhood. For Trevor it's more the height thing that he is obsessed about. I feel so bad because he is always the shortest out of the boys and girls and there is nothing he can do about it. I totally notice Trevor's attitude change for the worse when he is in school, he talks back so much more. I keep telling myself he has so much pressure at school and he is letting out his frustration at home. It's so hard. I told my mom, I can deal with 2 and 4 year old melt downs but when I deal with Trevor I feel like it is real issues that will shape him for his life time and it freaks me out.

Kristin said...

Oh man that is tough! I so do not want to go through this with my girl! I know this to be true myself, and I so don't want her to feel how I felt but at the same time I don't want to give in to latest craze or brand (Or the price of it.) As soon as you figure this out, I would love to know the answer!

Kayci said...

Dang... I don't know what to say to that! It does make me think though. I realized I have a HUGE responsibility as the mother of three boys to teach them to RESPECT girls. I'm really careful about what I let them hear me say about myself and others, but they'll always pick up on the stuff that I can't control. My only suggestion would be to look up articles from the Friend or New Era on the subject and start incorporating them into FHE.
GOOD LUCK!!!