Saturday, July 16, 2011

Someday My Prince Will Come

“You’re so pretty,” I tell the 8 year old after she finally bathes and brushes her hair. It’s the first time this week that soap has seen her body and I’m trying to encourage that behavior.

“Good. Then I’ll get a good husband.”

“What? If you’re good, and kind, and smart...”

“Sure. And if I’m pretty.”

Who is raising these children and why isn’t she instilling any values in them? ‘If I’m pretty I’ll get a good husband.’ I swear, Trophy Wife-to-Be has not received any training from me.

The surprising part of all this is who the comment came from. I would expect it from Youngest Daughter who truly believes that looks are the most important part of any project, personal or otherwise. She and her friends are well on their way to being cheerleaders who know more about clothes than they do math. But the 8 year old? She’s the one who, just this week, asked a camp instructor of they offered a week-long kayaking intensive camp. She dresses according to comfort, not fashion, and has her hair in a ponytail because she doesn’t want it touching her skin. She has no use for boys, as far as I can tell, and hasn’t since she was 5. She climbs mountains like she has suction cups on her feet and she plays basketball like she inherited a different gene structure. So why this belief that looks will get her a good husband?

And define ‘good’. Does she mean a gentle, funny man who loves her and encourages her to pursue goals? Or does she mean Prince Charming, who might be rich but has no lines? Or does she mean some sort of 8 year old-defined boy, who chases her on the playground but leaves her alone during reading time?

And why is this a topic she’s thinking about at 8? I certainly don’t talk about her future marriage. I talk about college, about world travel, about her next outdoor adventure. I do not talk about boys.

I would love to delve into her mind a bit more, but she hasn’t had time for me lately. Between mountain biking and hiking and kayaking and canoeing and climbing, she’s been reading the 4th Harry Potter book and doesn’t want to be bothered. Not with me, and not with things like baths and teeth brushing. How that fits into her world scheme of beauty=good husband I have no idea.