When I saw that ultrasound four years ago and heard the tech say the squirming fetus that was kicking me and making me nauseous all these weeks was a girl, I breathed a sigh of relief. I know girls. I am a girl. I had a sister. I grew up around my girl cousins. I get girls. And although I knew we’d probably have some rough years ahead of us (when we’re on the same cycle one day–yikes!) as most mothers and daughters do, I also knew how fierce and loyal and comforting a mother’s love for her daughter is (because I have a mother too!) and I was excited for that bond.
In our 4+ years together, my daughter and I have found a few special activities that we love to do together on special nights that we call “Girls Night.” Of course we love to have fun with the daddy too, but sometimes some one on one girl time is in order! (I think most girls can understand that!)
I recently started working a part time job, but before that I was a full time mommy, so what differentiates “Girl Nights” when technically every day is time with my daughter? Well I tried to do special things that we didn’t do every day together, and now that we aren’t together as much during the week, we cherish our tradition even more! I know the events we do may evolve over time but for now here are some things we like to do together at our Girls Nights:
Manicure/Pedicures. Who doesn’t love some pretty pampering? We love to pick out the colors from my nail polish basket and give our nails a good glossy coat. Sometimes I even get brave and let her apply the paint! She loves it when we have matching colors. Oh sure, the paint chips and peels pretty fast on little girls who play as hard as mine does, but it’s pretty for a few hours…or minutes! One day I will take her to an actual salon to get them done but for now we have fun at home doing them! Then while our nails dry we read books together or start a movie.
Food. It’s all about the food experience on Girls Night. We make our favorite combos (usually homemade pizza and apples with peanut butter) and then eat it in front of the TV (gasp!) which is a pretty special treat in and of itself! I usually will let her pick out a special candy or treat from the store. She loves to help me in the kitchen so sometimes we will whip up a batch of cookies together to eat some after dinner.
Singing. She got a CD player for Christmas so we blast some Disney or Veggietales or other favorite tunes of ours and sing them at the top of our lungs. The Pandora Disney channel plays the Frozen songs and she knows them all by heart even though we don’t own the CD…yet! Dance parties may or may not break out. I’ve learned a few stellar moves from her.
Movies. My girl loves a good movie. The princess variety is a favorite, but thankfully she likes other kinds too. We take turns choosing and Netflix has lots of family and children’s movies to choose from. We’ve even seen some of my favorites from when I was a little girl together. We recently watched the animated Prince of Egypt which I thought was appropriate since we’d been reading about Moses in her Bible that week. It was a great film but there were a LOT of deep questions she had throughout that movie. As tough as they were I still thought it was a good experience!
Special Events. Although our Girls Nights are usually pretty low key at our house, we sometimes splurge. A few weeks ago I surprised my daughter with a trip to see the Broadway production of Beauty and the Beast at the Civic Center. I was so excited when I bought the tickets a few weeks early just thinking about how much fun we would have together! OKC offers many child friendly events that we like to take advantage of from time to time. The children’s minister at our church also plans a Mother/Daughter event once a year and we enjoyed the last one where we had a fashion show and makeovers. It was fun to plan our outfits together and her favorite part was getting to wear some of my nice jewelry.
Any time I have spent quality time with my daughter, I’m always amazed at how many teachable moments pop-up. And it doesn’t have to be some special event. We were eating breakfast together and she talked to me about a kid making fun of her clothes the other day. Or I’m pushing her on the swing and she asks me a serious question about death. (!) The questions usually seem to come out of no where and I sometimes struggle with how to answer. But I don’t think the answer is the most important part. The important part is that she feels safe to talk to me about the hard stuff on her mind. That hard stuff is only gonna get harder and scarier in a few years, but my prayer is that our bond will only grow stronger and that I can be her safe place in those years too! And spending quality time together now, even years before puberty and dating, is a great way to build that bond!
(This advice really can go for sons too! I’m just speaking from experience with my daughter as I have no son. You don’t have to love nail polish and princesses to have fun together though! The important thing is to find something you both enjoy doing –whether it’s playing paper dolls, shooting hoops, baking cookies, or going to a monster truck rally– and make time in your schedule to do it together!)