I am a girl’s girl. I’ve forever loved all things dainty and feminine. My teenage days were filled with slumber parties, shopping, hanging with my other girly-girl friends, gossiping about boys, and nail polish.
After I got married and became pregnant, I was thrilled to discover we were bringing a beautiful baby girl into the world. I dreamily envisioned ruffly dresses, tea parties, and bows.
However, ruffles and frills just weren’t in the cards for our little girl. She has been obsessed with Spiderman, Ninja Turtles, trucks, and balls for as long as I can remember.
My daughter can throw the fiercest fastball. She can wrestle with the boys, and she can give them a run for their money. She may choose to participate in an occasional dance class, but I guarantee that under her frilly pink tutu she has on a pair of boy’s Spiderman undies.
When you watch her playing with dolls, it might appear she is playing a typical game of Barbies, but I can guarantee you that she’s actually playing “cops and robbers”. Only in this case the cops and robbers happen to be well-endowed blonde women in heels.
A few months back we were invited to a little girl’s birthday party. No sooner had the last of the pretty pink gift-wrap fallen to the floor when my daughter dashed outside and climbed up on the roof of a playhouse with her friend’s brother, who had also withstood his fill of frilly antics. I remember, all too vividly, as we were leaving the party, we overheard another little girl telling her mom that my daughter was “weird“. The little girl stated it with a smile and I know she didn’t mean it hateful, but the words still stung.
On the way home, I told my daughter that she isn’t “weird” at all and it’s okay to be different. I explained to her that it’s perfectly acceptable not to conform to be like all the other little girls. I told her that she is one-of-a-kind and special.
I am reminded that she doesn’t fit the stereotypical girl mold every time we walk by the little girl’s toy aisle at our favorite department store. The aisles are filled to the brim with Barbies, babies, and princess dresses, which are just not her interests. I’ve been given the disapproving stink eye by onlookers as she darts past these overtly pink aisles and makes a beeline straight for the boy toys.
In the years past when we were invited on play-dates with new friends I would nervously watch the other mom’s reaction as my daughter would make a mad dash to the backyard in order to compete in a karate match with the boys instead of participating in the quiet tea party with the other little girls.
I would frequently find myself apologizing, saying things like, “Oh, sorry. She plays a little rough,” or “I’m sorry she doesn’t really like to play princess games or have tea parties.”
However, I’m done apologizing for my daughter’s uniqueness. I’m done apologizing for who she is. She is a well-rounded and active little girl (some would call a tomboy) who wears dresses but also likes to climb trees and play ball, and it’s okay to be different. It takes all kinds of people to make the world go round. I accept that my daughter doesn’t fit the mold. My daughter is not like your daughter, and my daughter is not like your son. She is unique, as all children are unique individuals.
My daughter is definitely not the stereotypical little girl but, let’s face it, who really fits those one-size-fits-all stereotypes anyway.
She marches to the beat of her own drum. She is her own little person, and I love her for it. You see, I have always been a rule follower and a “go with the flow” gal. I have never been one to swim against the stream, and I admire the nonconformist quality in her.
So, if you see us shopping in the boys section for Spiderman “panties” or you receive our invitation to her Ninja Turtle birthday party, please don’t give me the stink eye. She’s herself. She’s an individual who doesn’t care what others think, and I hope she never changes.
All you mamas who have a child who doesn’t fit the social stereotype, let them be different and applaud them for their individuality. Don’t apologize on their behalf. Let’s celebrate the uniqueness in our children. It’s okay to be unique.
Who did I learn to celebrate uniqueness from, you ask?
That’s easy. I learned that from my daughter.