Boys are very different from girls. I’m gonna go ahead and get all gender stereotypical up in here and y’all can just roll with it. I’m just saying with my sons, there are tears, there are moments of anger and hurt, but they are so brief and, at least so far, pretty easy to resolve. Girls are different. I only have one, so it’s not scientific. But I’m right.
It was a rough morning, that day. There was a lot of emotions. In fact, there are always a lot of emotions. There are cities of emotions, with bridges and skyscrapers and pastures with animals and little Emotion Bureaucrats walking around with hard hats and briefcases, pointing wildly from one side to the other, as mountains of emotion shake and avalanche into the oceans of emotion. The bright side is that life is so exciting for her, and there is no one in the world that receives a gift better. The dark side is so, so dramatic and passionate, where angels fear to tread. I feel confident, that pointed in the right direction, this passion is going to make her an amazing artist, in whatever art form she chooses.
The day in question, all of the passion was pointed in the wrong direction, and there was a lot of screaming and wild matted hair and writhing on the floor and making dramatic threats, and also Brynn was screaming a little. I kid. It was all her, doing her imitation of a movie exorcism over some minor infraction and consequence, and me, sitting on the couch trying to be louder than her with my psychologist voice, and failing. Somewhere in between wishing I had a tazer and thinking about just moving her into her bedroom for a week, my brain heard my mouth saying, “Stop this. Get up, you’re going to the store with me.” Then my brain was like “Whaaaa?” because the last thing I wanted was to take a currently tantrumming child out of my home to audition me for Walmart’s Worst Parent competition. Somehow, despite my internal struggle, she ended up cheerfully holding my hand and walking to the car moments later. I tell you what. This one is not going in the parenting book I’m going to write once my kids are old enough that I forget what little kids are like.
Our first stop was to get her a haircut, on the MOG’s request. I had been fighting this, because I love the idea of long hair on little girls. The reality of long hair on little girls is less glamour and more conditioner and lollipops stuck in tangles and a lot of “owwwww-ing”. She chatted cheerily throughout her whole haircut and I could tell she felt a hundred times better, and I’m enough of a female stereotype that that makes perfect sense to me. As we walked out, I noticed a nail salon and decided to get her a manicure as well. There’s no reason… she spent the morning throwing fits and we’re on a tight budget. I knew I should do it anyway. She got shy with the nail tech but on the way out she was singing on the sidewalk, “I got a haaaaaaaircut and beautiful naaaaails and I look like a woooooman,” and I felt the pleasure of God right there, God enjoying me enjoying my daughter enjoying herself.
I don’t know what I’m doing. Parenting is so much guesswork and instinct. I think a key is responding to invitations when they pop up- a moment to connect with my child’s heart, even when that would not be my first or even second response.
She sang her way through Walmart and my heart grew three sizes for her, realizing my baby is a little woman and there are places in her heart and mind that only I really understand. This, the pampering side, feels like one tiny facet of the child I’m still, and will always be, learning. Time is rocketing past and I have these days, moments really, to know her heart and hear her. What a gift.