When I birthed out 2 tiny baby girls (2.5 years apart) I had no idea how much I didn’t know about raising girls. In theory I should know lots – I mean I’m a girl, and I’ve been a girl my entire life. I should have this figured out, right? Wrong.
I’m not even going to talk about the infant years – those are a post all of their own. The no-sleep (for them or me!), won’t eat (or wants to eat non-stop), crying all the time world is far behind now – but don’t think I’ve forgotten about it. Oh no. But that’s not what I’m musing over tonight.
My girls are now 5 and 7. Fun little girl ages full of princess parties, tea parties, Monster High (like Barbie for this generation), and lots of pinks and purples. But also rock collecting, Home Depot building, dirt finding (sand is my favourite thing to clean up!), mountains of laundry creating, messy, messy people.
Raising girls also means being a detective. (Maybe it’s the same with boys, but I wouldn’t know.) They get moody and upset, but unless you ask the most specific questions to extract that well hidden information, you often don’t know why. For instance on the weekend Patrick wanted to take the girls out for free comic book day. We had already been out in the morning for dance class and Science Rendezvous. Emma was so excited to go check out free comic books, but then she just sat down and cried about not going but still wanting a comic book. After some yelling and other not-so-gentle parenting techniques we discovered she needed her tie up shoes re-tied so they were more comfortable. Why could she not just say that? Kids are a mystery. When they returned I was quite content to find this happening on my couch.
And then there’s the body stuff. What clothes are appropriate for school? How often to you have a bath or shower? Do swimming lessons count as getting clean? And when do we need to “talk” about girl stuff? Some of these questions are easier to deal with than others.
The one body-type problem I’m struggling with right now is hair. Emma has beautiful long straight hair, but she often hates getting it brushed (“It’s just going to get tangled again!” she’ll say.) She also doesn’t enjoy baths or showers, sometimes. There’s no rhyme or reason to it. Today she’ll happily get in the bath, but next week, no way! Rose is young enough to still love bathtime – thank goodness. She even lets me wash her hair, most of the time. Emma, if you can get her into the bath or shower, has no problem getting hair washed. I just don’t enjoy the battle of trying to get her upstairs and into the bathtub.
Then there’s the fun of brushing or combing the hair. Rose used to scream and cry when you even came close to her with a brush. She’s slowly accepting that hair brushing is a thing we’re supposed to do every day. I would be lying, though, if I told you we brush her hair every day. I figure she gets brushed about 3 or 4 times a week, including after bath combing. And then Emma – she loves her hair, so I can threaten her with “we’ll have to get it cut short if you don’t let me brush it!” and that usually works. It creates grumps and other sullenness, but I can usually get her brushed out. Now that the kids go swimming at least once a week for lessons I find I need to brush her hair more often. I’d love to wash it more often too, but that’s not working out so well yet. It is a lot of fun for me when she’ll let me “do something” with her hair. All I normally get to do is the ballet bun once a week for dance, but I love when she lets me put braids in it!
I know as these girls get older, the stuff I didn’t know I didn’t know will only continue to grow along with them. It’s almost as if I’m growing up all over again. The things that never happened to me may happen to them, and things that did happen to me may never happen to them. I’m trying to be there for them however they need me – wiping tears, playing sports (dance is a sport, right?), or just letting them explore things on their own. I’m sure I’ll have future cause to create another post just like this one, only with older girl problems (and older mom problems too!)
Are you surprised by the learning curve while raising girls? (or boys!) What has surprised (or frustrated) you this week – or any other week – while parenting your kiddos? I want to hear some stories in the comments!
Follow me, and my daughters, as we learn and grow together. By joining my email list you’ll get a letter from me every two weeks or so – and I will never spam you or sell your information.
But really, seeing these little people grow, mature, and change right in front of your eyes is a miracle. Were these people inside me at one time? How is that even possible? And look at those faces – surely they never do wrong!!
I’ve written a few follow up posts, now that my girls are older. Check them here: