Dear fellow mom at preschool,
Please explain to me why your three-year old daughter is wearing earrings and a training bra? Why does she show up at school with lipstick smeared on her lips, teetering in shoes with chunky high heels? She loves the sparkle, the attention, the girlieness of it all. But you strapped her into her car seat, all dolled up, and left the house like that?
The teacher and I exchange questioning glances. This sweet little girl can barely speak in full sentences, still carries a stutter from toddlerhood, yet here she is in platform shoes. Another day, she’s in a yellow sundress with tiny high heel shoes. I’m at a loss. Is this some sort of new trend I missed? I find it alarming and off-putting. What kind of message are we sending our children when we dress them like tiny women?
My own daughters run and play and dig and explore. They don’t wear makeup or training bras or high-heeled anything. They go barefoot. They get dirty. They are innocent, not well versed in the ways a woman must work and conform to be accepted by society. I plan to keep that door closed to them as long as I’m able.
There is plenty of time for pierced ears and eye shadow, push-up bras and teetering shoes. Not now. Now is the time to be a kid, to look for tadpoles, to swing and make sand castles and jump rope. To learn about constellations and outer space and wishing on a star. To scribble and draw, glue and tape, paint and sew. To get lost in a book, laugh at a cartoon, bake zucchini bread with their mama, be sung to sleep, rocked quietly at night and cuddled after a fall.
There will be plenty of time to be a grown up, to get serious, to pay the bills and feed the cat. But that time is not now. Not today. Not just yet…