Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Tears and Lipstick

Over the past year I've had to deal with my oldest daughter thinking she's fat and refusing to finish her meal, ruthless teasing and taunting at school, and now my youngest daughter crying when I wouldn't give her lipstick so she could be "pretty"...and they are TWO and FOUR! Sure, I knew these issues would arise, but I was hoping to hold them off just a tad longer. I'm really starting to wonder if their favorite shows like Hannah Montana and Victorious are influencing their opinions of what is beautiful and what isn't more than I thought? My oldest has come home several times from school upset because someone teased her, told her she didn't have any friends, and even called her fat at lunch time (all at a private Christian preschool...yes parents, it's everywhere...), so I know that isn't helping, either. It's so frustrating! And now, my little one is a makeup fanatic...she disappears for minutes at a time and then shows up with a painted face. I think she'd wear makeup to bed if she could. And when I try to take it off of her, she throws a fit and says "Now I won't be pretty any more." I'm sure some of this is just the fun of "dressing up", but how seriously do you take it when your child thinks wearing lipstick makes you pretty, and without you aren't pretty anymore?

With a husband that's 6'7, I always new my girls were going to be tall. I have spent hours and hours encouraging them that their tall height makes them unique, special and beautiful. I make a big fuss every morning when they get dressed about how beautiful they look, and everynight I kiss them and tell them how special, talented, and beautiful they are. So how else should I be building up their self-esteem? Earlier this summer, my 4 year old opted for a tankini over a bikini for the first time. I asked her why, and I was beside myself when she said she didn't want anyone to see her fat belly. Wow. I felt like I'd been punched in the gut. How could my talented, smart, fabulous, BEAUTIFUL child think that of herself, ate the age of 4, especially when it's clearly not true?! Am I failing as a parent in my duty to build my children up?

I've been pondering these things for months now, and I have yet to figure out any answers. Even last week, my 4 year old came home on the first day of school and told me her feelings got hurt when someone told her she didn't have any friends (again, clearly not true). There are days I'd like to take my babies and keep them in a little bubble that would shield them from all the hurt they will experience in their lifetime...but I know this isn't possible, and even if it was, it wouldn't be the best choice for them. I want my kids to learn life lessons and grow to be strong, healthy women both inside and out, and I know what they experience along the way will help mold them...I just didn't know I'd be dealing with fat jokes, lipstick and tears just yet...

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