A couple of nights ago, I had a conversation with my 7 year old daughter. Now, it’s not like the conversation is the thing to remark on. We talk all the time. Most of the time, it’s about why her clothes are in the middle of the floor or…kidding. My kids actually talk to me a lot, about things, I don’t remember talking to my mom about. But it’s cool cause that’s my job, right?
Anyway, she’s been listening to P!nk on her ipod. Now for those of you who remember, I didn’t give her my ipod just because I wanted her to have a cool toy. Last year we were having one hell of a time connecting after Daddy and I came home from Iraq and a good friend of mine (who ironically I reconnected with through Facebook) suggested that I give her the ipod as a way of taking a time out. If she felt herself getting irate or angry, she could say hey mommy, I’m getting mad, I’m going to take a time out and calm down. Well, it took a long time but it really did pan out. It was kind of nice that it worked.
I’m pretty strict about what she and her little sister are allowed to listen to. They know who Justin Bieber is but they haven’t asked for his music (honestly, I have no idea what he sings). Their favorite music is the soundtrack to How To Train Your Dragon and Rio, so that’s pretty awesome when you think about it. Anyway, I’m a fan of P!nk, I think she’s got a great message for young girls, especially in this popstar hot chick day and age (mind you, we will NEVER watch the videos but that’s a whole other conversation).
So the other night, she turned on P!nk’s Stupid Girls and she asked me why P!nk was calling girls stupid. I told her she needed to listen to the lyrics because P!nk wasn’t saying that girls are stupid. She was lamenting (yes I used that word) the fact that so many girls would rather be cute than smart. I read some of the lyrics off to her
What happened to the dreams of a girl president
She’s dancing in that video next to 50 Cent
She thought about it and said, well, why can’t I be cute and smart? Damn that kid is pretty quick. I told her she can absolutely love being a girl and dressing nice and taking care of herself but that her looks weren’t what made her a good person or got her good grades. It was more important to always enjoy learning and to have a good heart and care about people than to be a cute girl that all the boys like.
Well, barely two nights passed before I found her crying in her room. I managed to pull out of her that one of her so called ‘friends’ had made fun of her card she’d made her.
Folks, I’m not normally moved to the thoughts of bodily harm but this child almost made the list. Look, I got it, my kid is mine and I’m going to be protective. But the mean girl bullshit didn’t start with me until at least the 4th or 5th grade and then it was game on. I HATED high school until about my junior year. Middle school? Let’s not really go there. Suffice to say, I was a fat, unhappy geek who used to leave high school once I got my driver’s license to watch Mystery Science Theater 3000. And yes, I ate my feelings.
I am completely, 100% aware that I cannot fight my daughter’s battles for her. I am also aware that I turned out ok but then again, there’s that saying that goes something like “but for the grace of God, there go I”. I don’t want my kid to go through the teasing and the fat jokes and the feeling ugly. I don’t want her to look in the mirror and see anything less than the beautiful, smart, thoughtful kid that’s there.
And this spiteful, hateful kid in her class took something my daughter did to be thoughtful and tore her up over it. So while I may have wanted to tell my daughter to tell that spiteful wench to kiss her ass, I did manage to make her laugh when I told her not to do that otherwise Mommy would have to see the principle.
I made her laugh. I talked her through what real friends are. It’s not the quantity of the friends you have, it’s the quality. I can count on less than 2 hands the number of people in this world who are true, close friends of mine. And I am fine with that.
What the other night represented was not a watershed event for my daughter. It was a watershed event for me. A wake up call that I don’t have a couple more years before the mean girl bullshit starts tearing up the cute little kids that all started kindergarten together and breaks them into cliques and groups, popular kids and geeks.
I don’t want my kid to be on the outside. But if that means she’s not making fun of other kids so that she can fit in, maybe it’s for the better. Maybe she’ll grow up to be president. By then the spiteful little wench who laughed at her card will be long forgotten. But her influence will have shaped my daughter.
Hopefully, into someone strong enough to walk by and lift her head a little higher and not get sucked into the mean girl bullcrap.