Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Potty Training & "Princess Panties"........ my thoughts on raising a girl

Last week I unknowingly bought my last package of diapers at Wal-Mart. While I was there I thought I'd pick up a pair of little girl panties for Lauren with the intent that I would start trying to potty train her. She is 28 months old. The boys all potty trained at 2 1/2 but I've heard that little girls potty train earlier so I thought I'd give it a shot. Well- long story short a week later and she is potty trained. I think I've used one diaper out of that pack I bought. When I brought home those Disney Princess panties she was SO excited! All I had to do was be consistent with having her wear them no matter where we went and it took a few times of pooping and peeing in them for her to realize that they didn't work like diapers and she caught on.

So with the recent addition of "princess panties" to her wardrobe I've been once again reminded of how much she loves princesses. She will point to the characters and say "peety Pean cess" (pretty princess) and hop around excitedly in her panties. It's pretty adorable but at the same time a little alarming at how obsessed she is with them. Right now she only has 2 princess related toys and a matching plate, cup and bowl set with the Disney Princess theme. This is not because she wouldn't LOVE to have more, it is entirely my fault that she doesn't. Years ago there was a little girl in our ward that had an obsession with princesses to the point that she wanted people to call her "princess _____." Her mother was talking to me one day about how exhausting and frustrating her obsession had become. At the time I thought that it was kind of cute (having no children of my own) but these days if I had run into a similar situation I would probably cringe listening to the prissy details.

After having 3 boys I know that my parenting methods for Lauren are much different than they would have been if she'd been my first child. I was very girly and even a little prissy myself back in those days. I think Heavenly Father knew I needed sons to round off my prissy edges and make me a little more down to earth before having a daughter. I'm pretty sure that if Lauren had been my first child I would have indulged her every girly whim, catered to her 2 year old tantrums over wanting the "other bow" for her hair because it matches her shirt better. I probably would have painted her fingernails whenever she asked and let her wear my lip gloss too. She most likely would have been dressed from head to toe in the cutest, trendiest girly outfits with matching socks, bows and accessories. But what might this produce? I can't be sure but my fear is that it might produce a daughter similar to many of the teenage girls I see everywhere these days.

If you don't know what I mean go to the mall and you'll see what I'm talking about. Unfortunately these days they're everywhere. Vain, self-absorbed, high maintenance teenagers wearing designer labels (that even their parents can't afford), with their hair highlighted, nails done, texting on their expensive cell phones while shopping at Victoria's Secret (I've seem them there). I always wonder-what do they need sexy lingerie for anyway, they're only 15? If you're still not sure what I mean, (since we do live in Port Orchard) visit some myspace pages of teenage girls these days. It's really scary. I visited my brother in-laws myspace page and saw picture after picture of his 16 year daughter in provocative poses. Many of the comments from her friends were laced with profanity and the repeated use of the word "sexy." Whenever I see girls like this I wonder to myself.....how did they get that way? How did it all start? It really, really scares me!

In contrast, there is a particular family in our ward with teenage daughters that are so lovely. They are wholesome, sweet, stylish and feminine. They wear very little (if any) makeup and they're such a refreshing breath of fresh air, especially when compared to their peers. I look at these girls and think, "THAT's the kind of girl I want my daughter to be like."

I also have a friend with 5 girls that told me a while back that she makes a point to NOT tell her daughters that they are pretty. Her reasoning is that she doesn't want them to associate their physical beauty with their self worth and second that she doesn't want to raise vain women. I initially thought that this was a tad extreme but respected her good intent. Now that Lauren is talking and understanding things I have actually tried to pull in the reins on myself telling her that she's pretty but it is SO hard. It just seems so natural to tell her she looks pretty when she is all dressed up for church and really does look so pretty! Another point that Aaron brought up when we were talking about this was that you want your daughter to hear you compliment her beauty so that she doesn't fall for the first guy that tells her she's pretty. Which I think is a good point. One thing I would like to add about my friend is that her daughters are the sweetest, most down to earth girls I've met. Definitely the kind of girl I would want my sons to marry one day.

I have one daughter and only one chance to raise her to be a virtuous, humble, and faithful daughter of God. I know that having a few princess toys and telling her she's pretty (in moderation) is not a bad thing. And when she's older of course we'll have fun shopping together, painting our toenails, and watching the occasional chick flick . I'm striving to find a balance between helping her form a positive, healthy self image where she enjoys her feminine side WITHOUT indulging her vanity and over the top girly notions. This has been difficult for me in some ways but I hope that in the end I won't have my only daughter be like the teenage girl described above.

Lauren, I love you so much and am SO thankful that you are my daughter. You melt my heart with your sweet words ("you pitty mama", or "mama, you a pean cess"). I never want to forget the cute things you say and do. I have great hopes that my relationship with you will be the kind I wish I would have had with my own mother. If you end up reading this one day and can't understand why I won't let you wear eye shadow when you're 12 or get your hair highlighted like all your friends please believe that I'm doing it because I love you and want you to grow into a lovely, sensible and selfless young lady whose true beauty lies in her faithful and generous heart.


Randi said...

I like your thoughts on this.

Courtney said...

I love your thoughts on raising girls. (I've appreciated your thoughts on boys too, for that matter!) Thanks again for giving me new things to think about and consider.

Thinking about the way things are today, it makes me really glad that the Church has added "Virtue" to the Young Women's values.

Jenniferb said...

WoW! Andria. You. Are. Great. I love your postings! I have the same battle with the princess theme, and the definition of "beautiful" in today's society.

Love the family pictures too!