inner beauty

Oh, beauty.

I have written about the topic on these pages before. Beauty is more complicated than I would like for it to be, but it is something that we all have to handle. Parents in particular. I try (and try and try) to ensure The Kidling understands that beauty is, in fact, superfluous. That other things–that all other things–are more important. We praise her for important characteristics: kindness, hard work, ingenuity, generosity, strength, courage. I am so adamant about praising her for commendable behaviors and attributes that it occurred to me last week that I could not recall the last time I had shared glowing words about her appearance.

Well, other than growling, “I love your face!” at her. But we all know that “I love your face” is really a commentary on the fact of her face. I love that she has a face. I love that she is. Always.

Well, almost always.

Knowing that I have likely been remiss in completely excluding flattering words about her physical appearance, I complimented her. But I did it carefully.

“Kidling, I know this isn’t what’s important, but you are a beautiful girl,” I told her. She glowed, and I knew that she knew that beauty is more important to the outside world than I let on. I am going to pretend for a moment that this isn’t a result of my not-infrequent primping.

Or the fact that The Kidling said to me last week (in response to my delay getting ready one morning), “Yeah, Mom. It’s not like your hair has to be perfectly fancy.”

As such, when she began to carry on about what makes a person good tonight on the way home, I was delighted to hear her say, “It’s who you are that counts!”

“That’s right,” I gloated agreed. “You mean on the inside?”

“No,” she replied, “on the outside.”

Back to the drawing board.


Habits. We all have them.

They can be good.
We brush our teeth at night, wash our hands after using the toilet, say pardon me when we need to squeeze past someone…

They can be bad.
We scratch our mosquito bites, bite our nails, procrastinate…

They are often neutral.
We wear black more often than brown, always eat eggs for breakfast, buy more apples than we can eat in a week… These neutral habits are simply things we do. We do them so often, in fact, that we aren’t even cognizant of their being done until one day, for some reason, it stands out.

That day was last night. As I tucked The Kidling in (after a discussion of shapely meals), I became aware of her habit of repeating what I say to her at bedtime. A salutation, as we know, is oft repeated:

“Good night, Dear” “Good night.”

“Good morning!” “Good morning!”

“Bye now!” “Goodbye.”

“Have a great day!” “You have a great day, too!”

It often makes sense to repeat a salutation, but surely I am not the only one who has found myself replying, “you too!” to a wish of safe travels when I am the only one about to embark on an adventure.The same, it seems, is true of The Kidling. Once we had decided that I would be checking in on her in ten minutes (which I–ahem–forgot to do because I was writing this story), I tucked her in, said goodnight, then promised, “I’ll check on you in a little bit.”

“I’ll check on YOU in a little bit,” The Kidling replied.

Um. Sure. Goodnight.

boy colors. again.

The Kidling has, on myriad occasions, tried to get me to understand her conceptualization of gendered colors. And I have, on each of those occasions, pretended I had no idea what she was talking about. I asked for her to explain it to me. I played dumb.

Every time.

You see, it all began years ago when The Kidling told me that blue is a boy color and pink is a girl color. Way too early. Like, at three years old. So I, you guessed it, played dumb.

“Interesting,” I would ask. “How are colors boys or girls?”

And she would get so mad!

“They just are!” was a common reply.

Solidly reasoned. Sign this kid up for law school.

So I pushed. And pushed. Until I got the answer I wanted.

“But what makes a creature a girl? What makes another creature a boy?” I questioned further.

When I finally received an anatomically correct response from The Kidling, she just got irritated and huffed off, as if I couldn’t possibly be saved from my own ignorance.

Which is probably true.

I thought we were past this. At the very least, I thought The Kidling had given up on me. Then yesterday, she spied the clothes I had set out for her to wear to school and requested a different cardigan. I could not possibly care less what she wears to school,* and I was preparing to agree when she said of her sweater,

The Kidling: That’s a boy color.
The Mama: Why? It is red!? How is red a boy color?
The Kidling: (stubbornly) I just know it is. Boy colors are dark and wrinkly.

This conversation brought to you by The Mama (whose favorite color is black) and The Kidling (whose favorite color is… wait for it… blue. go figure).


* Not quite true. But close.

pizza pairings

“This would be better with beer.” *

-The Kidling

November 17, 2013


* Disclaimer: The Kidling has never, not even once, tasted beer. Coffee, yes… Anyone who allows a high-energy 5 year-old to have a sip of coffee is clearly a glutton for punishment.


Have you ever wondered what a five year-old child’s profile on OkCupid would look like? No? Huh.

Well, I have. Don’t hate: we all have flashes of brilliance.

For what it’s worth, this little verbal image (if that’s a thing) came to me after pondering an interaction between my dear child and a physician on Monday. This gentleman, Dr. Who,* is a specialist at the Our Town Gigantic Hospital (hereinafter OTGH). As the name suggests, OTGH is rather large. Gigantic, in fact. And though this fact can underscore many interactions between patient and physician, it did not this week. Dr. Who took the time to make The Kidling comfortable before assessing her condition.

Dr. Who: Are you in school?
The Kidling: Yeah.
Dr. Who: What grade are you in? Second?
The Kidling: Kindergarten! People think I’m older. I’m five, but I wear six pants.
Dr. Who: What do you like to when you aren’t in school?
The Kidling: I like to imaginate.
Dr. Who: Oh! Do you like to write stories?
The Kidling: Uh huh. (pause) I haven’t finished one yet.

Her extraordinary honesty notwithstanding, this painfully cute exchange got me thinking about how The Kidling and other kidling-types** would describe themselves to a new person.

A three foot, ten inch 5 year-old, I’ve lived in Our Town for my entire life.  I study at Local Elementary, where my favorite subjects are Music, PE, and Centers. Centers really speak to me, as I spend my time there drawing and imaginating animals, contraptions, and stories. I have watched Happy Feet dozens of times, but I am equally fond of more serious television and cinema, including Secretariat, Wild Kratts, and Dinosaur Train.

I think a healthy body is important, and I like to ride my bike (thank goodness I have training wheels, LOL!), race my parents (they always let me win), and climb ropes in gymnastics. I am the fastest rope climber in my class, but the other kids try really hard and I tell them “Nice job. Maybe you’ll win next time” because it is important to be nice. If you are nice, too, then maybe we can be friends.

I would totally ask for a playdate.


* Not his real name. Duh.

** Can I just add that I adore the fact that my iPad has not only learned the word “kidling,” but it autocorrects to uppercase. That’s right, Apple. It’s “The Kidling” to you.