Growing up, my dad always called me Beautiful. He still does. And I remember going through stages of thinking "Well, yeah, he's my dad, of course HE thinks I'm beautiful!"
I hope and pray Curly Girl never thinks I call her beautiful just because I'm her mama.
And I know that I already have to start working on her self-esteem due to several conversations that happened yesterday.
I told Curly Girl in the morning, as she helped me do dishes, that she was ridiculously smart and could be and do anything she wanted. She could be president, or a mom, or a scientist, or a dancer - just anything. And she agreed with me.
Only later that day, she said she just wanted to be prettier, but couldn't, because she was just smart.
I was absolutely flabbergasted - I can only imagine she got that idea from watching Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs. Sam Sparks gave up glasses and a ponytail and acted stupid in order to be pretty. But the movie SO redeems it - you can be smart AND beautiful, but Curly Girl is obviously not getting that.
And then, Monday night, while I brushed out her hair, we discussed a freckle she has on her shin. She was sure that freckle meant she was ugly. I insisted that she has fair, beautiful skin, and fair skinned people get freckles, it isn't any big deal.
She told me fair skin wasn't pretty. I responded with "Of course it is! Snow White and Rapunzel (two of her favorite princesses) have fair skin and they are beautiful."
"But they don't have freckles."
"Not on their faces, but I'm sure they do on their arms and legs."
She thought about this for a moment and then said "Well, my hair will just have to keep growing then so I can braid it and it can be beautiful like Da-punzel's."
I corrected the princess's name and then told her that her hair was already beautiful, but there was nothing wrong with growing those glorious curls out longer.
She's FOUR. FOUR and I'm already dealing with "I'm not pretty enough." I know I'm bias, but I truly believe Curly Girl is the prettiest four year old I know. If she had said she wasn't smart enough, that's one thing - then we just study more, do more school (which is fun and easy for her) and we get smarter. But prettier? How do you make a gorgeous girl more pretty?
I'm hoping she's just repeating things she's hearing. Because she has no shame in her shape - she thinks she looks gorgeous in absolutely everything, I hear a million times a week "Don't I look beaUTiful, Mama?" And she does her little model walk in front of a mirror.
But to say she can't be pretty and smart? I really like Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs as a movie for the boys - it has a strong male lead who uses his brain and doesn't let anyone tell him what he can and can't be. And, honestly, the female lead is strong too - smart and beautiful and assertive. It should be a great movie.... but the FULL message obviously isn't getting through.
I think this one is going to take a lot of prayer and guidance from God. I'm sure He knows better how to get a girl to adulthood with her self esteem in tact than I do.