Cousins, bathtime, the pink solution

We had my niece with us this afternoon. Though Hazel and her cousin do their share of one-upmanship and bickering, they also giggle with each other and love to be together. Tonight in highs and lows Hazel said (and had said earlier in the evening too) that she was sad that her cousin had left, that she wanted to live at their house, that it was a nicer house, that our house was ugly, and she didn’t like its colors. What this translates to of course is, “I love my cousin, I miss her, and I want to see her more often.” We can respond to that. Of course, last week she also tried to convince me to go out to a restaurant for lunch by saying that she liked the food at restaurants better, and she doesn’t like what I cook. I whispered that story to Ted in the car tonight, sotto voce, and he laughed and said that she’d better get used to disappointment. It’s a rough life she leads.

After we got back from dropping my niece off, we did bath time. That’s not something we do every night. It’s a special treat and the girls all absolutely love it. Emily loves to lie on her tummy and kick her legs. Joanna kept standing up and sitting down, and giggling madly. (Sometime we have to get that laugh on tape, because it is priceless.) And then we had the pleasure of sweetly smelling clean little ones to read to and snuggle at bedtime.

Ted didn’t get his time off this afternoon, so he’s taking it now and I’ve retreated up to bed, extraordinarily early for me. I’m tired. I’ve been practicing late, and been up way too late the last several nights. I’m looking forward to some shut-eye. Tomorrow I have another couple of rehearsals.

We have arrived at what we think is a good compromise solution to the issue of pink in Hazel’s wardrobe. This is something we’ve really struggled with over the past year or so. It was easy when she was a baby: we just didn’t include it in her clothes. (The bottom line about the color is that we highly dislike the way it’s being used to push gender polarization. We don’t like the tendency for people to focus on Hazel’s appearance when she’s wearing it. And the commercialization of pink feeds into selling lots of people lots of things they don’t need, but have become convinced they do. It seems like a direct lead-in to the horrible “beauty” products industry line of attack in which they convince women that all sorts of things are wrong with our bodies which must be fixed with their products.) Nonetheless, our position has evolved as we’ve been trying to weave Hazel’s desires, our boundaries, and the realities of living in the world into our decision-making.

At first, we went from a total ban to allowing her some. But that always morphed into lots or every day. That wasn’t working for us, and it meant conflict over what she was wearing, which wasn’t fun or productive. So one day I asked Hazel how many days a week she wanted to wear pink. Of course, she said all of them. I said that I could understand that, but that was too much for Daddy and me, so we wanted to come up with a number we could all live with. She said ok, and we arrived at two. We talked about which days, and she picked Tuesdays and Saturdays. It has worked out so admirably well. Now, we have fun with it. I am so much more relaxed about it. I can laugh with her when she comes down wearing a shirt, dress, and pants all with pink in them. I can easily find things about her clothes to compliment. And because she has those days to look forward to, she has no problem wearing other things other days. The mood and energy have been lightened, and it’s not an issue any more. I am proud of us all. I’m glad that Ted and I are on the same page, and that we’re sticking to our values, but also that we can be flexible, and that we’re thoughtful about our parenting. And this is good practice for many things that will come down the road that will be points of contention. It’s all practice. It’s all the test. It’s all life.

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