Posts Tagged ‘Sunshine’

Six Going on Sixteen

I stepped out of the shower this evening to find my six year-old Sunshine face down in her bed sobbing, “Nobody likes me!” She wasn’t crying to anyone; she didn’t even know I was standing there. She was crying to herself, into her pillow. Painful flashbacks rattled me into motion.

After calming Sunshine down from sobs to tears, it became clear that the reason she felt that nobody liked her was because her new BFF had left to go camping with her family for a week, and there were NO other girls around to play with. “Why would Jasmine leave me?”

Now, granted, it was 5:00 p.m., our witching hour, and she was cooked from a long day of hard and fun play (with Jasmine before her traitorous departure), so I knew she was feeling a little more sensitive than normal. I held her and listened to her, and reassured her that Jasmine loved her, as did many, and would return to her soon. After a short pause and some sniffles, she broke out into fresh sobs, “What if a grow up to be FAT?”

Mom sits up and looks at her girl. GIRL. This is not a teen, or even a tween. She’s six, for God’s sake, and should be thinking about snakes or dolls or unicorns–something other than her figure.


The confusing thing to me is this: where is she getting this? We don’t have Cosmopolitan mags lying around, or even Vic’s Secret catalogues. Neither Hubby nor I talk about losing weight or being fat, or any of that image stuff. I haven’t heard any of her friends talking like this. They don’t watch commercial TV, and we don’t live in L.A. So what gives? Is it ingrained in girls to be self- conscious about their bodies and looks?

I remember, when Sunshine was like nine months old, hearing a someone say that at the age of 6, parents get glimpses of adolescence because it is a time when children are struggling with increased independence, AND that the behavior usually disappears until around 12 years old. Then hang the F on.

So here we are, and while I’m fumbling along with, “Honey, you’re beautiful, smart and special, no matter how your body looks” and “Isn’t it nice that everyone looks and thinks so differently- that what makes this world so cool!”, Tiernan rolls her eyes (well, tries to roll her eyes) at me, and sluffs off. But, by God, what am I going to do in ten years when she no longer sluffs off to her art table to draw it out, but rather gets in her car (without haven given me the time of day) and drives to her friends house where they will talk over cigarettes, diet pills, and eye shadow about how to be perfect?

I need books. I need preemptive adolescent counseling. I am so not ready for this.


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The other day, my 4 y.o. Sunshine said to me, “I want to be a boy.” (This, coming from a girl who refuses to wear anything but dresses- the frillier, the better- and won’t consider accepting a babysitter unless she is “pretty”.) “Why?” I ask her. “Because if I’m a boy, then I can grow up to be Superman. But since I’m a girl, I have to grow up to be a princess.” UGH! Where are my values in this child? Where did I miss that fork in the road of guiding her through her first four years? Is she doomed to a life of beauty pageants, nips and tucks, and constantly searching for a Prince Charming ?

So here is my new mission: to find, or produce if none can be found, books that have a GIRL that is brave, strong, protective, and maybe even with super powers. When I have asked librarians for suggestions, they recommend “Eloise”, who I cannot STAND. Is she really the symbol of strength and courage for our young girls. God help us.

I invite anyone to join my mission. Write a book. Write a screenplay. And if you know of any good books, please do share!

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