So last week was winter fun-fest or carnival or some such cold-inspired celebration at Mackenzie's elementary school. She is currently in grade one having just turned 7. She comes home and announces that the next day is "dress up like your favorite character day".
Now this is probably not meant to invoke a panicked parental response, a sharp intake of breath with eyes closed, bracing for the inevitable back and forth of "Why don't you wear this?, No? How about this? What's wrong with this? Why not your halloween costume from last fall? No, no and no? What's that you say, you'll be a social pariah and be laughed out of the school yard if you don't wear exactly the right thing? What's that, you don't know what exactly the right thing looks like, only what exactly the wrong thing looks like? Watch it kid, you're about to knock me over with that eye roll....
I was preparing for this fight, our daughter is just like my husband who I vowed never to shop with again, "Honey those pants look fine, no the seam is not hanging too low, no they don't look funny....well maybe when you stand like that but not if you stand erect like a normal homo-sapien... what, after 10 stores you want to go back to the first pair of pants that we saw?? KILL ME NOW, I BEG OF YOU, IF YOU'VE EVER LOVED ME, TAKE THOSE PANTS AND SMOTHER ME WITH THEM?
So needless to say I was dreading the same sort of interaction with the picking out of the costume for character day. You can imagine my pleasant surprise when she already knew who she wanted to be...
"I want to be Sandy from Grease" (which is her current favorite movie, please hold all judgement. It's the more censored TV version... and plus it keeps her busy whilst I'm cleaning up after the poop monsters...)
"OK", I say, "I'll find you a long skirt and some Bobby socks and a ribbon for your pony tail....."
"No, Mom", she sighs exasperatedly "The Sandy at the end.."
Cue sharp intake of breath, eyes closed and heel of hand to the forehead as I brace for the fight.
"You are not being BAD SANDY", I proclaim, preparing for my puritanical speech...that would be inappropriate.."
So then I began to question myself as the all powerful censor of her ideas and wishes. The thing is, she knows that the black clad, sexy Sandy at the end of Grease is more powerful, more attractive, more special and gets more attention than Sandra Dee. She doesn't quite get the concept of sex as power in words that she can articulate, but she gets it all the same. I begin to struggle with trying to navigate this reality and stomping on it entirely. We have a discussion about it and I decide to let her go ahead with an age-appropriate version (not to mention it's 30 mins past her bedtime, and I have NO OTHER OPTIONS for costumes in March at this point....)
So on the way to school the next morning, she is wearing a pair of black leggings, black Mary Jane shoes, a black tank top with a black velvet cardigan (stolen from her Christmas concert dress) I see that the other girls in her class are dressed as princesses (which have been dead to her since age 4), mermaids and I see one Minnie Mouse. I glance at my black clad, blond coiffed kid.
"You know that the other kids will have no idea who you are, right?" I say....
"I know" she replies, knowingly nodding her head..."My friends are probably not old enough to watch Grease yet..."
She has always wanted to be older, I swear to God, two minutes after birth she demanded a New York Times and a glass of chardonnay....
I struggle with this child. I don't know how much of her personal spirit to squelch. She likes the idea of doing things that are different, that make her appear special and unique. She does not want to be the same as the other "regular" kids in her class.
Hold on a Warlock Nanosecond, it seems that I've given birth to Charlie Sheen.