My three year old daughter is a girly girl. She’s also a tomboy. I like to think of her as some strange combo of both. She loves pink and princesses and swirling around in her ballerina skirt. She also loves matchbox cars and digging in the dirt and wrestling her older brother to the ground (she usually wins). She’ll screech in horror if a tiny bug comes within 100 feet (me too), yet thinks nothing of getting up in someone’s face if she feels she’s been dissed. Like the time an older boy took her Princess ball at the playground. Oh, he suffered the wrath of Miss J that day. She can throw a fit and demand retribution like nobody’s business. Am I a tiny bit proud of this side of her? Absolutely. I’d like to think I don’t influence this behavior (especially the WWF smackdowns with her brother) but in some subconscious way I’m sure I do.
I never had a sister growing up, just lots of brothers. I climbed trees, held my younger brother in headlocks, came home with dirt caked on my face and cuts on my knees. I was tough. At least, I thought I was. I’m sure my brothers would tell me different. I spent my childhood fighting for attention and had to practically yell to get it. My brothers were hard on me, as most boys are on their sisters. Oh there were times after their relentless teasing that I’d finally break. I’d burst into sobs and run into my purple and pink bedroom with the Barbie Dreamhouse, fling myself on my canopy bed and turn the radio up. I had a soft side that could be hurt. But I learned over time to buck up and stand my ground.
I watch my daughter today and I already notice that spark in her. She’s a foot shorter and four years younger than her brother, yet possesses just the right amount of pushiness that helps her stand up to him. I think sometimes he’s afraid of her. If she wants that toy he happens to be holding and Hurricane Julia starts brewing, he wisely hands her the toy and says “Okay, I guess you can have it.” Smart boy. She’s only three and a half and already the world knows not to mess with that girl. And I couldn’t be more proud.