“Mommy, do I look beautiful in this?” The other night at my much needed Mommy’s Night Out (I basically guzzle a glass of wine from relief, while walking from the door to the table at the restaurant), a few of my friends mentioned that their 4-year-olds are asking this question, when trying on clothes. Babyface is a few months younger than most of their daughters. Most often, like clockwork, their words are a crystal ball for my daughter’s future actions.
When I bought her back-to-school clothes, this time around, I let her pick them out with me. That way, she can pick from clothes we both like, but still feel like she’s making the decision each day. She’s not at the point where she puts things together by herself. I have “outfits” set out that she can choose from. I’m sure she wants to, but I’m not ready to relinquish this control. She’s only 4! When she can wipe her own butt, she can choose separates. Baby steps, right?
I don’t know whether she’s vain or thinks the dress is what makes her look pretty, but she’s not asking me whether she looks beautiful in things, YET (Thank God). So, when my girlfriends informed me of the upcoming milestone, it set off a HUGE warning sign in my head. Believe it or not, I do have a visual with mental warnings and it’s the Lost in Space robot addressing me, instead of Will Robinson.
These girls are 4. How can they possibly be wondering whether they look beautiful in something? Unfortunately, that question isn’t what’s relevant; it’s the rate they’re growing up, that sets off the flashing, red lights. It’s like they are “pretweeners”.
My daughter may not be asking whether she looks good in something YET, but she is refusing to wear certain shoes and jackets with her outfits. I’m pretty sure this is phase 1 of the tween transformation. I have a nervous stomach, every time I watch her pick out clothes. I can just feel the acid build up, in anticipation of her first pretweener words, “How do I look in this?” or “Does this match, Mommy?” or “Do I look pretty? There’s a lot of nervous swallowing, nausea and eye rolling.
I say, “eye rolling” because she’s already got the melodrama of a tween down pat. It’s funny because she doesn’t really know what she’s saying half the time; it’s in her expressions. It’s in her tone of voice. Lately, she’s been letting out a lot of “Oh my gods”. Unfortunately, she isn’t learning this from her peers. She “learned it by watching me”! It’s like a bad public service message for watching what you say around your kid. Sometimes the language of my former valley girl days still slips out. Sometimes, it’s just too hard to shake “like”, “totally” and “awesome”.
The other wonderful and unnecessary word she’s caught from me is “actually”. I’ve always hated when others start off sentences with words like “actually” or “fundamentally” or anything with an “ally” that has absolutely no benefit to a sentence. I’m hypocrite numero uno in this area, though. My punishment: watching my kid say them every 2 minutes.
The other day, my daughter asked, “Mommy, can you put nail polish on me? My other friends wear nail polish.” Huh? Who replaced my preschooler with a tween? Is she already following the IN crowd? I don’t even wear nail polish. What’s next, animal prints and colored lace? I don’t remember wearing nail polish until I was at least 8.
A year ago, someone gave her Disney princess nail polish for Christmas. I remember my husband and I saying, “Nail polish for a THREE year old? She won’t be using this for another FIVE years.” And, once again, we ate our words. Swallowed them whole, really.
Then, there’s the recent, “boys don’t play with girls”. I remember playing with boys until at least 2nd grade and not really differentiating between the sexes. She’s 4!
Oh my god! She’s a total pretweener! This is so not awesome.