growing up girl, being brown and other hilarious parenting mishaps

September 27, 2011

She came to me with her head dropped low, in her school uniform navy blues and khakis, her socks rolled down to her ankles like all respectable almost 6 year old girls do.

Lucy- Mom, I have a problem.
Me-You do? Oh please tell me.
Lucy-Well, sometimes when I’m in the bathroom at school, the kids think I am a boy.
Me- Hmmm, does this bother you?
Lucy- Yeah, it kinda does.
Me- Okay, well why do you think they think you are a boy?
Lucy- Maybe because of my short hair?
Me- Gotcha, is that why you want to wear that one dress every single day?
Lucy- Yeah.
Me- How do you feel about your hair?
Lucy- I like it.
Me- Well, there are few things I think we can do.

I instantly felt the dagger of your-kid-is-now-in-the-world and you can’t totally protect her heart, so you have to teach them to find their own. While this is important, it’s the absolute worst in parenting. I suggested that maybe we could get a few more dresses and some very girly rad hair clips to which her face started to brighten up but dresses and clips are only half the solution.

Me- So I can work on those things but you should probably know something…
Lucy- What?
Me- There is one last thing you have to try on, it’s super powerful.
Lucy- WHAT?
Me- Have you ever tried to stand in YOURSELF?
Lucy- Nooooo, how do you do that?
Me- Well, I just sort of learned this trick myself, so I’m still practicing, but you take a big breath, stand real tall and stick out your chest…tell yourself- I LIKE it, all of it, all of myself…and then, you walk away.
You should try it!

She jumped up, stuck her chest out, said the words, and pretended to walk away. We did it together about 3 more times, I found a cute hair clip and we made a date to go shopping and I high fived my parenting self until the next developmental catastrophe- either hers or mine pops up in the next 10 minutes.

I walked into the kitchen to find Jack looking forlorn. Bring it on universe, I got it, I’m on FIRE!

Jack- Mom, it is okay to be a little brown? (my husband Jorge is Latino and deliciously brown!)
Me- Yes! Of course it is, it’s awesome to be brown! Women all over the world are slapping on lotions just to be the color you are, it’s like a bajillion dollar industry! …and on I went for about 5 minutes.

Jack- No mom, my poptart, it’s a little brown here, is that okay?
Me- Oh, yeah, I would totally eat that bad boy…

And on I go, stumbling through the various parenting adventures on standing in yourself and being okay with brown poptarts…

42 Responses to “growing up girl, being brown and other hilarious parenting mishaps”

  1. erika Says:

    Today, I hope we all stand in ourselves…

    and eat brown Pop Tarts with reckless abandon!

  2. jag Says:

    Oh so wonderful! Great story to start the day… keep keeping it real! Thanks for sharing. xox

  3. Loftan Says:

    This is so awesome. ❀

  4. Leslie Says:

    Awww… such a sweet post. My son William & Lucy were friends at pre-school last year, and all I could think when I read this is how beautiful she is, inside and out!

  5. lisa Says:

    love it! brown pop tarts are my FAVE. my son is 16 months old and my husband and i have had long discussions about how we can encourage him to stand in himself as he grows up. i love your pep talk to lucy (and jack!) and hope i can be as wise when my moment arrives. thank you for sharing πŸ™‚

  6. Nota Says:

    “I like it, all of it…”
    I may need to turn that in to a banner for my mirror. It almost made me cry. I wish someone had given me that little tidbit a LONG time ago.

    Way to go Mom!

  7. Julie Sulik Says:

    OMGoddess! I may almost be 50 but I AM so happy having YOU help to re-parent my inner little self. You are both KindnessGirl & KindnessMom! I love YOU!!!

  8. frannie Says:

    Oh my you had me absolutely with you the whole way what wonderful answers you had for each of them, I love that Stand in your self answer…my 12 year old is struggling and I shall try the standin yourself today he is being bullied but doesn’t waht to make a fuss because then he says it will get worse….he is my sunshine child and the last one i thought would experience this or even have trouble with this because he is a very standinyourself child, kinda different and has different wonderful ideas and approaches…..

  9. Jessie Says:

    Have you seen this cute video? Maybe Lucy would enjoy her confidence too!

    Thanks for paving the way for us not-yet-but-one-day-Moms. I just hope I remember all the good lessons I’ve learned!

  10. kim Says:

    Very good words…way to go, Mom!

  11. Susan Says:

    kindnessgirl, I’m so glad I found you – I just signed up for your blog yesterday. I know am going to love having you in my life, I look forward to laughing and learning. LOVE your thinking, it will inspire me in discussions with my own children, and also LOVE how you keep it real. Namaste ~

  12. Jen Stevens Says:

    Would you please tell Miss Lucie that I think she is stunning with her short cutie-pie hair cut? i love a girl who can pull off her haircut– it’s FABULOUS. And also tell her that no matter what hairdo she has, my big girls adore her amazing self; that her spirit is amazing.

  13. Tess Says:

    Beautiful. As usual!

  14. Amy Says:

    ❀ Wise Mama!

  15. Haha, brown poptarts! Too cute.

    This is great advice. I love the idea of “standing within yourself” and accepting all that you are even if other people don’t. That’s a good lesson to learn at a young age.

  16. Love your parenting style and advice. Will have to remember the “stand in yourself” conversation.

  17. haha. best ending.

    ps. love the combination of making change and finding our voice.

  18. lifeisart Says:

    LOVE IT. i have been known to jump to conclusions like that…well quite regularly. hilarious when we instantly go that deep. high-five yourself some more.

  19. Brenda Says:

    LOVE this! I work with ESL students (my job…ESL coach) and I have walked right into those “brown” comments time and again. I’m going all advocate on everyone and they are making an innocent comment about something else. πŸ™‚

    I have some totally cute hair clips that I’m gonna be sending ya! I just have to make them first…!

  20. Dana Says:

    Love that parenting advice. I’ll have to use that one in my home sometime

  21. anne Says:

    You are amazing!

  22. I am sooooo stealing this, putting it in my back pocket and using it when necessary. Awesome.

  23. PS Short hair is awesome. Just sayin.

  24. hahaha that is awesome. the poptart story. and telling your daughter to stand up for yourself. I know my mother kept my hair super short as a kid and I hated it! hated! because everyone thought I was a boy. I recall being about 8 and SCREAMING at this old man across the street “I AM NOT A BOY LOOK AT MY EARRINGS LOOK AT MY VELVET JACKET NOT A BOY!” so offended that he had lived across the street from me my entire life and called me “little boy” poor guy, he was probably half blind (but I was also kinda mad at him for tattling to my mom about my sister and I climbing out on our roof earlier in the week)…I have no words of wisdom because life became much worse when I hit puberty and it was clear I was NOT a boy. I wish I had learned to like all of myself way before then…still working on that one! πŸ™‚

  25. Melissa Says:

    Well said!

    I wish I had been given similar advice when I was a little girl. My Nana took me to her hairdresser once and then left to do an errand. When she got back I had a crew-cut and was in tears. The hairdresser couldn’t understand why I was so upset. My Nana replied, “well it is very nice but she is a girl.” I was very tall and skinny at that age and I did have short hair and was wearing cords and a white shirt/blouse (my mum didn’t like me having long hair – reason: because she was not allowed to have long hair when she was a kid. Great reason!). Looking back, I guess he made an honest mistake. But what still hurts/bothers me was my mum’s response which was “put on a hat,” and “it will grow a little before school starts.” As you can see, I still have issues regarding this incident. However, tonight before I got to bed I am going to jump up like Lucy, stick out my chest and “stand in myself” – and LIKE it!

    Thank you for being you!

  26. Amber Says:

    You really are wonderful. Parenting, blogging, and Poptart-saving. ^_^

  27. Gena Says:

    You Rock! Love it! Relate to it- Gena, mom of 2

  28. *You*are*amazing*
    I was crying… then laughing…
    Thank you.


  29. MC Says:

    my 4 yr old biracial son came home once and said he didn’t like his brown skin and wanted my white skin. I said I had pink skin…either way I was not prepared for the conversation. I like the empowerment you provided your daughter….essentially embrace it. Thank you for the insight.

  30. Debby Says:

    Kindness girl, you inspire me! you encourage me !and you enchant me with your simple, silly,sweet ways.
    I love this site, just stumbled upon it and feel blessed and stretched by it. Its magical!!!!!
    love the pics what kind of camera do you use the pictures ooze a goodness and a beauty I would love to bring to my family’s pictures.
    You are a gift and i am grateful I was able to open tonight the beautiful manner in which you walk in this world

  31. kindnessgirl Says:

    ohhhh, loving all your stories of short hair and childhood!! Thanks guys for the kind words and more! I’m still laughing over the brown pop tarts!

  32. Donna Says:

    Love you Patience! Gender and a little brown in the same piece…you rock! Gonna get myself a poptart

  33. Donna Says:

    Also, gonna try to stand in myself in each day. Doesn’t sound as hard as I thought it might. And I got two little ones who could use this information too. Passing it along!

  34. Lori Says:

    I am going to do this with my six year old boy. He has been getting bullied at school recently. Sadly, some of it is because of his brown skin(we live in a small rural most white dominate community and sadly racism exists here)but some because he is a kind, gentle, loving little boy who loves everyone. I think I need to take this message and learn to stand proudly in myself as well. I am finding it takes real courage to stand in ourselves and to live true to who we are. Thank you, I really needed to read this today!

  35. Lucky Mom Says:

    This is my first blog comment ever.

    You nailed it! “Standing in yourself and liking it – all of it” – profound for all ages, simple to comprehend for all ages, and important to embrace everyday for all ages!

    I had to smile at the superpower of parenting and when we are on a roll we have insight on everything! Even brown pop-tarts πŸ˜‰

    Lucky Mom

  36. Holly Timberline Says:

    Love this so much! Reminds me a long-ago conversation with my first baby when she was 4, all about her two godfathers and how sometimes boys marry boys and girls marry girls…. on and on I waxed, about how it’s all about love and the rest is just details, thinking I had her rapt attention. She had a very thoughtful look on her face, and when I stopped talking, she said… “But… Mommy… can I have gum?”

  37. Lisa Renata Says:

    what beautiful words and confidence you’ve instilled in your little girl. growing up I had short hair, i know how she feels. but like you my parents always instilled confidence in myself.

    love your blog.

    will be back to visit.

  38. Del Mari Runck Says:

    Over analyzing again . . . As a parent, I’ve done it a million times. Sometimes we answer a more complex question than they were ever asking. Such are the joys of parenthood.
    Del Mari

  39. Mary Ellen Says:

    Love it!

  40. man, and it’s posts like this one that i keep coming back… patience, you are an awesome mom, human being. period. stand in yourself, i’ll remember this when/if my little girl comes home with a heavy heart. you rock mamma!! xoxxx

  41. Stephanie Says:

    From a momma of two brown kids and super short hair as a child, I can totally relate. I remember the same talk from my mother as she instilled in me that if I loved myself others would too. And as for my brown kids… lol. I have gone deeper with them on many an occasion and they just look at me like I have two heads… then they ask what they really needed. We just roll with laughter. Now, that they are 16 and 14. They understand how much people pay to have the color skin they have and they LOVE it!

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