I had boys first, just as I was the sister to brothers. Girls bamboozled me. I never did get what it was with the clothes & the make~up & the purses bulging with unnecessay do~dads when you could stick all you needed in a wallet & ram the whole thing in a back pocket.
No I wasn't a girly girl. I played football. I sailed. I abseiled & hiked & camped. I read voraciously, which is one reason I can't do math. I hid books under my desk & read through math class. [I did it for science too with a different result.]
I worked with homeless youth, mainly boys. I was totally unprepared for girls. I was so unprepared [dareI admit it?] that when I clapped eyes on Liddy for the very first time my instinctive response was not, 'Oh, a girl. How nice,' but a horrified, 'Put it back; it's not finished cooking yet!'
Dearest, after 3 boys, was an experienced father. He sat in the rocking chair & rocked his big~ eyed newborn daughter while I climbed into the shower to recover from the shock. That was the only time Liddy let him anywhere near her for the next 3 years. She was not a daddy's girl, but mummy's ~ & she let the whole world know it.
Liddy was mummy's girl but unlike my boys she was not a cuddler. I adjusted to a girl who would not co~sleep [but at least she would sleep through the night] ,who slept spread out like a starfish, who objected strenously to being treated like a living, walking, talking dollie, to wearing dresses, long hair, any ornamentation, & shoes. Like mother, like daughter. What we share is a delite in feminine socialising: the girls round the table for a chat, coffee & cakes. Even at 2 Lid was all for sitting in her high chair with her cup of milk putting her 2 cents worth into the conversation ebing & flowing around her. I delighted in my daughter & though I mourned the absence of pretty frocks drying on the line amongst the grubby T's & holey shorts, I understood.
Then I got Ditz. Ditz was not the shock Liddy was. Girl parts, boys parts. I looked, I saw, I went, 'Ah, girl.' O.K, so we already knew & the kids had been calling her Ditz for months & talking to her through my tummy. Ditz too was prepared to sleep through the night. After boys who wouldn't I tell you that sleeping babies rates real high with me! Better yet, Ditz was a cuddler. She co~slept. Actually for the next 5 years she was more along the lines of a parasitic growth attached to my hip. My parents began to make comments along the lines of the child not developing leg muscles if she was never put down. The word*spoilt* got bandied around. Don't blame me. It was her siblings who caved in to her every time she screamed, not her mother. I was fighting a losing battle on two fronts.
Ditz looks like her daddy but temperment wise she is my daughter; poor thing. It is not an obviously attractive personality like Liddy's, though it has it's own charm. We got along well, though it was a battle royal when Liddy came home to school & Ditz discovered she had to share me! Share? Not on your nellie! Mind you she consistently drove Liddy up the wall by lavishly imitating her.
Things have changed! Oh my, how they have changed. Ditz is becoming her own person; her own person, not an off~shoot of mummy nor a Liddy clone. It is an uncomfortable business because what I discover I have in Ditz is a girly girl! Floored, I am. Speechless. [Well, ok, not too spechless to ramble in shock.] What's more she's good at the girly thing. As we went into town I peered a little more closely at my daughter's face. Yep. Make~up! Blush. Mascara. Beautifully done. A little lip gloss for effect. A silver heart on a chain around her neck. Small rings in her ears. Her clothes & hair are always immaculate.
I confess, I have no idea how to parent this child. I don't even know if she's normal. Seriously, why would you put gunk all over your face?
'But I have to mum,' my child explained patiently. 'It's for choir.'
I don't know whether to laugh or cry about the sparkly purple nail polish, the requests for eyeliner & lipstick, the emerging fashion sense in a notoriously unfashion conscious house. I'm not sure how much I can give because I do know it is impossible to reclaim ground once it's been ceded, so before I agree to anything I want to be very sure that I am stll going to be ok with it in a month, or a year.
God knows how much I like a challenge but I'm not sure I'm up for this one. I want nothing more than to pop the child back in a sling & carry her close to my heart, safe from all harm.