When I was pregnant, people asked me, “Would you rather have a boy or a girl?” I wasn’t shy. My automatic response was always, “I want a girl.” We found out about the sex as early as possible, partially because I am a planner, and partially because I would need time to adjust if I was told a boy was on the way.
I am by no means a girly girl, so some people didn’t understand. I explained that I have been around girls my whole life (having many younger female cousins for whom I babysat), so I could quite easily raise a tomboy, just not an actual boy.
And now, here I am with a 20-month-old and I'm terrified that she will be a girly girl and I will have no idea what to do with her. While I do like my nail polish and enjoy dressing up from time to time, I am definitely most comfortable in Nikes and a ponytail. I am not a jock by any stretch of the imagination, but athletic activity and competition are a big part of my life. I’m not trying to push Eleanor in any one direction, but adding a dodgeball, a bat and tee, and plastic golf clubs to her stash of toys isn’t hurting anyone. (OK, when she was a newborn, I MAY have dressed her in a baseball onesie, put her inside my baseball glove and took photos, but I really wasn’t trying to influence her future tomboy tendancies….)
I am getting the sinking feeling that my efforts are being ignored.
Example one: We were at The Children’s Place picking up some summer clothes and as I was paying, I heard her little voice, “Ohhhh. Pretty.” Eleanor was at the rack of jewelry, touching each piece softly. Five minutes and two dollars later, we left with my little tomboy wearing an orange and pink beaded necklace, strutting through the mall.
Example two: I returned home from work the other day and was greeted by my daughter, running (well, walking quickly) to the front door. “Mom!” she yelled. I reached out for a hug, but she dodged my advances, grabbed my arm and said, “Bracelets?” I took them off, gave them to her, and she walked away with a smile on her face.
Example three: When she wakes in the morning, she says, “Clothes?” and goes to the dresser to choose an outfit. After that, she will say, “Pony?” and sit perfectly still as I put a ponytail or pigtails in her hair. Often, she tries to brush her hair and says, “Pretty!”
This girl is obsessed with all things sparkly and “pretty”. I don’t know where Eleanor is getting this. My sister is always well-accessorized, with beautiful hair and makeup, so maybe it's in her blood.
So, what do I do? Do I expose my kiddo to sports and “non-girly” activities and hope for the best? Do I just wait and see what she likes to do? I am worried that if she decides she hates sports or athletic activity, we won’t have as much to bond over as she gets older. Plus, in a sporty family, she will be dragged to many a sporting event in the next few years, which could be torture for a girly girl. Eleanor did come to my dodgeball tournament a few weeks back and was very excited to get on the court. She chased balls around, yelling, “Ball! Ball!” So that made me happy. She also came to my baseball practice and was just as excited to see balls being thrown around. Points go to Team Tomboy. That’s my girl.