Written by Allison Faulkner for Babble.com
I mostly cringe at clothing with licensed characters of any kind. Sure there are some acceptable items, but as a rule, I avoid them. It's one point of snobbery I indulge.
However, when I saw a "Foofa" shirt (a character from the children's show "Yo Gabba Gabba") at Target the other day, I could NOT not buy it for my 2-year-old. She carries a small stuffed Foofa with her everywhere and absolutely adores her. Foofa is honestly her best friend. And I'm OK with that, because as the theme song boasts, "She's pink and happy!"
The shirt was only $10 and it is, in my opinion, on the low-end of the tacky scale.
Of course Gigi, my li'l lady, LOVES the shirt, and asks to wear it everyday. It's "dirty" a lot of the time, but when I need to bribe Gigi into putting clothes on, it's good to have around.
The other day as we were packing up to leave for a road trip I put Gigi in her Foofa shirt and then hastily threw her ratty hair in high ponytail on top of her tiny head. The little hairs spouted out of the ponytail and reminded me of the petals on Foofa's forehead flower.
"Oh Gigi!" I said. "You look just like Foofa!"
Gigi ran to the full-body mirror in our bedroom and gasped, "I'M SO PRETTY!!!" She squealed it again and again, and then called for her daddy to come see how "PRETTY!" she was.
When Gigi looked in the mirror her whole face lit up with pride and enthusiasm. As if she was looking at the Sistine Chapel or some other priceless work of art for the first time. She literally beamed and gazed into the mirror with such admiration that her pregnant, hormonal mother had no choice but to burst into tears.
My little girl had caught a GLIMPSE of how I see her. As the most precious, beautiful, priceless little work of art imaginable.
And then of course the panic set in and the question: "How can I keep her from forgetting that feeling, that feeling of utter and complete confidence and pride?"
And then the next logical question, "When did I stop looking in the mirror like that?"
I wear a high ponytail like Gigi's all the time. And if someone had said to me, "Oh Alison! You look just like Foofa!" I'd probably burst into tears -- yes, again. There are a lot of waterworks at this point in my life. I'd NEVER assume they were talking about my ponytail.
Obviously they'd be talking about my 33-week-pregnant belly. (Which is often accused of containing twins, and looking like I'm "due any day now.") I'd assume they were referring to my round face and a Foofa-like lack of ankles and wrists.
Or certainly they could be pointing out my disappearing neck. Poor Foofa has no neck.
I'd run to the mirror and instead of breaming with pride I'd let out an exasperated sigh and fall dramatically into the embrace of the body pillow on my bed. And then I'd call my husband and ask him to bring donuts on his way home.
Now obviously 2-year-olds are mostly models of cavemen-like behavior and society would crumble if we acted like them all the time. But that confidence? That unadulterated pride and self-worth? That's something to mimic.
I'm sure if you have a little one you've caught them looking in the mirror admiring their naked pot-belly, or proudly poking at their chubby cheeks and dimpled thighs. I can only imagine what they are thinking. But I'm 100 percent certain these are some things that they are not thinking. And these are the gems I believe I can learn from.
10 things 2-year-olds never think when they look in the mirror:
1. I should lose 10 pounds
2. I'm getting older
3. My thighs rub together
4. I need new clothes
5. My friend has a flatter stomach than I do
6. I should get my teeth fixed
7. I need a tan
8. I have no idea what to do with my hair
9. I have sausage arms
10. I should just give up
Two-year-olds could never possibly think these things, and neither should we.
All in all I'd say I'm a pretty confident person. Ha, maybe because I seriously don't spend too much time in front of a mirror. I'm fairly unobservant and I've never cared enough to be the thinnest of the thin or the most glamorous of the glam, and I'm more than OK with that. I post more than my fair share of selfies on Instagram and gave myself my own show for heaven's sake.
But there are times in our life -- *COUGH 3rd trimester pregnancy, or perhaps after a breakup or losing a job or getting rejected in some way, the list goes on and on -- when we look in the proverbial mirror and all we can think is, "Why do I even try?"
So my new goal for when I look in the mirror and I'm overcome with any of the above thoughts, is to try to see what Gigi saw when she realized her hair looked a like a flower on top of her head.
A pretty awesome human, who is loved, and doing the best she can. Even if at this point, that's not a lot.
And I hope you'll do the same.
Here's to thinking like 2-year-olds, but hopefully not acting like them.
Love and Donuts,
MORE ON BABBLE:
11 mistakes all parents make (even the perfect ones!)
10 things a mother should NEVER say to her daughter
The most age-inappropriate toddler gear (What were they thinking?!)
The 10 biggest secrets parents hide from their kids
Start here, with the latest stories and news in progressive parenting. Learn more