It has probably taken me about two years, just about how long my daughter has been on this Earth, to get used to the color pink. Having never been a 'girly girl,' I'm just not particularly fond of the color. At least prior to her arrival, I always had the choice to avoid it, but after my inner circle of friends all got married and started having girl babies, shopping for newborn outfits became an exercise in pink futility. I was at the mercy of this decidedly girly color, but still refused to give in.
When it came to the birth of my own daughter, the overabundance of all things pink made me realize that I had to face my aversion head on, otherwise, she would have nothing to wear. My husband and I didn't find out the sex of either of our kids (our first is a boy) and I remember while pregnant for the second time, being excited at the prospect of a girl, but also scared of the uncertainty of raising one. As a mom, I only knew all things 'boy' and had no idea what to expect from the opposite sex. Yes, I know I am female, but there's a difference between being one and raising one. My husband was thrilled at the possibility of having a girl and envisioned that ultimate father-daughter moment in life of walking her down the aisle, but I wasn't so sure.
This uncertainty primarily stemmed from the fact that my friends with daughters are constantly regaling me with stories about how their little girls insist on wearing their pink Cinderella dresses to the grocery store, express an interest in make-up and change outfits multiple times a day. When my niece was three, she was a quintessential girly girl at the time and had to be wearing at least one pink item of clothing at all times. Even at that ripe age, she would often exclaim, "You're annoying me. I need alone time!" if someone was bothering her and storm off.
It just seemed so precocious compared to my son, who at a similar age, couldn't get enough of being around others and was perfectly content in his Spiderman briefs and little else. The drama of the little girls I had been around and heard about worried me -- it just seemed like a lot to deal with day-in and day-out. It wasn't so much a dislike for the color pink, but the fact that it represented this level of high maintenance behavior that I wasn't sure how to handle.
I was fearful of having a daughter that I couldn't relate to. One who, unlike me, would prefer dolls to sports. One who would beg me to let her wear a tiara to school and make everyone call her 'princess.' One who at the age of 15, would embroil me in the fiery mother-daughter battles that I so often hear about. Maybe I am naive to think that those slam-the-door fights would be more likely to come from my daughter than from my son, but I know from first-hand experience that the female species tend to have a higher flair for drama. I have often heard more seasoned parents comment that boys are harder under the age of 10, girls after 10. One friend in particular, who has two girls, was telling me about the difficulties in raising this sex and said, "Two words: Teenage Girl," while shuddering, as if he had a bad case of the flu.
It was these collective thoughts that compounded my fear of pink. And when my daughter was born, she made her presence in the world known from the minute she emerged. She was a fussy newborn, flat-out refused the bottle regardless of how hungry she was, and possessed a cry that nearly broke the sound barrier. It's amazing how something so little can have such a big personality. We knew we had a little fireball on our hands.
Two years later, she is just as determined, stubborn, vocal and willful as she was when first born. She is what the parenting books refer to as a 'spirited' child and demonstrates some of the characteristics I initially had concerns about. It's too early to tell if she'll be a tiara and tutu girl, but every time she looks at me with those beautiful, big, dark brown eyes that are full of personality and zest, I realize that it doesn't matter. Each day that goes by and the more I get to learn about her, the more there is to love. Yes, she has certainly helped further cultivate my patience gene, but she also provides our family with unparalleled joy, laughter and fun.
Having her has swept all of the ill-conceived uncertainties I had about raising a girl out the door just as readily as my dislike for anything pink. It doesn't matter if she ends up being that girly girl or not because she will be my little girly girl. So whether I'll have to wear a tiara for her princess-themed birthday party or a Cinderella costume for her re-creation of the movie, I'm there with bells and whistles on.
And as for the color pink? It looks really good on her.
Follow Jeana Lee Tahnk on Twitter: www.twitter.com/JeanaTahnk