Pretty is as Pretty Does

This evening Sassafrass is running through the house (and believe me, this is quite a feat in itself, given the limited space and abundant stuff that clogs up said space) yelling in her tiny-yet-loud sing-songy voice, "I love you, Kelly, I love you, I love you, it's fun to have a step-mother, a step-mother,IloveyouIloveyouIloveyou, and now I can call you mommy!"

I'm trying like hell to watch her and respond, even though there are only about 1.2 seconds between each sentence, and sometimes no time at all as if her words must match her feet as she nearly flies, tumbles, hops through the house.

Then, suddenly, she is right in my face, mouth full of tuna melt, breath on my cheek, as she proudly declares she loves me, once more, in a spray of spittle and tuna, which, on most circumstances is not a very desired gift -- yet somehow, as I wipe the remnants of her statement of love from my eye, thank you very much, I can't help but laugh.

She twirls, she prances, she curtsies, she dances.

"Sassafrass," I call her to me, "come look at these dresses. I think we're going to order one. Help me pick out a colour."

And soon we're alt-tabbing and scrolling our way through ye olde internets as we wade through a sea of ribbons, bows, polka dots and flowers, pinks and purples, trying to decide on the perfect dress. When suddenly, she peeks up at me, batting her too-long eyelashes, and says, "I must have that dress so I can be beeeaaaauuuutiful!"

Insert loud sound of record screeching to an abrupt halt HERE

Say what?! I just stared at her, unable for a moment to bring forth the words, as images of Dove commercials and catwalks with supermodels and my own pathetic teenage years flashed before my eyes.

"Sass! You ARE beautiful no matter what! You don't need a silly dress to be beautiful." I say this, thinking simultaneously, 'Well who was the dumbass that was showing her all the dresses in the first place? Way to go, Ms. Women's Movement USA.'

She stomps her little feet and folds her arms, pouting at me and declares, with all the attitude a diva could possibly muster, "Kelly, you don't want me to have that dress, but I will have it, and I will be beautiful in it!" If that weren't enough, she ends with a dramatic staredown.

Sassafrass will be four in June. FOUR. I am new to the world of little girls and ribbons and lace. I always said if I had a daughter she would play soccer in the mud and wouldn't care about Barbies and make-up. Less than a year with Sass, and I am frothing at the mouth anytime I'm near anything lacey or pink.

But I don't want her to grow up dependent on stuff for confidence. Surely there is a happy medium somewhere. Let's just hope we can find it. Soon.

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