Having a daughter has been such a delight. Binary opposite to her brothers, Tiana, is incredibly feminine and demure. It’s a wonder too since she is growing up surrounded by a lot of testosterone. But lately, I’ve noticed that she is becoming dangerously kikay. She likes clothes and shoes…sometimes a little too much. Where she gets this, I don’t know. When I was a little girl, I ran around in underwear, shirtless. Even to this day, my wardrobe choices are simple. No, I don’t run around in underwear! What I mean is that I’m not a big shopper. I’m a big GROCERY shopper. That’s where most of the money goes. On occasion, I will buy Tiana clothes. I admit that I like seeing her reaction when she gets something new.
“You got this for me, mommy? I really like it! Can I wear it now? Thank you, mommy!” She will say. Of course, I love having another girl in the house who can share this delight.
My boys were NEVER fashion conscious. They could care less about what they wear. Plaids + stripes equals fashion to them. Worn-out cotton shirts and soft shorts are their number one picks for what to wear every day.
With Tiana, it’s so different. She likes to pick out her outfits. She likes to come with me to the store. She calls it “girl’s time.” A few weeks ago, she squealed when I told her we were going shopping and she said, “I’m sooo excited! Can we buy shoes and clothes?” I have to admit that I was suckered by her cuteness. So I said, “Okay!” At the store, she picked out shirts with kittens on them. And she wanted everything in purple or pink. Fortunately, she forgot about the shoes.
For the first time, however, I became concerned when I was shopping for a gift and Tiana was with me. As we walked past a sunglasses boutique, she blurted out, “Mom, I need glasses! I REALLY need purple glasses…for the sun.” She was holding on to my hand in a beggarly sort of way and I looked down at her two-year old self and thought, Whose spawn are you?! When did you receive the materialism bug? You NEED purple sunglasses? You already have purple sunglasses! Did I do this? Oh dear…
In the car, I asked her, “Why do you need purple glasses?”
“Because I need them.”
“What will you do with them?”
“Put them on my eyes.”
“But why do you need them?”
“Because I WANT them…I like them.”
Edric and I laughed as we listened to her. She wasn’t making any sense. Later on during the car ride, she saw a photo of me in Europe wearing a fuzzy sweater and she commented, “I need a sweater like that, mom.”
While all of this is fun for me…a welcome change after having three boys whose emotional meter remains at zero when fashion is a topic of conversation, I’ve got to be careful about encouraging the growing desire she has for clothes and shoes.
Edric had a good point when he said to me one day, “Don’t buy her things unless she really needs them.” Awww…shucks.
Edan, who is very observant, made the remark, “Mom, I think you have to get us more clothes. Tiana has a lot more clothes than we do.” It’s true. Hee hee. My boys are running around in faded raiment while Tiana has a multitude of shiny new garb to choose from in her closet.
So where is the balance? I want to raise a feminine daughter and I think that part of that is teaching her how to put outfits together and dressing up well. But that’s one very small dimension of true femininity. It’s okay to buy clothes and shoes but I shouldn’t over-emphasize her physical appearance. It’s okay to complement the way she looks but I should complement her character more. It’s okay to go shopping for her and with her but I need to refrain from being excessive to protect her from materialism. After all, she is just 2 years old. If she is this interested in buying things at this age, that inclination will be multiplied when she is older.
Did she get new purple glasses? Definitely not. She can still use the pair she already has.
I have to remember that true femininity begins with inner beauty – being gentle and quiet in spirit; cultivating character traits like kindness, thoughtfulness, thankfulness, helpfulness, servant-hood, and the desire to nurture and care for others; developing a love for the Lord and for others…
I’m thankful for a mom who taught me how to walk, stand, sit and dress like a lady but who made character instruction her greater preoccupation. I need to do the same for Tiana and daughter number 2, coming in August!
Your adornment must not be merely external-braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God. (1 Peter 3:3, 4 NASB)