The fashion world is promoting nude shoes. I understand immediately what color that is, and I know the shoe should blend with the tone of my skin to bring less focus to the feet and more to my pretty dress (which I wore a new one on a date with my husband last night and he was all about it!) Here’s the problem, if Kira were to eventually wear my “nude” shoes, which she will want to do, they will look ridiculous on her. Her nude is dark chocolate. When I buy socks for her and I don’t want them to go with her outfit I buy dark brown and they are exactly the color of her skin. Who’s going to make some nude shoes for beauty queens like Kira? Do I have to be a designer too? Where are all the baby dolls who have skin and hair like hers? When she watches the princess and the frog and the princess is dark Kira calls her “pretty”. It is just interesting to me to observe.
She really likes Barbie, and Barbie comes in many shades of nude. She doesn’t have one yet on purpose, except I bought her little hand sized dolls of Ariel as a princess, and Tianna who is a dark princess. Ariel has red hair so she calls her “mama” and Tianna we all call Kira. It’s cute.
One observation about baby girls versus boys has shouted out to me this week. Most kids have memories of owning a cozy coupe car, the red plastic car with a door, a wheel and room for the feet to make it go. When my boys had it they couldn’t get it out the door fast enough, up the hill and take the thrill ride over and over again. Getting the coupe to go fast was the goal. Since I watched four boys do this I assumed that’s the purpose of this toy. Well, with Kira it’s a whole other story.
For her having a cozy coupe means she must first organize herself and look as good as possible in it. She fills it with her things first of all, usually a baby doll, her milk, and the favorite toy of the day. Then she gets her purse, sunglasses and phone. She gets in closes the door and arranges her things. Then she gets a phone call so she talks on the phone for a while, puts her glasses on and moves about ten feet, and that’s when the fun runs out of the coupe. She might like the thrill ride, but it has never occurred to her that the thing has wheels to go and going fast would be fun.
Did I mention she’s two? The twos are traditionally terrible, and making them terrific can be a challenge. She has her throw downs. I accept it is my fault if she goes into tantrum mode because she’s tired and she’ out on an errand with me when she should be cuddling her blanket in bed. But if it is during our regular routines, she’s going to learn she doesn’t run the LaTorre show, I do. That’s a battle she will never win, just ask the four boys who went before her.
Long long ago in a land near the Shenandoah valley I became a new mother and I studied it like I was going for my doctorate. As I tried to understand my role as parent and to build in some boundaries for myself so I didn’t take an easy route that would eventually be a problem for my child, indulge him for my comfort, or make impossible goals for him to reach, I learned something very important but I can’t remember which book gave me the insight. (bible?) Here’s my learning and a philosophy I maintain today…
Children are welcome members to our family, they are not the center of it.
It’s pretty simple, I know. But with this framework I have to answer the question who is the center of our family? God first. Next comes the marriage. Craig and I are the headlines for the LaTorre show that God directs, and the children are guest appearances.
I’m living it now. Donny is so happy with his independent life that I should be celebrating a job well done rather than feeling the empty spot and sadness. Children are supposed to be raised to become independent, feel free to go, and actually Go. So the LaTorre show is something that will last til I’m an old lady painting landscapes from a wheel chair having a conversation with my lap dog. The LaTorre show will go on long after the children all launch.
The kids? They are meant to start their own show some day. My job is to prepare them for theirs, and to make sure they know who the director is.
So I have to raise them to understand, “well, you may want life to go like this, so it’s a good goal for you to figure out how to make it happen for yourself. You want a car? That’s a big problem for you. Do you have a job? Have you prayed about it? Do you have a budget for the costs of owning a car? Have you tried? Or are you putting out your hand?” “You like designer clothes? Well with the budget I gave you, you can buy one item of designer quality, or everything you need for the season. That’s going to be your choice.” “All of your friends have one? That’s not my standard and it shouldn’t be yours. Too bad for you God didn’t put you in that family.” (my typical conversations)
If I give them everything I know I am hurting them for when they are independent. The college grads today don’t want to serve coffee, they want to have a corner office, expense account, and a new lexxus in the driveway. I wonder why. I won’t do that to my kids. If I teach them anything I hope that having an excellent work ethic will be the skill that takes them far in their “own show”.
For the record to my children, I was thirty before I had a tv in my room, 35 before I had a computer of my own and a cell phone, I’ve never driven a car that makes me sing the happy song, and I was close to forty before I ever bought designer anything. And to Jack just as a forewarning, I’ll be 45 when I get my horse, you will not get one when you are 11.
Now the big question the boys are all asking and highly suspicious of us for failing is….”will we draw these same lines with Kira?” We will do our best. But here’s one exception: if having a horse means she won’t be boy crazy, yes she will get a horse. But the rest? No. If she’s lucky she will fit into my clothes and like them too, but I doubt that. Otherwise, she’ll look back at her baby pictures and say “why don’t you let me have a wardrobe like that any more?” Her clothes now…they are for me! It is my indulgence and pleasure. When she knows value, the lessons begin. Secretly, I will put some dark chocolate shoes in my collection so she has a “nude” choice.