"Mama, can we talk to the parents and see if we can have a Revolutionary War Reenactment?"
Evan's eyes were bright after our homeschool co-op. I have been teaching a history class and we've been covering the Colonial period for a while. This last class, I dumped bags and bags full of fabric on the table and told them to "go for it." The girls happily gravitated towards this fabric doll creature I had made and the boys immediately started concocting sashes for weaponry and tricorn hats. Somewhere during the Great Stapler Incident, their Rev-War soldiers morphed into Rev-War-Ninjas, but that's beside the point. THE POINT IS: My son was really interested in history, and I am not one to look a gift horse in the mouth. (Or any other bodily orifice, for that matter. Ew.)
"And the boys can wear their sashes and we can make guns from the branches in the woods! And we can use these battle strategies," he says as he dumps a pile of papers in my lap. Each one is covered in X's and O's. "Here is where we can build a trench and here is where the men will fire the cannons! And the girls can be those Molly Pitcher* girls and bring us drinks!"
Corinne raises her eyebrows. "What if the girls want to fight in the battle? Girls can do whatever boys can do, you know."
Evan grudgingly agrees to the idea of GIRLS being on the field and continues on with his plans at the kitchen table; drawing battle scenes and randomly shooting an invisible Loyalist across the room.
Corinne's eyebrows are still raised, though. "What if somebody SEES us in those costumes?"
"What do you mean?"
"Well, we're going to look really STUPID!"
"No, you won't. And besides, who cares what other people think? You'll be the ones having fun!"
"I CARE, Mommy. They might think we look STUPID."
"First of all, please stop saying that. Second of all, since when do you care? And why do you care?"
"Because I DO! I don't want them to look at us and laugh!"
No matter what you do, or who you associate with, or how much you try to instill in your kids that being yourself is Awesome (because, after all, you can ONLY be yourself! So why worry about being like other people?); they still come back to this societal pressure to fit in. Even without a building full of same-age girls all primping and preening and comparing, she still worries about how her actions will be received. She still worries about being the butt of the joke.
I understand that nobody likes being laughed at, but I had kind of hoped we had covered this area with her back when she was about 3 and realized that her eyes were brown instead of blue like her mommy. Weeks and weeks would go by when I'd force her to shout at the top of her lungs,
"Brown Eyes are Beautiful!" and "I have SPARKLY BROWN eyes!!"
I decided to try this tactic again.
"Corinne, you are awesome and perfect, just the way you are. If you are dressed up for a battle and having fun, and somebody else has nothing better to do than to laugh at you, then I want you to remember that you DON'T care what they think!"
"But... I do."
"Welll.... let's yell out together! I DON'T CARE WHAT PEOPLE THINK!!"
"But I do care."
"Yell it anyway!"
"NO MOMMY! I Do care! I don't want to yell it out loud!" She is in tears at this point so I let the matter drop and just walked away, completely deflated...
I need a new tactic. One that is geared towards 7 year old girls.
*A "Molly Pitcher" was the term that Revolutionary War soldiers gave to the women who carried the water to cool down the cannons and give drinks to thirsty soldiers on the field. HE REMEMBERED!
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