Oh so pretty

I remember when my daughter first said “pretty”. I was thrilled, surprised and a little confused. She was about 28 months, it was Thanksgiving, my in laws were in town. Background: she has a mild speech delay so I hang on every word she utters and my in laws hate my existence.

I was thrilled because she spoke a newword, she called me pretty. I was wearing this flamboyant monstrosity of so many colors and patterns. It is so not my style, I wear my solids in shades of black, gray, blue. You know the colors that help me blend into background and leave little chance for a glaring fashion blunder. I digress, I was wearing a dress and she looked at me and said pretty.

I was confused at the time because I didn’t know where she encountered the word. I call her adorable, I call her cute but I have never called he pretty and until that day neither had my husband. And no she didn’t hear him tell me I was pretty either. I m quite sure of that.

Turns out, my in laws were teaching her the word pretty. She was pretty, objects were pretty, dresses were pretty. They were also using “good girl” as a means of reinforcement.

Both those things make my blood boil. Why did they never consider stopping to tell her she is brave, she is smart, she is strong, she is courageous. Why pretty?
I know my husband doesn’t think it’s a big deal. She will hardly remember he says. So what, I want her to know she is pretty. I only imagine banging my head on the walk through this entire conversation.
Isn’t this how it begins? We teach a toddler girl she is pretty. We teach her to be dainty and delicate. We teach her all the things she cannot be. Isn’t this where her confidence slowly hinges on depending on being pretty? On hearing it from other people that she is? What happens if tomorrow these same people stop telling her that?
I know what happens. I grew up with very little self esteem. I grew up with 0 confidence in myself or my looks. I know how it impaired my life, my judgement, my decisions.

Maybe it’s just a word, maybe it doesn’t mean more and it’s in my head. Maybe my clomid have is making me angrier than usual. Maybe just maybe I can change the outcome of this story..


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