Monday, August 20, 2007
Yes, I'd like an order of guilt with a side of inadequacy
Make that a large, please.
Man, Amanda is so gonna get mad at me when she reads this.
(Much like I did yesterday, when I found out that she'd been hit in the head with a piece of water ski equipment in a freak accident at her friend's dad's luxurious two story lakefront home, and they, of the great means and probably boat insurance, didn't offer to pay for her, of the no steady job and no insurance, to go to the doctor. But I digress.)
(By the way, she's fine. Small gash to the side of her head. Black eye. Sterile strips instead of stitches, because they were in Alabama when it happened and in no hurry to get back home, and it was 12 hours later when she finally went to the ER.)
But enough about my nearly-blinded sister. Let's talk about ME and MY NEUROSIS.
Anna Marie is signing up for ballet tomorrow. Everyone say "Awww!"
This isn't just a sign up. It's a "Fairy Tale Ball." The girls are supposed to dress up as their "favorite fairy tale characters." Games and activities (and I hope food, since it's from 5-7 p.m.) will commence.
A splendid time is guaranteed for all.
I thought "Fairy tale character! She can be Little Red Riding Hood! I'll get some red fabric, pin it like a hood that's little and red and riding, and put some muffins in her basket."
Jason said, "Or, she could be a princess. WalMart has some tiaras."
"But every little girl there will be a princess. She will be distinctive."
Amanda came to town to get a haircut today, and show me her battle wounds, and we had lunch and went to said Big Box Retailer to get a yard of red felt.
Then, as I was getting into my car to leave work this afternoon, my phone rang. It was the owner of the dance studio. I'd called a couple of days ago to make a reservation for the Fairy Tale Ball and get the "deets" (i.e., how much bank do I need to bring that night?)
I really wish she'd called, say, five hours earlier. Before I bought the fabric and got Amanda all cuted-out thinking about our LRRH. Because what the nice lady said made me feel awful.
"She just needs to dress up. I'm sure she's got some princess clothes around the house!"
That's when it hit me.
Every little girl there will be a princess. She'll stick out like a sore, red thumb. With a basket.
Let me give a bit of background: when I was about six, my next door neighbor invited me to his church's Halloween party. I dressed up like a Gypsy, since all it entailed was some scarves and a few of my mom's Avon samples, and we weren't exactly well-set financially.
The only problem was, only my neighbor's class (a boy) was dressing up. The girls were all in their Missionettes uniforms (like Girl Scouts, but church-affiliated) and WERE MARCHING INTO THE SANCTUARY FOR A SPECIAL PRESENTATION.
There I stood. In scarves and rouge and clip-on earrings. And there they were, in neat little uniforms. And I had to stand there with them, sticking out like a bejeweled thumb.
The were the informed. The in-the-know. I was utterly humiliated.
Having realized how this game works - that "Fairy Tale" really probably just means "Princess," I've determined to avoid a similar situation with my own child.
I've given in. Jason is going to get his way. I got out her pretty white dress with the big crinoline she wore to her Other Aunt Amanda's wedding. And a crown given to her by one of my aunts. And a pair of dress-up heels she got for her birthday last year.
I hate to think I'm passing my neurosis on to Anna Marie. But I hate more the thought that I knew ahead of time that the girls would be dressed as princesses, and I still sent her in red felt.
I don't know if she'd have noticed or not, but I would have, and that would've meant me putting out some bad vibes. And no one needs that.
She's already probably going to be different enough - one of the practice requirements is that the girls put their hair in a bun, and I don't know if you've seen my kid lately, but without a weave that isn't happening.
I discovered tonight that there's a fine line between "distinctive" and "outcast." And, at this stage of the game, when first impressions are being made on both sides, I'm erring on the side of conformity.
Please don't hate me - I'm just trying to do the best I can to help my kid.