Monday, January 30, 2012

Beauty and the Beast

To those that have followed me a while, you know by now I have three daughters.  Right now they are 10,6, and 2 years of age.  And tonight my 6 yr old middle girl, we'll call her "Superstar", is on my heart tremendously.

A few weeks back, Superstar wanted to cut all her long hair off.  This caused quite a stir.  I, personally, loved her long hair.  She just wasn't going to be Superstar without it.  But, it was her hair, and her call.

My eldest cut all her hair off in 1st grade.  And so did my niece.  Maybe it's the age.  Maybe it's when they want to assert some kind of control over their lives.  Or maybe they are starting the journey to finding who they are.  Maybe it's about showing independence.  Maybe it's all of it..  I would think ESPECIALLY all of if you are the middle girl of 3.  Besides, it's just hair.  It will grow back.  Pick our battles, right?

You should have seen her the day it was cut.  She GLOWED!  She was so happy and vibrant.  And her eyes still sparkled the same and her smile shone just as bright, if not brighter.  So I guess I was wrong, she was still Superstar.  =)

But Superstar has been talking to me lately, here and there.  And I'm concerned. 

"Mommy, I may talk funny because I have this gap in my front teeth."
"Mommy, my front tooth is coming in crooked."
"Mommy, when is my dentist appointment again?"
"Mommy, my smile is ugly now.  When can I get braces?"

*que my breaking heart*

She is 6.  And to me, I see the sparkle in her eyes.  The vibrant way she lives.  I see the shine in her smile.  But she looks in the mirror and sees ugly.  I don't think she is any more awkward than anyone else her age.  She even hates how small she is.  (one of the smallest in all the 1st grade).

She is also a lover.  She loves to color me pictures, EVERY DAY.  And write me notes.  She loves to snuggle more than anyone I have ever met.  And if she's going to hug you, well...  Hold on tight.  Because it's going to be a good one.  And it's not going to be quick.  She hangs on.

And she's smart.  She is in advanced math, spelling and reading.

I see beauty in her both inside and out.  Why can't she see that?  I tell her she's beautiful all the time.  =/

Then there is her older sister, my 10 yr old.  I'll call her...Smartypants.  Smartypants has always had a natural beauty to her.  People have always told me how beautiful she is.  And they are right.  She is beautiful.  She has long thick hair, no crooked teeth, she's a good build for her age.  She too has eyes the sparkle.  She is quick witted and smart.  She has great skin!  lol  And Superstar has always looked up to Smartypants.  When they stand in the bathroom in the morning, getting ready for school, and the images are not so matching, does she notice?  Is that the problem?  Because I try telling her that she is special.  And she is beautiful.  And that is not Smartypants but Superstar instead.  And that is awesome.

Then today, someone told me how beautiful my eldest was again.  And then then mentioned a few other girls around.  They did not mention Superstar.  My heart broke.  How can anyone miss the beauty that is Superstar?  How many times have people commented on how beautiful one child is, and not the other?  No wonder she is getting a complex.

And why the concern over her teeth?  I tell her the dentist will tell us when it's time to fix them.  But she wants it done NOW.  No wait, more like yesterday.  She wants it done yesterday.  Is anyone at school making her self-conscious?

Have you seen 6 year olds?  They are small.  Gangly even.  They are missing teeth.  And what teeth they do have don't match.  Half are adult teeth, half baby teeth.  It's just how they are.  Why is she feeling so different?  And why am I letting others compliment one daughter and not the other?  What in world is wrong with me!?  I sit here tonight feeling like I have failed Superstar.

There are times when someone will tell me how pretty Smartypants is, or even Bean (my 2 yr old).  But I always say I think all my children are beautiful.

I think when her dentist appointment comes around next week, we will be speaking about fixing things sooner rather than later.  If it helps her feel better, I'm all for asking what we can do.  It can't hurt to ask.

I'm just at a loss tonight.  She is so precious and beautiful to me.

What is the beast here?  Is it jealousy over her sister?  Is it trying to conform to what the world says is beautiful?  Is it just trying to obtain beauty at all?  Is it me?  Is it society?  I think arguments can be made in favor of any of these.

And what is beauty?  To me it's more than someone who is pleasant to gaze upon.  It's strength.  It's grace.  It's confidence.  It's the sparkle in the eye and face that lights up with laughter.  Is a personality that shines, just like Superstar has.  It's kindness.  It's thoughtfulness.  True beauty comes from within and radiates outward.  At least to me.  I need to get her to see that.  If she could, she would see just how incredibly beautiful she is.

Superstar with her daddy.
She really does light up a room with that smile.

I hate that she hurts.  It makes me cry.  All my children are beautiful to me.  I feel as if I have failed her.


  1. You haven't failed. I think a lot of it truly comes down to peer pressure. She is comparing herself to others already.

    It is up to you to remind her of things you find beautiful, things that are unique and different compared to the "rest of the world."

    And also teach her that true beauty is found in the person she is and will be.

  2. That's what I'm trying to do. Thanks Jamie.

  3. I think a lot of it is age and the kids today seem to be a lot more judgmental then I remember them when I was growing up. I think part of it is that parents are not teaching kids - judge not least you be judged. That just doesn't seem to be getting through these days. Superstar is probably very self-conscience and may have some low self-esteem and that may be because she is the middle child or she is just a more sensitive person. My 7 yr old is the oldest of two and I can see that there are issues with her as well. She has to be the boss and she is full of anger. I think it is her age and trying to make a place for herself in the world. I am lucky that she hasn't been too concerned with her appearance yet, but right now she is in private school and has pretty much gone to school with these kids since she was in the daycare portion of the school, so they are used to her appearance. Next year she will be in public school and I'm sure the teasing and bullying will start. She is beautiful. She has long, curly blond hair with natural highlights and bright blue eyes. But her hair is a rat nest and boarders on dreads even if I have just brushed it. She also has an issue with gas. She thinks it is funny and at this age, all bodily functions are funny, but the older kids in the public school will probably tease her about it. I worry, just like you. I don't know what the answer is. Maybe they need to find something to help build their self-esteem and get their mind off of everything else. We were thinking of trying martial arts classes or some kind of gymnastics. She needs to build up some (more like a lot of) coordination. I think the best we can do is give them some space to find themselves, give them the tools to help build their confidence and self-esteem, and love them unconditionally and remind them of that daily.

  4. Because I know all three of your beauties, I have first hand experience of the heart-warming, heart-healing hugs from Superstar (what a fitting nickname). It is hard as a mom to watch a daughter struggle with self-esteem based on how they percieve they look to others. I know, I watched my daughter be bullied about the way she looked from her red curly hair, her freckles, her thick eyeglasses then her braces. She was (and is) always beautiful to me, but that doesn't really count to a school age girl. It is heartbreaking and I truly hope that bullying isn't causing your Superstar to question her own beauty. I've never met a child that is so loving and cheerful as she is. Her infectious smiles and those hugs that make you feel so special to receive one make her one of the most beautiful children I have ever met, but more than that, she IS beautiful on the outside as well as the inside. When I look at a photo of your three absolutely gorgeous daughters together, she is the one that always stands out to me. Again, it's that genuine smile. Whatever is going on with her right now, know that the fact that you care so much is the best thing you can do for her. You are an awesome mom, and there is much more to come in the way of female vanity. Especially with 3 daughters (think of what your grandparents had to deal with with 4!) Can't wait to see you later this week. Especially can't wait to get one of those smiles along with the hugs.

  5. @ Gina: She is definitely a very sensitive and emotional child. VERY MUCH SO! And as frustrating as it can be sometimes, it's just who she is. She's always been that way. I know she has battled with self esteem since last year, in kindergarten. She had horrible speech issues and none of her peers (and sometimes her teacher) couldn't understand her. She stopped talking and participating in school. It was so sad. But know that she's been in speech a year, she has really blossomed and is now the "social butterfly" of her class, and one of the teacher's pets. She is in advanced reading, math, and spelling. I'm so proud of her and how far she has come. =)

    @ Mary: Thank you so much. When I look at the photos I see my eldest pose, and my youngest be the 2 yr old she is. But "superstar"... There is this light that just shines from with in her. And it's contagious. Whenever she's around she makes other smile. I love it. =)

    Can't wait to see you!! Let me know on FB what day you arrive! LOVE YOU!