Wednesday, June 20, 2012

on raising a powerful girl

so last night sho was blowing some bubbles in the yard, and she kept yelling, "POWER!" every time she waved the bubble wand around.  neesy and i started laughing: power bubbles?  really?  but that word totally sums up a lot of her approach to the world, running so fast her body can't keep up and flinging herself from tall surfaces and yelling at the top of her lungs.  POWER!

there are a couple things i keep in mind during our day to day adventures, to encourage that sense of power in my super tiny girl.

1) animals are girls too.  whether narrating the pictures of a story we're "reading" about a whale or a worm, or pointing out a squirrel doing something crazy, i am often taken aback by my initial impulse to call everything a "him."  dude, this impulse sucks.  really, the only creatures of interest are boy-creatures?  i am embarrassed to admit that i really have to fight against it sometimes.  i hope that shoshi will always discover that her imaginary friends of the tiger variety are, naturally, female badass tigers.  RAWR.

2) let her trust her instincts.  when i was pregnant, a few peeps recommended "the continuum concept" which is a book written in the 1970's by an anthropologist who lived with the yequana tribe in south america, and was fascinated by how blissfully happy everyone in the culture was, from the tiny babes to the elders.  a lot of what she wrote about is pretty well-known attachment parenting stuff, but the lesser-known parts of the book discuss the almost total lack of injuries among the children -- even though they were allowed to play with sharp knives, near open pits and rushing rivers, in an amazonian jungle to boot.  kiddos were given the space and respect to discover their world on their own, therefore their instincts about that world were honed from a super-young age.  groovy!  and: nearly impossible in our baby-proofing, fast-cars, overprotective culture!  still, i let her take a lot of risks (and play in a lot of dirt).  i try to give her the space to climb and reach and (ocassionally) fall, whenever i can. 

3) listen to her (within reason) if she says "no" or "stop."  obviously i can't always do this because the kid would never sleep (ever) or wear shoes in public places.  but if she says NO to me putting pigtails in her hair, i listen.  a girl should always feel like she has the power to say no and be listened to.

does anybody else have any "rules" they keep in mind while navigating this crazy earth, either with kiddos or without?   


  1. Growing up I always wanted to have little girls when I started having kiddos. I think it was a subconscious thing - I have a sister and lots of female cousins, and that's just what I imagined when I thought about kids. I always imagined imparting my feminist ways and empowering a little lady (like you're doing!), and now having a little dude I find that goal hasn't changed. I guess I'm rambling a bit, but it's about raising a strong little human being who speaks up for herself or himself, is a kind person, and has good instincts about the world. I'm constantly in awe of how I can see a compassionate little person, and I'd like to think it's got something slightly to do with how I let him play with his baby doll (another mother asked me when I was going to stop letting him do that!!!) and follow his crazy little boy heart and be Captain America or Hulk or whatever whenever he wants to be.

    Sheesh! I am rambling!

    1. i totally agree with you that raising a feminist is just as important whether it's a boy or a girl you're raising! the job is tough and important either way. we need both to make this world a caring, good place to be, after all. jack is so lucky to have such an awesome woman as his mama, and his future partner is pretty dang lucky in that regard as well!!

  2. I am so glad I have you in my life. You are going to be so helpful to me while raising future neesy, whenever he or she may come. Your insight on parenting is inspiring.