I find blogging like buses…you can’t think of anything to write then get lots of inspiration at once. I have a couple of posts hiding in my drafts, waiting to be published and this morning, as I was scrolling through my Facebook, a uni friend who had a little girl, adorably named River, shared this poem which inspired me to write another post.
“Never grow a wishbone, daughter, where your backbone ought to be.” – Clementine Paddleford
Never play the princess when you can
be the queen:
rule the kingdom, swing a scepter,
wear a crown of gold.
Don’t dance in glass slippers,
crystal carving up your toes —
be a barefoot Amazon instead,
for those shoes will surely shatter on your feet.
Never wear only pink
when you can strut in crimson red,
sweat in heather grey, and
shimmer in sky blue,
claim the golden sun upon your hair.
Colors are for everyone,
boys and girls, men and women —
be a verdant garden, the landscape of Versailles,
not a pale primrose blindly pushed aside.
Chase green dragons and one-eyed zombies,
fierce and fiery toothy monsters,
not merely lazy butterflies,
sweet and slow on summer days.
For you can tame the most brutish beasts
with your wily wits and charm,
and lizard scales feel just as smooth
as gossamer insect wings.
Tramp muddy through the house in
a purple tutu and cowboy boots.
Have a tea party in your overalls.
Build a fort of birch branches,
a zoo of Legos, a rocketship of
Queen Anne chairs and coverlets,
first stop on the moon.
Dream of dinosaurs and baby dolls,
bold brontosaurus and bookish Belle,
not Barbie on the runway or
Disney damsels in distress —
you are much too strong to play
the simpering waif.
Don a baseball cap, dance with Daddy,
paint your toenails, climb a cottonwood.
Learn to speak with both your mind and heart.
For the ground beneath will hold you, dear —
know that you are free.
And never grow a wishbone, daughter,
where your backbone ought to be.
If you’d read other posts you’ll know I’m currently pregnant with the second Roversi child (see pregnancy diaries on the top menu) and we are feeling very lucky to be having a little girl. Already I have been overwhelmed by the amount of pink clothing available, the comments of her being a princess and how she will be looked after her big brother.
Now, don’t worry I’m not planning on going all “anti-girly” or spouting lots of feminist quotes. I like a bit of pink (within reason), I love Disney and their princesses (Ariel is my favourite) and I hope that Little L will be a good big brother and look out for his little sister. However…what sticks in my mind is a good friend who has a little girl, let’s call her Little O, who is only a week older than our son. My friend tells her daughter to never be the princess, be the Queen. I admire my friend, as a strong mother and particularly the way she is bringing up her daughter, very much advocating the poem that has inspired this post.
And so, to my unborn daughter…
…I hope that you will grown up to be tough and brave like your big brother and that while you climb a wall or tree, he is there helping and holding your hand (while your Daddy or I hover behind in case either of you fall). I’m already fending off everyones desire to buy pink for you and trying to counteract it by buying different coloured clothing for you when you are born. Wear pink if you want to, but don’t feel restricted by the clothes society expects you to wear. I hope that you will be resilient and, as much as i know that this will make parenting you harder, I hope you have her own mind and you are strong woman in the future. I hope that you are confident enough to be a leader and stand by your passions, even if others have different opinions. Don’t be afraid to follow your dreams, celebrate your talents, work hard and you can achieve anything you want to. I promise that Daddy and I will love, support and guide you the best we can, just like your brother. We will stand by you no matter what.
Our son has always been very chilled, laid back even and, whilst he is becoming more outspoken and showing a little of that threenager side, we have been grateful that he has been fairly easy so far. As a teenager I am expecting that he will just grunt at me and disappear to his room. Maybe it is wrong and stereotypical of me, but I’m expecting more fireworks with our daughter. I have sisters, nieces and friends with little girls and I see how different they can be. My mum even told my husband, when we found out we were having a girl,
“Well, if she’s anything like our Becka, you’ve got your work cut out!”
I remember being a teenager and it wasn’t easy, for me or my Mum!
I know that both our son and daughter will challenge us in different ways…but maybe I’m wishing I could skip the teenager girl bit all together – ha ha. As I say to my students, being a teenage girl is awful, I suppose it’s my job as her Mum to get he through it as best I can…if she’ll let me!
I’m so glad I came across this poem. It’s so inspirational for a little girl and for me, as a mother, about how to raise a little girl. I may even get it printed and put it in a nice frame for her bedroom.
What do you think of this poem? Do you agree/disagree? Have you found a difference between raising boys and girls? Do you have any advice for me? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this post and poem, please comment below or on my Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.