Read more posted in December, 2012
Somehow or other my daughter has grown into a 4.5year old who will be heading off to school in 7 short weeks time.
I am not quite sure how this happened but recently it’s been radically challenging the way I think about parenting her. She’s not a baby anymore!
Like many of you, we have certain family traditions around Christmas time – the day and way we put up our tree, the way we start Christmas day morning, and the way we teach our kids about generosity and giving and of course, the true meaning of Christmas.
A little while ago we gave away some toys that the kids weren’t using to the St Kilda Mums organisation. Bliss was quite willing to do this but I can see that she has felt the elements of sacrifice that are part of such an activity. She’s been talking a bit about giving toys to children who don’t have any but there has also been a sense of worry that we might give away some of the toys she loves and plays with often. So we keep talking and I keep assuring her that I won’t take toys off her to give away but that any time we do this it will be something she and the boys choose. I love her generosity and am glad that she understands that sometimes looking out for others who are less fortunate means making a personal sacrifice.
Recently Bliss has become quite interested in collecting coins for her “pinny bank”. We give her coins and she finds some in our wallets and has stored up a little collection. She doesn’t have any concept of how much money she has in there but she understands that she is saving…or perhaps collecting!
Just the other day as she was asking The Architect how much money was in her Pinny Bank she piped up that perhaps we could give some of her money away to people who don’t have any.
When it comes to Christmas, something she and I have done together over the years is go along to the shops to buy a present to put under the Kmart wishing tree. When I mentioned that we would go and do this over the weekend she asked if we could use some of her money from the pinny bank to buy the present. It’s so heartening to see her generosity and willingness to help others at such a young age.
I’m reminded of how much kids learn by example and are able to personally participate in these activities at a much younger age than we might have thought.
These gifts are all things that will be making their way under the tree for Bliss this year and I couldn’t be more excited! She is all about princesses, fairies and unicorns…oh, and the colour pink of course! I think she is going to be very excited to see what we have in store for her :)
If you are looking for a last minute gift idea for a little girl in your life perhaps one of these ideas will help. There’s only 7 sleeps to go so, happy shopping!!
1. Glottogon Garden Faires BIG Puzzle $34.95
2. Shleich Unicorn $23.99
3. Seedling Princess Crown $24.95
4. Magna Carry Ballet set from Tiger Tribe $24.95
5. An just to keep things real, a fabulously different princess tale, The Worst Princess by Anna Kemp $17.50
One final thing… if you are looking for something particularly special then you really should have a look at the Australian Girl Doll range. These dolls are beautifully made and will be cherished by any little girl. They are located in WA so postage at this late stage might be difficult to receive for those on the East Coast but I have seen them for sale from other online retailers so if they take your fancy it’d be worth having a look around online.
What will be making it under the tree for your daughter this year?
At 37 weeks pregnant I
trotted (waddled??) on down to a studio in North Melbourne to take part in the True Beauty project. I was nervous. Glamour photography? Me? Not something I had ever considered doing before. What would it be like? What should I expect? The questions swirled in my mind…was this a completely ridiculous thing for me to be doing?
The True Beauty project is the brain child of Ulyana Protassow, a Melbourne based photographer who is on a mission to show women how beautiful they are. Through the project Ulyana photographed an initial 25 women, all of whom spent a few hours with her and her team of hair and make up artists as she set about awakening in them some of the spark they might have misplaced in the humdrum of daily living. I don’t believe that all the women who took part in this project were mothers but I know a good number of them were. Does being a mother leave a woman in any greater need of rediscovering their beauty? I don’t know…what I do know is that I, Louisa, the mother, fell into that category.
The photo shoot was unlike anything I had experienced before – while having my hair and make up done reminded me of my wedding day, the photography itself was much more structured that the shoots I am used to. But I trusted Ulyana, she is a truly beautiful soul – one of those people who oozes gentleness and grace and I knew I was in good hands. She didn’t let me down.
My 4.5year old daughter is currently obsessed with all things princess, fairy and unicorn related. If you can find a way to combine these three things then she might just implode with the excitement. In many ways this is a harmless, very normal, little girl obsession. However, in some ways, it’s not so harmless…
I am pretty upfront with her about some of these issues. She owns a few Barbies but I won’t have her watch the Barbie DVDs. When she asks why I tell her quite simply “because Barbie says that the only thing that matters is how you look, but in our family we don’t think that’s what is important” or words to that effect. It’s the same when she talks about dolls or people being “pretty” all the time. I’ve blogged before about liking my daughter and wanting her to know and see in herself all the wonderful qualities that we see. It is imperative to me that she grow up not placing undue importance on her looks, or the looks of others.
But I’d be lying if I pretended that for most of us, how you look doesn’t matter and doesn’t make a difference to how you feel about yourself. Or that how I look, doesn’t matter to me. As much as I try to be careful about the language I use about food and my appearance, I do want to feel that I look my best and that my husband, if noone else, thinks I am beautiful. (which I am pretty sure he does, phew!)
Perhaps I shouldn’t… maybe I’m trying to have my cake and eat it too… but I’d like to think there’s a way to marry the belief that beauty is more than skin deep with a desire to feel good about my appearance.
Spending the day with Ulyana was this amazing moment of indulgence, as people fussed about my hair and my make up and Ulyana set about capturing the best version of my physical self. Instead of thinking about a time “when I will look like x” we spent the day celebrating how I look now, or rather, pregnant. When I put on my dress and my bright pink lippy and happily laughed I felt like me…ironically, like the pre-kids me.
The post-kids me is much more confident than the pre-kids me…about my body but about a whole lot more than that. The post-kids me also knows now that I didn’t realise how good I looked back then!
The gift Ulyana gave me, was the chance to see myself the way I like to think of myself. While I don’t look like this everyday, when I do manage to get it together and get dolled up, it’s fun and sexy!
And it’s a good feeling.
Beauty is not about how I look. I know that, I believe that and I want my daughter and my sons to believe that to their core also. But allowing myself the chance to celebrate the body I have been given and to embrace it in a really simply way was a really lovely experience. I am so glad I participated in this project! As I think about how to teach my daughter about what really matters, I was reminded that these lessons have to start with me.