Saturday, January 16, 2010

Next Thing You Know She'll Need A Pair of Girbaud Jeans

The girls' cousins are in town for the weekend, and came to play last night and this morning for a few hours. There's something so special about cousins that they all inherently *get,* so even if they haven't seen each other in months they fall right into play like they never left in the first place. I'm so glad they're close in age -- currently 2, 3, nearly 4 and 5 -- and that they're all girls. While we'd all have loved a boy in either family, these four spend the entire time in various states of undress or elaborate costumes, playing princesses or Barbies, or dancing. A boy might go blind from all the pink and sparkles.

In her own little way, Berit worships her older cousin, Annie. More than a year older, Annie is in kindergarden and is far more active than Berit. But they click anyway, and Berit likes to follow along and do whatever Annie does, trying to be bossy every now and then but never quite succeeding, and not quite caring.

At age "nearly 4," Berit hasn't had much exposure to peer influence, though she is at school with kids who are all a full year older than she is -- so I'm sure some comes her way there, but really, I don't know if she even understands it yet.

Today, while Berit and Annie were playing in the office (which is where we keep the TV and DVDs), Annie was looking through our stack of movies and said to Berit, "Why do you have Baby Einstein? YOU don't watch THAT, do you? YOU'RE not a BABY, are you?"

From my spot in kitchen I heard Berit hesitate, realizing that Annie was sort of taunting her, and not really knowing what to do about it. In fact, Berit never chooses Baby Einstein, but occasionally gets into it when Marta's watching something with animals or numbers, so I think she was trying to figure out if she ever does watch it. Also, Berit doesn't know it's called Baby Einstein. So there's that.

Her pause lasted about three seconds and the whole time I was pleading in my head, "Tell her you think it's pretty cool. Tell her you like learning about the animals. Tell her how you can do all the number stuff and the spelling stuff. Tell her that you don't care what it's called, sometimes you watch it and whatever."

Then she made a funny face that said, "Huyuck, giggle, silliness, kind of embarrassed, you're so cool, Annie," all in the crook of a nostril and the opening of her eyes and the screwing up of the mouth. So I said, "Actually, Marta watches those." And it was over.

But just beginning, I think. I wish I knew how to arm her to be strong in herself, to be sure of every thought, every action. I don't, though -- I feel like half the expressions on my face are like the one she made, like I'm rarely one hundred percent certain of anything.

It's a lesson for me, and a reminder to stick to my New Year's resolution -- to be true to myself, no matter what I feel. And maybe she'll see that, and feel more sure of herself, too.

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