My Glamour-and-Glitz-Loving Little Girl—by Jamie Levine
Yesterday, Jayda went to a spa party—for her friend’s fifth birthday. Since I was in graduate school all day, Jayda’s babysitter accompanied her there, but Jayda gave me the scoop on the party when we both got home. Apparently, all of the guests were given glasses of fizzy pink lemonade in champagne glasses as they donned fuzzy pink robes, and enjoyed manicures, makeovers, and fancy updos over the course of the afternoon. While striking a pose with her hands on her hips, Jayda beamed from ear to ear as she showed off her smoothed-out hair (which is usually a mass of ringlets) and asked me if she could keep it styled that way for school tomorrow. Since Jayda had mentioned a makeover—but wasn’t wearing any lipstick or eye shadow—I asked her why she’d taken off her makeup. She responded, “I cried and it all came off.’ “You were crying? Why?” I asked with trepidation. “Because I didn’t want to go home?” she answered, matter-of-factly. Ohhhhhh….
Later that evening, when Jayda showed off her purple sparkly fingernails to her grandma, my mother exclaimed, “You got another manicure?” Jayda nodded enthusiastically, and added remorsefully, “they also do toenails at that place, but we didn’t get ours done…” As a child, I never polished my nails, and I don’t think I received my first professional manicure until I was a teenager, but my five-year-old daughter has been to nail salons on many occasions with indulgent relatives, and gets her nails polished constantly at carnivals, birthday parties, and by her babysitters. She also begs to get haircuts so she can visit the hair salon (I only take her 2-3 times a year for a minor trim), and collects lip gloss like I used to collect super balls. Jayda loves makeup, and on special occasions, I treat her to a dusting of sparkly eye shadow, and let her dab on a bit of my lipstick. However, on a recent outing with my mother, Jayda came home with her own sparkly makeup kit, and really crossed the line the other morning: When it was time for us to leave for school, Jayda emerged from the bathroom wearing thickly-applied bright pink eye shadow with matching lip gloss, and headed straight for the front door. “Wait a sec, young lady!” I barked, suppressing a giggle at the sight I saw, and dragged Jayda back to the bathroom to scrub off her makeup. “You cannot wear makeup to…kindergarten!” I admonished while my daughter sulked. And I still can’t believe those words came out of my mouth.
I happen to have a pretty great kid. She’s smart, funny, and incredibly outgoing. She’s well-liked by her peers and makes friends wherever she goes. She also respects and enjoys the attention of adults, and her good manners and charismatic personality are often praised by my peers. However, I worry that my little girl is growing up too fast. When I was a kid, being a girlie-girl meant wearing taffeta dresses and Mary Janes; my girlie-girl Jayda begs to borrow my jewelry, snag a spritz of my expensive perfume, and wear a sequined mini-skirt. Yes, she looks adorable…and yes, I sometimes indulge her (though never inappropriately), but I often wish that being a popular, self-confident girl today didn’t require outfits and behaviors that seem more appropriate for a teenager…or at least what a teenager was like in my day. And I’m certainly concerned about what the future will bring….