Yesterday our daughter turned 3. She is so happy to be 3. ‘I’m a big girl now,’ she says. Big girls go outside and play without their mommy and daddy, but with their friends. When we got back from doing groceries we passed by the house of a friend, this girl is one year older than she is. She wasn’t at the gallery so my daughter suggested to knock on her door. Purposefully I walked onwards to our house so she could ask her friend out by herself. The door opened, I turned my head and saw my daughter asking the mom of her friend if she could go out and play. I felt so proud. This morning she wanted to do the same, but hesitated. She turned around several times with an excuse like ‘mom, it has started to rain harder, you should come with me and knock on her door’. I didn’t feel like going so finally she stopped trying.
My daughter succeeded, the mom of her friend allowed her to go out and play. Within a few minutes both girls were standing in front of my doorstep, showing me their nails. Ooh, my god, I thought, her mom polished my daughter’s nails baby blue! I was shocked. The first thing I thought was ‘How could she? She should have asked me first!’ I calmed myself down, because my daughter looked at me with eyes full of hope and joy. She knows damn well what I think of nail polish. Her wish was fulfilled; a few months ago she asked for nail polish and she didn’t get it from us! Now she was walking around with baby blue finger nails. Several thoughts were swirling in my head. Another one of them was ‘her mom only wanted to be nice and give my daughter something’. So I decided to say nothing and let my daughter be happy. The next question was: ‘I want to have my toe nails done as well’. I said ‘no’. Enough is enough, I thought.
My daughter is more a girly girl compared to myself. She likes necklaces, bracelets, rings, earrings and nail polish. I’m not bothered by jewelry and I’m not even wearing a watch. Oh, yeah, she likes watches too. Friends of mine do like jewelry so I believe my daughter developed her taste just by watching other people. The object ‘heels’ just popped up. My man thought of buying her heels in her size as a birthday present. Heels??!!! She already has plastic heels which are far to big, but she is having fun with them. She didn’t got these from us. Highly irritated and surprised I disagreed with this idea. How come you thought of heels? ‘Well, I only crawled up in her head and from her view on life ‘heels’ were the first objects that came to my mind,’ he said.
We got her something she could take outside and play with. It’s a bar with a ring on one side and a wheel on the other side. One should put a foot in the ring, get the bar turning around your leg and jump across the bar with the other leg. Much better than heels. And I will buy nail polish remover as soon as possible. Come on, let’s play as long as we can and be indifferent towards how we look. Especially how we can look more beautiful with all kinds of accessories in stead of shining from within and be happy with how we look in our most natural form.
After I posted the above a friend of my reacted with a few lines of Kahlil Gibran:
About Children”You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
She also commented on my story by sharing that she believes it’s the most natural thing a child does: looking around, being curious and feeling the urge to imitate it in their own way. I read these lines of Kahlil Gibran before and I totally agreed with his thoughts. More so his lines and her comment left me wondering. It even got me talking to my partner. Am I stopping her of being who she is? A person with her own thoughts? The conversation helped me to verbalize my feelings towards the incident in more detail. As parents we are doing whatever we can to let her be who she is. Nonetheless in some situations, like this one, I have a strong urge to share my thoughts on nail polish, because I’m allergic to a world in which a lot of things are influenced by appearance. To keep up this appearance people use all kinds of stuff to show others who they want to be in stead of who they are. Anyhow, my daughter is still not aware of this concept so in her case she likes nail polish, because of the colors. But she is still a child who puts her fingers in her mouth (that young) so why let her wear nail polish even though it’s fun.
Another element of the concept of putting more emphasis on appearance is that it goes along with fake stuff. Fake eye lashes, hair extensions and so on. In the case of nail polish; it contains a lot of chemicals which no one should get in their bodies. I know non-toxic nail polish exists for toddlers, but this is really where I draw my line; I associate these products with the big fake world some people are creating for themselves. Therefore I keep my point of view on nail polish for toddlers. For this once she has enjoyed the look of her baby blue finger nails. But we won’t encourage wearing nail polish by buying it for her. But of course, when she’s older, it’s her choice if she wants to wear nail polish.