Monday, 24 June 2013

What are little girls made of?

What are little boys made of?
What are little boys made of?
Slugs and snails
And puppy-dogs' tails,
That's what little boys are made of.
What are little girls made of?
What are little girls made of?
Sugar and spice
And everything nice,
That's what little girls are made of

 
 
I remember hearing this rhyme as a young girl and thinking that girls certainly seemed far more superior to boys. Boys were dirty, yucky and smelly while we girls were sweet, beautiful and clean.

Growing up I certainly didn't always fit that picture and I don't expect my little girl to either. But something inside me jumped a little when I came home today to find my husband had been teaching Issy to hunt for slugs in the backyard.

When I arrived home she rushed over to me in excitement to show me her treasures.

"Look mum, me and daddy found some slugs," she said, shoving a dirty, plastic container into my hands.




I peered inside and spotted two maggots, a beetle, a centipede with a fang-like tail, a worm and witchetty grub (that last one was impressive).

My response was not the most encouraging.

"Ewww gross,” I said as I handed back the container.

I think it was the maggots that really put me off.

"Where did you find these?" I asked my husband.

"Just under rocks," he replied. "Mel, she loved it! Can you believe she found a witchetty grub?"

"Yeah, that's pretty cool," I said, trying to get into the excitement of it all. "Okay, Issy you better go and have a shower as you're completely filthy."

She was covered in mud, her hair was limp and hanging into her eyes and the yellow waterfall that was pouring from her nose was beginning to smear with the dirt on her upper lip.

I sensed that I was rushing her. I wasn’t taking the time to marvel in her slippery, slimy treasures or engage with her and my husband’s sense of achievement in finding these creatures.

Then I asked myself...why am I so quick to get her cleaned up. Yes, we were going out in half an hour but there was something else that niggled at me…

 
Sugar and spice And everything nice, that's what little girls are made of…


A little girl covered in dirt, playing with slugs and wearing gum boots with a pair of boy's pants on (a hand-me-down from her nephew) isn’t exactly what I envisioned when I thought of having a daughter.

 
 
Yet, deep down I love it. Slugs may irk me a bit but I just love that she’s an individual. She is wild, she is free and a young adventurer. She has always had a love of life, of the outdoors, of anything hands-on, messy and exciting.
 
Sometimes I can so easily forget what is at the heart of my little girl. It takes moments like these— with the slugs, mud and gumboots—to remind me that she is her own person. She is strong, determined, and adventurous and she won’t be boxed in. I love her so much.
 
Let the girls run free.

 
 
 

15 comments:

  1. Lol. Ahh yes the fun and games that daddy's and daughters get up too :) That's great your daughter loves to get dirty. Mine needs a little persuading, but we're getting there.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes she loves the mud Renee. I think if it wasn't for her daddy she may be a little more afraid of such things.

      Delete
  2. Ah the passive stereotypes we've all been ingrained with! My daughter never plays with dolls. She loves dinosaurs, balls, running around. Collecting leaves, catching spiders... yet she also has her "girly" side where she sits quietly and colours & paints... every child is an individual indeed.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sounds like your daughter is similar to mine. I didn't mention it in the post but she does have a "girly" side too. She loves to dress up and pretend to be a princess. It's fun to have girls who love it all.

      Delete
  3. Love it! Both my girls ran a 'snail farm' when they were smaller - which meant that they collected all the snails in the garden and made a little enclosure for them. It was awesome.They liked playing with dolls, too, so we had the bestof both worlds!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wow, a snail farm sounds like fun! It is great having the best of both worlds.

      Delete
  4. Goodness she is brave and a lot of fun I bet.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Yeah I think the centipede and the maggots would have had me running for the hills! My kids love bugs though as well, and I'm fine with that, so long as they don't come near me!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Totally agree with the bugs not coming near me Jess!

      Delete
  6. It's hard sometimes, not to box our children into our idea of what they should be. I know I do, and will continue to struggle with it. But it's important to let them be their own person :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, I know how you feel Robyn.

      Delete
  7. Yes let the girls run free! My girls go through phases of being all girly or all tomboy. They are all or nothing at times, which I guess is not always bad!

    Leaving some fairy wishes and butterfly kisses from #teamIBOT

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Doesn't sound bad to me Rhianna. My little girl is similar. It makes for a lot of fun.

      Delete
  8. Great! It's so hard isn't it, to overcome your own cultural upbringing. I keep fighting my own instincts on this as well. Little Pumpkin doesnt help though - she is only 15 months, but is very fussy when it comes to having dirt on her hands. Oh well, I'll do my best.

    ReplyDelete