Today is picture day at LLB's school. I have a weird philosophy about picture day, in that I don't do the "dress up" thing. Don't get me wrong we wear our nice clothes, but we don't go ALL OUT. Even for sittings I do with professionals I stick to nice but basic clothes. Keep in mind, I have a daughter who I LOVE to shop for, so she has lots of clothes and 90% of them are "nice", what I am referring to are frilly dresses and fancy shoes. I like her to look like she does in regular life for her pictures to capture her properly.
So this morning I picked out what I thought was an adorable little outfit, leggings under a very-cute floral printed a-line dress. She looked adorable. Well low and behold we were 5 minutes from school when LLB started whimpering in the back seat, when I asked her what was wrong I got this in response, "my dress isn't PRETTY. I won't look pretty in my pictures." As I tried to explain how pretty I thought she was and how I LOVED her outfit she only proceeded to cry and tell me I was wrong.
My heart broke ... she's 3 years old ... and I felt bad on a myriad of levels. And yes I'm aware that I'm adding my own emotional baggage to this situation.
Level 1 -- Basic Guilt
I had failed my child, by not picking some frilly frock for her to twirl around and say "Cheese" in.
Level 2 -- Self-Esteem Issues
I've suffered through self-esteem issues for 90% of my life. And while these insecurities define me, I hope and pray my child won't face them in the debilitating ways that I have.
Level 3 -- Raising a Conformist
My wonderful, independent child suddenly wants to be just like everyone else ... and I am not allowing her to do that.
Level 4 -- Irrationality
I probably felt the worst for even experiencing Levels 1-3, I'm the adult here, I've done nothing "wrong" and this won't scar her for life. But in the essence of Level 2, I wouldn't be me if I didn't beat myself up.
It got worse as I tried to drop her off at school, she cried actual tears and told me how "unpretty" she was. Stab me in the heart while you're at it kid, why dontcha? I explained to her that she didn't have to take a picture if she didn't feel like it. It was her choice, and then we said a tearful goodbye and I was left to drive home contemplating this traumatic experience.
Before you roll your eyes at me, I realize she is three years old, and that this is only the first of probably a million future instances of similar "issues" that I'll have to face. I just wish these instances didn't fuel my own insecurities so terribly ... I might have to be admitted to a psych ward during the teen years!
Beauty Is in the Eye of the Beholder,
P.S. Her school just IMed to say she did GREAT during photos and even pulled the SuperModel pose! I guess the only one scarred by this experience will be me ... ah the joys of Mommyhood!