Thursday, May 9, 2013

Writing Exercise: From Tomboy to Prom Queen

Well, after the exhausting hard work of not-writing the A-Z Blog Challenge but hassling everyone else to get posts, pics and links to me on time (why on earth did I ever think that would be easy?), I felt the need to post something written by me again.

I am currently on a 10 week online writing course with 9 other members of my writing group, the Write On, Mamas, with Kate Hopper of Use Your Words. I wrote the following as an exercise in Humor (that's Humour for you Brits). It was inspired from reading Catherine Newman's "Pretty Baby" piece". Here it is:


“Why on earth haven’t you bought Emma a doll?” My friend asked indignantly. “Honestly, Claire, she ought to have at least one doll.”


She then proceeded to give my 5 year old daughter, dressed in a bright red t-shirt, blue trousers and a baseball hat, the most hideous-looking doll I had ever seen. Was she serious? It was the stuff of nightmares. Horror film’s Chucky in a pastel dress. It was bald and chubby, with horrible staring eyes and a mouth that was molded open, like a fish frozen in its last agonizing death cry.

In disgust, I watched my daughter latch onto the doll with glee and cuddle it up to her. Did I imagine the glassy eyes glint at me in triumph? If I lifted its frilly undergarment would I see 666 scratched on its butt cheek? Emma innocently placed it into her mini stroller, after unceremoniously dumping the previous occupant (her beloved fluorescent pink elephant) on the ground, and walked off importantly round and round the garden, bending over and muttering Mumsy-type nothings to the devil toy every so often.

“There, you see, Claire!” my friend announced triumphantly, with a smug look on her face. “She loves it. You mustn’t stop her being a girl just because you aren’t girlie.”

Despite wanting to poke my friend’s eyes out with a sharp stick after this slur on my parenting ability, I could see her point - Emma did seem to be enjoying herself.

I felt betrayed somehow. I have always hated dolls and never played with them myself when I was a child. My favorite outfit was a cowboy and Indian set that my sister and I would share, complete with toy gun and holster, and a bow and arrow. I loved nothing better than running around the garden whooping and hollering and shooting my sister dead. (Perhaps anger management would have been a good after-school activity choice if it had been around back then.)

Now, I wanted to jump up, rip the Antichrist out of the stroller, stomp on it like an Indian doing a war dance, set it on fire and send it back to the hell and damnation from which it undoubtedly came, along with all the other glass-eyed scary demon-dolls. Particularly the frighteningly tasteless ones in ugly Victorian clothing that my Grandmother used to insist I play with as a 'special treat' when we went to visit, when all I wanted to do was ride the old-fashioned rocking horse and pretend I was Jesse James.

I restrained myself.


Despite my penchant for dressing my daughter as a tom-boy and giving her cars and action toys to play with, she has grown up to be the most girlie of all girls. She adores dresses and skirts in pretty feminine colours, could apply make-up better than me at the age of 11, spends hours teasing her hair into gorgeous little ringlets or works it cleverly into a French plait or straightens it better than any hairdresser. Thankfully, otherwise I would probably have had to disown her, she is also very adventurous, likes massive four-wheel drive trucks and off-road dirt biking.

When I had got over what I considered to be an implied insult and, instead, recognized it for what it was, a dear friend giving a sweet little girl something that was missing from her life, I was able to thank her and allow Emma to have other more feminine and girlie possessions. I really don't want to pass on any more of my hang-ups - after all, she already has my exagerated hand movements when speaking and horrible feet.


22 comments:

  1. My daughters are real girly girls with high heel, make up, jewellery, the work. I was a book junkie who haunted libraries. It's too weird. I used to roam around in kaftans in my youth. And now we live in India and my daughter wouldn't even look at a kaftan never mind wear one.

    So strange...

    Maria

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    Replies
    1. Funny how they turn out opposite isn't it. Thanks for your comment.

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  2. I guess even horrible looking dolls can have a positive side

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  3. She's very pretty!
    And where were all you Tomboys when I was younger?

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    Replies
    1. Thank you, Alex. I think so too. And us Tomboys were roughing it up in the woods of England.

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  4. Should have bought her a GI-Joe...

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    1. LOL Like that would have made all the difference!

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  5. I've missed you! Glad you decided to write something. Emma sounds perfect.

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    1. Aww thanks Bridget, I have missed blogging actually. Looking forward to having a bit more time to visit other blogs, like yours!

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  6. Kids have an annoying way of being their own person, don't they? After having two sons, I was thrilled to have a beautiful little girl, but as soon as she was old enough to speak her mind, she told me in no uncertain terms she didn't LIKE to wear dresses, and she wanted her hair cut short. (sigh) She's now a wonderful, loving 35-year-old who STILL doesn't want any part of wearing dresses. (We're lucky she wore one when she got married!)

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    1. Sounds like she's a girl after my own heart.

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  7. my bad boy put such serious milage on that jumpy plane. Lovely Claire! My daughter told me the babydolls she was gifted (after two boys it was a babydoll tsunami) were 'creepy' and could we please put them in the closet. she put beanie babies in the stroller....

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  8. My daughter is like that, too. I always tell her, where do you come from. LOL.

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    1. Ha ha I know - aliens in pretty dresses!

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  9. I thought it was absolutely brilliant of you to get others to do the A-Z writing. :) And I did just the opposite to my daughter. She was all frilly and foo foo, she did baby modeling, etc., etc. and then one day when she was in 7th grade she told me she wanted to play basketball and then volleyball AND THEN she joined the race team (cars)! She raced them and worked on them! Finally on her wedding day she was once again in a frilly, foo foo dress. :)

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    1. Aww thanks Mimi. How funny re your daughter - gosh I would have loved to have raced cars. Your daughter sounds great.

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  10. Nice! I'm a bit of a tomboy too, but we'll blame it on my 5 brothers. *sigh* Still, I echo the sentiment with dolls and applaud you for finding such a mature thought process.

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    1. Thanks Crystal and good to hear from other fellow tomboys!

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