Observations by Key Monroe~~Home of Right Opinions, Cynical Viewpoints, and TMI in Hefty Doses
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August 14, 2005

Priss V. Tom

How to obtain the right balance?

You want your girl to know she's a girl, to be able to turn on the charm and light up a room.... And yet, ideally, she can also rev up the tomboy on demand, throw a fast pitch, outsmart a goalie, outrun the boys.

Right? Well, I feel I am a bit challenged here:

My child has a few things that seem to come naturally to her. One is a look of smug indifference, letting anyone who dare antagonize her know that they have permission to eat shit and die. If that doesn't work, waterworks are next. (I'm already feeling sorry for her first boyfriend.)

The other thing is the Priss factor...obviously. She already has the head toss, the confident walk, and the tendency to arch her brows when she feels she's being fed a line of crap.

May I remind you that she is nine. We've already had a few heart to hearts about attitude. I call it as I see it with her, but she is damn stubborn.

So... The things that do not come naturally to her are warmth and athleticism.

Priss has a dozen or so close friends, whom she has known since kindergarten. Every activity she is signed up for must include one of these girls, or I can forget it, she will suddenly lose interest and no longer care to be signed up.

When placed in a setting with a group of new peers, she will stand silently, smugly sizing up each and every one of them, and never once will it occur to her to actually say hello to any of them. The very idea is terrifying.

If an attempt is made to speak to her, she will supply one word answers until they either go away, or actually persist long enough to draw her out. In which case, she is a friend for life, or until they shit on her... whichever comes first.

I fear she has inherited my social retardedness (thankfully, to a lesser degree), which I have overcome as an adult, but I was mightily afflicted as a child. And I am still reluctant to engage, preferring a party of three or four to a party of thirty or forty.

In an effort to offset both the prissy side, as well as the hesitancy to engage, I have kept my girl active in sports since age five. Soccer every fall, softball every spring. She is actually gifted with a very athletic frame, but lacks the confidence to do anything with it.

The involvement has helped. In fact, due to her peaking interest in sports, she has watched quite a bit of televised ball over the summer. So, I told her father that we needed to take her to a Braves game.

We finally did so on Friday, and she was very excited. ...until we got there, and it was raining, and the Priss came out! She was getting wet! Omigad!

So being rained on AND shut out wasn't a whole helluva lot of fun, but once the Priss had a poncho (an $8 white garbage bag with a Braves logo on it), she was content. And determined to stay until her team scored at least once.

Unfortunately, this did not happen. And so, I spent as much time people watching as I did on the last few innings of the game.

And I come full circle here, because the young girl seated a few rows in front of us, is unknowingly responsible for getting me going on this entire thought process.

She prissed and primped and head-tossed and pouted and prissed and primped and head-tossed and... you get the idea.

The rain was devastating to her. She'd steal the boyfriends cap anytime it was heavier than a drizzle, reluctantly covering the stressed-over locks. Then it'd let up, and she'd shake it out, head-toss, retreat to the restroom to brush it out, reapply make-up, come back to her seat and resume her process.

I actually laughed out loud when she pulled out her compact for the second time (right there in her seat) to touch up her eye make-up.

It's not that I haven't been there. I have, making it ballsy of me to pick on the girl. At my worst, I was a teenager on the prowl, nightclubbing it amongst stiff competition in Athens. But even then, all I was packin' was lipstick and a fake ID.

This chicky was out with the boyfriend, post-20, primpin' it up in the midst of an athletic event... in the friggin RAIN!

I'm actually very forgiving in this area, but I'm not doing this justice. Ya just had to see it. I found it disturbing enough to begin contemplating exactly what I'll have to do to prevent my child from turning into that.

(I wonder if the girl even noticed that we were getting our asses handed to us. At least my Priss knew that we were sucking.)

And so I continue, on my seemingly endless pursuit to round out my daughter's character in all of the ways that mine lacked balance, hoping that she'll learn young, hoping that I can spare her the worst of the hard lessons... (knowing that I won't prevent all or even most of them.)

Of course, I must say that I am damn good at this, and it's a good thing. Because as much as I love her, I have been dealt one helluva challenge.

posted by Key on 09:05 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0)

You better hope she outgrows it before some of these other girls kick her ass, Cat

Posted by: catfish at August 14, 2005 10:28 PM

I'd like to think I'm doing a little more than sitting back and hoping, though I must say, THAT has never been a concern, not where I live.

Also, although I fear she may come off as snobby at times, her classmates do not seem to think so. She has been friends with them for going on five years.

It is her inability to integrate into new surroundings that concerns me... That, and the fear that the entire lot of 'em are going to turn into head bobbling prisspots.

Posted by: Key at August 14, 2005 10:53 PM

As a person who prefers quality to quantity in my friendships..I would say that you really don't have too much to worry about. I was/am socially awkward and crowds of people just bother me. But the friends I do have scattered across the US are true, blue, neverending friends.

My daughter is the same age as yours and I worry that she's going to be too much of a tomboy being surrounded by all these guys. I worry that she doesn't get to explore her 'femaleness' enough...

So, I sat down with her one day to play Barbies...and she started karate chopping with them in their evening gowns. That was so funny!

But, I've seen the little priss come out in her a little more over the last year or so. I kind of quit worrying when she insisted upon getting her ears pierced for her 8th birthday.

Don't sweat the small stuff.

Posted by: Kelly at August 15, 2005 08:54 AM

The fine line between guidance and pushing is your tightrope. She will be what she will be, probably more like her mother than you might wish.

Posted by: james old guy at August 15, 2005 09:55 AM

I "guess" I'm lucky... My girl never had too much priss in her. That got to be too much of a clique thing for her. She was a little tomboyish, and that got to be "not cool" to. Now, I think she's tryin' to find out who she is, or maybe, who she want's to be. I'm confident that she'll do fine. She irritates me sometimes, but whay youngin's don't?

Now, I just have one question. And that is, Kelly, just exactly what in the hell did you mean about "doesn't get to explore her 'femaleness' enough"? Karate choppin' Barbies in their evenin' gowns is "femaleness"?

Come to think of it, I reckon that ain't far off from the truth. ;)

Posted by: RedNeck at August 23, 2005 08:55 PM
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