Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Sigh. No matter how hard you try.

Charlotte, referring to her decorated Easter eggs: This one is a girl, because the shell is pink. And this orange one is a boy. Orange, green, blue, those are boy colors. Pink, purple, light blue are girl colors.

Mama: Hmm. I feel like you know how I feel about this. Colors are colors. Anyone can like any color. For example, Aunt H's favorite color is orange.

Charlotte: But what's your favorite color?

Mama: Green. And Purple.

Charlotte: But what's your first favorite?

Mama: Probably purple.


Mama: But what's your favorite color?

Charlotte: Pink.

<"Blue like my eyes.">

Mama: Oh, okay. I guess these things change. Since when?

Charlotte: Since Marcia*. And Kindergarten.

Mama: Ah. I see. I guess I just worry that you changed your favorite color because of what other people say, not because it's truly your favorite in your heart.

Charlotte: Pink CHANGED MY LIFE.


I think what she means is "Marcia CHANGED MY LIFE." She loves having a girl friend to boss her around, to lord imperiously over the other kids, to set the rules on What Is Done and What Is Not Done. Though Charlotte does periodically mourn that she never gets her own way. At home, Mom & Dad make the rules. At school, it feels like Marcia makes the rules.

It's sort of crazy, to see Charlotte going through these social things, these girl things. Because while there aren't girl colors and boy colors, I feel like there is, in this culture, this girl friend thing. The Queen Bee thing. And while Marcia uses her powers for good, most of the time, she is a very forceful, intoxicating personality who occasionally does things that Charlotte doesn't agree with. I'm very proud of Charlotte that she will stick up for other people when Marcia hurts their feelings....though I wish Charlotte would feel a little more comfortable standing up for her own feelings.

I really thought we had Charlotte vaccinated against the boys=blue, girls=pink thing. But I can't deny her the highs of an intense friendship like she has with Marcia. I still love that experience. I also know my kid, and I know how stubborn she is, so I'm prepared to sit quietly and let Charlotte have her favorite color. She's allowed that. She deserves that respect. She deserves me to believe that she knows her own mind. She can love pink, she can change her mind. But there are two things I am not going to do - I'm not going to let her say that colors are "boy colors" or "girl colors."

And I'm not going to tell my mother-in-law that Charlotte's favorite color is pink now.

* name changed