Happily Even After
by Stacey Noem
Our darling Lucy is almost four years old. We realized, very early on, that raising her was going to be a completely different experience than raising Simon and Oscar. Sure enough it is.
She is different in just about every trivial way that makes figuring out how to raise her tricky: she cares enormously about her clothes; she is completely committed to a color palate of pink for everything from her breakfast plate to her tights; she cannot stand to have her hair brushed or combed (a truly tragic irony, given that her hair is significantly longer than her two brothers who couldn’t care less). She is just different.
Then just when we think we have her slightly figured out, she surprises us.
Recently Lucy brought it to our attention that from time to time her little Montessori class goes to “Movement,” which is basically their version of gym. Now, because they wear slippers in the classroom all day, when they go to Movement class they change back into their outside shoes…unless their outside shoes would mark up the gym floor. In that case, they wear their socks.
Well, Lucy was mentioning how much faster everyone else in her class is because she did not have shoes for Movement class and she slips and slides in her socks. After we established that she would be allowed to wear sneakers (or “running shoes” as she calls them) if she had them, we told her we would be happy to get her a pair. At that point she only had one pair of boots and one pair of dress shoes, so it seemed like a reasonable fit.
Lu was very excited about getting running shoes “Like her brother, Simon.” I told her we should first look at the store to get an idea of what she might like. I was imagining having to steer her away from super glittery, cartoon trademarked, pink glam sneakers for something a little lower key. Sure enough, when we walk into the shoe section of the store there next to the three models of sneakers for boys were somewhere near twenty styles for girls: glittery, sparkly, princess-y, fairy-y, and pink. Pink everywhere the eye can see.
Except for one pair. One pair of plain green Saucony retro-looking canvas and suede track shoes.
Guess which ones Lucy made a bee-line for…the green ones. She walked right up to them and said, “I want these shoes.”
The store clerk had just walked up and said, “I would be happy to get those for you. Would you like to try any others?”
Lucy, “No, just these.” Fighting incredulity that she seriously is not attracted (or at least distracted) by any of the other shiny emblems of girly-ness sitting around us, I asked her if she was sure she wouldn’t like any others, pointing out that the shoe she was looking at also came in pink. I also was not about to buy her a pair of shoes that she later regrets not being pink or shiny and refuses to wear.
She responded very clearly and simply, “No I like these.”
When the sales woman came back out, she had a few boxes in her hand. And after pulling out Lucy’s plain green shoes she started to show her a couple others she thought might be of interest. At this point, my sweet three and a half year old Lucy turned and addressed herself to the saleswoman calmly and directly saying, “I don’t want any others. These are the ones I want. The green ones.”
Definitive and direct. That is our Sweet Lu. She can be incredibly unpredictable and the challenges she poses are completely different than the boys. Actually, up to now, I would say she kind of perfectly embodies that old saying “Sugar and spice.” She can be all kinds of sweet and all kinds of spicy.
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