while the past few Mondays have been reserved for a “Sweet” joke, this week started with the joke on me. Sweetie had a social crisis and I was completely clueless.
One theme ran through the entire kindergarten year: unicorns. Many of the little girls were having unicorn-themed parties, wearing Halloween costumes, hosting spa-days (really!), drawing pictures, etc.. Unicorns invaded!
We were not safe. Sweetie showed an interest so we bought unicorn-themed books, threw her a unicorn-themed birthday party, and as a cute gesture I gave her the unicorn knight Lego collectible mini-figure. Apparently the min-fig was the straw that broke the unicorn’s…no. Apparently the min-fig was the final “thing” as Sweetie responded to it not with joy but with tears. And me? I was all, “huh?”
After calming down, and taking the min-fig completely apart, Sweetie admitted to me that she didn’t really like unicorns. Again – huh? “But your birthday party,” I probed, “you asked for the unicorn theme.”
Sweetie’s response – “Some of the other girls really like unicorns, so I said I liked them too.”
It is still early in our summer break and we are already into the life lessons. What followed was a brief and gentle conversation about how Sweetie needed to be honest with herself about what she liked and did not like, and then how to represent herself genuinely. I did my best to explain peer pressure, pack/group mentality and social norms to my 6 year old without making her feel ashamed, silly or like she was in trouble. First unicorns, then what? I had to resist spiraling down that path.
We revisited the topic when Wife came home. Again, gentle, brief (as in “no lecturing”) and hopefully empowering. I think Sweetie was worried she had disappointed me as she promised to make me a custom Lego set which she hoped I would like. I assured her that if it came from her I was sure to like it.
I do like it. Besides that it came from my daughter, I also felt it was fitting to our situation. What to call the scene? I couldn’t decide. To be more specific, I kept getting distracted, falling into thoughts about social pressures already creeping into my First Grader’s existence. And that won’t stop. I know it’s more about teaching her how to navigate the pressures, not trying to prevent them or have her ignore them. There is, and will continue to be, so much to unpack here. This will be a lesson we hone together over time. And that’s real life, actual, not imaginary like the invading unicorns.
So that’s my take away, and the working title for Sweetie’s MOC: Finding Our Way.