OK, so what exactly does “pretty” mean, asks Just Ella Bella blogger Eleanor Douglas-Meyers in her column for The Herald today.
What is pretty? This is a flash-back to me asking my, then, soon-to-be four-year-old son this question and being really surprised by his answer.
If you follow me on social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter) you would know that my son, Aidan is quite, how shall we say; verbal.
From the first time he started speaking properly he has said the most interesting things, even getting me in to trouble. So this type of conversation is not uncommon for us.
At night I will lay in bed with him and chat to him about his day.
My dad used to work night shift quite a lot when I was growing up and I remember him coming home and sitting at the end of my bed to find out how my day was, it built a very strong bond between us and I want this for Aidan and myself.
So yesterday he tells me someone we know isn’t very pretty to him.
I told him that it was not very nice to say someone was not pretty, he then argued that he said “pretty to him”, which didn’t mean they weren’t pretty to other people (yes, he was not yet four when we had this conversation, yes I’m going to need help).
I then asked him who he thought was pretty . . . he mentioned three girls at his school saying that two of them where a little pretty and one was a lot pretty.
See now, a lot of things went through my mind in this moment, the three girls are three different races, and the one he was calling a lot pretty does tick more of the conventional boxes.
So here I am looking at this kid thinking, is it a racial thing? Is it a societal thing? Is he a little misogynist putting girls in “order” of pretty to okay looking.
He is a preschooler, we can’t have that! (Well, at no age can we have that, but stay with me here).
So I took a deep breath and asked “Aidan, what is pretty to you”.
“Pretty is when you are nice to people, you smile a lot, you share and you aren’t mean.
“My friend . . . is very pretty because she is always those things and the other two are a little pretty because sometimes they fight and are mean.
My eyes welled up. See I never discussed the concept of pretty with him. He just made his own judgement call.
I know this won’t last forever #puberty BUT for now I am so proud of him and even prouder that he thinks I am “the prettiest, because you always do nice things for people”.
I know as parents we tend to take those parenting fails REALLY seriously so in this case, I am going to take this win and run with it and work on being even prettier to my son.
- Eleanor Douglas-Meyers is a crafty mom from Uitenhage who writes about DIY, parenting, natural hair care, fashion, food and fun on her blog JustEllaBella