By Eliska Counce, TSB Columnist
I can’t believe it. But my baby, my little girl, my last child, will be starting kindergarten in the fall. Am I a “yahoo” mom or a “boo hoo” mom about this? I must confess to mixed feelings. Having sent two other of my chicks out of the nest to institutional learning facilities already, it’s not my first time at the rodeo, to use some Texas-speak, so I’m not exactly verklempt, but at the same time not overjoyed and impatient for her to get on with it.
I’m used to my chickens flying the nest. But this is my last time to send a baby to kindergarten. Soon, all my precious pearls will be surly teens that sleep until noon and largely reek of Axe body spray. I can get nostalgic, but I must admit a little excitement about the new stage, too. Long stretches of time talking to people over three feet tall! Lunch without a chicken nugget in sight! I’m not going to know how to behave.
I, indeed, grow a little dizzy at thinking about the prospects of freedom during the school hours. Leaving the house without children! What a heady proposition. And the cash! My lord, the money I have shelled out since I have been paying for day care, full or partial since 2003, could fund an African nation for a decade. I may or may not go on some kind of Thelma and Louise-type spree.
This is my only girl to launch, too. I do so with some trepidation, knowing first hand how school can be. The dawn of her first year out of my clutches has me musing about what the future at school holds for her (again with the musing). There are so many lessons I want to impart to my daughter as she navigates elementary school, junior high, and the Lord of the Flies experience that is high school. The world can treat females harshly.
After spending some time meditating on what a girl really needs to know, I did derive list of wishes and my hopes for her future as she matures and becomes the lovely young lady I know she can be. Oh sure, we’re teaching her she is not the sum of her looks, her rights to defend herself, physically or verbally, and other important things a girl needs to know here in Texas, like the difference between a semi- and a fully automatic rifle and how to properly clean her .38.
But on a more micro-scale, I decided there were a few pieces of advice you might not find in a parenting self-help book that carry as much weight. I want my daughter to be aware of all the traps that can hold her back. And on that note, I beg of you to review another few nuggets of truth I want to impart to her and judge if your daughter, too could not benefit:
1. May your greatest fear will be that there is no such thing as PMS and that it’s just your personality.
2. It is possible to be both smart AND pretty.
3. It is possible to be funny AND be taken seriously. In fact, being funny will make people listen to you and respect you (see Jon Stewart. Even though he is a dude).
4. Being catty is not the same as being funny.
5. Thongs attract no one substantial.
6. Do not photograph yourself naked. Ever. EVER. At any time. Related: use of the “trout mouth” pose, either combined with a flashed peace/gang sign is never appropriate either.
7. Choose your friends wisely. That weird kid everyone made fun of was Bill Gates.
8. Wearing pajama pants in public means you have given up on life.
9. Bigger boobs are not necessarily good. See: unwanted attention, backaches, inability to jog without giving yourself black eyes, and brutal underwear.
10. Don’t make a scene. This isn’t reality TV. This is reality.
11. Do not date anyone who honks for you to come out to his car. This practice is acceptable when dropping off a package, not picking up a person.
12. Words printed on your butt make you somebody’s property.
13. Dates do not take place anywhere there is a bed present.
14. Women should not speak in questions. Ever notice how women always ask everything by raising their tone at the end of their sentences, so everything they say sounds like an inquiry. And this one time? At band camp? Like that.
15. Know what a “douche canoe” is and how to avoid one at all costs.
Small details, and yet the devil is in them, no? So here’s to raising our daughters well. If we do, hopefully there will be fewer butterfly tattoos and strippers all around. Here’s to parenting females in a wild new world. Buckle up.