Calling it out

My poor girl has been sick all weekend but she mustered up enough energy to help me buy gifts for colleagues on-line. During the process of trying to find personalized picture frames and ornaments, it struck home how she is so perceptive and aware at age 9.
The first moment was when we were looking at ornaments and flashing letters splashed across the screen informing us that we had 11 MORE HOURS to get free shipping on all our gifts.
“Mom! Hurry up and find your gifts! You don’t want to lose out on free shipping! It costs a lot to ship!
That’s my frugal girl.

The next moment was while we were looking at personalized frames for a friend and her wife who were recently married. All of the frames were titled with your typical middle class white names – “Jim and Nancy” and “Steve and Susie.” I was secretly smirking at the name choices and the pictures of the couples leaning against a tree laughing or embracing in front of an impeccable brick home. As I continued to look for a present-worthy frame, Ri remarked in a mocking tone “look at Jim and Nancy so quaint and happy.” Then she followed it right up with “all the couples here are a man and a woman; there aren’t any gay couples.”
Indeed, Ri, isn’t it a shame.
“But,” she concluded sarcastically, “they did include one African American couple in the mix….. Just sad.” She shook her head in disbelief.
I chuckled at her sarcasm and keen perception. But then I remembered that it wasn’t my girlfriend I was talking with, it was my nine year old daughter. I stared at her – as she continued to search for frames – in amazement and with pride over her ability to grasp how tilted this world can be in addition to her boldness in raising the issue.
After a half of an hour, we eventually found a wooden frame we likes. And we promptly replaced the names “Jim and Jennifer” with “Eunice and Marsha.”

Smart talk

Yet another article confirming that I have sent my daughter down a path of failure. I thought I was doing well by praising Ri as being smart when she correctly completed a math problem but apparently I’m setting her up to head straight to trucking school after 12th grade.
My research shows that praise for intelligence or ability backfires,” said Dweck, who co-authored a seminal research paper on the effects of praise on motivation and performance. “What we’ve shown is that when you praise someone, say, ‘You’re smart at this,’ the next time they struggle, they think they’re not. It’s really about praising the process they engage in, not how smart they are or how good they are at it, but taking on difficulty, trying many different strategies, sticking to it and achieving over time.
The researcher continues to say that not only is telling our daughters they are smart unproductive, but it actually may be harmful to their development.

Sweet Jesus.

Here I was thinking that I was a superstar because I was commenting on Ri’s brains and not her beauty but not quite….

I appreciate these studies in order for us to learn more about how to raise our girls to be confident and excel but damn if they don’t make me second guess everything before talking to Ri.

But, alas, change and growth and questioning are a part of life so I guess I need to keep reading these studies and shifting my praise accordingly (oh, how my grandma would be shaking her head at all the analysis we engage in as parents in 2014!).

Tonight, Ri told me that she completed 91 subtraction problems in five minutes when she had only completed 78 two nights ago. I replied “You are my smart girl!” But then I caught myself and quickly replied: “You worked so hard to raise the number you could complete and never gave up – great job!” So who knows where that mixed message will take her.

In the end, I think she will be just fine. After all, does she look like she lacks confidence?!