Pretty is as pretty does

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I turned over control of my youngest child’s wardrobe years ago. In fact, I don’t know if I ever had control other than forbidding her to leave the house in something horrible or clapping like a seal at her good choices.
She used to be easily influenced. At the ripe old age of 9 and eleven months, she’s pretty sure she can handle herself, at least where clothes are concerned.
She’s been putting together some pretty cute outfits. We’ve conquered stripes and plaids, and we’ve realized that just because it’s red doesn’t mean it’s going to go with other reds. Some colors, like children, don’t necessarily play well together.
As far as I know she has escaped being ticketed by the elementary school fashion police. My little free spirit bounces from the car in the morning proud as punch she is the designer of her own look, or maybe she is just glad she made it past me. Mornings are a challenge.
I have more serious matters on my mind today. Miss “Almost Ten” is becoming a bit of a bully. Now, bullying in any form is not acceptable. We know that it’s not ever allowed – “we” meaning myself and the other girls at home. I don’t think any of my older children ever had a mean thought toward another child in elementary school. I’m not at all prepared.
To let you in on the back story, I have observed my girl playing after school with some boys. The boys like to play football; she likes to hold court. They stand there looking at her, and she tells them what to do. I have no idea where she gets this behavior. She is usually wearing a skirt, and leggings and boots, for heaven’s sake.
Once I saw her trying to actually kick one of the boys. I called her over to the car and proceeded to chew her out about being mean to boys. They were all older than her, I’m sure! My congratulations to their mothers. Thank you for raising gentlemen. I am trying to raise a house full of ladies, but it is a challenge! This little pixie might just do me in.
Last week I got a call from her principal. I knew from the sound of her voice that the topic of discussion was not going to be particularly happy. She went on to explain that some children had been in a scuffle in the “walker line.” Up until this day, I had allowed my girl to walk to the middle school to meet me where I waited on her sisters. My principal friend had discovered that a boy, a grade behind my girl, had hit her with a stick. When asked why, bless his heart, he told them he needed the stick to keep “that girl” off of him. I suppose you realize who “that girl” is. She had apparently knocked him to the ground a few days earlier and maybe intimidated him.
Clearly I have work to do. She’s really a sweet kid. I suppose we should have a lesson in “pretty is as pretty does.” I will be picking her up from school for the rest of the year – not for her safety but everyone else’s.
We are choosing our battles. Maybe I’ll have to ease up on the plaids and stripes.
Angie Brown is a humorist who loves being a wife, mother and grandmother. She lives in Opelika with her husband of 31 years and four of their seven children.

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