One of the fun parts about having a little girl is being able to put her in fancy dresses. Can’t help it. When your kid is the most adorable thing on the planet (to you) and the cuteness is just oozing out of every corner during the holidays, it’s sort of like temporary insanity. Suddenly you’re buying tiny patent leather shoes and faux fur coats that you know she’ll grow out of in a week. And you don’t. Even. Care.
I’ve walked into many a Christmas party to see little girls twirling around in their besparkled finery. They usually end up tossing their patent leather shoes in a corner and running around until the feet and knees of their white tights are black and some bow has come untied or dropped off. But that’s not before almost all of us have said, “Hi ____! What a pretty dress!”
“What a pretty dress.” “Don’t you look pretty.” “Oh, I love your outfit.” It’s standard, right? We compliment a lady on how lovely she looks. It’s how we make conversation. We talk about her earrings. We ask where she got her shoes.
But you never hear anyone tell a little boy, “Hi ____! What a cute outfit!” Or at least rarely. My son has been known to don a sports coat and tie to places where people don’t expect to see a kid in a sports coat and tie, so that tends to get “comments.” But otherwise…
My point is, what if we all made an effort — when we met a girl at a party — to not mention how pretty she looked. What if we all tried to strike up a different conversation right off the bat. Here’s some great advice from Alison Gaulden, owner of Rooftop Mavens (they help empower female entrepreneurs here in Northern Nevada):
Instead of how she looks, ask a girl what she excels in such as, “What school work or activity is your favorite?” Or ask, “What’s your favorite part of the holidays,” rather than make a statement. Be sure not to lead with answers that are gender specific like, “Is shopping your favorite part of the holidays?” or “Do you love singing and the color pink?”
So when you see that adorable little one — even if she’s a little, little one — this holiday season, pause for a moment before the “pretty dress” line comes flying out of your mouth (it’s a hard habit to break, but we can do it). Instead, ask her what she’s been doing. What books she’s reading. What sports she’s playing. What movies she’s seen.
But try not to bug her for too long. Because chances are, she’ll be just dying to ditch those shoes.