Thursday, January 24, 2013

Stick, Fro & Noodle

Stick, Fro & Noodle

Stick (now 11 yrs old) is one of our most ambitious children. The drive to succeed has been inspiring and frustrating to most adults at different times and Stick has been feeling this for years already. She enjoys writing, running and cooking so far but her interests are always changing.

Fro is FIVE today! He's a smily guy with a twinkly eye. Mischief shares a place with joy in him. He likes being a big brother and has a great friendship going with his pal, Oh Brother.

Noodle is 15. As the oldest daughter, she's got lots of stories to tell. She bakes, supervises, writes extensively, sews a variety of things with great skill and has a few jobs for others around our neck of the woods. She's been our “practice girl” for a long time now and is a great help to us in figuring this thing out.

Girls were a puzzler for us for a while. We watched other families with girls. We read books and checked out everything that was recommended to us about raising girls. All the things that seemed to be involved were very confusing.  Phrases like:

Daughters with dignity
Traditional femininity
Modesty and life goals for girls
Maidens with virtue
That all sounded right!

Sort of.  Something wasn't sitting well with us though over the years.   The basic definitions of those words and phrases were alright  but there was something not right about how these sorts of concepts were taught and even marketed.  It was very limiting and beyond frustrating.  In what we found at the time, these phrases translated to:
Toddlers with quiet baby dolls on their laps
Handicrafts and tea parties
Long dresses, sleeves, hair and household chore lists
Girls cautious and timid

There is nothing bad about these things on their own.  Some toddlers really enjoy quiet and structure.  My girls have a thing for teapots somedays.  Long hair is rocked here!  And you'll hear about my chore lists. And I know some children who are naturally cautious.  All those things can be good.

But it was clearly a "one-size-fits all girls" agenda.  Nothing labeled "Science for Girls" or "Basswood Whittling for Girls".   No "Girls Guide to Outdoor Survival".  All of those things had boys as their targets.
We grappled with this especially in our early years as a young family.
Then it struck us that our goals didn't have to be different for our daughters. (I know. Many of you will think this is obvious but trust me on this.)  Whether boy or girl, we want our kids to:

enjoy lifelong learning with skills, knowledge and/or 
experience to match needs as well as interests.

And that's where we are now.  It's been very freeing in the way we have been able to communicate with others about our family.  We have eight boys, five girls and we are a lot of individuals.  



  1. I kind of love this. Curious about the long there are particular belief behind that? Have your kids ever asked to have a different hair style? Would you allow this? And I love this picture!!!

    1. *snicker* "Kind of love this". GIRL! That's bait if I've ever seen it! Whassup?

      We have hair here for ease of care first followed by cultural comfort. Skin heads all around would be by far the very, very easiest. But, if we had 6 skin head girl-types we would get even _more_ "OMG!" looks than we do just as we are now (and we get a load of them, let me tell ya.) So we do long hair because it can be pulled up and away so it's cool in the summer and just plain out of the way all the rest of the time.

      Different hair style? Sure. I'll do all kinds of things if it can be taken care of by them. I need to post a picture of the Melonhead boys' hair now. It's unique. And I've helped them koolaid dye their hair. Skinny & the Melonheads all did that with really cool success. There were red, orange and yellow heads on those guys.

      And -thanks - it's a favorite picture of ours, too.

    2. Shoot, I knew this was going to happen. Writing can come off wrong. I meant I LOVE, LOVE your thoughts about girls. Im sure there are many things we disagree on - less than I had originally thought before I got to know you better - but this ain't one of them. I believe kids should be raised as individuals and not have specific expectations of them - just as boys should. I was a huge Tom boy growing up and even though it was far from norm, I appreciated my mom fiercely protecting my right to be me. But considering I only have a boy to raise, I am speaking from only theoretical. I can tell you if Finn wanted a doll or easy bake oven, I would be totally cool with that.
      - you'll have to forgive my grammar/spelling. Typing on my phone is frustrating!!

    3. Ha! Cool 'nuf for me!
      I think you'll be surprised by lots of things you read here. This could be mighty interesting.

  2. very good! We often read books like that too yet, our daughters were both so different from each other. One fit better into those attributes than the other.
    The youngest was always out doing whatever dad was doing and we let her, didn't try to stop that. She is married today and is very feminine, yet in a non girly girl type way. (if I can use that term without offending anyone. :) ) Loves outdoors, horse back riding, not afraid to play with frogs or other "critters". You just can't categorize every girl.
    Our oldest loved all things Jane Austen and fit into the tea party kind of girl. So glad we had two different kinds. Might have gotten boring...

    1. Exactly! I like the variation that is designed into each child. We really look forward to seeing how all these girls work out their interests as a female and how they work them out as women. It was so freeing to realize all that!

      And you don't have to worry about offending here. Say what you want as if you are talking to me. If someone else is offended by our conversation, they can talk to me about what they 'overheard' or just scroll away and not 'listen'.

      But I want to hear what each of you think if you have something to say. It will be SO much more interesting!

  3. I love this! Your style of writing is very easy to read, and I really enjoy your descriptions of your kids. Fun to see the person behind the screen name. I'm joychild24seven from WTM back in the day. Now I'm mama to two girls - 1.5 and 2.5 years old and they defy every norm and expectation I've ever heard! Anyway, great blog!

    1. Hi! Great to hear from you again! Thanks for stopping in and visiting.
      You are very right. Children are amazing!

  4. Hey you, just saying that I'm enjoying your blog! :)

  5. This made me nod in agreement - but not just because I'm raising girls - but because our "women's ministry" is so focused on one kind of woman (ie one type of girl) that I haven't gone to an event in over 2 years. Just no time or desire for tea parties and group hugs. (I'm not making this stuff up.) I don't mind those in women's ministry but I wish I could get them to understand that geek women, 4-H women, and us independent learner types in general are not a "broken" kind of woman/girl.

    1. Totally believe you aren't making that up! Oy - it was SO frustrating for us. I would say "oh, just go show them with your life that you can be the kind of woman you are and not be _broken_ at all!" but I know about how crazy that can be. Sometimes it's just not the hill to die on.

      Eh. When you are happy and have joy, it will show. That's more appealing than a program or event anyway. Your girls (and the girls/women you meet & influence) will see that.

      And _that_ women's ministry is the most effective that there is. Sure beats a tea party in my book.