Friday, May 2, 2008

Getting Crafty

I didn't really know I had it in me, but over the course of a few days, I've become a hot glue gun junkie.

The other morning, I visited Erin Largoza and the kids played together while she showed me her latest obsession, making hair clips for her unborn daughter. After having two (beautiful) sons, she is expecting a girl and she's very hip on the idea of another female in the house. She had her supplies out and was tinkering with how to make it all work and what ribbon and buttons to pair together to make the cutest clips. She had a few already made and she made a couple while we visited. Harper left her house that morning with an Erin Largoza original hair clip in her hair, a very cute one with a blue flower on it. Harper wore the clip all day and I admired it, and then in the evening we had the Clark family over. Katia complimented Harper's clip and it occurred to me that I could make them, too!

So while I composed my own designs, I sat there thinking, why had I resisted this crafty concept? I concluded that I hadn't jumped at the idea because it feels so out of my personality to be buying ribbon and buttons, browsing the scrapbooking section of the craft stores. It feels like another kind of mom, inconsistent with the dirt under my fingernails. Since the only jewelry I wear consistently is my wedding ring and the bobby pin in my hair, I don't think of myself as particularly girly and I suppose I was thinking of the hair clips as a girly, feminine thing-- fun and attractive, but completely unnecessary. (Yikes, is that what "girly" conjures for me?) Added to the inherent girliness of the clips themselves was the girliness of the act of making clips as well: taking the luxurious time out to create something beautifying.

Irresistable side note: I remember when I read The Great Gatsby in high school, E's favorite book, and the character Daisy described what kind of daughter she wanted her little one to be-- a "beautiful little fool". As frightening as this was to conceive, that a mother would want her daughter to be nothing more than a shell of a person, existing for others' pleasure rather than her own, the sentiment mirrored my own conceptions about beauty and smarts: that they are incompatible. I realize I am entering into murky feminist territory here, where there is much to say and I really don't want to flesh it all out... I merely want to point to the fact that I have focused rather on my brain than my face. (No judgment here for the face-focusers. Ok, maybe a little.)

I guess what I'm trying to say is that I realized this week that I could be girly and submit to my visions of cute hair clips for my daughter, beautifying her without making her into a fool. Truth be told, I do want Harper to be beautiful. In fact, I think she already is and it's something about her that I appreciate. And beauty doesn't have to just be for the benefit of others. I think Harper will someday enjoy her own beauty (if I don't mess her up with some complex and society's definitions don't impose too much). And as for her mind, she's already proven to be a smart girl. She's two and a half and reading. We spend time learning together, more time than we do slipping clips into her hair.

And so I reconciled my concerns about beauty and brains: that both Harper and I could spend a little more time on the girly, fun beauty stuff like flowery clips and grograin ribbon and that doesn't lessen our smarts or tenacity, strength or cleverness. It simply means we can be beautiful and smart. Why not put the cherry on top?


Ethan said...

First of all, though my wife may not feel she spends time beautifying herself, she is in fact gorgeous.

Secondly, The Great Gatsby can lick my @$$ - not my favorite book. I know that flies in the face of convention, but sorry, just not a fan.

And finally, I submit that reading can be just as "girly" as clip-making, if not more so.

I love the brilliant girly girls in my life.

Danielle said...

How can reading be gendered?

Ethan said...

I'm not saying it's gendered, I'm implying that it is not, or more specifically, it is not not-girly.

Danielle said...

I'm just curious about your "if not more so" - I'm picturing girly-reading. I like it.

Ethan said...

Well, I'm willing to go out on a limb and say that the Babysitter's Club is decidedly girly.

Deb said...

These clips are adorable! I think the monkey and bananas are my favorite. I'm glad I found your blog through Ethan's! (I'm also excited to know I may see you on American Idol! You have our votes here in FL!)