My Two-Year-Old Wants to “Look Cool.” Isn’t It Too Soon for That?
I frequently have very entertaining conversations with my 2-year-old, but last week, one caused me to stop in my tracks.
We were having the typical, “Get your shoes on…please stop messing around…let’s get going now…I need you to put your shoes on,” conversation and she actually did put her shoes on. But when I looked down at her feet, I noticed her little she had taken the strap that is usually around the back of her heel on her Crocs and moved it to sit on top of the shoe.
“Ellie, you have to have the strap behind your heel, so you don’t trip,” I explained, bending down to fix them.
“No, Mom. This looks cool,” she said, just like any 16-year-old would.
Cool? Cool? I just stopped counting her age in months. (At 24-months we can start referring to their age in years, right?) Anyway, where the hell did she learn what cool was? Certainly not from yours truly because, despite the fact that there may have been a tiny bit of coolness in my life and my wardrobe before Ellie joined my life, I will tell you that that is certainly not the case now. Unless wearing yoga pants, and t-shirts with holes in them is cool.
Then I remembered that she was recently moved up from the toddler room, to the 3-5 year old room in her school, 6 months shy of actually being 3 – because “she was exhibiting boredom with the activities in the toddler room.” Do 3, 4 and 5-year-olds know what cool is? I thought it was bad enough that she had claimed the color blue as her favorite color, meaning that she has to have something blue on anytime we leave the house and that tells me when she wants to wear a skirt, or pants, or her rain boots on a 90 degree sunny day, or that she asked me not to wear my pajamas to drop her off at school because, “Jammies are for night night time”…but cool? Cool takes a nuanced (and subjective) understanding of fashion…and I just didn’t think this would all happen so fast.
It literally feels like overnight, my little baby turned into…a big kid. And although there is nothing terribly wrong with her wanting to be cool (other than the fact that doing so in this instance will make her trip in her shoes), the tiny comment, did something in my big heart that made me really pause.
So much of this crazy thing we call parenting is fleeting. And I definitely want my daughter to grow up, and be independent and have a great sense of belonging, and learn how to contribute something great to this world – all with my guidance and love and support. And I know that establishing a sense of self is part of that. But wow. I just had no idea that this would all happen so quickly.
As for the shoes and the heel straps, well she took two steps while wearing them the “cool way”, tripped and realized that Mom was right, and changed them back so the straps hook around her heel.
Which gave me a little bit of solace. For the time being.