Friday, May 28, 2010

The girly girl toughens up

Natalie is a girly girl. She wears a dress everyday, often with sparkle shoes, and she sings princess songs to herself while twirling around to make her skirt fly out.

I may have contributed to this by painting her toes, buying all those dresses and generally being quite a girly girl myself. Yet I will unhesitatingly grab for a lizard in the backyard. Natalie recoils.

I wasn't always girly. As a child I was short-haired and scabby, got into fights and spent a lot of time outside in my snowfort, or in the tree in front of our second floor duplex, watching my mother watch television inside. One day on the stairs at school, a passing girl asked: "Are you a boy or a girl?"

But a few years later the boobs came, and with them the boys, and that was the end of that.

Because I think Natalie is so girly and because she doesn't get much exercise at school and because I worry she suffers from Nature-Deficit Disorder, I have decided to act.

Last Sunday was the day. We'd join our friend Donna on her trip to a small, backyard farm to buy free-range eggs. The farm also has baby chicks, goats and bunnies. "Less of an ick factor," Donna said, comparing them to lizards. And then, Tony and I would take Natalie on her first hike.

Natalie was excited for the farm, even obediently changing out of her dress into pants for the trip.

As we made our way to the goats, Natalie asked "What smells, Mama?" And to emphasize her disgust, she pinched her nose.

She wasn't interested in petting this cute little kid.

And wouldn't even offer a finger to stroke this two-day-old bunny's head.

"Look at Aiden," I told her. Aiden lives at this farm. But his example didn't mean much to Natalie.

I don't have any pictures of Natalie because she was never in the same frame as the animals, but rather wrapped around my thigh or holding her nose.

But here she is safely back in the comfort of our good-smelling home with the eggs we bought.

After a lunch of curried egg salad sandwiches and a nap, it was time for Phase Two. I had prepared for this with the purchase of new hiking shoes for Natalie. Of course I made sure there was some pink involved. Cute, right? She totally dug them.

We chose Cowles Mountain for our inaugural hike. It's close to home and a mile to the top, where on a clear day you can see for miles. I kept my expectations low: 20 minutes up?

She was timid at first, unsure of her steps, as she clutched Tony's hand and mine.

But slowly, she began to let go.

And enjoy the view.

We climbed about a third of the way up, and took a break for a snack. We'd made it much farther than I had hoped we would.

And then Natalie said, as she often does when she tires of something: "Mama? I go now."

So we brushed off the crumbs from the pretzels, took another swig of water, and then, something magical happened.

Natalie led the way back down.


  1. Love the pictures! A couple more hikes and you guys will be ready to move to Colorado! You could quit your job, eat goldfish crackers and wine with me and take our kids hiking. Wouldn't that be fun? :-)

  2. Kymn, I'd do goldfish crackers and wine with you any day!

  3. Love those shoes! Dad