Designer Daughters

By Angeline Ruston 2019-12-11 14:39:41

Last week a friend picked me up for another Shanghai Tai-Tai adventure. As I stepped into their perfectly polished luxury leather vehicle, spotting the array of randomly placed Disney Frozen stickers of Elsa, Anna, and Snowmen across the car's dashboard, I was reminded that no matter how shiny things may seem on the outside, we are all on this same crazy parenting journey together.

When most people move house, they normally have a small budget for minor repairs such as removing nails from the wall, filling in a few holes and maybe even a carpet clean. But my husband and I have a budget specifically for removing pink, purple, and turquoise glittery STICKERS that have been creatively placed on the walls, doors and floors all throughout our house. Although, unfortunately, some of these the adornments (and few doodles) have become permanent fixtures to our family, like the glitter glue etchings on our solid oak kitchen table, or the "Stuck-On-You" labels on the matching handcrafted sideboard.

Yet, even with these annoying little decorations, I still try to encourage our girls to be creative and make sure that there is always a stash of paper, paints, and crayons to harness their inner expression. After, I dutifully frame their finished artworks to decorate the walls of their playroom. It is such a delight to see the girls beam with pride and purpose as their framed drawings go up. It also helps me track their developmental milestones. Although I do think that my four year-old and five and a half year-old may have stayed in the very messy, very tactile, “paint, pat and smear with fingers and hands” phase for a bit longer than the experts and books suggest!

When a true masterpiece is eventually produced, it is this Mum’s turn to smile in pride and wonder, as a memory, an emotion, and a moment in time, are forever captured in a single, innocent painting. “This one is mine,” I think to myself, “And it is definitely going up in our bedroom!”

Their artistic expression is not just limited to paints and paper. Juliette, our oldest, announced the other day that she wants to be an artist.

“Mummy, I just love rainbows and colours and pens and glitter. I want to be a designer.”

Ok, I think to myself and carefully clarify, in the attempt to subtly mold her future.

“People who design houses are called architects.”

“No Mumma, I want to be an artist!”

Oh dear! Let's be honest, we all secretly hope that our children will follow a career that can be more financially rewarding than personally satisfying.. but never mind. It was only last week her career ambitions had been to become a doctor; so things may yet change. Thinking on the possibility that my husband and I might have a nice future retirement, I offer another career suggestion.

“A fashion designer perhaps?” I say.

“YES!!” comes a unanimous cheer from both the girls.

“Let’s play dress up…” and they rush upstairs.

An hour later, upstairs is nothing short of a bomb site. My bathroom counter is strewn with make up, and my cupboards have been raided. Piles of clothes, bags, and shoes lay in random havoc. It is a disaster… Except for the two smiling, happy painted faces.

“Don’t I look beautiful?” Juliette asks. “I definitely want to be a fashion designer…”

“Me too!” pipes up young Isabella, as she walks (wobbles) in my high heels towards the mirror. And as she twirls around, she adds “Or maybe a ballerina…”

I like the sound of that!