The princess phase gave way to our tomboy phase. We were stuck in tomboy phase up until like last year or something. Tomboy phase is the best. Dolls were sooooo lame. The color pink made us vomit. Honestly, if we saw something pink, our bodies would involuntarily convulse. We wanted short man haircuts. We wanted to wear galoshes 24/7. Make-up was for pansies. Perfume? Uh, no. We wanted to smell like the OUTDOORS! Raw and natural and kind of like bark.
Sure, we had Barbies. Hardcore Army Barbies that fought beside Noah's G.I. Joes. Barbie's convertible was our armored escort vehicle and Barbie needed to lose those long, blonde locks because if she was taken captive, she would surely be sheared. So, we, friendlies, did it for her. Barbie's face may or may not have been melted during combat...a casualty of plastic, non-proportional bodies war.
We did play with My Little Pony, though. I've always loved horses. And we played with Polly Pocket. We had a lot of stuffed animals, like Pound Puppies.
We didn't "play house." We PLAYED FORT! It's amazing what an 8 year old and 10 year old can build with a few nails, vinyl rope, and caution tape. We would use Dad's hatchet and chop down sooooo many trees. Mom and Dad probably never knew how many trees were felled in the woods. I mean, I'm not talking redwoods or anything, but fairly thick ones. We had a lot of forts. We got a lot of cuts and scrapes and bruises. But, it was worth it, because we were explorers. And amazingly, neither of us ever got poison ivy...not once.
We grew up with goats. Ha, that sounds like we were raised by goats. Well, you might have thunk it by the way we ate supper. But no...Dad got us two goats one time as pets. Nubian goats. They're so sweet. One of 'em got pregnant. The next thing you know, we had 14 goats. They were all named after plants or flowers or some kind of berry. Let's see how many I can remember...Blackberry, Strawberry, Lily, Tulip, Blueberry, Almond, Honey, Raisin, Buckeye, Bluebelle...wow, that's all I can remember. Mom made us name them that. Don't blame us. OH, the boy goat was named Mr. Rogers. The goats were super tame...they'd follow you around like dogs. We'd make little satchels for them to carry supplies for us. In return, we'd feed them sugar cubes. We loved those goats.
We climbed a lot of trees. We scaled a lot of barbed-wire fences. We traversed great expanses of wilderness. We were swallowed whole by bottomless canyons and then spit back out on the other side.
For Christmas and birthdays, we didn't ask for pretty jewelry or dress-up clothes or barrettes or princess backpacks. We wanted guns and bows and arrows and knives (all fake, of course) and coonskin hats and tasseled vests and bicycles that looked like motorcycles and Power Wheels four-wheelers. We were survivors. You think a fancy rhinestone barrette is gonna save you in the wild?? NO! But a cap gun or floppy leather knife might.
When Noah, and Peter (when he came along), got old enough to play outside with us, we established the hierarchy of The Great Outdoors pretty quickly. I've mentioned before that we have Native American (Cherokee) relatives. Harper was named after Missouri Jane, my great-great grandmother...a Cherokee Indian. We liked to "play" Indians. Well, one day, the Indians were being oppressed...by me and Sara. Four-year old Noah, an unwilling–but without choice–victim, roamed aimlessly nearby. Underneath the thick-bladed grass of my parents' yard is rich, red clay. My sister and I harvested this clay and, within minutes, Noah transformed into...a completely unrealistic portrayal of our native ancestors. But, he would have to do. RUN, NOAH, RUN!...we told him. From our back pockets we drew our weapons of choice...slingshots...and filled the leather pouches with the perfect projectile...acorns. We got in so much trouble that day. We have a picture of Indian Noah from that day...a ruddy-faced, curly-haired boy with the biggest blue eyes. All you can really see are his eyes, because he's got so much clay caked on his face.
The tomboy wore off after a few years. I'm still not super girly, but I do like certain shades of pink now. And I like sequins and sparkly stuff. I know everybody says this when they have just girls or just boys, but I can't imagine having boys. I am SO excited to go shopping with them one day, but I'm also looking forward to letting them go outside and make mud pies after the rain. If they adore princess stuff, I will buy them everything princess under the sun. If they want to play with Barbie and not cut her hair for war, I will get on the floor to play with them and put on my girliest Southern Belle accent...I do declahre! If they want to decorate their entire room with pink, then...well, we'll talk about that. If they want to play softball like Sara and I did, we will see them at every game. If they want to play outside all day, every day, then I just probably won't buy them any white clothes. If they want to braid hair, put on make-up, and paint toenails all the time, fine by me...I've got plenty of colors to choose from.
I'm just excited to see who they grow up to be...princesses or fort-girls or somewhere in between.