Misfit parent, Queen Bee child

I never went through a phase where I tried to fit in with my peers. I knew I was different and I embraced it. I grew up with a bunch of kids whose dads were engineers and whose moms had MFAs but stayed home, or were in law school. My father only went to school until he was 11, when he became an apprentice carpenter. My mother dropped out of Our Lady of Perpetual Sorrow High School to take a secretarial course rather than finish reading Great Expectations. Aside from that, I went to school with a bunch of kids whose families came over on the Mayflower, and I was the child of immigrants. My friends all had one sibling (or none), I had four. We were different, and I loved it.

In my more self-conscious and painfully awkward years, I worked very hard at being different. I had a tragically classic Flock of Seagulls style hairdo when I was 13, and I had a mohawk when I was 16. I enjoyed my status as a misfit.

Sio is a misfit of sorts - she is a lovely person, friendly and kind, and everyone seems to like her, but she definitely marches to the beat of her own drum, and always has. I am more in tune with the music her peers are listening to than she is. She wears neat twinsets and skirts, and looks like a librarian while her peers are millimeters away from exposing pubes every time they move. It's all good - I can cope with this. I am comfortable with supporting her choices, because I can relate to not wanting to be the same as everyone else.

But Monkey is very aware of what is cool, and she wants to fit in. I can't buy clothes for her, because she needs to try things on to determine whether they are "cool" or "lame". She asks for Bratz dolls, and wants to listen to {sob}Hillary Duff and Lindsey Lohan. (She'll listen to actual music, too, but she wants to make sure she's also listening to what her peers are listening to.) I feel a knee-jerk reaction to dismiss her desires to fit in, because I just don't get it, quite honestly. But I guess it's a choice she's making. As long as I keep my influence, I will let her have a Bratz doll, and I won't make a big deal.

But I draw the line at Hillary Duff. She can listen to it at her friend's house, but not under my roof!

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