We walked around Manhattan, sang real songs and made up songs, watched The Powerpuff Girls (I still have VHS tapes—yes, VHS tapes—of the PPGs I'd bought for Balthazar years ago), and we laughed, a LOT.
We battled balloons, we swung around and got dizzy, we had tickle attacks, we played Shipwreck (in which I was the boat and rocked the girls into a bad storm at sea) and Airplane (in which I was the plane and they "flew" on the soles of my bare feet), we took tumbles, and we ate cupcakes.
I bought them each three books and none of them were about princesses. I quizzed them on stuff. I tried to comment on how pretty they were only once a day. If I told them they were cute, I also told them they were smart and strong.
You see where I'm going with this, peeps?
Though The Powerpuff Girls were made of "sugar, spice, and everything nice," the scientist who created them in his laboratory inadvertently mixed in some Chemical X. This is what gave the PPGs their super powers. And their super powers, in turn, give them the assurance that they can handle any monster who crosses their path, even when they're scared.
My sister, cousin, and I weren't given any Chemical X when we were kids. We were taught to be obedient, quiet, and above all, never to engage in behavior that could be considered ugly.
Well, funk that noise.
Let's teach our girls to be courteous, yes, and polite, and respectful. But let us also teach them to be messy. Let's show them how fun it is to get some dirt under their fingernails, as well as how pretty those nails can look with a few coats of polish. Let's teach our girls to be loud, when it's warranted. Let's teach them to run fast, kick balls, and swing bats.
Let's challenge our girls, rather than make things easy for them. Let's allow them to take a few falls and then show them how to get back up again. Let's talk to them about farts, and snot, and toe cheese.
Let's show them that clothes come in a wide spectrum of colors, not just pink. And let them know it's totally cool to prefer pink, too. Let them know they have options.
Let's give our girls some Chemical X and empower them to be whatever they want to be, not what someone tells them to be, or what they think they should be. Let them know they can just be, and that that is enough.