Daddy learned a hard lesson last night. The girls were tired and a bit under the weather. They were getting ready for bed. I was in the bathroom brushing teeth and he was in the bedroom helping them put on pajamas and brushing their hair.
He was talking to the blond twin when she started crying, loudly. By the time she ran from her bedroom to the bathroom, she could hardly even speak. She was wailing and shaking. It took a bit, but I finally realized what happened.
The blond twin, who adores her father, asked him if she was pretty. Somehow the question of whether or not she was prettier than his sisters entered the conversation. What my husband didn't realize is that when your daughter asks if she's pretty, the only answer is "the prettiest girl in town." I don't care if you are standing next to a supermodel. When your daughter asks if she's pretty, the answer is always that in your eyes she's prettier than anyone else.
It's not that he has to lie to her. What he's saying is he thinks his daughters are the prettiest girls in the world. Isn't that what every little girl wants to hear?
In our case -- since we have twin daughters -- we qualify that a bit to keep the peace. I always tell the blond twin that she's the prettiest blond girl, and I tell the brunette twin that she's the prettiest brown-haired girl around. One thing about having two girls is you need to make sure it's always even.
In Daddy's case, he learned the correct answer the hard way. The blond twin -- a child who hangs on Daddy's every word, who insists that her paper napkin matches Daddy's at every meal, a child lovingly called the drama queen -- is not the child who should receive a politically correct answer. When she asked if she was prettier than his sisters, he replied something to the effect of "you are all pretty." While this is the nice, correct, won't start a fight in the family answer, it is not the answer a little girl needs to her from her Daddy. What she needs to hear is "You are the prettiest little girl."
I shot him a look and loudly said, "Baby, Daddy didn't mean you aren't pretty. What he means is that all of you are pretty, but you're his girl. Of course he thinks you are pretty."
She wasn't convinced. She stood in the bathroom in full drama queen mode --crying, shaking, and hyperventilating. Nothing he said made her feel better.
Daddy started back-pedaling. He started telling her that she was the prettiest little girl, but she wasn’t convinced. At one point he was clearly annoyed that he had to keep telling her than she was his pretty, blond-haired girl. He had that edge in his voice like, "aren't we done yet."
I had to keep myself from laughing at him. He wasn't quite sure what went wrong, but it clearly went wrong. I just looked at him and said, "No more golf for you buddy. You're going to have to save that money to pay for therapy when she grows up."
I'm not sure he was amused, but I am sure he knows the right answer to the question now. Somehow I think his sisters will understand if he tells the girls they are the prettiest girls he knows.