Go Ask Mom

Go Ask Mom

Sloane Heffernan: Outside the lines

Posted January 13, 2014

I am the first to admit that I like things a certain way. I am the type of person who follows the instructions and I've always been the type who prefers to color inside in the lines.

So, when I discovered my three-year-old daughter painting her toe nails with hot pink nail polish without supervision, I nearly screamed!

First of all, I have no idea how she managed to get the tiny bottle open. My husband always jokes that our kids would never survive in the wild because they can't even open a granola bar without help. Painted pink

Needless to say, my resourceful toddler not only managed to open the bottle, but she had hot pink polish over her tiny feet.

Normally, I would have made a mad dash for the nail polish remover, while lecturing my daughter about making "good choices." However, she looked so darn proud of herself and so happy that it somehow stopped me in my tracks.

I was fascinated by the fact that the "mess" on her feet didn't bother her at all. I thought of my oldest son who never liked to finger paint or play in the mud because it was "too messy." I couldn't help but wonder if it was his nature or my nurturing that made him that way. Pink toes

So, with that in mind, I sat down with my pint size esthetician (after removing her from our cream rug, of course) and simply observed.

For once, staying inside the lines didn't matter. How could it, when the lines don't exist in her mind. I even gave in and got my own messy manicure. It's the best one I've ever had. 

Sloane is a reporter and anchor for WRAL-TV and the mom of three. She writes monthly for Go Ask Mom.


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  • 123skipjack Jan 15, 2014

    Sloane the yuppy...Please tell me WRAL does not pay you for this yuppy dribble?

  • 4.13 Jan 15, 2014

    It's great that you backed off. You will be amazed at the things you will learn from your children when you stop trying to make them a smaller and younger version of you.

  • TimeWillTell Jan 15, 2014

    Good choice. I am now in my 60s; was always an outdoor kid growing up. One of the best days of my then-nine-year-old life was when I traveled far "afield" with other neighborhood kids, going farther into the woods than we had ever gone. Saw some really cool stuff, had a great time as a group. Then I got home. My mother raised all manner of hades because she didn't know where I was. I understand her concern now, but, remembering how that day and countless others (even as I approached adulthood) were ruined by her obsession with controlling everything, I can tell you that you absolutely did the right thing when you realized your daughter was proud of her accomplishment! She may not remember this as an adult, but I gaurantee you that she will remember every time you ignore or criticize thoughts and events important to her instead of listening to understand.

  • Huey Jan 14, 2014

    She's at that "cute as a button" age so stuff like that is just natural. Glad you got the photos. Our three are in their 40's now but we still remember the funny things they did while growing up.

  • mcorson2 Jan 14, 2014

    sometimes ya gotta let them do there thing!) but agree get her off the cpt.:)

  • Obamacare prevails again Jan 14, 2014

    They have granola bars in the wild?