My Dirt and Worms Certified Princess

When I was pregnant, after the initial excitement and first time mommy fears started to settle; I began to dream of having a little girl. I saw myself putting pretty bows in her hair, having tea parties with animal crackers, painting our nails: all of the girly things that were sure in my mind to create a strong mother-daughter relationship.

So when it was confirmed I was, in fact, having a GIRL, you can say I was over the moon.

All the excitement of planning a future with my daughter quickly consumed me. Her father and I bought pretty dresses, fun headbands, and booties. I read my cliche What to Expect When You are Expecting book and fantasized at what fun a little girl would bring to our lives!

Once my daughter was finally here, my heart was full. Between the snuggles, sleepless nights, and never-ending diaper changes, I adored her. Everywhere we went together people cooed and ahhed at how beautiful she was in her cute outfits with matching hair pieces. I sometimes found myself impatient for the days we would spend hours dressing her dolls up and baking cupcakes in the kitchen.

Then it began to sink in..

Around the age of one, I was beginning to realize I did not have a “girly girl” on my hands. If there was dirt, my daughter was digging in it. Where there were bugs, she was inspecting them. All those pretty bows I had purchased? Ripped from her hair the second I put them in.

To some children summer might mean countless hours spent outside in the warm weather, or days spent swimming in the pool. For my wild child, it meant shoes were not an option, all BUGS must be given hugs (even spiders and worms!), and of course running through the sprinkler was best accompanied by a patch of dirt that could easily become a mud slip’n’slide!

My Dirt and Worms Certified Princess

At the age of two, she started ballet. She loved putting her tutus and ballerina slippers on, and arabesque-ing her classes away! Those were the rare occasions she would ask for a braid, and even sometimes, a bow in her hair. I started cherishing those moments, and I felt guilty.

My sweet girl did enjoy wearing dresses, just always on her terms. More often than not, though, she stained each new dress by instinctively rolling around in the grass, and almost always face-diving into the paint during art at daycare. She still played with her dolls, only now dinosaurs accompanied those dolls. We did paint our nails and have endless tea parties together. But she also enjoyed stomping in the puddles, without her rain boots on.

I had my dirt and worms certified princess.

It is the best of both worlds. My daughter is quirky, independent, spunky, and full of sass. She wears dress up clothes and waves her fairy wand in true princess fashion. But she also plays football with the neighbor boys and doesn’t let being the only girl stop her.

I’ve come to terms with the idea that my daughter was more than just the ‘girly girl’ I had for so long envisioned. She had edge!

I learned from daughter.

She taught me before she even understood what labels were, that no one had to evolve themselves to the label attached to them. Though she may have been a young girl, that didn’t mean she was only tied down to doing ‘girl’ things. She broke the mold for herself, even the one to which I selfishly assumed she would form.

I could never imagine my daughter any other way. She gives me a run for my money on a daily basis, and might occasionally make me want to rip my hair out (she is a threenager at its finest!). But seeing her so sure of herself, of who she is, I am so proud.

My worm loving, dirt digging little girl may not be the little girl I dreamt of having. But she is far more than I could have ever expected.

So I will splash with dinosaurs in the bathtub. We will sit barefoot in the mud. I will engage in the very activities that entice my daughter’s beautiful little mind. And I will do these things because they make her happy. They make her smile. They make her who she is.


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Carly is a true Iowan, born and raised. She’s a Pinterest fail type of single mom to six year old Stella, who enthusiastically dances to the beat of her own drum. For her day job you’ll find her with a cup of coffee in hand as a secretary at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. After hours, she’s bingeing her true crime podcasts, reading all the books, and having mini JoJo Siwa dance parties with her daughter Stella.