Dad, Am I Pretty? | Ask Your Dad Blog

Monday, June 29, 2015

Dad, Am I Pretty?

“Dad, am I pretty?”

“Yes. You are very pretty.”

“Dad, what does pretty mean?”

“Pretty means a lot of things. In fact, it means different things to different people. It is kind of hard to pin down.”

“How do you know I’m pretty?”

What I wanted to say:

Because I get to see you when you are kind. Because your eyes widen and you smile when you see something you've never seen before. Because your forehead wrinkles when you are thinking really hard about something. Because when you get excited to do something you fling your arms behind you as you run out of the room. Because when I look into your eyes I see your mom, and I am reminded about how much we love each other. Because you climb on things you probably shouldn't climb on. 

You’re pretty when you ask questions. You’re pretty when I answer, and then you ask another question. You’re pretty when you squint in disbelief and say, “Is that real or are you just joking?” You’re pretty when you laugh at my answer.

Your face is pretty when you kiss your brother on the forehead. Your hands are pretty when they reach out to hold mine, when they take things from your mind and put them on paper, and when they take your excitement and transform it into clapped sound. Your arms are pretty when you wrap them around your mom, when you wave them in the air while dancing, and when you lay your head on them while reading. Your legs are pretty when you run and turn and jump and run again. 

You are pretty because you are alive. You are pretty because you are curious. You are pretty because you take the good parts of the world, pull them in through your ears and eyes and mouth and body, and shout them back out to me in action and voice, in everything you do. You’re the prettiest person I know.

What I actually said:

“I just know.”

“Oh! OK! Thanks dad!”

Then you ran off, arms behind you, feet beneath you, eyes open, too young to be worried about pretty, but pretty all the same. So, so pretty. 

Dad, Am I Pretty?



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22 comments:

  1. My daughter asked me that once, and I told her that yes, she was pretty, but so was her brother, and her mom, and even I was pretty, and everyone else in the world was pretty too.

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  2. My daughter will frequently dress up in a costume dress, play jewelry, bows in her hair, and come preening to me asking, "don't I look beautiful?"

    There are times I try to downplay the importance of physical beauty, talk about what's inside that counts, making me kind of a downer for a little girl playing dress-up. So most of the time I just say, "You're always beautiful to me. No matter what." When she presses me on how good she looks for one reason or another, I usually say, "you look very nice," in a "you clean up well," kind of way. But I try to de-emphasize "beautiful" and "pretty" for appearance, and emphasize it, as you do, for decisions and behaviors. Don't know if that's right or wrong, but it's just how I've tried to deal with a little girl's need for validation.

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  3. Absolutely beautiful. And how lucky is she that you took the time to write this down?! We often think so much more than we are capable of saying. Good job, dad.

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  4. Holy crap... and on top of what you wanted to say... she is SO pretty!

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  5. Read this right after I put my 3 year old daughter to bed after one of those nights it seems like all I did was say no and argue... had to go get one more hug! Good stuff, thanks.

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  6. Perfect answer and she is lucky to have you to answer this question again when she is older and able to understand was pretty truly means.

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  7. John Kinnear is a pretty man too, pretty good father. Nicely done.

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  8. Note to self in a couple years.

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  9. Great share! Lovely sentiments dad!

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  10. Love! As a momma to three boys, I think this answer would work just as well for them:)... pretty, when described like that, can be gender neutral:).

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  11. That's beautiful and a great way to explain what pretty is, because pretty really isn't just a physical thing.

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  12. I taught my daughter that pretty has nothing to do with physical looks. Pretty means being nice. So when she is acting out I always ask her is she being pretty. And since she always wants to be pretty, she quickly calms down and fix her attitude.
    Awesome father and great answer.

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  13. true beauty tends to be a product of environment, rather than genes.

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  14. This is such a great post!! Gave it a share, Pretty is so much more than physical appearance, thank you for this!

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  15. What a wonderful thoughtful answer--both the long and short versions. The words are thoughtful, but so was the knowing that the short version is perfect for her age now. The long version is something that she will grow into understanding and will love to hear over and over.

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  16. As the mother of a 3 year old little girl, this post made me so happy. Thank you!

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  17. Good job Dad! Save the long answer for a few years down the road...

    I'm a single parent myself and I'm always looking for insight and help -- which I've found with this new app. https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.eeesolutions.wraskit&hl=en that lets parents connect with each other. Check it out and let me know what you think!

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  18. That was beautiful John. I love when they make the "how do you know" question :D It's alwasy hard to answer...

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