How could I make ladyhood appealing to a toddler who simply thrived on getting muddy, jumping on the trampoline, pretending to be a dinosaur or alligator, and playing with Daddy’s tools?
Ryshoni Joy is almost 2 years old now. Thanks to her big brother, Rysha is one tough little girl. One day when Rysha was only 8 months old (and before I could intervene), Joe roared like a lion right in her face. He intended to frighten her, but to his great surprise, his baby sister opened her mouth and roared right back at him. So fierce was her response, Joe fell backward in alarm.
I used to wonder how I was going to teach her to be a lady. How could I make ladyhood appealing to a toddler who simply thrived on getting muddy, jumping on the trampoline, pretending to be a dinosaur or alligator, and playing with Daddy’s tools? She is so beautiful and feminine in looks, that is, if you deduct the scratches, bruises, and dirt acquired in a ten-minute excursion outdoors. Then, one day, revelation fell on me quite unexpectedly.
I was going through my box of sewing material and dug out a one-yard scrap of blue satin. I tossed it aside to throw away later and heard a gasp of delight. My green-eyed, tomboy tyke was holding it reverently in her dirty, scratched-up hands. She managed to throw it over her head and wrap it around her shoulders like a cape, while murmuring “nice, nice…” under her breath. Her expression and demeanor were completely different for a fleeting moment before she lost her grip on the slippery satin and it slid to the floor. I told her I would “fix it”, and immediately sat down to cut out and sew a floor-length cape with hood and button to fasten it. She stood nearby patiently for half an hour, reverently stroking the shiny satin cloth. At last the royal cape was finished. I wrapped it around my little tomboy and buttoned it closed. Silence fell in the room. A low chuckle emerged from the satin hood, then another and another as Rysha began to twirl and swish and dance.

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“Wow. Rysha is beautiful!” Joe announced with amazement. It wasn’t the 30-minute cloak that was beautiful. It was our Ryshoni. Her very posture and facial poise had changed as she glided around the house like a little princess.
That evening she wanted some of my facial cream and to have her hair brushed. She began to request “pretty dresses” in the morning and laugh with delight when she was “clean and pretty like a lady.”
Most days Ryshoni Joy still likes to run around like the second boy of the family. She is still rambunctious and mischievous. When I need my little “girl” to appear, I get out the magic cape. I don’t mind having a tomboy when the days are sunny, for I rejoice in my spirit, knowing that she most assuredly is a lady in waiting.
Rebekah Anast