Mum wrote a very open, public letter to the “inconsiderate stranger” who criticised her four-year-old daughter’s haircut.
The American mum, Terri Peters, is a writer for TODAY.com and the Huffington Post — and her letter has now gone viral.
Terri chose to stay calm at the time, explaining: “We have a doll to pay for, so we stand in line and make small talk with you until we’ve finished paying.”
Terri writes that as she and her young daughter waited to pay for a new toy, a woman decided to make small talk, including “what a beautiful doll” and “which princess is that?”.
“She [her daughter] looks at you with her silly, friendly attitude on display and says, ‘Rapunzel!’ And then, you look at my perfect little girl and say, ‘Well, her long hair is so pretty. You would be that pretty, too, if you had long hair.’”
“Before you decided to tell my daughter that she could be beautiful — like a princess — if only she’d grow her hair long, I wish you’d taken a minute to think about your words. The truth is, you do not know my child. You do not know that she cried every day when I brushed her long hair, leaving both of us frustrated and in bad moods.”
“You do not know that last summer she and I got matching bob haircuts and she loved hers. Then this fall, when she started ballet, she desperately wanted to wear her hair in a crocheted bun holder, leading me to tell her if she grew it out and was very patient through all of the hair-brushing, she’d be able to by recital time in the spring.
“You did not see how proud she was when she wore her hair in a bun for her dance recital, nor did you hear the excitement in her voice when it was over and she asked me, ‘Can I get my hair cut short again now?’
“You did not watch her sit still — and be very well-behaved for a four-year-old — while she got her new haircut. You definitely did not watch her look at herself in the mirror and smile when it was finished because she was so happy with her new look.”
This rude stranger could have easily undone all of Terri’s hard work, with the mum admitting that it made her feel “like you punched me in the stomach, because who says that to a child?”
She added: “On the walk to the car, my daughter says to me, ‘Mommy, I wish they would have had a princess doll with short hair like me.’ And so, I tell my daughter that all kinds of hair are beautiful, just as all kinds of people are beautiful. I explain that sometimes people say things without understanding how those things sound to others, and that you were not saying she wasn’t beautiful — only that Rapunzel had pretty, long hair. But then I ask her, ‘Do you remember what happens at the end of Rapunzel’s movie [Tangled]? What does her hair look like?’
“I get giggles from the back seat as she says, ‘Short and brown like me!’”
Thankfully, it seems Terri undid any of the damage on this journey home with the inspiring Rapunzel story — but the woman’s unnecessary comment was still left ingrained in her mind.
She finished: “I’m sure you didn’t mean to insinuate that my daughter was not beautiful. You were just making conversation with a very cute little girl in the same check-out line as you. But please, in the future, speak with more caution to the little girls you meet. Children soak up everything, even the voices their mommas wish they could shield them from.”
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