Sugar & Spice & BOATLOADS OF AWESOME!

I'm inspired by my little girl. Honestly, I'm inspired by both my kids--and cool people in general--but there's something special about watching someone become "who they are" throughout their lifetime and my little girl was here first.

I get to watch her explore her world, point out the beauty and ask the questions we forgot were out there, discover the things that make sense and the things that don't make any sense at all and ask "Why?" or come up with her own answers that make sense to her. She is 100% her own person and I'm the one privileged enough to be called her "Mommy" for the ride. So maybe I'm attuned to awesome little girls--they inspire and delight me, reawakening that wonder and magic I remember and giving me a much-needed wake-up call to the incredible world around me. In their eyes, life is sparkly and juicy and possible. There are other little girls who blow my mind as well and when I discover their stories, I want to share then with everybody, which, on a blog, I can do. So without further ado, here are some *really* awesome little girls who kick my inspirational tush into gear:

Mayhem Dress

Via The May Sue, "Mayhem" is a budding fashionista who takes no prisoners. Her dresses are made from paper and foil, tape and tissue, and are inspired and inspiring so much so that I spent a good half hour simply checking out all of her designs and grinning like an idiot. Her mom, Angie, credits her little designer with most of the work and I love her quote: “if we can find it laying around the house and it’s pliable, it’s fair game.” THAT is creativity set on high and I love the heck out of it. Check out her Instagram and be blown away by the awesome!

An old favorite of mine, which I come back to time and again, is the young abstract painter, Aelta Andre, who I first saw videos of as a tiny girl in a splattered tutu standing on a canvas at least four times bigger than her as her parents watched her paint (as they are both artists themselves) but seeing and hearing how Aelta describes her need to paint was so moving, that I kept returning to the films, watching her art develop as she grew from age 4. She paints by dancing, clapping her hands, spraying paint and glitter over doll faces and toys. "I love painting," she says, "I am going to paint for twenty-four hours" and "I will dance and dance!" And she does.

And then, of course, there is my own little girl whom a friend dubbed "the Pigtailed Overlord" and it stuck. While I manage to squirrel away some of her quotes on my Twitter, 140 characters utterly fails to capture the awesome that is this kid. Allow me to share an example: somewhere in preschool, my daughter managed to lock onto the fact that hand washing was supposed to kill germs and keep her body healthy. She came home wanting to know what germs looked like and what is in our body that fights them off. My husband showed her a YouTube video of a white blood cell eating a macrophage. I got her some Magic School Bus books and videos. Something clicked in that little brain and she *ran with it* inhaling anything having to do with the human body, specifically the immune system, more specifically the lymphatic system and auto-immune diseases. She became fascinated and furious about Hepatitis C, AIDS and MRSA. She wanted to do nothing more than go to the Science Center or see the Bodies Revealed exhibit, even as a wee thing. Grandpa helped build a lab in her basement. We brought her out of state to hands-on science labs. She'd fall asleep reading The Human Body Encyclopedia in bed. She began asking for Giant Microbe plushies for her birthday. (No joke, her bed is festooned with these things and looks like a darling biohazard state of emergency.)

Sarah the scientist

One day I was cleaning (I know--most likely I was avoiding some tough scene in a book) when she indignantly waved the Lysol can in front of me with a scowl on her face.

"It's wrong!" she cried.
"What?" I asked innocently from my dust-smeared crouch on the floor.
"This says that [X] is a bacteria, but it's a VIRUS!" (Honestly, I can't remember which one it was, but she was really upset about it. Her pigtails were in a twist.)
"Let's go check," I said and left the floor half-finished, opened up my computer and we Googled it. She was right.
"Well," said I, reasonably. "Why don't you write and tell them?" I clicked open Lysol.com, went to the Contact page and invited her to write and explain what was wrong, which she did, hunting and pecking keys with her two forefingers. When she was done, I added a little note at the end that the following was written by a six year old and that I was her mother and trying to support her interest in the sciences and if they knew of any resources, I'd greatly appreciate them! We pushed send. I gave her ice cream.

Okay, so they didn't write back, but 1-2 years later as I was cleaning again (see: most likely avoiding something else), the Pigtailed Overlord ran up to me again, this time beaming triumphant.

"I was RIGHT! They changed it! See?"

And, in fact, the error had been corrected. I can't say that it was her who did it, but you never know. And the fact that she saw herself as capable of making changes in the world around her was not a bad thing...although it inspired her to try and make a "super bug" for her science fair project that year and I had to explain that it's not nice to create potentially hazardous biological terrorist organisms and that she should always use her powers for good. She said, "Yes, Mommy" quite contritely and asked if we could bake oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. I considered it a fair compromise.

Honestly, thank goodness for little girls!

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