Tender-Petaled, with Firm Roots.

By: Jen Shoop

*In the photo above, mini is wearing Oso and Me and a Wee Ones bow — the grosgrains match perfectly.

She does not negotiate:

Everything must happen on her own terms, in her own time,

A tortoise who cannot be provoked out of her shell,

Who prefers warming in the sun on her own anyhow.

But when she is ready, she turns sylphid, radiant and confident as she skips across the trampoline with untrammeled joy.

An errant misstep at the end sent onlooking adults into exclamation points,

And she came searching for me, throwing her arms around my waist, burying her face into my skirt,

As though blotting the world out, her lips a thin and resolute line.

This age — just-five — feels almost unbearably vulnerable. All young children are, but she is just old enough now to float her own ham-fisted comedic retorts and trot across the balance beam without my spotting her, and these green confidences feel ill-at-ease with her persistent belief that her stuffed animals whisper secrets. I watch her drink in the world and admire her instinct and will to retreat from it when it is not to her liking. Like me, she is prone to glee, but watchful, circumspect. I see in her, too, my husband’s openness to joy, and also his stubbornness.

She is the tip of our twining stem:


with firm roots.


+Things I love about my daughter.

+Our children are how we keep time.

+Ah, the emotional whiplash of parenting: sometimes you think you have a fish on the end, but it’s a big fat whale.

+Long days of parenting. (Just to keep it real.)

+My daughter is my other heartbeat.

+Another essay on watching my daughter grow.

Shopping Break.

+Gifts for little girls.

+Another Target score! This fits that utility-chic trend I wrote about last week perfectly.

+Speaking of utility, some boring but important home buys.

+Have been hearing good things about this nail enhancer as a fallback when you’re between manicures.

+Love Weezie’s newest zig-zag-trim towels.

+Forgot to include this J. Crew gem in my earlier assessment of their excellent new arrivals.

+Ended up ordering this dress. It was too good. Those sleeves!

+LOVE these cameo and pearl earrings.

+Absolutely adore the pattern on this skirt.

+Micro wore these pants to a birthday party over the weekend and I lost track of how many moms to young boys asked where they were from! So hard to find fun but sophisticated patterns for little men!

+More cute spring finds for little ones.

+The pants we all want to be wearing this season. Along with these.

+Neely and Chloe just launched a cute line of bags with Dondolo.

+I have been eyeing these MME Mink bags for awhile now but wanted to mention you can get the look for less with this!

+Aren’t these journals beyond gorgeous?! Fits snugly within the aesthetic of my recent post on desktop/paper finds.

+These tie dye wee steps are adorable.


+Kule makes GREAT sweatshirts. Sort of slim-fit but not too snug. They wash well, too. Love this one.

+These deals seem to disappear with no rhyme or reason but as of the time of writing this post, Green Toys were heavily marked down here, some over 50% off! I bought a few things for my gift closet, including this submarine, which I know my own son would love to play with in the bath. How cute is this pastel dump truck?!

+These CHIC raffia shoes are on super sale.

+In case your bathroom needs a little facelift.

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6 thoughts on “Tender-Petaled, with Firm Roots.

  1. Love this reflection. I was talking with a friend who has a son of a similar age and she was joking about a parental desire to think of a small child as a “mood board” of sorts- a blank slate onto which you can project your own preferences, wishes, desires- but then they hit this 5 year old stage, start to really come into their own as people, and it’s like, “HA what was I thinking, this is an entirely separate and autonomous human being!” And it’s so fun to watch themselves start to reveal who they are.

    1. Loveee that label! Have been eyeing several of the pieces from their newest collection. That shirt dress looks like a dream!


  2. Love this reflection. I’m feeling it keenly. That confidence and vulnerability, glee and watchfulness in this age. I hear it in my 4yr old daughter’s “morning voice” when she bosses her little brother around in the morning as we get ready for school. In the silent hand squeeze she gives me when we are walking in a crowd- squeeze 3 times to say “I love you”. Still in awe that she is mine sometimes.

    1. “squeeze 3 times to say “I love you”” — so sweet. I know, it can be out-of-body, sometimes? Thanks for sharing, Teri!


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