I've now said this phrase to my daughter twice in the last 24 hours, which gives me pause. I did not want to be the kind of mother who would say that, and hearing those words pass my lips was sobering.
The first time, at least, I had the force of regulation on my side: no matter how much The Girl wants to play on Thing Two's Little League baseball team, baseball is boys-only in this league and she can't. The girls play in a separate softball league. (She's also two years too young for his team, but who's counting? This kid is tough and she wants to be with her brother in all things.)
The second time was a bit different, though.
She and I were talking about sleepovers at friends' houses this evening, for some reason. Thing One had his first sleepover when he was not much older than she is now. She asked if she'd be allowed to stay overnight at a friend's house this year, and I said no, which did not go over well.
Like I said, I did not want us to be those parents who had a double standard. But for some reason, the thought of my daughter staying overnight anywhere other than her own bed (or at relatives' houses) gives me a whopping case of the heebie-jeebies at this stage of the game, in a way that it did not for her elder brother. The double standard is alive and well in the world, sadly.
But at least her brothers are older than she is. I remember being highly annoyed at my parents, way back in the mists of time when I was in high school, for allowing my brother (three and a half years younger) to do things I NEVER would have been allowed to do at his age! Their comment was that they weren't worried so much about what I would do, but more about what would happen to me, because I was female and he wasn't.
And I have to say that I am applying similar reasoning to The Girl's situation with sleepovers. I don't think she'll do anything inappropriate at someone else's house, far from it. It's what could happen to her that would keep me awake all night worrying. I know that at some point I will need to learn to let go a little, but I am so not ready for that yet. My baby and my only girl is a bad combination!