bubbaWhy do I need to remind my daughter of all the excellent qualities she possesses?

Whenever I’m out with my daughter in public, chances are high that a stranger will approach us and remark how excellent Maggie is. I don’t welcome the attention, but I understand it. Maggie is uncannily beautiful. The moment the doctor pulled her out of my wife’s stomach, he looked at her swollen purple face and said, “She is gorgeous.”

All babies are cute in general. You’d be hard-pressed to find an ugly baby. But Maggie’s features are so delicate and precise that she goes far beyond beautiful. She’s pretty striking to look at from any distance. On more than one occasion, I’ve been asked if she models (or told that she should be modelling). I know, I know—all parents think that their children are beautiful. I’m not any different. But even if Maggie weren’t my daughter, I’d still say she is one of the most beautiful babies I have ever seen.

I’m sure you’ve noticed that I’ve been overusing the word “beautiful” throughout this column. I’m doing it on purpose. Maggie constantly hears that she is beautiful—from relatives, friends and strangers alike. It’s gotten to the point where I stop myself when I’m about to tell her how pretty or cute she looks. I change the direction of my phrase and tell her how smart she is instead. I do this because the last thing I want to do is give my daughter a complex. I don’t want her to grow up thinking that her looks are her only asset.

I know that I’m not going to stop telling my daughter that she is beautiful, and I’m not going to stop others from saying it. But I’m aware that I need to remind her of all the other incredible things she is as well. It’s like that old cliché—she’s more than just a pretty face. I want her to understand that most of all.

Maggie is funny, and she makes me laugh every day. She’s also brilliant and perceptive. She picks up on things so easily. Her ability to solve problems at such a young age astounds me. Maggie is kind, and this is evident by her ability to share, give hugs and high-fives to strangers, and kisses at bedtime. She’s adorably polite, even though she can’t fully say “please”, and her version of “thank you” is a gentle fist pump. Maggie is also incredibly stubborn (she takes after her mother—her other mother, that is) and determined. She likes to push her boundaries. But she never gets by on her looks.

Well, maybe sometimes.