I\u00a0had the opportunity to spend a day with just my daughter this past Saturday. We had grand plans\u00a0\u2014\u00a0we were going to yard sales all day. See, my daughter likes to shop, and garage sale prices are just her speed, offering the most merchandise for her budget. At a particularly good stop, she snagged an especially good deal on a wooden jewelry box with etched glass doors. As she was carrying it back to the car, she was smiling from ear to ear. \u201cI did good, didn\u2019t I, Mom?\u201d she asked. \u201cYes, that was a good deal,\u201d I answered. \u201cYou know, this is probably the second-prettiest thing I own,\u201d she said, looking down at the box she carried in both arms like a baby. \u201cReally? What\u2019s the first prettiest thing?\u201d I asked. \u201cWell, me!\u201d \u201cWhy is that?\u201d I asked when I stopped laughing. \u201cBecause first, when I get dressed up, I look pretty, and second, I\u2019m funny.\u201d First off, score one for confidence. We had a quick discussion about whether she\u2019d still be pretty if she wasn\u2019t dressed nicely and she was all dirty (she would be) and whether she\u2019d still be pretty if she had an accident and got scarred up. And yes, she still would be. It may seem cruel to ask a child if she\u2019d be pretty with scars, but I wanted to know if her idea of herself as pretty \u2014 and potentially her self-worth \u2014 was tied to her appearance. Now, I\u2019m not going to rant against media portrayals of women or castigate myself for asking \u201cDoes my butt look big in this?\u201d as I stand in front of a mirror within earshot of my daughter. But I did want her to find value in herself beyond her reflection. She finds joy in creating outfits, matching them to accessories and dressing up for any occasion she can manage to find \u2013 grocery shopping? Can I wear a dress?? This fall, she\u2019ll be entering fifth grade. In the district where we live, she\u2019s still in elementary school for this one last year. I know middle school and high school can wreak havoc on a kid\u2019s self-image, whether girl or boy. I\u2019m already seeing her friends take on a greater level of importance in her life, particularly in the clothes she chooses. She\u2019s becoming more reluctant to wear her brother\u2019s hand-me-downs, for example, rejecting some of the patterns and cuts as \u201ctoo boyish.\u201d I\u2019m OK letting her fuss over her appearance as long as it doesn\u2019t serve as the basis for her existence. She seems to be doing well at finding things about herself she likes which aren\u2019t related to how she looks. I appreciate her self-confidence. I hope she doesn\u2019t lose it. Now, does anybody have suggestions for how to keep vanity in check? Let\u2019s be honest, I\u2019ve been making up this parenting thing as I go along ever since my son was born. I know there\u2019s more experienced parents out there and folks with different ideas. Respond to my column by emailing me at email@example.com, and you might see your thoughts in print in an upcoming issue of the Herald Review.