Insert witty title here…

Just a few observations from my day;  big props to the Children’s Place for having the space commander costume right next to all the other costumes for little girls at the store.

Space Commander!

Massive fail to WalMart and Monster High for having this costume in a size 4-6.   (Any size really, but seriously!)

A mixed review for “Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse,” by Kevin Henkes.  I really loved how her career options included surgeon or ambulance driver, but my face did this when the options were “surgeon, ambulance driver, diva.”

Just to make sure we understand that little girls can aspire to be “divas,” he says it again at the end.  “She really did want to be a teacher when she grew up.  That is, when she didn’t want to be a dancer or a surgeon or an ambulance driver or a diva or a pilot or a hairdresser or a scuba diver…”

One of those is not like the others.  Diva is not a career choice.  Not for little girls.  Not for little boys.  Not for anyone.

First day of school…

This was my daughter’s second first day of school really;  third or fourth if you count her baby baby school, where she started going to “class” when she was about 18 months old!  Last year wound up such an epic fail, though, that I was really nervous about today.

She did FINE.  She was playing in the play kitchen of the classroom when I turned to leave, and I caught her eye.  Her lip had a teensy little tremble.  I smiled, said, “You’re fine!  See you soon, love you,” and left.

She was fine!

I was late to pick her up.  I think this probably moves me officially into “worst preschool mom ever.” (I am not comparing myself to crazily abusive moms or anything like that, just NORMAL moms!)   To be fair, if you do lunch but no extra class you pick up at one time, lunch and an extra class, another time, no lunch or extra class, a different time.  So it’s no wonder I was confused, right?  It won’t happen again!

On the downside, my girl had an accident while she was there.  She really doesn’t have accidents very often anymore, although sometimes I kind of wonder if we aren’t a bit too accepting when she does.  She knows it is totally fine to have an accident.  Not saying that she wants to, but I think when her options were “interrupt two adults to go potty, or keep quiet and have an accident,” she chose not to interrupt.  She gets a little intimidated by unfamiliar situations like that.   I guess they had her go in a bathroom to change, poor thing was wearing tiny clothes that did not fit when I picked her up!  So much for her adorable first day of school outfit!

So after school when she wanted to play (shudder) Barbie, I decided to use play to help her work through some of these situations.  With the dolls, I was able to create a school setup and have one of them be scared to ask to go potty.  Bella, as the teacher, told my doll:  “You can go potty whenever you need to;  and it’s ok if you have an accident!”

Then I had one of my dolls hit her doll, so she could practice what she’d say if (when!) that happens.  Then we roleplayed her asking to play, and a girl responding meanly (just happened recently), and some things she could reply.

Barbie is not my favorite toy.  I don’t ever play “prince rescues princess,” with my daughter;  she knows I don’t like it and won’t play it.  But if I can use the dolls to help her work through some difficult situations, that is fine!   I think this can be a really useful thing to do and you don’t have to do it with Barbie, either;  it could be any toy your child enjoys, even cars or trains or whatever they like best.  I don’t think this will necessarily work after one time, but doing it many times can help kids verbalize difficult situations so they aren’t so scary.

As a mom at the park pointed out to me last week, I can’t always be there with her.  I won’t always be there with her.  I need to provide her with tools she can use when I’m not around, and trust that she will be ok.

I think now it’s my turn to roleplay pretending that my girl is ok without me, because wow is that hard for me to do!

Pretty has nothing to do with it…

When I was a little girl having a hard time with math homework, my grandfather once said to me in his kindest voice:  “It’s ok honey, girls just aren’t good at math.”

My father was, rightfully, furious.  I didn’t understand why.  I felt like I was a pretty smart girl, and knew that gender did not determine mathematical ability.  But still, those tiny grains of sand (which are not so tiny coming from loved ones!) all add up to one giant beach of opinion that it can be hard to see around.

Sometimes the messages are subtle;  like the fact that Chasing Fireflies carries this sweet shirt for little boys.  Part of their “when I grow up” series, little boys can be a fireman, policeman, or astronaut.   I’m not bothering with gender neutral terms like “fire fighter,” or “police officer,” because the girls on the site don’t even get a “when I grow up” option.  It doesn’t even exist for them.

In the latest round of “marketers suck,” JC Penney has just pulled their latest catastrophe from shelves:  a t-shirt for little girls which read “Too pretty to do homework, so I have my brother do it for me.”   The shirt has been pulled, but let’s face it;  in a world where anyone thinks this is ok, or the latest thing, and they should sell it to little girls, this is just ONE tiny block in the tower of sexism surrounding our girls.

Then there is Pigtail Pals.  Check out their response, “Pretty has nothing to do with it!”  I love it.   Maybe if we all continue to squawk to retailers when they shove “too pretty to do homework” messages at our girls, the messages will change.

Blue Kangaroo

Check it out!  A series of adorable children’s books featuring… can you believe it?  A little girl who is not blond, or blue eyed, or super svelte and stylish, or bedecked head to toe in sparkly pink.  She is just a sweet, brunette girl in her red shirt and purple skirt who adores her BLUE kangaroo.

I Love You, Blue Kangaroo!

Blond hair? Blue eyes? Bedecked in pink? Nope!

I stumbled on these at the library, and at first didn’t even realize that they were a series!  But they are.  The author, Emma Chichester Clark, has written several books all about blue kangaroo and his adventures and worries.    “I Love You Blue Kangaroo,” was the first we found, and then several months later I stumbled across “Where Are You Blue Kangaroo?”, which I *thought* (in my super space cadet mommybrain) was the same book.  But it’s not!  Then I looked up the author and found there are several more Blue Kangaroo books listed, so now I’m on a mission to find them all.

These are sweet stories that are fun to read, and mellow enough for bedtime!

It’s kind of annoying to notice that the majority of these books I find at the library about non-stereotypical girls are out of print.  Luckily, amazon has used copies of most of them!  But really, I wonder what it says to our kids when little girls with brown hair wearing red shirts are getting replaced by an army of glittering pink children with silky blonde hair.   Oh wait, I know what it says.  Crap.

Toldya….

I’m pretty sure I mentioned in just about my first post that I SUUUCK!  Seriously!  My last blog post was, when?  But really now, I’ve been far too busy half-assedly attempting crafty projects and ignoring my kid while she plays on one screen or another to blog about it.

This picture?  Has pretty much been the OPPOSITE of my life lately.

This is NOT ME for fucks sake!

But seriously.  My husband ran off to Vegas to hang out with strippers and blow speak at a supergeektastic convention.    I was super duper jealous, so I packed up my lil’ stuff and headed for the hills!  Or Sesame Place, to buy all the things and ride all the rides!  Sadly this venture left me far more exhausted than my girl, who LOOOVED it and could have stayed for a year or more without getting bored.

Sesame Place, though?  Pretty much fucking rocks for little kids.  And no they did not pay me to say that.  I swear, I see blogs that have been open for literally a week, already posting all the swag companies have sent them to review, but that is so not me?  I probably curse too much.  Maybe it’s the strippers and blow.  Shit.

Of course that was only this past week, not the past… um… when was my last post again?  Ages ago!  But things have just been BUSY.  Swimming, splashing, running around, etc.

I had my own little feminist mama fail a few weeks ago, at Costco.  We were checking out their very awesome organic pj’s, when I said to Bella… “Look at these cute ones they have on the boy side!”  Luckily she did not even notice.  This matters to me, even though it is such a little thing in the grand scheme of things.  She really views the world as her oyster right now, and does not see things as being for “girls” or “boys.”  She knows that some people think certain things are just for boys, and she knows it is ridiculous.

Luckily, she saved the day.  And picked out a pair of outer space PJ’s.  From the “boy” side.  That’s my girl!

They are awesome pj’s, btw, but they do run small through the arms AND they have those annoying printed on tags.  I saw a post somewhere that wintergreen oil might work to remove the tags, so I am going to try that.

My daughter’s movie educational activity is over, so I have to run!

The fat babies are coming to get you!

Eeeeks!  Fat babies!!!!

Eeeeks! Fat babies!!!!

So this past week I’ve gotten myself all in a tizzy over two articles  targeting “obese” babies as a cause of… you guessed it… childhood obesity, adult obesity, and every other bad thing they can throw at these poor kids.

The first article, by NPR, is titled:  To curb childhood obesity, experts say to keep baby fat in check.  This is accompanied by a picture much like the one I’ve posted here, of a sweetly chubby baby with tons of delicious and nommable rolls.   The recommendations in this article really aren’t so bad, and include things like encouraging kids to be active, limiting tv/screen exposure, breastfeeding longer.  Of course, those recommendations are actually (mostly, aside from the breastfeeding recommendation) geared towards 2-5 year olds, and NOT babies under a year old.  My issue with this article is more that the title and photo are cheap journalism which doesn’t do anything but fan the flames of fat hate already directed at kids.

In case you aren’t sure, I’m 100% anti-fat-hate.   You can go on hating fat kids and adults if you like, but I promise you that it isn’t going to cause any of them to suddenly become “thin.”

The next article, published by PBS, employs the same cheap tactics as the first.  An inflammatory headline “15 tips to combat obesity in babies,” accompanied by another sweet chubby baby.

The reason I find these tactics to be both cheap and frankly disgusting and irresponsible is because fat hate is already at a frenzy in this country.  Seriously, we don’t need to get anyone else all hot and bothered to hate on fat people or fat kids.  We already have enough hate thrown at us on a daily basis, and as someone who grew up fat I can tell you that all the hating everyone did of my body helped me not at all to become more healthy.

We already have people starving their babies to keep them “thin,” parents taking perverse pride in skinny/underweight babies, and small children worried that they “look fat,” that being thin means you are nice and being fat means you are bad.  Of course the bulk of this is going to come down on our little girls.

See, the fat shame?  That’s already covered.  That’s already so prevalent in our society that kids pick it up as they grow.  Kids are smart, they can pick up on that without anyone even saying the word “fat” to them.  The other day, my sweet girl, now an athletic busy preschooler asked me why my body is so big and wide.  She can notice differences without my having to tell her, fancy that!

What we don’t have is the world encouraging our children, at whatever shape and size, to be more active.  To get out, join teams, do their best, move their bodies and HAVE FUN, at whatever size they are.  That’s what we don’t have.  The fat hate?  We really don’t need more, and we certainly don’t need to target the smallest and most vulnerable of our population.

If you are a parent, I highly recommend this article and ideas from bulimia.com, which target body image issues among young children.   Let’s love our children at every shape and size and enable them to love themselves so that they can move and nourish their bodies without shame, without fear, without hate.

It’s never too soon to start toning!

As evidenced by this recent find at Payless, of toning sneakers sized for TODDLERS.

Dear Toddlers:  Your bodies need toning!