Category Archives: Mama Bear

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!

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!

Random acts of ugliness

I have a dreadful cold right now, so I’m sharing something that is a no-brainer.  A super ugly scary event that happened to me this week while out grocery shopping.  It’s so horrifying that things can be rolling along just fine, and then one dumbassed bully sizes you up and decides you’ll make a good target and… BAM.

Yesterday we were leaving Whole Foods (the only reason I *have* to go there is because of goat’s milk for Bella… TJ’s has it but sporadically.), and I had put Bella in her seat, went around to my side of the car, opened the door and started to get in and… the car next to me suddenly started to jerk out of its space, scaring me half to death. His mirror clonked into my door but was not hurt or anything like that. I was like WTF! I turned around completely horrified. I had not noticed the guy there, but even if I had, it’s usually common courtesy to wait the literally two seconds it takes someone to get in their car before you pull out. He said something nasty to me, I don’t know what, and I was like, “Well, GO,” as I was holding my door closed and waiting for him to pull out.

So he was like “You know what, NO! I won’t GO!” He parked his car, leaped out, got right in my face and started screaming at me. “This was YOUR FAULT, What the HELL are you doing, it’s YOUR FAULT!”  I was like, ummm, ok, you are crazy and you should really just go. I was not thinking clearly. I have realized that when large men get in my face screaming, my mind kind of shuts off. I shut the door to my car, and I was like dude my daughter is in the car, just GO. He was like NO and you are not going anywhere either. And I was like? GET THE FUCK AWAY FROM MY CAR. Because by that time I was fucking terrified. He was basically like NO, what are you going to DO about it. So I got my phone out and took pictures of him and his license plate number and then I called the police. I did not know what to do. He just would not leave me alone or move out of the way of my car! He did not want insurance information or anything like that or I would have given it to him, though there was literally no damage to his or my car; if anything, dude seriously almost nailed me with his car mirror. I called the police and got in my car (which they told me to do), and as I did this woman came over asking if I needed help. I told her I just wanted him to leave me alone but that he wouldn’t let me leave. She went and intervened with this crazy dude, which, good on her… I would not have done so! (I was safe in my car, so it’s not like I needed her to come intervene to stop violence or something.) She managed to get him to move out from behind my car so I could pull out, and I pulled over to the other side of the parking lot to wait for the police.
I waited like 10 minutes, and no police ever came, so I called and canceled the call. My husband said I should not have done that because it was illegal for this guy to stop me from leaving, but I don’t know; once he moved, I did not care, I just wanted him to leave me alone! I seriously did NOTHING to this person and he was just flat out crazy. He was still there ranting and raving after I left. Oh and funnily enough, he was all “OH YEAH, well I am going to call the cops on YOU?” I mean, for what exactly? Being almost run over by a driver not paying attention and then harassed by a crazy person?????? LMK how that works out for you buddy!

After we left Bella started asking me questions like, Mommy did you think he was going to take me away? What would you do if he had gotten me out and taken me away and hurt me? She broke my heart. I couldn’t even tell her that I would have ripped that guys nuts off if he had touched the car. I have never before just wanted so badly to push hit hurt someone. My mommy bear rage was going crazy when he got near my car.

This whole thing was beyond crazy. Like, seriously, crazy. It’s not like I said “Fuck your mother you fucking asshole!” Or something. I said “Well, GO!” after he almost ran me over. It was a tiny tiny thing and this guy just… crazy!!!!

I hate that my daughter is seeing so much of the rotten side of people lately.  I keep telling her that most people are good, but then she sees something like this and you know it shakes her trust in the world.   I am heartbroken that she thought that man might take her or hurt her and I’m glad she was in the car during this entire thing.

How do you handle talking to your kids about the bad behavior of other adults?

Feminist Mama Fail…

This morning Bella said to me, “I am going to be a singer lady, a paleontologist, and a mad scientist. Aren’t I going to be a busy girl? But my daddy (husband) will stay home and take care of my babies.”  So I was all patting myself on the back, right?

This afternoon, Bella says to me… “Why did you say I can’t be a cheerleader?  When I grow up I’m going to be the prettiest cheerleader in the world!”

Gah!  Gag me with a spoon, ffs!

Thanks a whole fucking lot Kim Possible.  Did they have to make her a cheerleader?  I guess so.  The only possible way a girl could be a superhero is if she is also a thin, pretty cheerleader, right?

On that note, don’t miss this post about early sexualization;  the images are really shocking.  I share this authors concern regarding song lyrics.

Stalked by Barbie

Well, seriously!  This chick is EVERYwhere.  You simply cannot avoid her.  Case in point:  at the grocery store last week, I stumbled across the following toy.  This was a big display, next to an endcap of an aisle.  It was turned to face the MEAT department;  you know the big aisle that runs all the way along the back of the store.  So, yeah, you really cannot avoid these images for your kids.

Yes to WHAT.

Here she is, visiting the meat department of a grocery store near you!

She said yes!  Ken has a big ol’ kiss on his face!  Ken and Barbie are face to face in a romantic way!  She said yes… in a bathing suit!  Because she couldn’t possibly say yes in, I dunno, jeans and a t-shirt, right?

Bah!  What do you think it tells both little girls and little boys when these images are the ones they see everywhere, all the time, day in and day out?  And then they approach the checkout and are bombarded with magazines featuring big breasted cover models talking about their weight loss, and big buff guys flexing their muscles.   I just want to avoid some of the bombardment but marketers sure don’t make it easy!

Girly stuff

Feminist mama bear that I am, sometimes I’m tired of feminizing all our favorite books and want some books about actual real live GIRLS.  Who are not, necessarily, princesses or dressed in pink.  Whose primary function in life goes above and beyond being “cute.”  Having searched high and low for the ones we love, here are a few of our favorites.

The Paper Princess:  This book is just incredible, wonderful, and a must-read.
Amazing Grace:  A little girl learns that beauty is not always pink and sparkly.  Wonderful story!
Stellaluna:  Don’t know how I missed this one for so long.  It is lovely, and the illustrations are adorable, sweet and funny.
The Sea Serpent and Me:  This book is simply wonderful.  A little girl is surprised by a tiny sea serpent in her bathtub.  The two become friends and … well I don’t want to give away the ending but it really speaks to me and the illustrations are so lovely!
The Night Pirates:  Rough, tough, little girl pirates who let a little boy join their pirate adventures!
Ladybug Girl:  Adventurous, brave, sweet Ladybug Girl!
Blue Kangaroo:  This is a series of books (out of print, of course) about a little girl (who is NOT blonde for a change) and her kangaroo.  They are very sweet and fun to read aloud.
The Little Old Lady Who Is Not Afraid of Anything:  Great to bust out in October!
Jeanette Claus Saves Christmas:  Santa’s daughter saves the day by being kind to animals.  Wonderful story.
Violet the Pilot:  Super smart Violet invents her own planes and teaches herself to fly, then saves the day!
I Am Wonder Woman:  OK, so she is still large breasted and wearing a bathing suit, but at least the reasons given for that are being an Amazon princess.  And she saves the day.   Without guns or violence!
To the Moon:  A little girl dreams about being an astronaut.
Firehouse:  Written and illustrated by Mark Teague, the same artist behind the “How does a dinosaur” illustrations.  The cool part about this book is that the fire chief is a girl dog, and many of the firefighters are also girls.  It’s *hard* to find firefighter stuff that shows even a hint of girls!
One Dog Canoe:  An intrepid girl takes off alone in her canoe with just her dog, and has some fun wildlife encounters.
The Tiniest Mermaid:  Sweet book about the friendship between a little girl and a mermaid.  The mermaid talks about helping lost sailors, and the little girl saves the mermaid when she is hurt.
Millie Waits for the Mail:  Ok, it’s about a cow.  But this book is *so* funny and fun to read, and it’s all about Millie expanding her bovine horizons!
Not All Princesses Dress in Pink:  I actually have mixed feelings about this one.  LOVE the imagery of little girls getting dirty, playing sports, fixing stuff.  But argh, with the “In a sparkly princess crown” line on every single page.  We just don’t read that line but this won’t work once she is really reading.  Also the writing is not so great and the rhymes are kind of annoying.   “Some princesses like to pedal wearing lots of shiny metal: helmet on head, and body armor, so that nothing bad can harm her… or her sparkly crown.”  Blech!  But the illustrations are wonderful.  So, ymmv!
Penelope and the Humongous Burp:  This book is awesome on so many levels!  First we have a multi-cultural family with a sweet little girl who looks like a normal little girl.  She chugs down a ton of soda (leading us to talk about how water would have been a healthier choice), and then has huge burps.  Female firefighters, doctors, and police officers arrive to “save” the day.  So nice to see female doctors!  Female firefighters!  Female police officers!  Plus this book is funny and my daughter laughs and laughs when we read it.
Brontorina:  A lovely dinosaur dying to dance!  She is willing to do anything to dance, and her dance teacher comes to the conclusion that her dance school is simply too small for Brontorina… so she opens a new, outdoor school where dinosaurs of ALL sizes can come dance!
Kiki’s Blankie:  A brave little monkey saves the day!

Chapter Books for Girls
Frannie K. Stein: a little girl learns that she is different and it is awesome!
Cowgirl Kate & Cocoa: Kate is a cowgirl from the tip of her boots to the top of her hat!
Katie Kazoo: I haven’t read these yet but they look wonderful!
Strawberry Girl: one of my favorites from when I was a little girl!
Twig: I haven’t read this one yet but it looks amazing.  About a little girl in the 40’s.
Ivy and Bean: haven’t read these yet either, but they are on my to-do list!
The Sisters Grimm: two little girls learning how to be fairy tale detectives.  Fun!
The Three Little Pirates:  Three little girl pirates save the day!  The audiobook of this is wonderful!  This author has also written “The Three Little Witches,” and “The Three Little Princesses.”

Chapter Books for Older Girls
Clover Twig:  haven’t read it, but it looks wonderful!
Just Grace:  These look lovely, as well as Just Clementine.
Gooney Bird Greene:  Haven’t read these but they look adorable, and I love Lois Lowry.

These aren’t books, but other assorted goodies that are worth mentioning! iPhone/iPad apps:
Little Bella’s I Close My Eyes:  Bella imagines herself to be a giant, to be reading a book in space, and more!
Violet’s The Night Before Christmas:  Little girl Violet solves mysteries using her super powers of observation!
Math Girl Games: Math, flowers, nice music!

Beleduc “Your Body” Puzzle:   I love this puzzle not only for the science, but for the real girls body for our girls to look at.  This child *looks* like a little girl.  There is also a puzzle for boys.

Ponyo, Kiki’s Delivery Service, Totoro, basically all the Miyazaki movies.  Finally fun movies with strong female leads.  Ponyo does involve a kind of love story but it’s not really what you’d expect, and you have to love the mother goddess character!   I have not seen all his movies;  I think some of them (like Spirited Away, Castle in the Sky, Princess of Nausicaa) are really more for older kids and might be a bit scary for the younger set.  Make sure you read reviews on amazon or somewhere first.

I’ll be updating this list as I think of other awesome girl-positive stuff, not just books!