Monthly Archives: January 2012

You did *what* today?

Dear Daughter,   I am writing this blog post cautiously because  you are 7 now but someday you may read it and be all like, “Mooooooooooooooooooom!  Did you *have* to blog about this?!? OH. EM. GEE.  You are *so* embarassing me!” 

But it’s a great story.  It demonstrates both your spirit and your independence and your refusal to follow norms.  It also shows what an amazing teacher you have right now, and I think both of you deserve this public shout-out.   So, here goes.  

I hope you realize how proud I am of you.

Love, Mom

Friday morning, my daughter got dressed:  thick black cable-knit tights, white tee-shirt under a very cute black and white sweater dress with a tie-belt (trust me, these are important details for the story).  She looked adorable as usual, and off to school she went.

Fast forward to 4:15 when we are discussing her school day.

Me:  So, how was the day?

Her:  Great!  The only thing was that I had to take *this* off for gym.  (She tugs at her belt on her sweater dress)

Me:  What do you mean?  Was your belt in the way?

Her:  No.  I was hot.  So I took it off.

Me: *blink blink*  You took your *whole* dress off in gym time?

Her:  Yes.  I.  Was. Hot. (Speaking as though I was not understanding the gravity of the gym-situation)

Me:  You know you aren’t wearing leggings today, right?  Those are tights?  Kind of like long-underwear?  You ran around in just your tights and your t-shirt?  (Secretly hoping that she actually had her shirt on – pleasepleasepleaseplease.)

Her:  Oh.  Well, whatever.  I was hot.

I sent the following email to her fabulous Grade Two teacher:

Sooooooooooo, My Daughter informed me that she got hot in gym today and stripped her dress off and ran around without it.  She thought she had leggings on. I will, in the future, discuss with her the difference between “leggings” and “tights.” So embarrassed. Me. Not her. 😉 Have a great weekend!

She sent me back the following email:

She didn’t miss a beat and nor did any of her classmates.  With fashion being the way it is today none of us thought anything about a sweet little girl going hard in a tank top and tights!!  Rock on!  I did have a little chuckle though when she went to the side-lines and was working up a sweat wriggling out of the outfit.  You just gotta love it.

And this is why they need  a shout out.  My daughter is independent, practical and yet the biggest dreamer I know.  And her teacher, Maureen Taylor, is the most caring, unflappable woman I could hope for to teach my daughter. All children should be so lucky to have experiences and educators like Mrs. Taylor.  Parents appreciate it so much.

After we get over the initial shock. 😉

Her Amazing Spirit

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I want to dislike them, I do. But I can’t.

Lego toys are always a huge draw for my kids and my 11 year old son’s bedroom often looks like a Lego Factory threw up in there.  We have regular Lego sets, Star Wars stuff, Harry Potter, Ninjago, random other sets and the compatible, yet different, Bionicles.  It’s embarrassing how much Lego we have, actually.

The kids play together very well and often and my 7 year old daughter happily joins her brother in building and playing in the imaginary worlds and stories that are spun together based on the pieces that we have.  There are outer space battles, explorations and adventures in futuristic worlds.

My kids and I visited a Toys R Us store this afternoon for the first time since way  before Christmas and as usual, the Lego section was the first stop for us.  It was there that we were confronted with our first look at the new Lego “Friends” sets that are ‘targeted’ towards girls by their marketing.  There are houses and cafes, inventors’ workshops and veterinarians.   There are tree houses and cars.  The characters are not the typical ‘mini-figs’ but are closer to ‘realistic,’ and currently include 5 girls with different appearances.

I want to dislike them.  I want to rant and rave and rail against the Lego company for marketing strictly to girls, assuming that they need a more gender-specific toy to play with as opposed to regular Lego.  I talk to my daughter about how she can be anything she wants to be and I don’t encourage or discourage her to play with whatever toys she is drawn to.  I don’t refer to ‘boys” toys or ‘girls” toys.  And given the fact that that little girl can wield a lightsaber and hold her own playing Batman Lego on the Wii, she has no preference or aversion for toys that are clearly marketed to boys.

There is a lot discussion on the internet on blogs, message boards and Twitter, much of it from parents who are disgusted and angered that Lego is marketing a ‘stereotypical’ scenario to our girls.  I thought I would share the anger.  Then we saw the pink and purple “Friends” boxes today.

My daughter *freaked* *out* when she saw them and she chose to spend her own money on the outdoor cafe set and the extra character set with a dog house and a puppy.  When we got home and she tore the box open, happily following the instructions to build the sets herself, she was in her glory. The sets contained things she was familiar with and could create stories about.  Her ‘friends’ went for ice cream and owned a cafe.  They looked after their pets and cooked hamburgers together.  And when the Lego Ninjago minifigs showed up with their 11 year old ‘puppeteer,’ they cheerfully ordered milk shakes and then picked up the attached broom and helped out at the shop.

I don’t hate them. I can’t rant and rail against Lego.  If they were creating “Housewives of the 50’s” minifigs, I’d be freaking out, but for now, I see the happiness that my daughter has shown playing with her new toys and I know that I will continue to raise her in a way that lets her know that I am confident that she can make her own decisions and that people and companies won’t tell her what she will like to play with.  I don’t see people railing and ranting against Lego for marketing the Harry Potter and Star Wars and Ninjago sets towards boys.  And make no mistake, they do.  What’s the difference between this marketing and marketing fighting, battle-type toys to boys?  Perpetuating a stereotype of a different kind, no?