Sunday, August 21, 2011

Rants and rides in toyland

I went to Toys R Us in search of a T-ball set for the kids. Note that I said "kids" because when I arrived and asked where I might find such a set, I was directed to the "Boys" aisle.

Ahem. Excuse me? Can't they be on the "baseball/softball" aisle? After all, I did find pink softball mitts there too. Frankly, my daughter is already throwing soft baseballs laser-straight that land across the room right in my or my husbands hands. So if someone is planning to lob that hackneyed "throws like a girl" line at her, they are going to get a fast pitch right down the pipe that underscores the point that if by that phrase they mean "throws like a badass," then yes, she throws like a girl. Moving on.

While I had a feminist mental rant in sporting goods, the kids busied themselves trying out all manner of miniature rides.
 Dylan: "Is that vegetable tanned leather? That's niiiice."

There was the Escalade, for the discerning future luxury consumer. 

 The obligatory Pixar-tie-in Cars model.

Ava went for a different type of four-wheeled vehicle, emblazoned with princesses of course. I pick my battles on the princess front: it's seems like a losing battle trying to hold back or offset the glittery, princess-y imagery of an international marketing behemoth with little more than logic, which 3 year olds don't always follow.
But when she asks which princess I want to be, I inform her that I'd rather be queen because princesses don't seem to "do" anything or have any authority. But I may be overthinking my role in this tea party with invisible beverages and food.

 What? You can't let a brotha in?! My car is a Mini but I'm major baby!

So you're saying there's no student parking lot at this daycare? Or valet?! Uh...huh. This is going to be an issue. Let me have my people get back to you.

No, none of them came home with us, but we did have a little bit of a struggle prying Dylan's hands off the steering wheel when it was time to move on.

Just prior to arriving at the store, Ava had informed me that because we didn't stop for frozen yogurt as planned, this was her "worst day ever." 

"You sure about that?" I asked. Because 15 minutes later, I was "The best mommy in the whole world" for taking her "someplace so interesting!" Followed by squeals and "Oh my gosh: Mommy look at all the dolls! Oh my gosh: they're so cute! I love them so much..." Blah, blah, blah. In other words, YOU STAND CORRECTED.

In the end, we didn't find the t-ball set I wanted, but we had a lovely outing.


  1. Sooo, about the pink and the princesses. Is it really all that bad?

    Yes, I know the arguments about society's attitudes toward women, power, the symbolism of pink, the symbolism of princesses as being little more than pretty and her specialness deriving from her father's power and position as king.

    However, most little girls are powerless and do need their fathers (and mothers) to protect them. And skirts are great and fit better than pants. Okay, that's just my issue.

    How is Ava doing with all the pink and princesses?

    And how cool if you could find/paint softballs pink, the better to see it streaking away? :)

  2. Hey BryAnn! Thanks for the comment. You're right: in the grand scheme of things, no, a penchant for princesses isn't the worst thing we'll have to grapple with.

    But I'm more turned off by the part of the princess aesthetic that involves doing nothing but looking pretty and waiting for a prince, with no focus on self-reliance or intelligence.

    I wrote a little about it here:

    There is just a huge cultural tide of negative behavior tied to being a princess or pampered female figure who comes to the pampering by way of marrying someone, not by accomplishing it on ones own. See the Real Housewives, Basketball Wives, Bachelorette, Toddlers and Tiaras, etc. franchises.

    It's a lot to try to counter, so when Ava and I see it in movies, on TV or in person, I point out, "Wow, she wasn't being very nice/smart/helpful, huh? We don't do that in our family, do we?" etc. I want her to know that that behavior isn't cute and won't be tolerated around here.

    I also want her to know that she has a brain and intelligence going for her, not just how she looks, even though 92% of what strangers compliment her on is her looks or clothes. The other 8% is her politeness.

    so she's still all about princesses and pink, but she's branching out to other colors and as long as the dress "twirls."

    And I'm not averse to pink at all. I used to golf with hot pink balls just because they were easy to find in the rough. :-)