ministones

The things that will never make it in the baby books and other musings from a stay at home mom

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Addendum

I rarely respond to anything that people say in my comments section. That's not because I don't appreciate or value the comments that people leave here; I love getting feedback and will often wait impatiently to see what others have to say about a topic that's been on my mind. But more often than not, I leave those comments alone, even when they particularly speak to me. Part of the reason for this is my own warped sense of social obligation. I can never figure out how to respond to select comments without implying that others were less valuable, so I just leave the whole mess alone. More importantly, I write to get an idea or situation off my chest, and once that's happened, I'm ready to move on here. Usually. But today, I feel the need to clarify and elaborate a bit.

I fear I gave the wrong impression of my daughter yesterday. Julia is not at all immune to the girly-girl world, not by a long shot. She has a favorite princess (Cinderella, though Belle is a close second), a great love for the color pink and a level of interest in clothing and makeup and jewelry that makes me fear for her teen years. She prefers girls as playmates and initiates all sorts of imaginative play activities with them. Julia is definitely a girls' girl. But that's not all she is, and I suspect my parenting style played some role in that fact. My natural inclination when Julia says she's bored is to pull out some art supplies or a book. The mothers I was out with the other night turn first to imaginative play. Is that because we know which activities our kids will respond best to or because those are the activities we ourselves prefer? I have no idea, and that's where the whole nature/nurture post came from yesterday.

What's even more interesting to me than the nature/nurture debate itself is how dead set a lot of the comments seemed to be for or against the whole princess phenomenon. I admittedly overspoke my own reactions a bit to prove my point, and perhaps others were doing the same with their replies. But as I read each one, I found myself thinking about how much we tend to overthink this stuff sometimes. I made things sound pretty black and white in my post yesterday, and so did the people who commented. But in truth, there are a thousand shades of gray where this topic is concerned. Princesses aren't inherently good or bad (though extremes -- either kind -- may be). The mothers I was out with the other night aren't doing things any more right or wrong than I am. We're just doing things differently, and we shouldn't have to apologize for that or explain it away.

As we all puzzle this out amongst ourselves, second guessing our philosophies about fairy tales and our preferred ways on interacting with our children, the kids seem to be getting what they need all on their own. After years of knowing and essentially ignoring each other, Julia and one of the little princess girls have found each other in the past few months and have become fast friends. I wondered at first about this odd pairing between two children who seemingly have nothing in common. As time goes on, however, it pleases me more and more. The girls have fused their worlds so nicely; they'll build an elaborate castle together with unit blocks and then narrate the story of the princesses who live there, or Julia will help her friend through the counting required to play princess-themed board games. My kid's getting her never-never land and her friend's getting an occasional math lesson, even if they're not getting that much of those things at home. I couldn't be more pleasantly surprised... for both of them.

6 Comments:

At 5:57 PM, Anonymous Gretchen said...

Actually, the more I think about it, maybe there are two different kinds of little girls: the princessy kind and the geeky kind like Julia and myself. I remember as a kid looking at the little girls who were very "girly" and realizing I just wasn't that way and never would be. That's not to say one is better than the other; they're just different.

I hope my Julia turns out to be another junior geek, but if it transpires that she's a girly girl, then bring on the Princesses! Whatever makes them happy, you know.

 
At 6:05 PM, Anonymous chelle said...

I am not a girly girl. I did not like pink at ALL before my daughter was born (since then it has grown on me). I read the previous post...

My daughter could care a less about dolls. This at first concerned me. I was a tom boy however there was still a place for dolls in my childhood. We have two dolls in the house, she tosses them a side and plays with animals, dinosaurs, cars and like to pretend feed them, shop for them!

She loves to read and play outside.

I agree with Gretchen, there are so many different personalities, that not all girls are going to be alike. I try to foster not only my likes but a wide range of things for my daughter. Ultimately the choice will be hers if she likes to draw, take care of animals, collect trains, or read...

Great posts!

 
At 7:42 PM, Blogger Kristy said...

No comment. That would be something akin to commenting on your comment on my comment, and, well, we just don't want to go there. Pfffft!

 
At 12:03 AM, Blogger Rosemary said...

Having girls now in college, and having been the kind of mother that would play princess games but cared a lot more for word, math, construction, or science games -- or reading! -- I have wondered since reading your last post about the role of being a princess as a girl grows up. My daughters are in college. If I could go back and change things at all in their upbringing, I would have my oldest daughter expect to be treated like a princess; someone who has many gifts, and therefore many obligations to give back, (I think both my girls have that); someone who should always be treated with respect -- emotionally, mentally, physically; and someone whom great men should be willing to fight for to defend her honor (not that she doesn't have a great right hook herself). I would have my daughters expect to be treated the way most women of my mother's generation expected to be treated. Sadly, in some respects, it is a very different world.

 
At 4:44 AM, Blogger Susan D. said...

I'm with Rosemary here 100%. And really, if my little girl wants princesses in her girlhood, she'll get them, but she just won't get them first from me. I think it's completely possible to be a girly-girl without going gaga over the Disney-machine-marketed Princesses. The more I think about it, the more I realize that my real problem with the Princesses is that it's this huge extraordinarily effective marketing package aimed directly at my daughter. Disney looks at my little girl and sees dollar signs. I could write a lot more on that but you're smart enough to understand what I'm getting at...

 
At 4:31 PM, Blogger Jennifer said...

Im with Susan. It's not the imaginative play - and not really the "princess" idea. It's the "Let's market to create a DISNEY PRINCESS craze" thing. *I* don't like being the target of a marketing campaign much at all - - but I like it for my children even less.

 

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