Friday, March 28, 2014

Play Ball!!

Today Kathryn had her 9 month check up and when I came home, I pulled into the driveway to the sight of my husband and JJ playing catch in the yard. I gotta say, it totally melted my heart to see such a great father-son moment! These are memories JJ--and Gary--will have and cherish for the rest of their lives.

The whole time we were out there playing every time someone would walk by, JJ would be sure to tell them hi. And if they had a dog, he would ask "what's his name?" And say "he's cute!" At one point a woman was jogging and as she came around the corner, he ran over to her and said "hi" and jogged right along side her until she passed our house. It was adorable and she was really nice about it. This was the kid we were so worried about never speaking more than a word or two only a year ago! I loved watching the whole scene unfold! I am so ridiculously blessed by this quickly-growing little boy!

(Hands-on learning)

(Cheering on the boys!)

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

For the love of all things pink & sparkly...

So, the theme for this season of the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills (don't judge me) seems to be "labels" as in "don't label me," which is something Carlton must get paid extra for each time she says.
I normally don't side with Carlton when watching my guilty-pleasure show because she's about 50 shades of crazy, but in this case, I think she's onto something. We live in a society that loves to label. We seem to need to put people in boxes so that everyone is neatly organized with some sort of black & white, either/or stereotyped definition, but it doesn't work that way. People--most of the people I know, anyway--are not that clearly defined.
I am a girly-girl and I always have been. This is a controversy that seems to be really popular these days. I feel like I'm seeing articles and blogs everywhere! For some reason in the blogosphere, it has become not OK for girls to be girly. I understand that people are taking issue with advertisers pandering to gender stereotypes, but I'm not going to lie: If those girly Legos had come out when I was a kid, I would have been ecstatic! The problem is, the bloggers and whoever else are up in arms about the Pinkification of toys are treading dangerous water. In their rally cry about not having pink and blue toy aisles, they are coming across as saying if you like the pink stuff, that is wrong. A modern girl should want to play with regular legos and if you play with dolls, you are a silly twit.  Girls shouldn't be playing dress up, they should be playing with chemistry sets.
But why? Playing with dolls fosters creativity and imagination. Who's going to argue that's a bad thing? Why can't a girl put on a frilly dress-up dress and those plastic "heels" andlook through her magnifying glass? Is there something wrong with having a tea party with your friends instead of building a tower with blocks found in the gender neutral aisle at Target? No one is going to fault my son for playing with his Jake and the Neverland Pirates action figures, but if my daughter is into Barbies, it's almost as though she is failing her gender, but really, the basic activity is the exact same, right?
(on a side note about tv shows. PBS tends to show a lot of gender-neutral shows and both my kids like them. Disney Junior has a nice variety of shows for both genders and neutral. My son love Mickey and Jake, but he also asks for Sofia the First and Sherriff Callie and Doc McStuffins [who is a wonderful addition to pop culture for other reasons]. My daughter is only 8 months, so she is stuck watching whatever is on, but she always seems really into Jake along with the other "girly" shows.)
My brother and sister were the athletic ones; I was not blessed with that gene! I was into drama and music. I had a box of dress up clothes and would put on "shows" in the backyard. When my dad and brother would play roller hockey in the driveway, I always started off the game singing the National Anthem. I still have two huge boxes of Barbies and more boxes of American Girl dolls and accessories from my childhood that I plan on passing on to my daughter. I love pink and purple and sparkles. I love to do crafty things. I appreciate beautiful clothes and shoes and purses.
But I also read. A lot. I have aspirations to become a writer (if my self-confidence issues would just kindly get out of my way). I am college-educated with a job I do well. I'm a smart girl. I enjoy action movies and football. I like to think in another life I could have been a secret agent (another life where I was Jennifer Garner, perhaps. There's that imagination again...). Another example: My sister-in-law works for the water department. She's college-educated and chemistry-smart. Educators are always saying that girls need more S.T.E.M. education; well, Carley has that. She also wears a bright pink hard hat to work.  Another? I was raised by a mom who was a police officer who used to carry her Glock in her Dooney & Bourke handbag. 
As my daughter gets older, I want her to know that it's OK to walk the line. She can be whatever she wants: girly and smart and sporty and... and... and... She can be the next President of the United States and wear a pink sparkly dress to her inauguration, if she wants to. Or she can be a teacher or chef or a secretary or a CEO or a stay-at-home mom.  
I get what these bloggers are saying, I really do, but I think in their aggression, they are fostering an "us" vs "them" mentality and that is just wrong. They are also leaving out the most important argument and that is you can be whoever you want to be and you can be into whatever you want to be into and no one has the right to tell you that you are wrong for liking something. Toy makers should offer "boy" toys and "girl" toys and "neutral" toys. Your kids know what they like, regardless of what advertisements are shown and you know where to find those toys. If your or my children's interests happen to lie within gender stereotypes, then so be it. Telling a girl she shouldn't like pink is just as bad as telling a boy he shouldn't like pink. The point is, we should be more concerned about raising good, kind people who are productive members of society than about what color their toys are.

(And now for a gratuitous picture of my little princess, because why not?)

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Big boy bed

When JJ was born, we bought him one of those lifetime cribs. A couple weekends ago, we did the final conversion and now he has his official big boy bed. And he looks so little in it. 

When did my baby become a real little kid?!?!