So, my mother rejoiced when I had a girl. For the totally wrong reasons.
You see, I was not the type that was kind to my Barbie dolls. In fact, the black pen I used as goth eyeliner, the different shades of nail polish I painted on their lips, and the Mr. Sketch scented markers I used in their hair made my mother think that I was going to be that kid that burns the house down. I was always a weirdo, always dirty, always boyish in my demeanor, and that just killed her. When K came along my mother uttered quite possibly the most cringeworthy sentence I have ever heard.
“I didn’t get my girly girl the first time around, I am CERTAINLY making sure she IS one!”
Now, I’m sure it’s been discussed to death what it means to be socialized a girly girl, and sure enough one of those atrocities entered my home recently. The Changing Time Baby. It’s as horrific as it sounds. A baby you can feed water and this weird food to, that makes these annoying cooing noises while staring at you through blank painted eyes begging you to love it.
I hate this thing. I hate the mess it makes. I clean up enough real baby shit on a day to day basis, I don’t want to clean fake shit. More than anything, I hate what it represents. It represents that weird drive toy marketers and parents have to condition motherhood on small females. There’s a whole smorgasbord of dolls out there meant to instill that motherhood tripe on our little ones. Ones with strollers, ones with bassinets, ones that make fake bowel movements… all meant for your precious girl to take care of just like mommy! Let’s not even get into the fact that it would be considered ridiculous to allow boys to be anywhere near these dolls, we’re gonna give them the Nerf stuff instead!
What really pisses me off about getting these toys foisted upon me is the guilt I get if I want to mention that I don’t appreciate these toys. After all…it’s from grand-maman and grand-papa, HOW DARE I QUESTION THEIR LOVE AND PURCHASES!!! But seriously, K never voiced any desire for motherhood until these toys started coming into her life, now all of a sudden her goal is to be a mother. Years of teaching her that being a Kung-Fu master is well within her grasp was ruined by a few months with a fake baby.
It’s easy to brush it off as a phase and something that really isn’t important to her development. I say nay-nay to that, it’s VERY important. When your parenting is being effectively silenced by outsiders, toy companies and societal expectations? It’s a big deal. When your daughter has effectively switched gears because being a mommy is fun? HUGE deal. When people consider you, the mother, silly for making a stink about it? Something is rotten in Denmark. After all, no one would tell my husband that he was overreacting if people were pushing pink argyle onto his son and he didn’t like it, even though G would look killer in pink argyle (note to self: find a pink argyle sweater).
So I ask, what would you do in this situation? How would you handle parents/aunts/uncles/in-laws interfering with something you feel is important? Would you quietly accept this while trying to undo the work at home or would you raise hell?
Now excuse me while I attempt to hide this fake shitting baby and ask K how the Kung Fu is coming along.