I suppose I started thinking about all of this a few weeks ago when I noticed that M was constantly asking “what color was he?” or “was she white?” when she overheard us talking about someone that she did not know. I know that her preschool class is working on learning about differences among us, so it was totally benign and not any different than if she asked what color hair they had (though I may change my mind about that if she’s still asking these questions twenty years from now!).
And with holiday season upon us, I know that there are also tributes being paid in her very diverse classroom to the various ethnic, religious and cultural traditions that are standard fare for this time of year. Indeed, thanks to one of her classmates, she knows more about the menorah than I certainly did at her age, and according to her teacher has a pretty hearty appetite for the latkes that were made last week in class (funny because she otherwise does not like potatoes at home!).
When I think about the community that she is growing up in (Quincy, where more than 25% of the 90,000+ residents are of Asian descent) and near (Boston), compared to where I grew up before moving to Massachusetts, I think she is lucky to learn about all of these differences at such a young age. Indeed, by the time I moved as a child to a more urban and diverse area, I was already twelve and, to some degree, had been sheltered from and naive about how the rest of the world looked and honored various traditions.
Race. Ethnicity. Nationality. Heritage. Culture. Google any of these terms or a combination thereof, and you will be presented with millions of hits, each trying to explain what they mean and how they are different from each other. I think I have a handle on it, mostly. But then again, it’s not like this was something that I or my family openly discussed in any meaningful context while growing up, either at home or at school, except insofar as to understand that we must treat everyone with respect and tolerance, no matter how much we may differ in any of these contexts. At least that’s my impression from my memories.
But M is talking about these things now, and it suddenly made me realize that there is almost a gaping wide hole in our acknowledgment–much less celebration–of my and my husband’s familial heritages and ethnic backgrounds. It also makes me wonder whether we are doing some kind of disservice by not recognizing where our families came from with any kind of expression rooted in food, song or otherwise.
I feel a bit ambivalent about it all. Part of me feels like I should do something. Another part of me feels like it would be entirely false and not really who we are.
I say this because, with the exception of a less than a handful of some culinary traditions coming from both sides of M’s family tree, there really isn’t much in the way of any cultural, ethnic or heritage recognition. On my family tree, the branches I can reach are German, Polish and Irish. Save for a couple of Polish sayings, the fact that we called my great grandparents Babci and Jadic, and I vaguely remember eating pierogis and my Babci’s hands working in the kitchen to make kielbasa, that’s all I’ve got. And that was during my childhood. Those things aren’t happening now. Moreover, the German and Irish parts of me have laid silent for at least as long as I’ve been alive.
As for my husband, whose lower family tree branches are French Canadian and Polish, it is not much better. I’m pretty sure the Friday fish and chips he had growing up is a tradition that is local to the Woonsocket, Rhode Island area (where my husband’s grandparents and parents grew up), which does have a large French Canadian population, but I am not certain how much of that was carried down from the mother land. My husband also recalls hearing a lot of French between his mom and his Memere and Pepere, but his French is limited to enough to only find a bathroom and order some croissants (up to dix!) in Paris.
That’s it. That’s all we’ve got to share with M. And I don’t like or eat kielbasa–let alone know how to make it from scratch–so it’s actually even less.
If I’ve got the math right, M’s ethnic and cultural background shakes out like this:
25% Irish + 25% Polish 12.5% German 37.5% French Canadian
If I were to teach her anything about where her family line comes from, I would have some serious Google fingers working the keyboard, and the library’s cookbook section would take a serious hit in the Irish, German, Polish and Canadian collections. I’m not even sure if there is a cuisine limited to French Canadian, other than that odd but slightly intriguing concoction called poutine that I saw while in Quebec a number of years ago.
To me, that feels somewhat forced and fake, and, in many ways, rubs against the grain of the melting pot that we are all stewing in. But what’s the alternative? Some sort of pseudo-“United States” ethnic/cultural/heritage background? And what, exactly, does that look like? Buying lots of stuff, drinking craft beer and eating takeout–that is, Indian, Chinese, Mexican, Italian and Thai takeout??? That doesn’t feel right either. But there is certainly a part of me that is feeling, for lack of a better term, left out. It also raises so many interesting questions, in my mind at least.
Like, if your background consists of only one or two ethnic and cultural identities, is it somehow more appropriate/required/accepted–I’m not even sure of what the right word is here–to celebrate those things than if, like in many people’s case (and mine) your breakdown consists of many small fractions of identities? How do you choose which ones to honor? Is it based on what your immediate families did during your own childhood? What if they really did not make much of those traditions? Can you just pick up where they did not and have it skip a generation? Does that make it any less meaningful, simply because it is based on what an entire culture or ethnicity may have identified with rather than your own family that chose to accept it, ignore it or modify it in some way? By not introducing these various things to M, am I leaving her in the dark about where her roots are from? Will she care? Is there some sort of honor or respect to my forefathers and foremothers that I am not granting? Are our identities defined by people and practices in the past, or what’s happening in the present? And what do we make of the future when our family may blend with another’s? How does it all fit together? What is our personal cultural significance when we are living amongst myriad configurations of races, cultures and ethnicities? When there are festivals and events that celebrate finite ethnic and cultural backgrounds and the pride thereof, what do we make of “the rest of us” who do not have a similar venue, if only because it is beyond our reach to reasonably craft such a fete that is truly all-inclusive? What is the overall effect of such celebrations, like the Annual Lunar New Year Festival that is sponsored by my community’s Asian Resources group and attended by thousands of citizens (Asian and non-Asian alike)–does it continue to keep us fragmented in society, or allow us to come together, even if in small steps of better understanding and appreciation?
In the long run, does any of it matter? I mean does it really matter that one of my great-great-great-great grandparents may have had spatzle or colcannon for dinner and I’m just tossing a box of Barilla into some boiling water? Or that I would not recognize the Polish or German flags if I tripped over them? Or that I am somewhat in the dark about when my families arrived in the United States, and under what conditions, other than what I’ve been able to cobble together with a trial Ancestry.com account and some anecdotes from my parents? When I see other people paying tribute in various ways to their histories, I’m hard pressed to say that it does not matter in some way because there is some palpable and uncomfortable feeling and missing piece felt when I realize that we do not. I feel set adrift and untethered to my past.
I really don’t know the answers to any of the questions that cross my mind about this issue. Increasingly, they do cross my mind though, because as M looks at her peers and learns about traditions, holidays and foods that originate from outside the U.S. borders but which are very much still celebrated here, I wonder when she will start asking why we don’t have such similar celebrations even though our own ancestors were not originally from here either.
The question is, I suppose, is what do I do about it? Do I prune back the overgrowth on the family tree and try to re-discover the roots? Or do I appreciate the unkempt but interesting foliage that has grown on the tree over the years, and worry less about the roots and more about the fruits and flowers that have grown on the branches?
Copyright (c) 2011-2012 by Kristen M. Ploetz. All rights reserved.
Even though we’re only three months in, it seems as though turning four marked some sort of milestone where M is no longer fully living in the “age of innocence” and has rather quickly become interested in others’ behavior that is arguably “wrong”. I’m not talking about when Johnny takes a toy from her at preschool–though she does love to stick it to her friends by tattling these tales often–but more adult (I use that term loosely) delinquent behavior.
It certainly makes for some interesting conversations.
The first nod in this direction happened about two months ago* as we were pulling into the grocery store parking lot, and M asked me “why that man is “puffing” out his window”. A-ha. Smoking. Thankfully, no one in our family smokes anymore, so she’s never been really close to a smoker that she knows personally. And though we don’t live under a smoke-free rock, I just don’t think she’s ever really been aware that she’s already seen smokers out and about in public.
So, I told her what he was doing, but that cigarettes have a lot of bad chemicals that are not good for her body (or anyone else’s) so she should never start smoking, especially because it is so hard to quit. Then she asked me if I ever smoked, and I told her the truth, which is that I tried it one time but it was so gross tasting that I never did it again. She wanted to know if anyone else in our family (meaning grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc.) ever smoked, so I told her the truth again that, yes, some of them did, but that they worked very hard to quit because it’s not healthy.
Armed with this information, M now thinks she is the Surgeon General.
She is constantly pointing out pictures in books of people smoking. I’m with her on this one–what’s with the dude in Everyone Poops who’s smoking a pipe on the throne? I’m not a pipe smoker, but this doesn’t exactly seem like the kinda place I’d wanna chill with one. Or maybe it is. What do I know? She also has a pipe radar with Christmas decorations. What is it with snowmen, Santa and elves always having pipes!!?? Then, a few days ago, I had to tell a hospital worker on her break who was sitting (and trespassing!) on my lawn to please stop smoking on my property, as M gazed at her through our front window.
At first, I thought this was all good because M was recognizing that it’s something that she probably shouldn’t do too.
But then she wanted to tell the guy dropping off our new roof materials–who was smoking–that he shouldn’t smoke. Her intentions were good, I’m sure. In her mind, she has this really important information that might help someone else not hurt their bodies, and she wants to share it to help them. But that’s when I realized that she needed a filter (pun intended) because while it’s something that is not good for people and that we don’t ever want her doing, it’s probably not OK to tell an adult we don’t know (unless they’re trespassing on our property) because it’s not something that’s against the law, just bad for you, and he has to make that choice of whether he wants to do it.
Since that distinction is just oh so crystal clear, I’m pretty sure that my future may involve apologizing to a disgruntled smoker whom we happen to pass on the street as Miss Surgeon General wags her finger at them and tells them that “cigarettes have poison in them”. At least she’s cuter than C. Everett Koop.
How does she understand about what “against the law” means, you ask? Oh, that’s easy: graffiti. Yes, being in the car a lot recently due to holiday travel and what not, you not only get to take in the vistas of changing New England landscapes, but also various tags and hollows spray-painted on overpasses and abandoned buildings. (Want to know more graffiti lingo that goes beyond what you learned in Beat Street? Click here.)
She’s very intrigued by this whole idea that someone would want to write on a building or part of our failing infrastructure. I think this is because, luckily for us, she never decided to take that rite of preschool passage of writing on the walls at home.
What do they use to draw? Do they do it during the day? How do they get up there? Can I paint with spray paint too? What does spray paint look like? Do they go to jail? One of these discussions took place on the way to Gramma’s house for Thanksgiving. In my
fatigue from rapid fire questions during the middle of holiday driving through Boston infinite wisdom, I throw out there that maybe sometime we can play “graffiti” where I could hang up sheets of paper around the house at night, and I’ll give her a flashlight and she can use markers to leave her tag (hey–nothing like working on writing those ABC’s…it’s educational, right?) and I’ll be the police officer who catches her. She’s delighted in the backseat at this idea. Giddy even.
Twenty minutes later we’re walking into Gramma’s house and she’s asking Gramma if she has a flashlight and some paper. I’m not sure how you spent your Thanksgiving, but I bet it didn’t involve sanctioned graffiti.
Perhaps some people wouldn’t think this is a good idea, but I’m all for letting kids play out stuff that they really shouldn’t do in real life (as long as someone doesn’t get hurt). I’ve got to hope that it means she won’t be nabbed in the future from some suppressed desire to leave her mark on a crumbling overpass. Despite the fun chat we had about the graffiti, I did try to impress upon her that it really is something that can lead to being in big trouble like going to jail or paying a lot of money if the police catch you.
Which leads me to the next punishable offense that’s been a hot topic in our house: speeding. I think it’s because she’s learning her numbers, but at one point recently, M noticed speed limit signs and asked me what they were. Mea culpa for telling her because now I have a back seat driver on my hands because she’s always telling me to slow down or asking me what the speed limit is.
One day, I was
speeding driving a little fast on the way home from preschool. Hey, when kids say they “gotta go”, you weigh your options…mine were a remotely possible speeding ticket vs. washing the car seat cover by hand and hoping it would air dry overnight. It was a gamble I was willing to take. But then she got really upset and told me to slow down. I was only doing 35 in a 30 mph zone, but I’m sure that felt fast to her. I asked her why she was so upset.
She said that she didn’t want me to go to jail.
I didn’t think I was going to have to parse out the misdemeanors from the felonies from the legal but really, really unhealthy activities quite so early. I wonder if the children’s library has a section on this . . .
What’s good is that she’s realizing that there is a certain standard of behavior that is acceptable “out there”, and that if you fail to meet it, there will be consequences of one kind or another. I’ve probably also dashed her hopes that there are no rules beyond our four walls. But what I think she is struggling with is why someone would want to do all of these things. That certainly is the harder question to answer. But if she asks, I’ll do my best to answer it. This time, however, I’ll just make sure I don’t craft some game out of it on the way to Gramma’s for Christmas.
*Actually, the first time M became aware of something called jail was in June after they arrested Whitey Bulger. I almost never have the TV on during the day when she’s home, but of course, of all the days I decide to turn on the TV to find out the weather, it was the day that they were bringing him by helicopter to prison. She saw Whitey in his bright orange jumpsuit coming out of the helicopter and asked who he was. I said he was a man who did some very bad things to people a long time ago, and he was going with the police to jail. To which she poignantly asked me, “Is he going there to think about what he did for a long time?”. Yes. Yes, he is.
Copyright (c) 2011-2012 by Kristen M. Ploetz. All rights reserved.
It’s that time of year again.
The flurry of holiday catalogs crammed into our mailbox started in November, and shows no signs of slowing down. I can’t seem to get off of these mailing lists, no matter how hard I try. Not only are these hawkers killing thousands of trees, but most of them are still selling stereotypes that, quite frankly, I am sick of seeing peddled to my young and impressionable daughter and her peers (boys and girls alike).
Yes, there are certainly some toy catalog companies that do a great job of being even handed, and some that at least give the impression of trying to be more balanced, but in the grand scheme of the catalog cacophony, they are so far and few between. And yes, I’ve read books like Pink Brain, Blue Brain, by Lise Eliot, and understand that some traits and preferences truly are innate, so marketers and toy makers tend to gravitate that way. Still, I am often perplexed by some of my daughter’s “girly-ness” in playing (apparently the apple sometimes does fall far from the tree) when I see her in real life situations.
But nonetheless there is something about these catalogs that strikes a nerve with me in a way that is only matched by the Halloween costume catalog industry. I could just throw them right into the recycle bin, but I actually like to see how my daughter thumbs through them. It’s interesting to me, and usually a bit sad too as I see how she falls into their marketing and stereotyping traps by skipping over a lot of toys that, if they were sitting in a box on our floor without any suggestion of who “should” be playing with them, I know she would play with them for hours.
It got me to thinking…why not give these catalogs a report card? Yes, I could just as easily vote with my dollar. But if they ever want to sell to the people with purchase power in this household–it certainly isn’t our daughter…yet–then they’re eventually going to have to listen.
Let’s start with you, CP Toys, since you arrived first and often. Your “Just Like Home Kitchen” is pink and white. Um, how many actual homes have you been in where there is a pink and white kitchen? And despite the fact that your ad copy states that “little chefs can cook in their very own kitchen”, the implied gender for this toy is undoubtedly girls. Yet your two other kitchens, “Wooden Deluxe Kitchen” and “Uptown Kitchen” are arguably way more realistic and “just like home”. No gender limiting colors there and (thankfully) you even feature a boy using one of the kitchens. Admittedly, I have a personal distaste for the whole pink-ification of everything (a pink blender? pink pans? pink toaster? c’mon…) and this is why: you do not color-specify in a similar way for boys. Am I being picky? Perhaps.
Granted, and very thankfully, you do a good job of keeping the rest of the actual toys gender neutral (I’m not talking about the context in which they’re photographed, just the toy itself) and completely realistic and true to life in color and design to the extent you can. And many of your toys are photographed without kids at all, leaving the reader open to whether it is something that he or she would want to play with. Most of the block and gross motor skill toys are even-handed in their featuring boys and girls, so that’s a plus too.
But when I start to thumb through the rest of the catalog, I still see subtle hints of gender stereotyping that I am not comfortable with. A few examples: two different construction sets (both featuring boys); baby care center (girl); two different carpenter workbenches (both boys); firehouse playstation (boy — though, you do feature a girl wearing a firefighter costume a few pages later, so that’s good); airport playset, rocket ship adventure, everglade patrol and dinosaur park (all boys); little helper cleaning set (girl); bar-b-que grill (boy); two simulated drivers (boys). Not one single boy playing with a doll, dollhouse or stuffed animal is seen anywhere in the catalog, except for one photo of a boy playing with some puppets. I will give you credit for featuring girls with the veterinarian set and medical cart, but points off for not making the hair play more attractive to boys. Have you seen any of the shows on Bravo these days?
Final score: C/Needs improvement. Next time, let’s see a few girls using some tools and maybe the boys can clean the house, “just like (at our) home”.
Next up, Toys to Grow On. Unlike CP Toys, you DO feature a girl using the “real woodworking projects”. Nice move, and it certainly stood out to me. Turn the page and there’s a female FBI agent. OK, still looking good so far.
S-c-r-e-e-c-h. Slam on the brakes. I spoke too soon. Right after that, we run into a set of hot pink walkie-talkie phones, on the same page as the the makeup doll (girl playing with it) and make-up set that promises to make girls “look dazzling–from head to toe!”. Can I just say something about this one? Do these toy designers even have kids? My daughter probably has no less than 4 different plastic, brightly colored (though not pink) toy phones in her toy box. Know which one she wants to play with?? My old real cell phone that I sadly had to toss because it stopped working. For a while she was content with it just turning on, but once she figured that out it didn’t really make calls anymore, she stopped playing with that one too. Any toy designer worth their salt should know that kids don’t want phones that don’t even resemble real phones. If there was ever a waste of toy plastic, it is pretend phones. Moving on….
OK, well I will continue to reserve my grade until the bitter end, but I have stumbled upon another baby nursery and cleaning trolley in this catalog as well. No surprises there — both featuring girls. I feel like I’ve been here before…Build-your-own-city (boy); long hauler rig set (boy); veterinarian (girl); doctor lab coat (girl); scientist lab coat (boy) [OK so those two are a wash]; fashion studio (genderless hand is drawing, but notably the book cover is pink and fuschia so to me it screams “girl”–wonder if Michael Kors and Alexander McQueen started off with something like this…hopefully their mothers were as open minded as I bet they were and would buy it anyway!). I also note that the “my first purse” is almost entirely awash in hot pink and purple accessories–including the car keys–yet the “my first shaving kit” for boys stays true to life with metal and black colored appliances and accessories. Why? Why? WHY!
And, oddly, here are two toys that I am not quite sure how I feel: the super-safe target game with an infrared gun and the first archery set. Both feature girls. I am not against the archery set in any way (it was my favorite part of phys ed when it came up!), I mainly note that one because together with the gun, I suppose if you’re raising a mini Sarah Palin these would attract you. But it’s the gun that bothers me. From a gender perspective I suppose I’m . . . uh, flattered (?) that they think girls can pack heat like their male counterparts, but on the other hand I am not totally on board with guns as toys to begin with. At least it is featured as part of a shooting arcade set. I’ll have to ponder this one some more.
Final score: B-/Needs improvement. This catalog is not much better than the first, but because of the gun toting, carpenter and FBI girls, I gave it a slight nudge. Still, it would be nice to see a boy using that cleaning set to help the girls clear up their wood shavings and shell casings.
OK, MindWare, let’s see if you’re any better than the first two. After all, you’re featuring “brainy” toys, so maybe your editors are more with it.
First I see lots of girls using telescopes and microscopes and a boy making some “kid-friendly kitchen concoctions” so that’s a great start. Seventeen pages in and I’m liking it.
Whoa. I spoke too soon. If you want to “open your own sweet shop”, you better like hot pink. And if you want to have “sew much fun” with a mini sewing machine, you better not mind sporting a bag and skirt, boys. (Ahem…editors, do you not watch television or read fashion magazines? Do you not hear some of the names uttered on the red carpet? Do some of the winners and finalists of Project Runway not come to mind? They were MEN designers! And yes, granted they happen to also make women’s clothing, but what boy “ages 8 and up” is going to go out of his way to make a skirt or bag that he is going to have to give to someone else? Ditto this sentiment with the “design custom t-shirts” a few pages later.)
OK so there is some traction to be gained when we get to the “young architects” set which features a girl undoubtedly sketching out her dream home (hopefully without a pink kitchen). But then I get a little disenchanted when I get to the book entitled “Handy Dad: 25 Awesome Projects for Dads and Kids”. Apparently the author, HGTV Host, Todd Davis, does not think that moms can also become “heroes” and wield some tools to create zip lines and water balloon launchers. Since we have a few unwanted cats visiting our yard lately, I may just have to buy that book to spite him and make my OWN water balloon launcher. And while I am sure that the girl featured in the “recycled robot kits” can unwind with the “all-natural spa day” kit after a long day of building robots, I am not sure how the boys are supposed to unwind. Maybe they can head over to the girls making those candies at the sweet shop, provided the boys sew them a bag and skirt of course.
This catalog is actually not that bad, especially when you start to look through enough of these. There are a lot of puzzles, games, building toys, science kits and spatial skills type of toys that are very interesting, and happily feature boys and girls playing with them.
Final score: B/B+. Let’s just stop it with the pink already. Boys like to eat chocolate too. Let’s not let them think that only girls can make it for them. (I realize this is more the toy makers than the toy sellers, but to me they are all one in the same to the extent that they are trying to sell this stuff to kids).
The next catalog in my cross-hairs (I really should pick up that archery set!) is One Step Ahead. (In full disclosure, I have ordered things from this seller in the past, but it has been limited to things like the window safety bars and some kind of roll up placemat that never worked quite right, but not toys. I imagine this is why I get their catalog.)
Kitchens must be big this year because there’s one on the cover, and unlike the CP Toys cover page kitchen, this one is more realistic with brown cabinets and faux stainless steel appliances. OK. At least I’m not all fired up before even opening it.
But it doesn’t take long to get annoyed. Page 7 in fact. “Everything her first doll should be” (emphasis mine) reads the copy for one soft bodied doll, in the color … wait for it … PINK. So, boys apparently don’t ever get to play with dolls, not even a “first” doll, unless their parents are hip enough (like I think I’d be with a son) to buy a pink one. Lovely.
Seriously, who makes these toys? “A gym bag like mom and dad’s”? Really? Know how many times I’ve been to the gym since she’s been born? Yeah, me neither because there’s not quite a number between 0 and 1. But if I did get to the gym, it certainly wouldn’t have the football, soccer ball, baseball and basketball that the bag comes with. Time to retool that one ladies and gentlemen.
But back to my gender stereotyping radar. (As an aside, veterinary schools are clearly going to have quite the female dominated class in about 2024 or so because we have more girls helping animals in this one. I’m not complaining though.) It’s nice to see a girl and boy playing with the “big city” carry-along city and garage, and then another boy/girl duo working together at a child-sized construction site. Good stuff there!
But then we get to the dollhouse “mall”. This one makes my inner anti-consumerist and budding feminist shudder on a whole new level. Because only girls go shopping. Or because it’s acceptable and expected as a pastime for girls, and only girls. Or something like that. I think I may reserve this topic for another post.
Moving on…we have more hair stylists that are seemingly limited to having only XX chromosomes. The availability of pink and blue doctors’ scrubs a few pages later makes it sort of a wash, but also sort of annoying because why not just that fugly aqua that they ALL seem to wear?? Many more girls in the kitchen, but at least I spotted a boy doing the shopping on one page. And for a change the appliances and accessories are not pink. Oh wait. Spoke too soon. The dishes are hot pink, purple and lime. Just like our real set and every other home I’ve been into (not).
Here’s a gem. The ironing board. It’s a girl who’s using it. Not that I am surprised by that, but I am surprised by the copy: “It’s Ironing Day! While you iron your family’s clothes, she’ll love “ironing” her doll family’s clothes, too!” Um, you know what? In our house my husband and I both do the ironing, fair and square. And before you think that I am reading too much into it by assuming that only women must read this catalog and argue it could be a father reading it, I’d say you’re proooooobably wrong because of more copy that exists like this on the same page for the “first purse” where they advise the reader “you’ll wish we made it Mommy-sized too!” (Still not convinced that they think only women are reading this? See the copy for the jewelry box.) See what I mean? They are not only treating the intended audience (the kids) with stereotypes, but they are doing it to us parents, too. Makes me gag. And I still have 19 more pages to go in this gem.
And just a little more fuel for my fire before I am done: Mechanic’s car (boy); tool workbench (boy); shop vac (boy–funny, because I just used ours the other month). But at least we have a girl at the grill.
Final score: C-/D+ REALLY needs improvement. I am not sure if the same person who wrote the copy in the 1950s is still working there, but they need to fire him or her. Or at least let them play with the “smartphone” that “makes kids smarter”. Maybe that will help.
Lastly, unless I get more catalogs before the end of the holiday season, I also received the Nova Natural Toys + Crafts catalog. Although it could use a few minor tweaks, I have to say that it is one of my favorites. I know that this style of toy (wooden, largely unpainted) is not for everyone. I have ordered only a couple of toys from this one–a rattle and a doll stroller. And in even more fuller disclosure, my daughter rarely plays with that stroller. Nope. She likes the one that Gramma got her better. I don’t even have to tell you what color it is. Parenting fail. So, mostly I just like to look at this one when it comes each year for “window shopping” purposes and dream of spending vast amounts of time playing with the elves and fairies in a wooded glen (though they are not cheap, the quality of these toys is unmatched).
Here’s why I love this catalog. It makes me happy to see boys not only playing with dolls, but wearing them in slings. Maybe other catalogs are doing this, but I’ve yet to see them. But in this day and age where fathers are taking an increasingly larger share of child rearing and (child wearing!), then the accessibility to this kind of role play makes sense. They also have a wide range of dolls that come as boy or girl. Girls playing with castles. Boys and girls both working in the kitchen. Boys making candles. A girl wearing a chain link (hand crocheted) knight’s hood. If I had to really get nitpicky and find just one thing wrong, it’d probably be that I don’t see any girls playing with any of the vehicles. But I can live with that considering the “bold” move they’ve made with boys and dolls.
Final score: A-. Keep up the good work.
Copyright (c) 2011-2012 by Kristen M. Ploetz. All rights reserved.
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