Tuesday, August 08, 2006

And Already It Begins...

I get Doodles out of the house and to Target by telling him he can pick out a new lunch box that he’ll take with him to preschool. He’s psyched for the idea, and all the while I’m shopping, he’s asking, “Where are the lunch boxes? Can I get my lunch box now?” I say we’ll get there soon and I remind him that Sweetie Pie will need a lunch box too for the Tiny Tot room. “Can I pick out her lunch box?” I shrug, and say, “Sure!” Sweetie Pie is babbling away in my mei tai carrier and doesn’t seem to mind the idea.

So, we make our way over the lunch box aisle finally, and they have *the* cutest dinosaur lunch boxes. I quickly move Doodles past the Spiderman, Batman, and the like lunch boxes.

Me: Wow! Look at this! Are these the coolest lunch boxes or what?
Doodles: They’re dinosaurs!
Me: They are dinosaurs!
Doodles: I want a dinosaur lunch box!
Me: I think that’s a fabulous idea. Would you like the orange one or the green one?
Doodles: Um, the orange one.
I pull the orange one over.
Me: Look! Do you see what kind of dinosaur it is?
Doodles: Is it a triceratops?
Me: Yes, it is! That’s very good, Doodles.
Doodles: I want to pick Sweetie Pie’s lunch box.
Me: Great idea. Do you think Sweetie Pie would like the green dinosaur?
Doodles wrinkles his face in distaste.
Doodles: No. Sweetie Pie wants the Hello Kitty lunchbox.
Let me interject here and ask: How the hell does my son know what Hello Kitty is!!?!! Okay, back to our story:
Me: I really think Sweetie Pie would like the green dinosaur.
Doodles: No, the Hello Kitty lunch box.
Me: I think the green dinosaur is the baby sister dinosaur. Don’t you think Sweetie Pie should have the baby sister dinosaur?
Doodles starts getting upset: The Hello Kitty lunch box!
Me: I have an idea! Why don’t we get you the Hello Kitty lunchbox and we’ll get Sweetie Pie the dinosaur lunch box!
Doodles: No, I want the dinosaur. Sweetie Pie wants Hello Kitty.

Now I’m debating with myself. Do I get the Hello Kitty like he asks for? (I can't find the lunch box online, but it looks almost like this.) After all, I did say he could pick out her lunch box. Or do I override him and get her the green dinosaur? I even contemplate buying both the green dinosaur and the Hello Kitty and then secretly returning the Hello Kitty when Doodles’s forgotten about it. Then I have an idea. After all, Sweetie Pie has my genes, right?

Me: I know! Let’s let Sweetie Pie decide!
Sweetie Pie is happily reaching for everything from inside my mei tai.
I hold up the dinosaur.
Me: Sweetie Pie! [lots of cheer in my voice] Do you want the neat green dinosaur!!
I hold up Hello Kitty.
Me: [voice goes lower] Or do you want this one?
Sweetie Pie looks at both. Her eyes start to sparkle and she gives a big smile.
Me: Look! Sweetie Pie wants the dinosaur! Here Sweetie Pie!
At which point Sweetie Pie squeals loudly with disgust, bats her hand out until it makes contact with the dinosaur, throwing it down on the ground, and grabs the Hello Kitty lunch box with both hand, cackling with delight.
Sweetie Pie: Eee! Eee! Eee!

I buy one dinosaur lunch box and one Hello Kitty lunchbox.

I’m a failure as a feminist mother. They’re going to take away my feminist credentials. Might as well buy those Barbies now and get it over with.


morgan said...

Well told! I don't know when this gender idenfication/stereotyping starts -- but maybe Sweetie Pie was just responding to the simple Hello Kitty face graphic? Not a girly thing, but an age-appropriate thing. I know you are (kinda) joking when you write that you are a failure as a feminist mother, but you are definitely not! And perhaps a Barbie or two won't be an afront your feminist ideals, either, or hurt Sweetie Pie's self esteem (I had them growing up, and I have only a slightly warped self image -- maybe not due to the Barbies -- I could explain what I think it is due to, but that would take too long. I also had tons of plastic dinosaurs that I adored.)

Anonymous said...

wow, you exerted way too much energy on that one.

Susan (5 Minutes For Mom) said...

That is soooooo funny!!!

I loved your accurate recollection of the dialog.

I was a complete tomboy as a child. I wanted nothing to do with anything pink or girlish. But now, I have to admit, I absolutely love dressing my 15 month little girl in pink and watching her push her doll stroller. She picked out her first doll at a garage sale and has been walking it, washing it's face and carrying it around ever since. I love it!

I am a failure of a feminist mother.

Anonymous said...

How true! and well written. good job (as a mother and writer)

lisa maddox said...

Here's how to do it. This works every time for me. Hold up dinosuar lunchbox and say, "You don't want this yucky dinosaur lunchbox when you can get (hold up Hello Kitty) this cool Hello Kitty lunchbox do you?" She will pick the dinos. Every time. They love to oppose you.

Anonymous said...

since when does being a feminist mean you have to give up girliness? Trying to force a girl to have boy preferances is more like turning her into a masculinist!!! Girls and women can love pink and hello kitty and still rule the world! Embrace your feminine side!!!
PS ... I was a tomboy, I built treeforts in the woods behind our house, I never even had my toenails painted until I was an adult, now I have 3 little girls and they love pink/barbies/princesses and even hello kitty, so I let them be the girly girls they want to be!