Friday, March 13, 2015

bat-grill

The girl is turning three soon. It's wild. It's wild she's as old as she is, and wild that she'll probably always seem younger to me than her brother (if you're thinking, duh, she will always seem younger than her brother because she IS younger than her brother, dumbass... that's not what I meant. I meant that she seems younger to me at 3 than her brother did at the same age. But then sometimes older. I don't know. Nevermind.) You know what else is wild? That she is a whole little person with so many thoughts and ideas and words and plans and like, LIFE, and she probably won't remember any of this!!!

So. We're presently on the East Coast visiting the in-laws and I thought I could get away with a small little family shindig, leaving my poor MIL to do most of the heavy lifting, but then the girl decided she wanted to have a "berfday wif my fwends, like bruddah did," and how could I say no? The theme: Bat-Grill Pwincess, which, p.s., isn't actually a thing. Or, it wasn't. Until now:

I mean...
Custom Batgirl Princess
by Oh Sew Cute by Mel
(Thank you X for reminding me of the wonder of Etsy)
Anyway, we had a small intimate gathering of sixty freakin people. I stressed and planned for months, like I do. (Cupcake toppers and tissue poofs are the devil's work. The very definition of self-created stress.) But, as is true of basically everything in my life, it wasn't nearly as bad as I thought it would be.

I highly recommend hosting a party at somewhere other than your house, where they only allow you one hour to set up. Listen to your husband when he forbids you from baking eight dozen mini cupcakes. It also helps if you suck at cooking, that way you can just buy a pants-load of party platters from the market. I got this text from the hubs as he was picking up the food: "You are an insane person if you thought for a second this wouldn't be enough food." Skip goodie bags and let the kids take home their hand-potted succulents (so on trend ;)) and painted rocks, handily provided by the botanical gardens! The moral of the story is: why do it yourself when you can pay someone else to do it for you? ;) Outsource, outsource, outsource. We (and by "we" I mean Etsy, Ralph's market, and our local bakery) threw the best bat-grill pwincess pawty in Da West.




how do you like my Microsoft paint batgirl mask?
protecting my kids' privacy is obviously extremely important to me ;)
no one will ever know
Any-who. The whole point of this post is this. Apparently, during the party, multiple people came up to DM and said "We were so confused because it was a super hero party, but for a girl???" Um, whut? Let's just say, they picked the right half of the parenting duo to direct such ridiculousness. You know that old idiom, there are no stupid questions? Well, it's not true. And what was DM's response? "It's because she has a big brother." WRONG ANSWER, buddy.

HELLO PEOPLE. This is the twenty-first century. Have we met?????

Grrrrrrrrr.

We've been over this. Girls are allowed to like super heroes. And not just because their big brothers do. Boys are allowed to like princesses. And not just because their little sisters do. I know this is a well-worn refrain 'round these parts, but c'mon. Examine your biases.

To that end, I thought this article was really interesting: Does Your Child Challenge Traditional Gender Roles by Emma Waverman on Today's Parent. She points out that people are generally more comfortable with, for example, girls liking superheroes and dressing like tomboys, than boys liking princesses and wearing skirts. The mom's internal struggle really struck a chord with me because I totally understand, yet can't totally explain, why I would feel less comfortable if Jack wanted to wear a dress to school than if Colby wanted to wear... I don't even know what. I love dressing her in her big brother's clothes, I basically think it's the cutest thing ever. But if she decides she wants to shave her head, I might die. Not because of the gender thing really, just because she has the most gorgeous hair in the world. Anyway. Worth giving it a think.

I also saw this and loved it: Moms Fight Gender Stereotypes with Princess Awesome Dress Line on people.com. I won't try to unpack the fact that "moms fighting gender stereotypes" create a dress line called princess awesome. But still. Baby steps. I heart this big time. And it cannot be denied that the pink-princess obsession is in the water at preschool (only served to the girls though, just the girls. Because, as Jack took to saying when he started preschool, "pink is for grills.")

And on that subject, here's a refreshing take on it: My Daughter Loves Pink and Princesses. She's still a badass. on Stuff Moms Say. "I don't appreciate the message that liking pink, tulle tutus, dollar store tiaras, or fairy wings makes my daughter any less badass than other little girls because I assure you, she is the fierce, opinionated, and 100% herself. And she can get halfway up a tree wearing an ankle length Merida costume." I like what she's saying here. I'm not sure who she hangs out with though, because there are 12 Elsa-wannabes (my daughter included) at preschool, and ain't nobody goin' all counter-culture or "off-trend" there.

I also recently read this blog post - can't find it now - that was along the lines of, don't judge my son for being a spastic a-hole when you come over with your singular, sweet, well-behaved daughter, he's a boy, this is what boys do, blah blah blah. That stuff really irks me. (And incidentally, I'm not the only one. Tons of comments said "Hey actually my son is the sweet sensitive one and my daughter is the tasmanian devil baby, so, yeah.)

Certainly, both of my children have their spastic a-hole moments. They both run around like bat-shit banshees, punch, kick, yell, and scream. They both whine and cry and kiss and snuggle. They both like playing with dolls and the Princess Sofia Castle. They both like pretending to be ninjas and propelling themselves off furniture. My son does really love sports and things that go more than his sister does, and my daughter does love taking care of her babies and loveys in a way her brother never has. But big brother is a big baby, and little sister is a tough mudder. Brother wouldn't touch a snake or a snail with a ten foot pole, and sister will crush a spider with her bare foot. I've come to see it all as facets of their unique personalities, and not as black-and-white (or rather, pink-and-blue) gender markers.

I know I literally just wrote about this three weeks ago, but I feel like this aggressive gendering of our children is everywhere, always, and it's too much, especially when extrapolated to its natural conclusion - gross inequality. Why can't we just let them be who they want to be, rather than trying to dictate their preferences based on some old school gender code? Clearly, the outside world will not hesitate to stamp out any whiff of individuality, to crush their creative little souls. I, for one, am going to do my best not to be one more voice telling them to color - pink or blue, must choose one - inside the lines.

Also this. Just because.



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