Tag Archives: the girls

dumbo feather

On a whim, just before Easter, I decided to submit a conversation that I had had with our 3-year-old to Dumbo Feather.  They are compiling a host of interviews with kids and I thought, ‘why not?’

See the interview here.

hermione, not pansys

In the back of my mind there has always lurked the thought that having daughters means that one day we will have to contend with the multitude of ‘body image’ issues which will bombard and threaten to overwhelm them.  But I thought I had plenty of time to arm myself with clichés and ready myself for the onslaught.  Seems not.  Seems that 5 years old is old enough for the ridiculous to begin.  Simply because our oldest has started school means that she is immediately exposed to comments and ideas that are not only in opposition to our’s, but are destructive and devastating.  It is a rude shock.

This is only the beginning of a long slog of reassurance and realignment.  Right now it is easy, compared to what I know is coming.  I can still gently manoeuver her in another direction, still I am still the loudest voice she hears.  And while I still can, I will kiss and cuddle and declare her perfection to all that can hear, her included.

While it has been rather shocking it has also been a warning that it is never to early to have those conversations that acknowledge and celebrate uniqueness.   And I am more determined than I have ever been to fight tooth and nail to drag my girls through adolescence to adulthood with as little damage to their self esteems as possible.  And where there is damage, we will sit and cry and comfort and speak words of truth.  We will speak of what it means to be human and that kindness and creativity will always outweigh shallowness and superficiality.  J.K. Rowling says it beautifully here:

‘Maybe all this seems funny, or trivial, but it’s really not. It’s about what girls want to be, what they’re told they should be, and how they feel about who they are. I’ve got two daughters who will have to make their way in this skinny-obsessed world, and it worries me, because I don’t want them to be empty-headed, self-obsessed, emaciated clones; I’d rather they were independent, interesting, idealistic, kind, opinionated, original, funny – a thousand things, before ‘thin’. And frankly, I’d rather they didn’t give a gust of stinking chihuahua flatulence whether the woman standing next to them has fleshier knees than they do. Let my girls be Hermiones, rather than Pansy Parkinsons. Let them never be stupid girls’.

van gogh vs. barbie

I have had few awkward moments at Kinder drop off and pick up lately regarding what toys the girls are in to.  A number of other mum’s have been asking me if the girls are into Polly Pockets, some Pet toy (can’t even remember the name of it) or the ubiquitous Barbie.  I have had to say no, the girls don’t play with any of the above.  But not because we have been militantly deliberate about what they are not allowed to play with.  It mostly has to do with what I can put up with and what is not going to do my head in!  There are some things we have avoided, Barbie is one of them, and anything with an excess of pink is another. But really it has been more about consciously exposing them to other options – ‘my’ music (the girls know David Grey’s ‘Draw the Line’ and Mumford and Sons ‘Sigh No More’ off by heart), galleries, the museum (the Melbourne Museum is amazing for kids, we go regularly), farms and farmers markets.

And it stands to reason doesn’t it?  Wouldn’t you rather listen to ‘The Sundays’ than nursery rhymes? Go to the Museum rather than Maccas?

At Kinder a couple of weeks ago, our girl was ‘star of the week’, which means that she got to do all the speical jobs that week, go first at activities and bring in some special toys and treats from home.  One of her special toys was a cube which flipped in on its self and had a different Van Gogh painting on each side.  It is a very clever and fun ‘toy’.  She stood up in front of everyone and showed her class the cube, explaining that Van Gogh was a painter and these were his pictures.  I was shocked and excited.  We had always wanted our girls to grow up aware of bigger things and ideas, not for knowledge’s sake, but so that they knew what was out there and what they could achieve (if Van Gogh can do it, why can’t one of my girls?).

However, I have also noticed that our eldest is sometimes the only one not to be privlege to certain information regarding the latest toy/show/character, and that has put her on the outside of conversations and playing opportunities (at Kinder).  It’s hard to be ‘Harmony the Fairy’ when you have no idea who or what that is.  Is it a price I’m willing to pay?  I think so.  She certinaly knows who Big Ted and Dora are, but she also knows who Van Gogh and Bono are too.  Ultimately I think that the girls will not feel the loss of pink and fairy’s in their lives, but perhaps they will feel better equipped for life with a knowledge of the world outside of ‘plastic, kid land’.  I think so.  I hope so.