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worksheet_REVAdelaide moved into the three-year-old room at the beginning of the month and that class is a pre-school class with actual homework. We’re only on week two, but it’s just a couple of worksheets that they’re given on Monday and they have until Friday to return them. Tim is home with Adelaide on Tuesdays and Wednesdays so that gives us plenty of time to finish the worksheets each week. In fact, last week it gave them something fun to do on one of her days away from school. However, this week, Tim forgot about the worksheets.

So tonight Tim had to work, and I was left to my own devices to fit in dinner and homework and the bedtime routine. We did the worksheets after dinner with the promise that we would watch the end of Frozen when she finished. It was just two worksheets. One tracing and writing the letter “B” and one tracing and writing the number “2,” and I totally lost my patience with her. I wasn’t the calm, understanding mother I always dreamed I would be. I was snippy. I was pushy.

Instead of drawing a line with two half circles, she started drawing these random circles on the page. “What’s that?” I asked frustrated.
“I’m making Mommy.”
“No, we’re not drawing Mommy, we’re writing Bs.”

She wasn’t listening and she wasn’t following directions, and now I feel I’ve ruined her experience with homework for the rest of her life.

I could see myself from this outside perspective, and I could see the damage I was doing. I mean, I wasn’t yelling or even saying anything unkind. I was just rushing her and getting easily frustrated. I wanted her to do it herself, but I guess I wanted her to do well to please her teacher and felt that her work would somehow be a reflection on me as a parent. I think if we hadn’t waited until the last minute, and I wasn’t feeling rushed for bedtime, I could have treated it more like a “for fun” project.

Instead, she was in tears and I finally started to snap out of it. She’s never been asked to draw a “2” before, she might not even know what a “curve” is. If her 2s don’t look like 2s, it’s okay. She’s only three! Finally, I gave up. I put the worksheets away in her folder. Maybe her dad can help her finish in the morning. Maybe not. We went upstairs and got dressed for bed. I changed the tone of my voice, talking about how worksheets are fun and how she did such a great job. I was nearly in tears myself by this point, mad at myself for the way I handled things.

Adelaide recovered quickly and we cuddled together on the couch to watch the last 10 minutes of Frozen. Although she’s seen it several times now, she squeezed my arm when it got to the scarey part and I knew I needed to write this story. To remind myself that she’s only three and we have many more frustrating days of homework ahead of us, and to forgive myself for not being perfect.

Six!

wedding anniversary love letter | http://nextlifechapter.com

Photo by Tammy Bradshaw Photography, November 2013

Today is our six-year wedding anniversary. For those following along at home (or new to this blog), you can review the posts I wrote for our five-year anniversary, four-year anniversary and three-year anniversary. As I said last year, I realize I’m not going to be able to top the previous year’s post every year. I’m not going to be able to summarize my feelings and say something new about marriage every year.

However, this last year has been a meaningful one for Tim and me. It’s been one of the most joyful, as we’ve watching Adelaide go from a nearly two-year-old to a nearly three-year-old. She has so much personality and can have me so frustrated one minute and smiling with pride the next. This has also been one of the most challenging years of my life. As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve suffered two miscarriages since we celebrated our anniversary last year. While it’s so easy to feel alone in those situations (as something that happened to me, not something that happened to us), I know that Tim has been right next to me providing support to get through each devastating day. While I know men and women deal with emotional issues differently, I always felt as if he was on my side.

Marriage isn’t easy and this year has shown us the rollercoaster of ups and downs. I tend to get motion sick on rollercoasters and avoid them if possible. But sometimes, they can’t be avoided. There’s no one else I’d rather be on this ride with, and I feel blessed to celebrate this day and every day with my coaster buddy. As I wrote last year, “I know I don’t have to one-up each and every holiday or anniversary post on this blog. But, I think it’s good to pause and remember, to acknowledge where we are in life’s journey and remember how we got here and why.” I’m here because I chose to be here, and I choose it again each and every day.

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I’ve been thinking about signing Adelaide up for some kind of dance class. Ever since we took her to see “Sesame Street Live” in March and then her school went to a performance of “Pinkalicious, the Musical” at the Walnut Street Theater in April, she’s been really into doing “shows.” She claps her hands and announces, “Okay, I’m gonna do a show.” Then she’ll proceed to sing a song that she makes up as she goes, common themes are Cinderella, Super Man, Leaves, Rocketships, Shrek, Music, “I love you,” and the occasional “I don’t love you.” She’s a budding songwriter at age two and a half and must take after her Aunt Gina with her improv skills. While she’s singing, she often dances, twirls and puts on a real number. (I’d really love to get this on video, but she stops/tones it down when I point the camera at her.)

I’m not exactly sure what’s the best age to start dance classes. I don’t want my kid to be over-scheduled before she even hits her third birthday. But, she turns three at the end of July and three seems like a reasonable age to start an organized activity. Then, this week I had the opportunity to check out Philly InMovement as part of a blogger event. I had heard of the space in Philadelphia’s Queen Village neighborhood, and it was great to check it out for myself. While the space is known mostly for gymnastics classes, they also have parkour, summer camp and summer open gym hours.

http://nextlifechapter.com  |  Philly InMovement

Adelaide was mesmerized watching the “big kids” show off their team skills.

On the way there, Adelaide asked if we were going to the playground. I said no, but that it was kind of like an indoor playground. When she saw the space she was so excited and couldn’t wait to take off her shoes.

http://nextlifechapter.com  |  Philly InMovement

I think her favorite part was the trampoline.

http://nextlifechapter.com  |  Philly InMovement

She also liked the low beam (with a little help from Mom and Dad).

We’re having Adelaide’s birthday at the sprayground again this year, but this would definitely be another option–especially for a winter birthday when outdoor parties aren’t an option. They have a room in the back with tables that would be perfect for pizza and cake. You can even check the birthday party availability right from their website.

Right now there is a $25 Groupon available for those interested in 4 adult gym classes or 5 sessions of children’s open gym (10 months-5 years or K-6th grade). It’s a $50 value, and is available for a limited time.

How old were your children when they started an organized dance/movement, sports, music or some other type of class or lesson?

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Amy headshotI can’t let today pass without mentioning my friend Amy who lost her battle with cancer four years ago on Wednesday. Today would have been her 38th birthday. I miss her dearly and think of her often.

She was the staple of our weekly knitting group, but I’m proud to say that we have continued to meet the last four years. We’re going on nearly 9 years now.

I wrote the following essay a few months after she died. It was part of the First Person Arts Museum. The project demonstrated how personal objects can carry memories and stories for the people who own them, and cherished objects can help us remember the loved ones we have lost.

 

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Amy's sock

A single sock. It’s not a rare thing, a sock without a partner. But this sock’s partner in crime wasn’t lost in the black hole combination of washer and dryer; it was never created.

On June 18, 2010, my friend Amy lost her battle with lung cancer at the age of 33—only three days from her 34th birthday and 15 months after her original diagnosis. Fortunately, due to successful early chemo treatments, she was able to return to some sense of normalcy for several months. She went back to work as a nanny, moved back into her Center City apartment, and rejoined our weekly knitting group.

When I first moved to Philly in 2006, Amy was just a friend of a friend who I was told to look up once I got here. “You should call her,” our friend Scott said. “You two would totally get along.”

I did. And we did.

Amy invited me to come to her knitting group although I didn’t even know how to knit. “I’ll teach you,” she said. “Or, you can just come and eat and drink and socialize.”

After the first week of eating and drinking a little too much, I thought it would be best if I had something else to keep my hands occupied. Amy took me shopping and helped me pick out my first knitting needles and the yarn for my first scarf. She taught me to knit and purl and follow a pattern. I made scarves, hats and blankets, and she walked me through my first pair of socks—red socks for my husband, the RedSox fan.

Amy was the heart of our knitting circle. She was the uber knitter—she even lived above Loop, the yarn store on South Street. She knit sample products for them to display in their front windows. She listened to knitting and fiber podcasts and even had a gig knitting sweaters for an artist who had sold a line of sweaters to Anthropologie. We joked that she was the underpaid sweatshop worker as she slaved away to complete two sweaters a week.

Although Amy disliked social networking sites such as Facebook because she didn’t want everyone knowing what she was doing all the time, she was one of the first members of Ravelry, a social site for knitters. Amy tracked all her knitting projects on Ravelry, found patterns, made friends with far away kindred spirits and posted on discussion boards.

When Amy was diagnosed with Stage IV lung cancer, it of course, came as a shock to us all. But Amy kept her quirky, sarcastic sense of humor and demonstrated so many inspirational qualities until her final moments. In her last year Amy’s mantra was “Life is short. Learn new things.” She created a “hit list” of things she wanted to do, of things to learn, new skills to obtain.  She took an embroidery class, a sewing class, a quilting class. She started a blog and finished some of the books she’s always wanted to read, but had always put off until later.

I feel fortunate that I got to see Amy in the hospital the day before she died. She even mentioned a knitting project she was working on, but said she couldn’t talk about it because it was a secret. After her death, a little digging on Ravelry revealed it was a baby blanket she was knitting for a friend. On Ravelry I also found a finished baby blanket Amy labeled ICCKMA Blanket. I clicked on the project and in the Notes section she had written, “in case cancer kicks my ass blanket–so my yet to be born nieces and nephews will have something from me :)”

In the week after her death, Amy’s family went through the things at her apartment. Overwhelmed by all of the yarn, knitting books, other knitting supplies and unfinished knitting projects, they gave most of it to the knitting group. We were encouraged to take something to remember her by, to use her yarn to knit hats for preemies or blankets for cancer patients, to knit something for ourselves that we would enjoy. In the pile of unfinished projects I found this bright blue sock. I later found it on Ravelry titled “My Tumor Shrunk Socks. Yay!” She started it in June of 2009 when the chemo was working well and the tumor in her lung got smaller. My Tumor Shrunk Socks. Their intricate knit looks almost like lace. They are well above my skill level, but I took them home anyway. They are Amy’s challenge to finish a pair of socks without her. To always be learning new things.

Amy's sock2

 

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fathersday2014_collage

Happy Father’s Day!

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Mothers Day   | nextlifechapter.com

My sister posted this image on Facebook earlier this week. If I had to guess, I’d say it was taken Mother’s Day 1984–exactly 30 years ago.

I wish I could make out the writing on the letter I’m holding up. A Mother’s Day poem perhaps?

Happy day to my mom, my mother-in-law and all the moms out there. Also, happy day to the women who are not moms, whether by choice or not. Happy day to anyone who has been a mother figure when someone needed them most. This week I was proud to be quoted in this, “What I Learned from My Mom” post on Mom’sRising.org.

Happy Mother’s Day!

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InspiredFamilyLogo

On March 22 I attended Inspired Family: A Mindful Parenting Conference. According to the website, “Inspired Family aims to give parents the space to dialogue with experts and each other on the topics that matter to you, from your pre-natal experiences through infancy and toddlerhood.” It was billed as, “48 workshops, 40+ vendors and resources, swag bags and giveaways.” And in full disclosure, as a blogger I received free admission.

The morning’s keynote speaker was Carla Naumburg, PhD, a clinical social worker, mother and writer. Her book, Parenting in the Present Moment: How to Stay Connected, Sane, and Focused on What Really Matters will be released this fall. Although “mindful parenting” was part of the conference title, I have to admit that until I heard the keynote, I wasn’t familiar with mindfulness as a practice. I mean, I knew mindfulness in the dictionary-definition sense: “aware of something that may be important.” I thought it was about being present in the moment and about making parenting choices with purpose. I didn’t understand that mindfulness is a meditative practice and you can take trainings and study it with experts. In fact, after further research following the conference, I learned Philadelphia has a Mindfulness Institute at Thomas Jefferson Hospital, the region’s leading provider of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) programs. The following is a description from their website:

Mindfulness is about paying attention. It’s about living your life in the richness of right now, not being lost in memories of the past or overwhelmed by the worries or projections of the future. It’s a simple practice that strengthens the mind’s ability to stay focused on what is happening right now and to be open to experience — meeting the present moment with kindness and nonreactivity.

Reading that was an “a-ha” moment for me. I’m actually dumbfounded that I hadn’t discovered this practice before. A mindfulness-based stress reduction program sounds like something I could really benefit from. And learning how to overcome the worries or projections of the future and not let them overwhelm me is something that could have been helpful during the last six months as I’ve grieved my miscarriages. As I’m sure is true for many people, it’s hard for me to let go of things that are out of my control. Staying focused on the present is something I’ve been trying to do, but I didn’t have a name for it.

This discovery was my big takeaway from the conference. I attended many of the workshop sessions and tried to absorb as much as I could. I left feeling a bit overwhelmed by all the information I was given. I still have my swag bag filled with papers I want to go through and notes I want to review. But, I left feeling extremely positive and thankful that my husband watched my daughter and allowed me to have an entire day dedicated to self-care and learning.

The day’s workshops were split into five categories: Prenatal, Infancy, Toddlerhood, Self-Care, and Family. I spent most of the day in the Self Care and Family rooms. I was interested in some of the Prenatal workshops, but since I’m not actually pregnant yet, I only attended one of those sessions.

“Five Legal Documents Every Parent Needs to Feel Secure” was the first session I attended. I was looking for coffee so I got there a little late. Still, it rightfully scared me and I now feel the necessity to create a will and other legal documents. The lawyer running the session didn’t mention cost. I know expense is what would be prohibitive for me setting up the documents, but his examples convinced me of their importance.

I had a tough time deciding between “Taming the Toxins: Creating Better Health through Simple Changes around Your Home” and “Pregnancy after Loss: A Creative Arts Based Model for Loss and Life.” I chose the later because it was the only session that mentioned pregnancy loss. It was lead by Heidi Lengel from Interlude Music Therapy Services. Heidi is also a Certified Birth and Bereavement Doula (I didn’t even know Bereavement Doulas were a thing!). Only a small group attended the session and it was just perfect. I have to say that I was moved to tears by the song Heidi shared. I was glad to sit in the back of the room by myself, and I felt touched by her understanding and hopeful words.

Since I missed Xandra O’Neill’s toxins workshop, I attended her second session titled, “Taming the Myth of the Super Mom for the Mom You Want to Be.” I think the toxins workshop would have been a better fit for me, but I still enjoyed her inspiring words and she was kind enough to give me the handout from her previous workshop. I was already familiar with Xandra and her Womb to World Wellness business because we are both members of Philadelphia Social Media Moms. Since the conference, I’ve participated in Xandra’s Creating Fertile Ground Virtual Conference, and I don’t know that I would have joined in without having met her in person at Inspired Family.

I also attended a session on natural oils (something I know nothing about and am now intrigued to learn more), a work-life balance session, and one on mindfulness titled, “Anchored Parents: Creating Positive, Mindful and Happy Families.”

As a first-year conference, there were a few kinks that need to be ironed out. I was hoping for coffee and maybe bagels or some kind of light breakfast in the morning. Nothing was provided. The 45-minute sessions didn’t have built-in breaks in between. There was also no break for lunch. I would have loved maybe 10 minutes between sessions to run to the bathroom and get settled, and an hour for lunch. I didn’t want to miss any of the sessions, so running out to get lunch at the nearby food trucks was a bit of a chore. I ate during my session and felt rude. Plus, a lunch break might have allowed more time for the Marketplace. The room of vendors seemed to have a lot to offer, but I didn’t want to miss the sessions. I’m glad the Marketplace was open for an hour prior to the keynote, but I could have used more time.

The conference tried to be inclusive of the entire family and although it was heavily attended by women, I did see several dads or dads-to-be. The only session I wish was broken up by gender was “Wanna do it?… Not ever?! Having Sex after Baby–Will It Ever Be the Same?” For me, it was awkward to discuss such an intimate subject in a group full of strangers. It would have been fine for a presentation, but for an interactive workshop I just felt uncomfortable and left to check out a different session after the first 15 minutes.

Overall, I had a wonderful experience. The organizers were two moms with young children, and I was really impressed by the variety of offerings and all the work that clearly went into making the day a success. I feel lucky to live in a city with so many family-focused businesses. The conference was a great way for me to get a lot of information up front. Now I just have to take the seeds that were planted and follow-up with research of my own.

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Last week Adelaide and I flew to Texas for a vacation and family reunion. She was super excited to fly in an airplane and see Papa Eugene, Grandma Ruth, Aunt Gina and her cousins. Although this was technically her third trip via plane, she doesn’t remember the other two. So, on Wednesday we flew to Dallas-Fort Worth to see cousins I haven’t seen in over 10 years.

My dad’s brother, his wife and their three kids (and their kids), as well as my dad’s sister and her four kids (and their kids) all live in the DFW area. My sister flew in from L.A.  We flew in from Philly, and my parents and grandpa flew in from Central Illinois. The whole group of us hadn’t been together since my grandma’s funeral in 2003. Even then I remember thinking how much Grandma would have loved to have seen us all together and how it was too bad that it took her death for us all to be willing to make the trip. Since then, there have been several weddings, but it was only death that brought every single one of us together. Until now.

Around Christmas my sister and I were talking about getting together at the end of March when the school she works at was on Spring Break. She wanted to get together somewhere other than where we live–somewhere in between that wasn’t at our parents house in Illinois. She thought, wouldn’t it be fun to fly to Dallas and see our Texas cousins. Mom and Dad and Grandpa could fly down too. Gina thinks it’s pretty wild that we took her crazy idea seriously.

My grandpa got to see all three of his kids, all nine of his grandchildren and all eight of his great-grandchildren in one place. It was a wonderful afternoon with lots of food, good conversation and beautiful weather.

My aunt Debbie brought old photo albums with her, and my cousin Kelly had another crazy idea that we all took seriously. Inspired by Buzzfeed’s 21 Family Photos: Then and Yikes (and others like it), we somehow roped everyone into reenacting several old photos. Some were more successful than others, but they were all a lot of fun. At one point, I looked to my cousins’ spouses lining the back wall, varying degrees of mortified.

“What were you guys thinking?” I asked. “You married into this family–you chose to be part of this. We were just born into it.”

My cousin Natalie’s husband just shook his head and said, “We didn’t know what we were getting into.”

 

Reenacting family photos  |  nextlifechapter.com

This photo was the inspiration for the series. Saturday was my Aunt Debbie’s birthday. This photo was taken on Debbie’s 29th birthday, some XX years earlier.

 

Reenacting family photos  |  nextlifechapter.com

The eight cousins (sorry Jenny, you weren’t born yet). I’m the second from the right.

 

Reenacting family photos  |  nextlifechapter.com

The oldest cousins with their respective siblings on their laps. This one just turned out super weird.

 

Reenacting family photos  |  nextlifechapter.com

Kelly, Natalie and Gina. The ones with the “crazy” ideas.

 

Everyone was such a good sport (it wouldn’t have worked otherwise). I highly recommend getting out old photo albums and giving it a shot at your next family reunion. It’s a great way to break the ice for people who haven’t seen each other in a long time.

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7 Tips for Toddler Road Trips  |  nextlifechapter.com
In the last 10 days we drove over 1,600 miles visiting my parents in Central Illinois and then back to Philly.

This is the third Christmas we’ve made long road trips with a kid and a dog. The first year, Adelaide wasn’t quite 5 months old. We rented a miniSUV-type car and our dog Hugo and Adelaide slept together in the back seat. Hugo has always been good in the car and since Adelaide was so young, she slept most of the time. Although Hugo’s separation anxiety caused us to eat all of our meals in the vehicle, we stopped frequently to nurse Adelaide and to let Hugo get out and stretch his legs. It went surprisingly well.

Last year, on the every-other-year holiday schedule, we drove our minivan down to Tallahassee to visit Tim’s family. We learned a lot from that trip, and this year we had it down pretty well. At nearly two years, five months old, Adelaide did great.

Here are my top 7 tips:
(Keep in mind we only have one child and we fortunately have the space that a minivan provides, so take that into consideration.)

1. Have one adult sit in the back next to the child to help “entertain.” Adelaide is still facing backwards in her car seat (it’s much safer and kids should be kept that way as long as possible), so she can easily interact with the adult she’s facing. We abandon the passenger seat all together and use it for coats and whatever else we need to cram in. Without the adult sitting back with her, we would never survive. She wouldn’t be able to play with most of the things we bring for her without our help and she would get much more upset without us next to her to chat and sing songs and give her snacks.

2. Wrap presents for the child to open every few hours. Last year we brought several gifts to open, stickers, coloring books etc… This year, Tim’s mom sent 10 individually-wrapped books to open throughout the trip. I believe they were all used books she had picked up at Goodwill, so although they were all in great shape, I’m sure they weren’t expensive. The Sesame Street wrapping paper helped too. I rationed the presents out so that we would open 2-3 each day, saving some for the ride back to Philly. Although Adelaide always asked for “another present” immediately after she opened one, she seemed satisfied that we would open more “later” and reading the books gave us something to do.

3. Snacks, snacks and more snacks. I know I get cranky when I’m hungry and surprise, surprise, kids strapped in a car seat for hours at a time do too. It’s great to have munchy food like raisins, nuts and crackers, but things like apple sauce and yogurt work too if you can bring along a cooler. A cooler also comes in handy for things like milk and bottled water or soda for Mom and Dad.

4. Crayons, coloring books, stickers and other non-screen activities. This year, I bought Adelaide a new box crayons and a Santa-themed coloring book that she hadn’t seen before. We had lots of stickers and a small notepad, her Fisher Price doodle board, books to read etc…

5. Mobile electronic device for games/videos in cases of emergency (or the last hour of each day’s drive). Last year we only had my smart phone, but streaming Elmo videos saved us at the end of each day. This year, we have a Kindle Fire HD loaded with several kid-friendly apps and an episode of Sesame Street. I’m surprised to say we didn’t even use it on the way home, but it did come out the first day on the way there. Adelaide knows how to play most of the “games” herself so she doesn’t need a lot of assistance from Mom or Dad (which is good because I have a tendency to get motion sick).

6. Stop half-way and get a hotel. For us and our sanity, I don’t think an 800+ mile trip would be possible without stopping overnight at a hotel. We usually use hotels.com to book a hotel a few weeks in advance and can find a pretty good rate. Nothing fancy, just a place to rest our heads. (And no, I don’t have an affiliation with hotels.com, it’s just the site we tend to use.) We usually get in by 5 or 6pm, order a pizza, watch cable and go to bed fairly early.

7. When possible, get a hotel with an indoor pool. Hotels.com is nice because you can filter for “allows pets” and for “pool” (just read the hotel profile carefully to make sure the pool is indoors!). When I was doing the search, Tim insisted the pool wasn’t a deal breaker, but I’m sure glad I didn’t listen to him–haha! If your toddler is like ours and loves the water, an indoor pool was such a special treat after a long day of car travel. The last two summers we’ve taken advantage of the short public pool season in Philadelphia, but between mid-August and the beginning of July, we don’t have a lot of options for swimming. The hotel pools were small, but both nights we were the only ones there. It was so fun!

7 Tips for Toddler Road Trips  |  nextlifechapter.com

The combination of these things and naps helped the time go by quite quickly for us. Okay, “quickly” might be a stretch, but we survived fairly painlessly. We only did between 6-8 hours each day so no one day was particularly awful. As the driver, podcasts helped me pass the time. I caught up on the Longest Shortest Time podcast and listened to an episode of my old standby, This American Life.

A long two-day road trip isn’t something I’d want to do very often, but once a year it’s totally do-able. It’s cheaper than buying three round-trip plane tickets and leaving our dog with a dog sitter for 10 days. Plus, we have our vehicle while we’re there and we can be flexible as far as weather and wanting to leave a day early or stay an extra day or two if something comes up.

If you have any other suggestions for traveling with a toddler, or tips for traveling with two or more kids, I’d love to hear them!

We had a great trip visiting Papa and Grandma Ruth, but it’s good to be home. Here’s to an incredible 2014!

pink vs blueToday I ran across this article from Brain Pickings about the Pink and Blue Projects by Korean artist JeongMee Yoon. The project is stunning.

Sure, Adelaide likes pink. When asked a few weeks ago, she told me pink was her favorite color. (Hey, why not? It is a pretty color.) I don’t mind her having pink clothes and toys. However, I hate that when I looked up kids umbrellas on Amazon the other day, the pink one with owls on it was labeled a “girls umbrella” while the blue one with monkeys was a “boys umbrella.” Why can’t my kid have the blue one? She likes monkeys. The fact that the blue umbrella is in some way better for boys is just absurd.

Yoon’s website says of her research, “Pink was once a color associated with masculinity, considered to be a watered down red and held the power associated with that color. In 1914, The Sunday Sentinel, an American newspaper, advised mothers to ‘use pink for the boy and blue for the girl, if you are a follower of convention.’ The change to pink for girls and blue for boys happened in America and elsewhere only after World War II.”

And we apparently took it too far. Encouraging girls to wear pink and recognizing that it didn’t have to be just a boy’s color has completely been overcompensated to the point where we’ve just reversed the stereotypes completely instead of eradicating any superficial connection to gender.

So, should I discourage Adelaide from having pink toys and toys obviously marketed at girls? Last week my sister called concerned that the doctor’s kit she found as a Christmas gift is Doc McStuffins pink and sparkly medical bag. Should I tell my sister, yes, please find a sterile white doctor’s playkit if you can? I don’t know. Playing with fairies and pretending to be a princess is fun. I don’t want to say my daughter (or son) can’t do those things. I think a big part of the solution is being self aware of how much gender stereotyped marketing is around us. And, as a parent, try to see it for what it is and not buying into it (it’s too hard for the kids, but perhaps as adults we can set a good example and start conversations early). I know we all have gender stereotypes engrained in us, even if it’s subconscious. As the mother of a female toddler, I want to be sure to encouraging the trucks, super heroes and carpentry gear that’s marketed toward boys and maybe pick the purple stroller instead of the pink one.

How have you handled gender stereotyping in your home? Has gender marketing affected you or your child?

 

UPDATE: I just read another blog post on this subject called, “‘Gender neutral’ not exactly what I’m going for….” Well said, Margot Magowan.

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