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Feb 3 2014

Burp Cloths Are Gender Neutral, Really

By at 2:08 pm

pinklu

On New Year’s Eve, two of my dearest friends announced that they would be throwing me a baby shower. They also did my wedding shower, a co-ed garden party in my back yard. Guests were only allowed to bring plants or gardening products (seven years of pre-marital cohabitation meant we had all the pots and pans already, and we were doing a travel registry for the wedding itself). It was gorgeous, the food was delicious, and it was exactly the way I thought it should be.

“You have to let us do this one,” they said. “You were too much the boss of your wedding shower.”

Alrighty then! I was only too happy to let them take full creative control. After all, I had a proper registry to focus on, a task that I quickly realized I was in no way mentally or emotionally prepared for. It seems most akin to packing for a trip to another planet, unknown and unexplored.

Friends with similar baby product priorities–chemical free! baby safe! reasonably attractive!–helped out by sending their registries to me. Thus armed, I sat down after work this week and began sorting through the incredible amount of stuff in the world to decide what I thought my friends and family should help us out with for the baby. Read the rest of this entry →

Girls Ditch Their Pink Toys in the GoldieBlox Super Bowl Commercial

By at 10:31 am

Whether or not you care to watch giant men in spandex leggings tackle each other with the hopes of winning a massive bejeweled ring, for many, the Super Bowl is all about the commercials, and this year did not disappoint. One stand out? The much-talked about ad featuring GoldieBlox, an engineering-related game designed especially for girls.

The ad plays on gender stereotyping in toys, insisting that more than “pink, pink, pink,” girls actually “want to think.” So, watch below and tell us what you think.

What were your other favorite commercials of the night?

Jan 15 2014

Happy Birthday to My Daughter Who’s Nothing Like Me

By at 12:48 pm

alina

My daughter will turn 7 on Thursday (not to be confused with The Sound of Music’s Marta, who will turn 7 on Tuesday; though my daughter would probably like a pink parasol, too).

She was born on Martin Luther King Day weekend, the offspring of a Soviet Jewish mother and an African-American father, the younger sister to two brothers, and named after both a man of peace and a God of war. You could say that, from the beginning, we embraced the contradictions.

This year, her birthday also falls on Tu Bishvat.

“Is that like a Thanksgivukkah thing that won’t happen again for another 70,000 years?” my husband wanted to know.

“Uh…sure,” I said. Because, frankly, I have no idea. (Anyone out there capable of doing the math for me?) Read the rest of this entry →

Dec 17 2013

What If I Have a Girl?

By at 9:57 am

Pinky

I’m afraid of raising a girl.

I’m 20 weeks pregnant and very soon we will find out the gender of our third child. This is the longest we’ve gone without knowing the sex of our babies and the longer we wait, the more anxious I’m getting. I’m anxious because I’m afraid this baby will be a girl. And I’m not really sure what to do with a girl.

My husband has always wanted a girl; one he is convinced will hang onto her Daddy’s every word like a sunbeam. With both of my previous pregnancies my husband was sure we were having a girl only to find out they were both boys. I, on the other hand, breathe a huge sigh of relief when we see that little arrow on the ultrasound pointing to the boy parts. I joke we’ll have an entire men’s basketball team before he realizes genetics are working against him.

I can deal with boy parts. I had two younger brothers and am now the mama of two little boys. I have a general idea of how to do the boy thing. It was once said, “If you have a boy you only have to worry about one penis, if you have a girl you have to worry about all of them.” I’m not sure if that’s funny or horrifying. Boys are rough and tumble or sweet and sensitive. They wear shirts, pants, and shoes–no accessories required. Read the rest of this entry →

Oct 10 2013

Shopping for Kids’ Shoes is Getting a Lot More Complicated

By at 10:01 am

baby shoes

More than any other article of clothing, my children’s shoes have borne, for me, emotional weight. This started before they were born.

When I was pregnant, too superstitious (pu pu pu) to populate the apartment with nursery furniture and too nauseous to think about a layette, I allowed myself a single indulgence from among the hand-me-downs that I otherwise kept stashed in the brown paper bags in which they came through our door: Evil eye be damned, I placed a pair of rabbit-eared booties on the nightstand next to my bed.

Tiny and surreal next to the growing stack of pregnancy books left unread, the shoes seemed a stand-in for the hope lodged in my swollen belly, the embodiment of a promise that by some miraculous combination of effort, modern medicine, and fate, my 40-year-old body would bear fruit. Read the rest of this entry →

Jan 3 2013

My Preschool Daughter’s Buzz Cut

By at 11:47 am

hair clipperLast autumn, nestled near my preschool daughter’s scalp and obscured by her thick hair, were lice. Our immediate desire was to rid her–and the household–of the pesky critters. Out came the clippers. Her hair was buzzed short enough to glimpse her scalp.

From birth, she’s been admired for her dark hair, which never fell away. Instead, it grew fast, first curly, and then it pitched itself right down her slight toddler back. More recently (when the formerly equally longhaired brother got lice, then a buzz cut) she sported a sassy bob. Post-buzz, she may have had less hair than at any time in her entire life. It shouldn’t have surprised me that the sudden buzz cut revealed how primary a role her hair played in people’s perception of her. What surprised me more was her own reaction to her self-perception. Read the rest of this entry →

Dec 11 2012

Yep, My Son is Definitely a Boy

By at 1:05 pm

toy truck

My son loves garbage trucks. Every morning, without fail, he keeps his eyes peeled. When he finds one, he says, Mommy, Ga-bage Tuck! Watch it?

Having raised three girls before him (and another girl after), this vehicular fetish is a bit new to me. The novelty of his request is a big part of why I am so willing to indulge my waste-dump-loving little man whenever possible. Plus, I never tire of seeing his wide, saucer eyes light up as the stinky garbage cans get dumped into the truck and crushed by…whatever that crushing thing is. Read the rest of this entry →

Mar 28 2012

Fighting Over Baby Names

By at 4:40 pm

hello my name is blankI had to laugh when I read Ariel’s post from yesterday about not finding out the gender of their child. Similarly, we are also very superstitious and waited until over 17 weeks to announce our pregnancy with my firstborn and over 14 weeks with this one. We don’t tell anyone what we’re naming our children before they are born and never refer to the unborn child by said name. Those are pretty much the only secrets I’ve ever kept in my entire life. Read the rest of this entry →

Mar 22 2012

My Baby Girl Wears Pink, So What?

By at 1:33 pm

pink baby socksI wasn’t one of those people who wanted to wait until the day my baby was born to find out the gender. So the day Lila was born was exhilarating–and exhausting–but the birth drama never included the doctor’s calling out, “It’s a Girl!” The delivering doctor didn’t need to, since we already knew. And since that time, I’ve made an effort to ensure everyone else knows, too.

Last spring, I invited pink and purple into our home in a big way. I know another mother who is glad she had a boy, so she doesn’t have to live amidst a pink explosion, but I rather like it. Read the rest of this entry →

Sep 1 2011

Parenting Boys: Is it Different?

By at 9:08 am

Liz and her two sons.

“I see your daughter’s enjoying the tractor today,” said an overcompensating stay-at-home dad whose son was busy zooming around the room on the back of the plastic fire truck.

My daughter was 2 and we were at a toddler class. There were a bunch of toys huddled in one corner and the rest of the room was left open for a handful of play cars, grocery carts, and doll strollers. The dad and I stood on the sideline having one of those conversations parents of toddlers have: attention divided, no eye-contact necessary.

“Yeah,” I said. “She loves those ride-on toys.”

“You’re lucky most of the boys aren’t here!” he called out to my daughter, Hot Shot, cupping his hands around his mouth. “You’d never get a chance if they were.”

My daughter was out of earshot; his message was really for me. And I was livid. Because it was true what he said.  She was getting a longer turn than usual that day. And there were a number of boys who monopolized the ride-on toys. But more to the point, there were a number of parents who let their boys monopolize the ride on toys. He being one of them.

But I didn’t take him on, because you can’t win that argument, not when you don’t have a boy of your own. I’d learned that by then. Parents of boys insist their sons are hardwired for hording and destruction, and since I had no exhibit B to disprove them, I knew they would continue to dismiss me. So I held back my judgmental parent tirade and threw a half-hearted comeback pretending, like him, that the rolly toy shortage was our children’s problem, not ours.

“I think she can hold her own,” I shot back. Read the rest of this entry →

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