On the very outset, let me just say that I LOVE THIS BOOK. I really do. I think it's funny and it meant well but then half way through writing it, the author realized that her audience is not at that age to receive its message and pandered. 

Lil O got this book as a gift on her 2nd birthday. She is much too young for it. I read it and I am much too young for it as well. I went from 'Neat' to 'Wait, what'? 

It starts out with the very popular lil piglet-girl Olivia (annoying TV series) pondering on her existence.

Like every 6 year old kids, Olivia is depressed! (I remember when my mom or dad explained what 'depressed' meant and I, all of 8/9 yrs old was depressed everyday from then on - depressed when I didn't get candy, depressed when yelled at, depressed at bedtime... it was ridiculous!)
This one was having an identity crisis!
Because she is and wants to be different from other little (not depressed) six year olds. 
The message is great so far. She wants to be different from all the little ballerinas and entitled princesses in the world. I so want to be teaching this message to my girls. I kept princesses out of lil O's life until one day Lil O wears a new dress and says, 'So cute, O is princess'. And I was so taken aback. You can try to keep the world out but you can't keep her from the world. Sigh!
Lil piglet-girl Olivia continues to ponder and differentiate. She sums up perfectly. 
Instead of a princess maybe she could aspire to be a nurse (why not a surgeon?), adopt orphans (pets too maybe?) or be a reporter to report on corporate malfeasance (I can't even say that word - is this book for kids at all?). Then she stops wondering because she has hit upon exactly what she should become to be different. 
What? 
Sigh! So much for that. Is this what is about to happen with me too? Am I going to give up trying to stop lil O and Lil A from fixating on the physical aspects (or assets) of Barbie dolls, American Girls dolls, Princesses in need of Charming guys to rescue them? 

When I wanted to buy lil O a doctor set, all I could find were sets in blue. Incidently blue is her current favorite color. Out of curiosity, I looked around some more for sets in purple or pink (though no one likes pink in our house except BK) and all I could find were tea cup sets and kitchen sets. Really? REALLY? 

Recently O went and grabbed a tool kit set and started hammering and sawing away. I was proud of her and had she asked for it, I would have said No because there is enough noise in my house. But the point is, she knows what to do with a hammer and saw. Or how to navigate a crane for that matter.
The same thing goes for little boys. If a little boy (or girl) grows up knowing what to do with an egg or Ox tongue, Yucca, Watermelon, Beets (thanks Chopped!), then that's a huge value add for them, not less, MORE. If a boy (and little girls) can clean and make beds and organize, then that's awesome and makes them smart. If a girl (or boy) can change her own light bulbs or fix a hole in the wall, that's great. In today's world, these are not just nice-to-haves, it has become a necessity to be Jack/Jill of all trades. 

Oh well. 

On another note look at lil O's reading corner. I wish I had one so cozy and inviting. 
What do you think about gender neutralized toys for all kids?
 


Munchkins
02/18/2013 12:31am

its ironic that "blue" is the color of choice for girls these days - including my 2.5 yr old! in other news.... i love Li'l O's reading corner!!!

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Jen
02/18/2013 10:54am

Totally! Blue/Indigo are beautiful for everyone. Companies that make any products/clothes for kids should stop with the Pinks and Blues isolation.
Yes, that reading corner is amazing. I am dreaming of one for me with a million books, a mini fridge and pantry.

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Nivedita
02/18/2013 1:09am

Agree with you Jens...i was wondering about it myself a few days back...many websites including disney has a lot of stuff to buy for lil' girls..from a wide variety (:P) of hair dressing accessories, kettle and cup set, cookery set, etc....i hate how people typecast women and want them to learn their "place" right from the beginning...and how irritatingly there are boy colors and girl colors

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Jen
02/18/2013 11:07am

So right Nive! I have had couple of my friends with sons who hesitate to allow their sons play with Cafe sets or Chef sets. While the children actually reach for them. Some of the best chefs today are men, are they not? When I had lil A, I had so many male nurses take care of me and I thought I would have apprehensions about being attended to by men but they were so professional and gentle. If not for just pegging little girls, free the minds of lil boys to explore spaces they never are led into.

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Aparna
02/18/2013 10:48am

Yes, I wondered about this often times too! Its plain stupid and throws our kids into the worst stereotypes... And wait till O and A are 4-5 years old, peer pressure will drive them to think they are abnormal if they dont like pink/purple and prefer blue instead (thats what happened with Isha). I think somehow with all the lovely things that money and the world can offer, our children are poorer for it and they miss the 'real thing' - the joy of simply playing with broken, imperfect, 'not even meant to be' toys. It irritates me no end when all kitchen sets and jewelry sets are for girls and and all the 'macho' stuff is for boys.... That said, many parents are equally to blame for this! Do we go to a store and ask for b'day presents for a '4 year old' or a '4 year old boy/gal'??

Lovely post! Amazing to see u write on stuff that resonates with me!

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Jen
02/18/2013 11:19am

The socially acceptable boy or girl toys are usually taught to little girls and boys - Lil O loves any toy and she loves toy packaging even more. I am not going to stop her. Growing up, I never had any restrictions and had so many figurines of Thunder Cats and G.I Joe-s. I also had plenty of guns and swords. I think I turned out ok. I had boy playmates who played with my teddies and teacups - they are fine fathers today. Why isn't anyone speaking up?
Yes, I love your expression - with all the riches we have today, our children are indeed poorer and limited. Let the change begin with us.
Right now I am watching BK and lil O racing toy cars across the room. I hope she knows Danica Patrick has paved roads no woman has traveled before!

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08/21/2013 3:18pm

OMG, I'm DYING!!!! Olivia's depressed. I love how she's just LYING there. I have to admit, it made me laugh. :)

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