We all have things we say we’ll never do as parents. Maybe you swore up and down you’d never spank your kid. Or buy an SUV in order to schlep car seats, strollers, and the other 3 metric tons of kid-related gear one tends to carry everywhere. Maybe you were one who would never put your kid in hand-me-downs. Or maybe, just maybe, you would be parent whose kid would never eat anything off the floor. I think once you’ve been in possession of your own kid outside of your body (for you ladies, of course), you quickly realize that these “never” and “always” scenarios are bullshit and you do what you gotta do.
I had some serious angst about having a little girl. I’ve written a billion posts about being anti-pink and princess. I make fun of the Winx Club commercials on Nick Jr, a.k.a. the Slut Fairies. I don’t want my kid growing up with any kind of strange body issue or expectation of what she should look like physically, nor do I want her to have some gross unrealistic fantasy about relationships.
I’ve mentioned that Stella has been quite taken with some of the toys she’s seen on commercials. There’s a Barbie mermaid commercial, in particular, she adores. I have no doubt it’s the mermaid thing rather than the Barbie thing. It could be a sparkly mermaid GI Joe and I’m sure she’d still be drawn to it. Anyway, after watching her practically make out with the TV every time this commercial came on for weeks, I broke down. I had to order some stuff from Amazon so I looked up the Barbie mermaid stuff. There was a less-glitzy version that was much cheaper than the one on TV now, although still Barbie and still a mermaid. I got the brunette, so maybe that’s why it was also a bit less expensive. I don’t know.
Anyway, I’ve had it a while, keeping it for a day when we just needed a special something. Today was that day. She’s been in the house all week, as her nanny and BFF have had some other things going on. Stella’s bored. She’s stir-crazy. She’s cranky. We’ve watched every video at least 3 times and read all the favorite books dozens of times. We’ve colored, we’ve painted, we’ve drawn with markers on paper and her face. It was desperate. So, at 3:25 this afternoon I announced that I had a present. I gave her the box, feeling like a dirty sell-out for giving my little kid a Barbie.
You would have thought I gave her an Oscar, or a Faberge egg. Her face lit up. She took the box very carefully. And then she started whispering about the mermaid. You don’t understand. My kid doesn’t whisper. It was like she was smitten, struck into some strange reverent state. I had to take it from her to open it and then use sturdy scissors to extract it from the 16 kilometers of plastic ties they use to mount any freaking toy nowadays. She waited patiently, and then made sure I knew to put the tail on (snapped on).
She’s been carrying it around ever since, watching TV and sitting on the couch with it. I’ve been forced to give her high 5’s a million times already. It’s just neat. (Wait until bath and she sees that her hair changes color!)
So yeah. I was the asshole who said I’d never give my kid a Barbie, that it sent the wrong message. Seeing how happy this stupid doll made my little girl has made me eat my words. Her happiness has erased all of my self-righteous pompous nonsense. I’m not even going to discuss with Stella that it’s not cool to wear too much makeup, and that clearly Barbie will have melanoma one day, since she’s obviously not been wearing sunscreen.
Now, enjoy your weekend. I’m off to find a comb so that Barbie’s hair doesn’t get matted.