15 November 2013

Bossy Baby

Our weather is back to balmy, and Jane and I went to the park this morning. We were the only ones there for a while, but it really started to pick up around 10:30. She was swinging and said "Mama swing," but I couldn't because the other swings were taken. I explained she was swinging with other kids, isn't that fun? Then one of the kids left his swing and Jane said "kid swing!" like a command. Out of my mouth popped: "Jane, don't be bossy."

I've never said that to her before (probably because she's never bossed anyone but family). And as soon as I said it my brain went into overdrive analyzing it. Do I really not want her to be bossy? Isn't that a prerequisite to leadership? But she has to learn to be mindful of others. You can get others to do things your way without the use of commands, and you attract more flies with honey. Gah! She's two for crying out loud.

Would my approach or response be different if I were raising a boy? I can't wrap my head around that hypothetical now that I have Jane and she is who she is.

There are so many other things I think about when I ponder raising a girl. I'm still wary of princesses and pink overload. But I find myself drawn to Hello Kitty (!) who is everywhere, especially in Target. Jane doesn't show much preference in her play things, and probably all her toys are technically gender neutral even if they're pink (thinking about the doll stroller for that one).

I think we have a sticker book about Disney princesses (which hasn't made it home to Baton Rouge yet). My favorite is Ariel and I l-o-v-e-d The Little Mermaid. Looking at it through a feminist lens though it's just another story of a girl putting the very best of herself aside in pursuit of a guy (and one she doesn't even know at that). When I realized that (probably when Jezebel wrote something about it), I was a little crushed. Now I'm just confused as to whether Jane should get to enjoy the Disney stories when they contain themes I so don't agree with.

Basically I don't want Jane to be limited -- by me, by society, by expectations. That may be unrealistic.

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