Friday, April 29, 2011

Walking Billboards

I give up. It's time to admit it. Time for a confession.

I am a crazy mom.

I had so many ideas of what motherhood would look like before I actually became a mother. I knew I would care about the things my kids ate and the things they played with but I had no idea I would care this much. It's intense.

The fuel for my fire today:

I checked this book out from the library yesterday and I finished it yesterday.

Orenstein puts into writing so many of the things I've been saying for the last 2 years.

The thing that's been running through my mind this morning is her question of when does choice hop the fence into coercion?

Do my daughters really get to choose the kinds of things they want to play with? Because that's the culture we live in today, right? Have it your way, pick and choose, manufacturing products cheaply in order to have more stuff to choose from... but if that's true why do we have clearly marked aisles and shelves in stores that pimp (Orenstein's word, not mine) pink to my girls and ensconce Lego's and trucks in blue for the boys? Why is it so hard to find blue or yellow or green clothes for my daughter's baby dolls. And in that line of thought why is it so hard to find a male baby doll in the first place!

If I allow Zola to watch Sleeping Beauty or Cinderella or Snow White or The Little Mermaid, does she have a choice but to love them? That's all she sees on her eye level at Target at Walmart at she has already internalized this idea that if you are a girl then these things are for you. So why would I perpetuate that idea by encouraging it at home?

Grant and I purposely try to avoid clothing that advertises the store from which it came. No white t-shirts boldly labeled, OLD NAVY or GAP across the front. Do we hate these stores? No. Do we shop there? Yes. But we pay them for their goods and we do not pay them so that we can be their walking billboards. I think they (and other businesses we use) do enough advertising without writing on us.

So why would we choose to do that with our children? Why would we bedeck them in Disney so that they can be walking advertisements?

This is a rant... I'm feeling feisty today so I'm bleching it all out right now. But I do know there is plenty of gray area. Murky waters... Zola has an E.T. shirt. She LOVES this shirt. I know it is essentially an ad for the movie. She wore it to school this week in fact. But the only people there who understood were her teachers. She also took her new E.T. stuffy to school and when she saw the other kids looking at it in confusion she stuffed it in her school bag rather than explain. Before the school year started her favorite color was blue or black... At home she still loves black but invariably if someone outside of our house asks her favorite color she says purple or pink. At age 3 my daughter my daughter already understands there are some things that are culturally innapropriate for her because she's a girl. (Seriously, WTF?)

I'm okay with her wearing E.T. though. It is a good story- about human (or humanized I guess since E.T. is an alien..) connection, about family taking care of each other. And it's not a brand. It's not a merchandise franchise just trying to get my kid to buy their things. In fact the t-shirt and the doll are it. There are no 3-year-old sized high heels or make-up kits with E.T.'s face on it.

A top Disney executive actualy told Orenstein that part of their Princess brand requirements is that when multiple princesses are pictured together they are not allowed to look at each other. Now that I know I'm watching and I'm with Orenstein, it's freaky! So why are we supposed to encourage them to role-play a princess who doesn't even have any friends? If one girl is Cinderella and one girl is Ariel, how do they play together? What are we doing to group-imagination? to group-play?

I don't believe that my girls came out of the womb demanding only the toys with pink sparkles. So why is that what I'm being told when I walk into a store, watch a toy commercial or check out Halloween costumes online?

I am not anti-princess. I am anti- the idea of princess being used as a brand to lure girls (read: any female consumer) into the land of over-consumption in the name of "I should" or "I have to in order to fit in."

I have some more thoughts on this book that will probably surface in the next few days...and not all of them are actually in her favor.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Etsy here I come!!! (#4.)

4. Open an Etsy shop - this feels overwhelming and stressful but I don’t think it should. I just need to make a few things, take pictures and post them. I get freaked because I make myself feel like this would have to be my entire life’s work outside of raising my kids of course.

I am getting ready. I am finally in a place where this seems doable and exciting. I've been honing my sewing skills recently and I've discovered that sewing feels natural and right to me- like an extension of myself. This is the only thing other than writing that has ever felt like that.

I used to make jewelry. I was obsessed and I amassed a TON of materials. I started a business in Miami and did shows and made jewelry for several bridal parties. It was fun and I loved the colors but I had a hard time coming up with anything original and I felt frustrated by that. My skills were good but not great and eventually I fell out of love with the craft.

Sewing is in my blood. My mom and her mom are amazing seamstresses...quilting, halloween costumes, wedding dress making kind of great at sewing. I'd love to be that great some day. The great part right now is that I'm actually enjoying the process of getting better...usually I want to be instantly great at something or I give it up. This is a good place to be.

Here are a couple recent projects taht will give a little sneak peak into what's upcoming in my soon to be opened etsy shop:

Piano Skirt made for sweet Sohpie's third birthday:

Cowoboy skirt made for spunky Emily's fourth birthday:

Monday, April 11, 2011

A View I'm Loving Today

Maybe I need to get some pink ones... I'm actually holding out until I can afford to special order a pair of yellow one star laceless chucks... my current pair is starting to crack around the edges and the holes are expanding so maybe sooner than later...

Check it out!

I just added a new page to contain my reading adventure through the Newbery Medal Winners. 10 down!!! Lots to go...

Thursday, April 07, 2011

# 2. and # 29.

2. Bake something with yeast. I am terrified of yeast. There have been disastrous results in the past…

I did it!!! Thanks to my lovely friend Kristen from who I borrowed a bread maker I have successfully made pita bread twice! And Grant and I agreed that it was the most amazing pita bread we'd ever had... moist and slightly fluffy and mmmmm...yum.
Next step: try to make a loaf of whole wheat bread wihtout the bread maker.

29. Start a garden.

Thank goodness I only pledged to 'start' the garden. I suck at gardening. I have one half-brown aloe plant left. Zola and I started 6 types of plants inside- peas, tomatoes, cilantro, basil, daisies and sage. They all started to grow. Then they all started to die. I transplanted the remaining peas and cilantro outside hoping for a miracle but they died too. I watered them, I sunned them, I loved them. I don't know what else I could have done.

When my friend Kristen found out about the demise of our first garden, she gave us the aloe along with a growing tomato plant and a growing basil plant. We had a crazy storm a few nights ago that took care of them...knocked the pots off the porch and scattered the plants.

Do I dare try again?