My daughter doesn't want to be a princess. She doesn't love pink. She does, however, love the color blue to the point of obsession. Always has and maybe always will. She dislikes wearing long, frilly dresses that hamper her love of climbing and jumping. Most of the time she's in leggings or shorts.
I think there are many girls like this in the world. And I think that's awesome.
My daughter doesn't wear Mary-Janes or dresses to the park like so many of her little park friends do. She can't run, climb, or jump to the level of her liking in that kind of attire.
My daughter has no time for bows in her hair. I'm lucky to even get the tangles out of it before she's off on another imaginary adventure. She truly believes she's a superhero. She's a gorgeous free spirit who cares more about who she's going to rescue next in her imaginary world than if her outfit is synchronized to perfection.
My daughter spends hours playing in the dirt outside. She loves it, and you can hear her humming to herself as she makes mud pies and digs holes. I've learned to accept that she's going to be dirty. But at least she's happy.
My daughter plays with cars and trains -- and has loved to do so since she was a baby. I'll be honest. I did worry a tiny bit. A few people did make random comments about my daughter's love of everything blue or "boyish."
But my worries didn't last long because I realized that it was my daughter who wasn't discriminating. As much as she loved playing with Hot Wheels when she was younger, she also loved her Lalaloopsy dolls and My Little Pony characters. Her love of blue never made her hate pink. She likes pink just fine.
No amount of Barbie (whom she's quite fond of) or pink "girl toys" have swayed my daughter's color preference for what many people still somehow consider a "boy color."
I would like to think that in this day and age, most of us are more adapted to the idea that we don't necessarily have to separate boys and girls into sections of pink and blue, dolls and cars, or dresses and pants. But apparently not everyone out there has hopped onto that "gender neutral" bandwagon.
My daughter does have little friends who are very much decided that wearing pink is something only girls do and that it's not super cool to want to play with cars, planes, and trains over wearing your tiara and having tea parties.
In fact, one of my daughter's friends actually called her out on wanting to wear a "boy-colored" superhero cape as opposed to a pink one. My daughter was bluntly told, "That's a boy color, why are you wearing that? You're not a boy."
As much as some of us parents may want our kids to grow up being less rigid about gender stereotypes, children usually make up their own minds as to how things are based on their own instincts and what goes on around them.
We've definitely given my daughter opportunities to get into the so-called "girlie stuff," but she's not buying it. And that's okay. I know very well she's not the only little girl out there who would rather use the blue Spiderman mouthwash instead of the pink Disney Princess mouthwash.
It doesn't have to be a big deal, and we as parents don't need to make it a big deal.
Children pay attention to the words we say and labels we attach to people. Girls who are more "tomboy-ish" will always have to put up with comments from other kids and even adults. People have their opinions. And furthermore, it is okay for a girl to only love pink. We should be just as accepting of that as we should be of a girl who loves "boy colors." It goes both ways.
So what's the calm, mature response to your little girl when another girl tells her she can't like blue, or green, or play with cars? I'd love to hear some feedback from other parents.
Until then, I'll continue to be proud and amazed by my train-loving, high-jumping, dirt-digging little superhero. And if your daughter is like this too -- celebrate and support her, because she's awesome.
Originally a Vancouver Island native, Michelle now resides in California where she is an ex-corporate slave, writer, artist, mother, stepmother, & wife.
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