That’s What I Meant

9 Oct

3 birthday parties for 5 children in 1 weekend = a lot of presents to purchase. To accomplish this feat I brought my trusty advisers with me to pick out some gifts for their buddies (not the best laid plan, but, not the focus of this post). So to the toy aisle of Target I went with Katie (3 ½ ) and Annie (5 ½ ), and here’s a little snippet from our conversations:

Me: So Katie, what do you think we should get for Eli and Brian?

Katie: Something boy-lish.

Annie: There’s no such thing as “boy-lish” Katie. ‘Cause boys can like girls’ toys and girls can like boys’ toys.

Me: OooRrr….toys are for everyone, and boys and girls should get to play with whatever they like.

Annie: Right. That’s what I meant.

image credit: ms office images

Saw It, But Didn’t See It

25 Sep

A couple of weeks ago I raised a concern about a sign that hung in Nordstrom’s children’s department which read “Boys Stink.”  The support from readers of this blog was fantastic, and I want to thank you all for lending your voice to this matter. I have to say, though, that the amazing response from readers was matched by an equally amazing response from Nordstrom. The Manager of the Scottsdale store removed her store’s signs, contacted the corporate office and PR departments of other stores featuring the same layout and design to encourage them to do the same, AND personally called all the folks that contacted her directly to say the signs were down and apologized for the poor judgment. In addition to the local Manager’s efforts, the Director of Visual Merchandising sent personal emails of the same tone to all of the people who contacted corporate about the signs.

In a phone conversation with a friend of mine, the Manager expressed gratitude for having this issue brought to her attention. She acknowledged that there really was nothing cute about a sign reading “Boys Stink” and regretted that it had gone up in the first place. And then she said something that I think we can all relate to,

“I saw it, but I didn’t really see it. You know?”

Yeah, I do know.

image credit: “Vintage Illustrated Poem” on eBay
What Are Little Boys Made Of?

How many times have we recited nursery rhymes that imply the superiority of one sex over the other? How many times have we heard chants that suggest some battle between the sexes? How many times have we read logos on shirts or titles on books that involve the degradation of one sex by the other?

image credit: zazzle.com

*  In the words of my friend Melissa Wardy of Pigtail Pals and Ballcap Buddies, “You don’t raise girls up by breaking boys down.”  Is there really a winner when the advancement of one means the decline of the other? The battle of the sexes is a zero-sum game, but since the beginning of time we’ve pitted one sex against the other while all evidence points to the fact that this is indeed not helpful to anyone.

Don’t we want kids to get along and respect each other? Isn’t that what we expect them to do as adults? The “boys versus girls” messaging is so prevalent, it is easy to see how many of us have become desensitized to it.  Yet, if we open our eyes to it, it’s plain to see how it is eroding relationships between boys and girls/ men and women and we need to ask ourselves “Why?”

I never doubted that Nordstrom would remove the “Boys Stink” signs from their stores, but I think what happened was a bit more than a store responding to “offended” customers by taking down some plaques. I like to think we helped a big corporation to SEE something. And for this I thank you!

This Stinks….NOT Boys

11 Sep

***Update (9/13/12): I’m pleased to report that Nordstrom has removed the ‘Boys Stink’ sign from their Scottsdale store. Thank you to those of you who voiced your concerns, and thank you Nordstrom for listening! ***

Over the weekend I was passing through the Nordstrom Children’s Department, and I saw this:

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September Book Salute: Elephant & Piggie Series by Mo Willems

4 Sep

I had fully intended to salute adult nonfiction this month, but the time I typically dedicate to grown-up reading before shutting off the lights has been taken over by House Hunters International. I’m making a halfhearted commitment to change this routine, but I sincerely vow to read a worthwhile piece of adult literature to share with you all by next month.

The good news is I have an amazing new children’s book series to salute. Well, it’s not exactly new, but it is new to me. And while I may be somewhat late to the party, I’m sure glad I’m here! Continue reading

Reflections From A Former Elementary School Teacher

28 Aug

It’s three weeks into this school year, and I’m settling into this new role as an elementary school parent. I have to say, being on this side of the classroom door has been a tremendous eye-opener. This time of year typically elicits nostalgic feelings for my days in the classroom, but now that I’m in the school environment on a daily basis, I am constantly reflecting on my time as a teacher.

image credit: MS Office Clip Art

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Have The Day You Have

14 Aug

Annie started kindergarten last week. We have been eagerly awaiting this magical milestone, and placing a lot of focus on the “big day!” And while I’m all for establishing positive expectations, I walk a fine line between building confidence and creating too much pressure when it comes to preparing Annie for something new.  I know many kids do well when there is excitement and build-up leading up to an important event. My oldest child is not one of them. And in the spirit of all the important learning that lies ahead this school year, I have already learned something valuable –my child’s stress threshold is uniquely her own. Continue reading

August Book Salute: Wemberly Worried

9 Aug

My little one is starting kindergarten this week. Kindergarten!  So what better book to tuck her in with than Wemberly Worried by Kevin Henkes? I always loved sharing this story the first week of school when I taught first grade, and it was the perfect choice last night as so much anticipation and mixed emotion swirled about – for both of us! Continue reading

Pick your battles and words wisely

31 Jul

For the better part of 20 years, I have been working with kids and therefore been working with parents. From camps to classrooms all over the map, I’ve had the opportunity to interact with all sorts of parents. I would never say that I’ve seen it all, but I have seen a lot. From the extraordinarily high maintenance to the extremely low maintenance and many, many shades in between, working with parents has taught me a lot about the kind of parent I want to be – especially when it comes to advocating for my child. Continue reading

You’re Going to Love the Dance!

18 Jul

Before we packed up the kids and headed east to enjoy a few weeks of cooler weather this summer (fools!), I had my kids in summer programs in Arizona. As an incoming Kindergartener, Annie was now attending “big kid” camp where kids ranged in age from 5 to I don’t know…much older. 10 maybe? In any case, this was a fantastic experience overall: Continue reading

How I Spent My Summer Vacation

10 Jul

There’s a lot to be said about summertime in the desert, but one thing is certain–you’ve gotta get out-of-town if you can! Our plan for escaping the 110+ degree heat this July has been to bring the kids to my hometown where we will be staying with my parents for a few weeks. Alas, the best laid plans…..

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