I have a feeling this is going to be a bitty one!
As of tomorrow I have a 15 month old (which seems ridiculous really). He’s running around like crazy, shouting and pointing, articulating a few words but understanding so much more. Even “Can you put the toy in your other hand so mummy can do your other sleeve?”. He likes to crash his toy cars saying “craaash”.
Baby (toddler?!) has been through a bit of a stressful clingy phase (which sounds actually quite normal when speaking to friends with similar age children) but he’s seemingly coming out of the other side, punctuated by a three day refusal to go to bed in the evening, regardless of daytime naps or any other factors! 11pm bed time (at least two hours later than MY preferred bed tim) three nights running with the first night involving very little sleep at all for the three of us, and all nights involving co-sleeping from the start. Teamed with a kitten scratching at the door from 5am, we weren’t our very cheery selves on Saturday. He’s feeding a huge amount at night still, which makes the potential to not be here in the evening (for whatever reason) rather impossible.
The weather has taken a turn towards proper winter from happily plus 10 celcius to minus three on Saturday morning and I’m still struggling to get baby’s layers right. I can’t get gloves with individual fingers on him, but mittens annoy him because he can’t pick things up or play with them. Think I should buy some nice warm tights to go under his clothes though as I worry about chilly legs when he’s walking or in the sling!
Been trying to think what Christmas pressies to buy for him and other small people we know, and I’ve been using the Let Toys Be Toys recommended retailers list.
Let Toys Be Toys is a parent led campaign to try to reduce the tired old gender stereotypes that are proliferated by some retailers, toy companies and publishers.
It’s something I’ve always felt very strongly about as a “tomboy” child, from a young age a feminist, and especially now as a parent. I find myself relieved that I didn’t have a girl because far apart from not being a “pink” person myself, I think girls in particular are marketed to in a really negative way. For example-selling separate sticker books for “Clever Boys” and “Beautiful Girls” further reinforces the sad stereotyping of women being only good for looking pretty. Selling medical fancy dress outfits that contain “Doctor kits for Boys” and “Nurse kits for Girls” sends out a powerful message about the expectations of girl’s future and career prospects. “Boys” toys turned pink and marketed towards girls, gives a strong impression that girls aren’t really welcome to play with trains/ toolkits/cars, and that they need some special kind of treatment. Even Lego- one of the toys I enjoyed playing with most as a child for hours on end with both my sister and my two half-brothers are now marketing pink “Girls” lego bricks. I certainly never had any issues with playing with boring old red/yellow/green/blue Lego (or should that be “Boys Lego”?)
I now volunteer for Let Toys Be Toys and it has opened my eyes even further to the whole issue- through the way the toy makers and publishers/ authors create a huge imaginary gender divide to suggest that girls and boys not only NEED separate things, but then the active promotion of this divide to ensure it’s upheld. I have spoken to some friends and family who don’t really understand why it matters, but if I want the world to be a better place, I feel it’s really important that my son grows up understanding that whilst yes, there are inevitably some differences between men and women, that children and adults can choose their own path. That even children are able to make some decisions for themselves- even if it’s just what kind of toy they want to play with. This is the 21st century. I don’t want my son to believe that women are good for nothing other than looking pretty and doing the housework, I need him to know that women can be whoever or whatever they want. As part of that I don’t want him to think that there’s any inherent weakness in being emotional, liking playing with dolls, wearing pink or anything that is sadly still considered “sissy” or “girly”. And If I can bring him up to be a well rounded individual who respects both men and women equally, and at the same time can help spread the message and get people to think, even if it’s just briefly, about the stereotypes in their mind that they project onto children, then I think it is important. Of course I should add the caveat that if your son loves football, dinosaurs and robots, whilst your daughter loves One Direction, sparkles, kittens and fairies- this is of course fine. However, the key factor is that these decisions are made by the individuals, through experiencing lots of different things. The current tag line being used by LTBT is “Tell them what it is, not who it’s for” which I think says it all.
And a great blog post here about “What do Toys have to do with inequality”?
Not sure what else there is to say that’s baby related to I’ll leave it there for now! Hopefully some food for thought?