My Daughter Wanted a Doll that Didn’t Look Like Her; Here’s How I Responded.

My daughter and I made a promise. Two weeks ago, she saw a doll in Walmart that she wanted, but didn’t get at the time. Now, of course, she thought that she could ask for it the next day and receive. I told her no and made a deal that if she had a good week at school (which is pretty normal for her), we would go to the store and get the doll. She was excited and did very well with not mentioning it to me all week (I was more shocked at that part, lol).

So, fast forward to Friday. We are at the store and we prepare to pick up the doll. To my surprise, she wants the Caucasian doll. I was a little surprised at first, and thought that between the first time she saw the doll and Friday, she might have not cared about the color of the doll. To my surprise, she remembered exactly what doll she wanted, and despite my minimal efforts of persuasion to pick the brown colored doll, she refused.

So, we walked out of Walmart that day, Caucasian doll in hand and my child grinning from ear to ear. Did it bother me? Not really. I left that battle in the toy aisle at Walmart because when her mind was made up, it was made up, and I didn’t want to taint the experience of her receiving a toy “just because it’s Friday” on a petty argument about the skin color of a doll that she truthfully doesn’t even understand the depth of. I tried to ask her about why she didn’t want the doll who’s skin color matched hers, and she didn’t really have an answer (I didn’t really expect her to, but this kid surprises me sometimes); so I left the topic alone for the day, and let her enjoy her doll.

That interaction taught me something about my daughter that I didn’t realize was so prevalent in children at such a young age. Kynn does not care what color her dolls are; she only cares that she can play with one. She loves Elsa and Anna just as much as she loves Moana and Tiana. She has brown skinned dolls, and also Caucasian dolls. Kynn doesn’t pick sides, she’s just a kid and likes to play. She wants to be like the kids she sees on commercials and YouTube videos who have these toys, and if it is a white doll, she wants that doll; if she’s brown, she wants that doll. She’s very exact in her intentions and wants, and I can’t fault her for the specifications she wants on toys based on what she sees.

I felt a little guilty for trying to push the agenda of “why don’t you get the brown doll” on her, once I realized the oddly placed “what does it matter?!” look on her face, lol. For me, there was a deeper meaning to it all, but it also led me to a deeper realization about my daughter.

There are so many avenues of life in which brown girls are under- and misrepresented in society. I want my daughter to be able to see a doll that she identifies with, and if it’s not a doll that she identifies with via color, I believe a deeper understanding of what she’s exposed to daily comes into question. I notice a lot of the movies she watches, or YouTube videos that are viral and popular don’t have many girls of color. She sees the things she sees on television commercials or YouTube ads and wants exactly what she sees; and oftentimes that may not be a doll of color.

I really just want her to be able to understand that dolls of color hold a special place in our hearts. To look on shelves and see a doll in the likeness of our favorite Disney princess, or our childhood idols is a privilege that some thought we’d never see, and I want to be able to represent that in my household and in any way that I can. But, I also have to understand that as a toddler, Kynn does not understand nor care the importance of that just yet, and in time, she will evolve and understand.

With children, if you want them to identify with something, you have to expose them to it. I believe that one should not force certain things in children, because they are very smart and can form opinions about that type of behavior quicker than we think. I think it’s about immersing your child in all cultural opportunities, paying attention to the things they enjoy and show them the many sides to it, and even embracing what they choose; even when it’s not what you want them to choose.

Advertisements

Big Girl Moves!

When you have children, you never know what to cherish; what moments to etch into your memory, what silly things to photograph or put on video, or what things you should never take for granted. As parents, we try to make everything a lasting moment, but sometimes that’s not possible. Today, I had a brief moment of sadness, as i realized my daughter is truly beginning to own her independence.

So…

We usually walk Kynn up to the school and drop her off right in the front so she can walk from there. We do this for 2 main reasons; 1- it gives us the opportunity to still make sure she gets into the school, and 2- it’s quicker than the parent drop off line.

I remember one day, my husband told me that he took her through the parent drop off line at school (for reasons that escape me now). We didn’t think much of it, because she really didn’t mention it after that, until lately.

Lately, Kynn has been very adamant that she wants to “walk by herself” (get dropped off) instead of us walking her. We refused it a few times, which she wasn’t happy about, but finally, the other day my husband started taking her back through the parent drop off. Now, this typically doesn’t phase me because he takes her and I pick her up from school.

Yesterday, due to Brandon being out of town for work, I took Kynn to school this morning. On our way there, I called my husband and he mentioned her walking up to school by herself. She said that she wanted me to drop her off, and she was a big girl and could walk to school by herself now. I’m not gonna lie, I was a little in my feelings about it, lol. I guess you could say that I was being a little selfish about our moment to walk up to the school, and being able to see her meet up with her friends and walk to her hallway.

So, instead of parking and walking her in, I took my place in the drop off line as requested. So here I was, in the line we said we’d never go in (mainly because it’s typically long as hell lol). Once it was Kynn’s turn, she took her seatbelt off, told me bye and hopped out of the car. The principal was there (he and several other teachers will escort the kids to the door or the school) and walked her right up to the door. She didn’t even look back, Lol. She was very happy though, and that’s what’s more important.

I tried to watch her, but I had to keep the line moving, so I drove on. I can admit that I had a few mixed feelings about this. I couldn’t help it, my little firecracker is now becoming a big kid right before my eyes. She’s developing her own personality and space and she expresses how she want things done her way.

I realized today that time is moving faster than I ever imagined. We are technically halfway through her first year of school, and before i know it, she’ll officially be in elementary school. I will admit there are a lot of things we do not restrict her from or constantly hover for, because we know we have a very independent child, but me and my husband do still have a few moments here and there where we know we are needed, and we take advantage of those moments because we know they are becoming more non-existent than we are ready for.

I try to prepare her for the world and what it has for her, but the reality is I never will know what’s in store for her life. Only God knows what path Kynn is destined to take. I know she knows she still has her parents in her corner always, but I feel like this is one of those little steps towards a more mature adolescent. What I do know and look forward to though, are those special moments when she does still need me, and best believe, I’ll always be by her side for as long as she needs me. 🖤

A Lesson on Lying…

As a child, there’s always something that you’re getting in trouble for or known for in your family that will live on in infamy.  My pitfall?  Lying.  My mother would tell you I used to lie relentlessly.  I would lie like it was a language I was fluent in.  She would ask me a question so simple, and a lie would roll off my tongue like water.  It was bad, y’all.  The worst part was I usually got caught in my lie, and didn’t lie very well; which led to tons of yelling, disappointment and a good helping of corporal punishment (or what some of us like to call a good ass whooping).

Image result for lying memes and gifs

Now that I am clear into my adulthood, I often look back and wonder why I lied so much?  Why was it so easy to tell my mother I liked an outfit that I really didn’t; causing her to spend money she didn’t have to spend?  Why was it simple enough to tell her I was doing well in school when really I was almost failing two classes?  Why did it appear to be lesser of the two evils to tell her what I knew she wanted to hear, as opposed to telling her the truth when I knew one thing she hated most in life was a liar?

Did I want her to hate me?  No.  I wanted her to love me.  I wanted to be a child who didn’t always get in trouble; and in my eyes, the real truth meant trouble.  So to eliminate that, I decided to lie about some of the simplest things, which ultimately led to me getting in more trouble than I had originally would have been in (the irony).

Truth is, lying has been glorified to some degree as a means to show how much you love someone.  I can’t remember exactly which movie this came from, but I remember someone saying “I lie because I care enough to spare your feelings!” *insert major side-eye here*. Yea, I hear that now and it sounds like crap.  Lying to someone who’s only wish of you is to be honest with them is silly.  I clearly grew up learning this the hard way, as I seemed to not believe this until I got older.

Anytime I wanted to tell the truth, I thought that I would feel the unholy wrath of my mother far worse than if I told a lie.  I figured a lie would buy me some time in the “good child” department, so I went that route; only to find out that the punishment on the lying side of life was just as brutal, if not worse than the consequences for telling the truth!  I couldn’t win for losing.

Image result for Lies meme

One day, when I transitioned into “grown-up with bills and adulting struggles”,  I realized a shocking truth about moms; you’re allowed to disagree with them, and they won’t slap you in the mouth! Lol.  There used to be a time in my life where being blatantly honest with my mother scared the hell out of me; I imagined a thorough lecture on how I wasn’t “grown” and then it possibly end in some form of physical discipline.  That was something I just wasn’t down to hear.  Now, I can easily tell my mother the God’s honest truth about something and she won’t care (usually this means she will still do what she wants anyway, but at least I didn’t have to lie to her, lol).  I must say, telling the truth is a lot less stressful than telling lies, which I thought would be my lifelong occupation, lol.

My only fear is that I didn’t conform in time, and my daughter will inherit this nasty lying trait that her mother once had.  I have a feeling karma is coming in all its glory for me, and I am not ready.   Truth be told, she already accuses me of things I haven’t done and I wonder, “Is this it, God?  Is this the chapter of our lives when we go through lying?  But she’s so young!  I thought I had more time!” Smh.  This is life I suppose.

So, for all you pre-adolescent, adolescents and teenagers out there; love your moms.  Be honest with them because they would rather you be honest, than have them go through all this trouble for something that wasn’t even true.  Trust me, I’ve lived to tell the tale.

Despite what you may think, honesty really is the best policy. 🙂

-Whit C.