Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Did I really just buy my son a Barbie?

Admitting my son loves and embraces all things pretty is an understatement. In fact, this wasn't the first time I've bought him a Barbie doll and probably won't be the last. Last week, I was being a little frugal and doing some random shopping online. I ordered some Barbies, a couple for my daughter and couple for my son. Monday comes and I have a date! I go out to the mailbox and there is a large padded envelope with a very elegant red doll dress in it. I had made a mistake by only ordering a dress instead of one of the dolls. Anyway, he was being a little fussy about me going out that night so, I said screw it. " Hey Buddy, look what came in the mail for you today." I pulled out the tiny red dress with white dots and this little boy's eyes lite up and a glow came across his face. It was a priceless moment of total surprise and it made his day. Now it's clear, the right decision regarding buying my son a couple dolls for Christmas morning was a good one.

As a Father that has to play the mother role too, I have to say it feels like I'm walking a tight rope. Being supportive after he makes his life decisions is one thing but, guiding him one way or the other is tricky. I don't want to tell him Barbie Dolls are only for girls but, drawing the line at dresses, makeup and a couple other areas is a must. In fact, I push baseball, riding his bike and skateboarding along with having a Pandora station for him that features Blonde and the Pretenders because, he will only listen to Girl sung music. Without having a mother around, my kids don't get the day to day girly in their lives. It's just something I have to somehow bring in just enough to cover. I probably don't make happen so magically but, some balancing is happening.

Truth is, I feel like it's most likely a phase. He does like a bunch of tough guy stuff too, Power Rangers and such but, I still worry about how he's going to be treated in school and on the playground if he gets into an excited frenzy about how pretty a girl's doll is. Kids are mean and brutally honest about their view of what's right and wrong right? We were raised with a very clear dividing line between what boys and girls played with. For me, it was skateboards, bikes or, playing Mario Brothers. I never had a doll or even thought it was an option. Now, we have this thing or, parental correctness and being really overly nurturing. God forbid, you make your child cry or deny their freedom of creativity. You'll screw them up or stifle their entire future. At least this is what I perceive from the new parent culture and I don't really love it. I say let them be kids and getting hurt is all part of the territory.

When it comes to guiding this beautiful little person through his childhood admiration's, I will support and share his love for all things pretty because, It all comes back to balance:) I'm Townie Dad; I bought my son three Barbies and a house for them to live in for Christmas.