When I was young, I was a huge Wonder Woman fan, as were most girls who grew up watching the Superfriends or Wonder Woman, played so glamorously by Lynda Carter, who never seemed to lose her cool, even in the most harrowing life-and-death situations. I wore her Underoos, her costume for Halloween and, much later in life, got myself a pair of shiny, knee-length, red boots (sans heels) to conquer each day with. You haven’t truly lived until you’ve walked the world in red boots.
As a kid, I thought, who wouldn’t want to be Wonder Woman, the woman who saves the day, taking on bad guys and girls alike?
Actually, in terms of superheroes, there weren’t a lot of popular female crime fighters to choose from except Supergirl (boring) and Batgirl, who my daughter has chosen to be for Halloween over my favorite Amazon, a move I very much approve of. Librarian by day, crime fighter at night—now that’s cool. Much cooler than princesses, I think. (Sorry, Disney. Oh, wait, you own Marvel now too. Smart move.)
These days, superheroes abound in pop culture, but it’s still those classic characters I see the boys at my daughter’s preschool dressed up as in full costume throughout the year — Captain America, Spider-Man, Batman, Superman — wandering in a sea of mostly Elsas and Annas. My initial reaction to the weekly parade of superheroes at her school was amusement. C’mon, it’s hilarious starting your day off walking by a pint-sized Spider-Man and Batman. And, you see, when my daughter first started preschool there, she didn’t know anyone, but she knew those superheroes. They were familiar even if no one else was, and that kind of made things okay. I really like that her school allows that kind of play and dress up. I don’t see it as a big deal, but that’s not the case elsewhere.
I’ve heard of preschools banning superhero play because it was getting too rough. One father I met recently told me that his kid’s preschool didn’t allow them to dress up as superheroes because they didn’t set good examples for conflict resolution. And my husband heard that childcare administrators at a local YMCA didn’t allow superheroes because they wanted to emphasize that everyone was special.
I’ve seen this kind of play opening up whole new worlds to my daughter so far. Yes, perhaps she’s getting a little too daring with her stunts, so we’ll have to work on that. But Captain America and his friends have even helped me with bath time. She’s much more will willing to bathe if it means the superheroes (and Elsa and Anna) are getting washed too.
And, honestly, teaching her these different characters’ lives through old and new TV shows, comic books and our own home superhero play (for some reason, my daughter always makes me the Hulk) has also inspired me to be more superhero-like, minus the violence. Reading the news most days is so upsetting I’m wishing for superheroes to come in and save us from all this madness.
I’ve now stopped wishing and have started working toward that safer world that Wonder Woman — but really my parents — gave me growing up. Because I really want my daughter to see the potential in everyone – including herself and her parents – to be heroes.
And for me, it starts with fighting crime right here where we live, which is what I set out to do recently with some friends, just by contacting our local councilman’s office to discuss recent attacks on women in our neighborhood parks. And guess what just a few simple emails from concerned ladies turned into? A community forum with the local police department and park rangers happening this week. Getting that to happen felt really, really good; one step toward taking down the bad guys, and I didn’t even need to wear a cape — or a skimpy outfit. I can’t wait to see what happens next. Won’t you join me?
And there’s no better song to start us on our quest than the lullaby rendition of one of my favorite songs from David Bowie. You know the one.
I was recently invited to attend a swanky event (so fancy, it was called a luncheon) at a Beverly Hills hotel, which promised to give awards to significant women in the city. Alas, I was not to be one of honorees, but I did receive a genuine invite, which I RSVPed to and soon received a bubbly confirmation from the publicist.
So I sweet-talked a friend into watching my little one, put on uncomfortable clothes and high heels, and drove across town in 100-degree heat. Valet was complimentary, and I felt pleased to be in the company of actual adult women as I entered the arrival queue at the check-in desk. (I work at home and have two young kids; dalliances outside in the adult world are always exciting.)
When I gave my name to the young attendant, she typed it into her iPad. “Oh,” she said, a note of concern in her voice. Then she looked up and said with a smile, “Would you mind just hanging back for a few minutes?”
“Excuse me?” I stepped back, thinking that maybe she needed more personal space or that perhaps she was about to move the table.
“Just hang back.” She replied cheerfully, like that was an instruction that makes sense.
“I’m sorry. I don’t understand.”
“We need to get some other people in first.”
“I got an invite. I RSVPed.” (I wasn’t defensive, just confused.)
“I know. If you could just come back in 20 minutes we’ll know then if we can accommodate you.”
It took me a moment to get it—I was on the B list. Or maybe even the C list. A crush of well-heeled women was behind me. I left the line, trying to retain some dignity as I fixed my Spanx, which thanks to the heat were creeping up in a most unpleasant manner. It can be cool to get kicked out of a party, but it is never cool to not be let into one.
I walked back into the lobby, where my confusion shifted from shame to getting pissed. Maybe I’m naïve, but when I’m invited to something, I assume that means I’m actually invited to it. Suddenly, the venue seemed intolerably cheesy and reeked of bad perfume. I’d come to celebrate the achievements of kick-ass women while kicking back a few glasses of mid-range Chardonnay. But no matter how good the gift bag might be, there was no getting over the breach in etiquette.
I took the woman’s advice, and I held back. I held way, way back and immediately left. Some cold-salmon-serving luncheon is not worth waiting for—which begs the question:
What is worth acknowledging your low-level status and hanging out anyway to see if the velvet ropes eventually part?
Because if I’m going to be a hanger-on, it’s going to be for more than lunch. So here’s my top list of events I’d “hang back” and wait for (hours, days even):
A dinner for Bill Clinton or Barack Obama where you get to shake hands with the president
Is there anything more creative than a child’s imagination? Case in point: this amusing yarn written by our own art director, Hannah, when she was a kid.
Thursday December 7th
The sea faring captain
This man is call-
ed captain long
faced he doesn’t
work any more
becaus he had
a wooden leg. E-
very day he goes to the pub to have
a booz and he
goes to find a
girl friend. and
he gets sent out.
Note the “pub” mention. She’s originally from England! The inspiration for her wooden leg–wearing former captain protagonist who is looking for the ladies . . . not even Hannah knows where that came from: “I can’t even imagine what was going on in my 7- or 8-year-old brain!”
What stories did you write as a child?
Now it’s time to share your childhood stories (or secrets, even better!) with us to enter our giveaway. Post yours (or one from the child in your life) below and/or feel free to share a link to a photo from your collection in the comments below, or post it to our Facebook page or Tweet it to us by Tuesday, Oct. 21st, at 12 pm PST, to be entered in our random giveaway for one (1) CD of your choice from our 2014 releases: P!nk, The Clash, David Bowie, Good Baby Bad Baby, Maroon 5, Bruce Springsteen, and Eminem. Three (3) winners will be selected! For bonus entries, tweet, share and pin from this post!
Boy, did we ever stir it up with last month’s post about whether or not it was okay for the word “fat” to be included in a preschool lesson. (See all the blog comments and Facebook discussion.) Some said First-Time Mommy was right to be concerned, others said she was being overly sensitive and even censoring her kid.
Whatever your take on the matter, I think we can all agree that we live in a weight-obsessed culture, one where “fat” people get treated differently than thin ones. Kids—even ones as young as three- and four-year-olds—can already understand the pejorative connotations of this other F word. Even if they aren’t quite sure what “fat” means, they know it’s bad.
As someone who grew up close to someone with an eating disorder, I don’t want my daughters suffering the same fate. I watched a young woman waste away, riddled with self-hatred and a totally distorted view of her body that took years of therapy to heal. And I don’t want your sons or daughters or friends or anyone for that matter to have to go through that sh*t. But the message to be impossibly thin is all around them—and being fat, in our culture, means an association with being lazy or even evil.
Here’s a general rule I’ve learned the hard way to use around my kids: Don’t say anything around them you don’t want them to repeat. Because children are whip-smart, they hear everything, and are really good at whipping out the perfect word at the perfect moment for maximum parental embarrassment. And it’s not the curse words I’ve uttered that I’m ashamed of—it’s the time I asked my husband if a pair of jeans I had on made me look fat. My four-year-old was in the room and though I haven’t seen evidence of damage done (she hasn’t repeated the word in a degrading way), every time I think about it I wince. Because not only was it a total parental fail in promoting a healthy body image, it also contradicts everything I believe in, which is to treat people (including yourself!) respectfully. I used a word in a way that I definitely don’t want her to repeat.
Until we can stop putting a moral value on obesity and using the word “fat” to degrade and diminish people, I’m going to watch how the F word gets used in my house. That means first off censoring my own damn mouth—and then secondly, patrolling its use in books, movies, and magazines (just as I skip over the words “stupid,” “ugly,” and “hate” in stories, I’m skipping over “fat” unless it refers to cutting meat).
Words have power. As a parent, it’s my job to use them in a manner that empowers my kids and to teach them to love bodies of any shape and size. That means being careful—and sensitive—about the use of the F word. It’s not being oversensitive; it’s doing what we can to counter the way words are used to damage us.
What started with two sweet “stuffies” given as baby shower presents just before my daughter was born in May of 2012 has since grown to the ridiculous number of 76 on last count. It’s madness.
I’m responsible for just one stuffed animal in the pack; Wolf Wolf, a small wolf from the Alamo gift store. My husband, well, he’s bought about 20 so far — along with numerous action figures and Disney princesses — and he refuses to stop. (“I can spoil her if I want,” he says.) The 50-plus others are a motley bunch care of friends, family and coworkers: from stuffed animal bowling sets and claw-machine wins to the predictable Sesame Street characters and Hello (I’m not a) Kitty dolls of all sizes. The list goes on.
So what do you do when you have too many stuffed animals?
“Just get rid of them,” says my older sister, who after a bed-bug infestation in her home had no choice but to trash stuffed anything: pillows, animals, beddings, etc. But parting with such sentimental gifts can be difficult, especially when they talk and sing so sweetly to you, I mean, your child. (You know who you are, “Peek-a-boo” bear and “Me and my friends…” Scout and Violet.) Okay, so let’s reword that question:
What do you do with all those stuffed animals without upsetting your kid — or your partner — and any of the caring people who sent them your way?
I did some surfing, consulted a little expert and came up with options that both amuse and reuse the stuffed animals in ways that are pretty darn cool.
Make a “stuffie pool!”Now that’s a brilliant idea from my 6-year-old niece, Tai, especially if you’re in the drought-ravaged western United States. Fill those plastic pools with those stuffies instead of water, and then let the kids loose.
Make a stuffed animal outfit or costume.With Halloween coming soon, why buy a costume when you can “stuff” one? This whimsical number is from Miss Malaprop, who made this dress for Mardi Gras. I do believe a friend of mine made a suit of stuffed animals circa 1997 in art school. And, yes, he was popular with the ladies.
Make stuffed-animal furniture.Teddy-bear sofa, anyone? This was on display at Harrod’s in London. If you know how much Harrod’s bears cost, you know you’re looking at a pretty pricey piece of furniture. Just be careful about losing your kid in it.
And this one’s my favorite solution:
Donate your stuffed animals for Stuffed Animals for Emergencies (SAFE). This wonderful organization welcomes donations of new and used stuffed animals and distributes them to children in need. See if there’s a chapter near you by clicking HERE. They also accept other kid-related items as well, so don’t stop with those stuffies.
Have more creative stuffed animal ideas? Share them below!
And don’t forget to enter our latest giveaway. Only one day left!
Summer comes to a close today. Yeah, we know, we’re crying too. But here’s the fun part: It’s a giveaway day and all you have to do to enter is tell us:
Was Your Baby Good or Bad This Summer?
Post your good and bad baby stories below by Tuesday, Sept. 30, at 12 pm PST, to be entered into our random giveaway for one (1) copy of Good Baby, Bad Baby CD & Picture Book. Three (3) winners will be selected! For bonus entries, tweet, share and Pin from this post!
Check out the full Good Baby, Bad Baby song list and samples below. And don’t forget the awesome picture book that comes with this unique collection of lullabies!
And I’m not just talking about viruses — although those are certainly set to increase exponentially now that my kids are back in the petri dish of preschool; I’m talking about lice.
Even typing the word grosses me out.
Remember when they would pass out those black plastic combs at school and the teachers made everyone brush their hair? (Those days were traumatic for me since I have tangle-prone hair and the comb always got stuck.)
But now I realize the comb wasn’t a gift, like I always thought. It was a preventative measure. It wasn’t generosity on the part of the public school system or concern for the quality of our dos —it was a lice check. That’s right — they were searching for parasites in our scalps.
My kids’ school does lice checks once a week and in a manner even more subtle than the free comb day — and much like free comb day, it took me a while to get it.
Mondays my girls come home with the cutest hairdos—adorable, little updos where the teachers have lovingly parted and brushed their hair, and then put it up in a variety of cute ponytails, twists, braids or buns. My usually unkempt kids, who at their best boast crooked pigtails to contain their endless tangles (they’ve got my hair), come home from school looking like the kind of children that populate Gap catalogs — scrubbed, apple-cheeked cherubs.
Okay, maybe not so scrubbed since there’s usually still dirt all over their faces, but at least their hair looks like it hasn’t been through a lawn mower. It looks nice. And for a long time, I didn’t wonder why — I just assumed it was a beloved teacher bestowing some special attention.
It isn’t. It’s a lice check. The best way to look for nits — and to get the kids to sit through the nit pick — is to play beauty parlor and give them cute dos. I found this out not from the teachers but from my oldest daughter who brought me a hairbrush and a bag of hair bands and begged me to look for bugs in her hair.
“You want me to do what?” I asked.
I gave her some crooked ponytails without looking too close at her head. They can get nit picky with it at school.
Do you think there’s anything wrong with this photo?
This is a lesson from my daughter’s preschool, where she started just 3 months ago, and has been doing great. Each week the teachers put her completed lessons in her “Little D” file so we can follow her development. It’s been fun to see her lessons about drawing shapes, identifying letters and things, writing numbers and then, obviously based on the above, learning words that rhyme.
Can you tell what word I had an issue with? I’m asking you, dear readers, because I value your opinion, honestly. Remember when I asked you about these signs at a local store? You had a lot to say.
Am I being ridiculous making a hubbub about seeing the word “fat” in my daughter’s lesson? Aren’t there so many other words that can’t be used in a hurtful way? (I guess “rat” could be too. Or maybe people don’t like being called a “cat” either?) Couldn’t she have used the word “hat” instead?
I know her teachers are sweethearts and by no means would they teach that word to be used in a judgmental way. Hell, maybe they were talking about the fat of food, having a fat bank account. Should I ask them?
A friend of mine said at her daughters’ preschool they aren’t allowed to bring in books with that word, so it’s clear they’re sensitive about the use of the word. Let’s face it, most women are. While all the women (not just mothers) I showed the lesson to all immediately had a reaction to the “fat” content (ranging from, “yeah, they could have used another word,” to “oh…yeah” and a frown), most of the fathers I showed it to didn’t think it was a big deal.
In our household that is among the three-letter words we don’t teach or speak, but more on bad words later. So tell me…
Would you suggest cutting out or ignoring the “fat?”
When do you know you’re ready to welcome a dog into your life?
Or for a couple of us Rockabye Baby team members . . .
When do you know you’re ready to welcome a dog back into your life?
Our VP and Creative Director, Lisa Roth, is contemplating that now . . .
First-Time Mommy’s dog of 15 years, Pogi, sadly passed away during her second trimester, and she waited until her daughter was 2 before welcoming a new furry friend (that’s 5-month-old Charcoal above) into their family last month to join their cat, Cricket, and parakeet, Echo (as in Echo Park). “Having a child didn’t change the feeling that our home just wasn’t the same without a dog. What’s one more set of poop to clean up, right?”
And here are two more lovable four-legged friends in the Rockabye family: Zara belongs to Kyle in our sales department and Penne belongs to Chrissy, our web designer.
So, the question again is Dog . . . or Not? Or would you recommend a different animal?
Post your thoughts in the comments and check out more animal talk posts by clicking on the links!
Does your baby think they were born to run? If your little Boss isn’t tired and wants to prove it all night, tuck them in with these blissful versions of Bruce Springsteen’s classic rock anthems. We promise there will be lots of sleeping in the dark.