Thursday, January 24th, 2013
I don’t know how we’d get through bathtime in my house without bath toys. What’s funny is that the gender lines are never so apparent as they are when my kids take turns getting clean. When my son takes a bath, he entertains himself with toys that squirt, whether its a duck that spits or a water pump he can aim at the ceiling. My daughter, on the other hand, acts out complicated stories with her Barbies.
When this Little Mommy Bubbly Bathtime doll hit my desk this week, I had a total flashback to playing with a doll in the tub when I was a child. My “baby” was a pretty basic plastic blob, nothing like this new Little Mommy. She has purple pretend paint on her belly that magically washes clean when you get her wet (thanks to color-change technology). She also comes with a tub that has a working pump (fill it with bubble bath) and a crazy-bird hooded towel to wear when it’s time to dry off. And she smells like vanilla. (Check her out below, on my windowsill!)
Little Mommy is age-graded for 2 and up. And although I keep referring to the doll as “she,” the hair is short enough to pass for a boy or girl (because some kids want to be a parent to a boy baby). And by the way, my son loves to be a daddy once he’s out of the tub…though to a vast collection of stuffed penguins who are all his “babies.”
Want to win one of these? Mattel will give away five Little Mommy Bubbly Bathtime dolls, worth $19-$22 each. For your chance, just leave a comment below; tell me how your child plays at being a parent, or your own memory of parenting toys when you were little. You can leave up to one comment a day between now and the end of the day on Wednesday, January 30th. Read the official rules here. Goody luck!
Monday, October 1st, 2012
Editor’s Note: In a post for an ongoing series, Dr. Harley A. Rotbart, a Parents advisor, will be guest blogging once a month. He will be offering different advice, tips, and personal stories on how parents can “savor the moment” and maximize the time they spend with kids. Read more posts by Harley Rotbart from this series.
As a pediatrician, I may have been ahead of my time in advocating gender-neutral play for kids. Beginning nearly 25 years ago when our oldest was born and continuing with his sister and brother, we gave our boys ample opportunity to play with dolls and our daughter saw more than her share of toy trucks. Despite our advanced thinking, by the time they were 2, 4, and 6 years old, the kids seemed to have already absorbed society’s subliminal stereotyping, gravitating to the predictable playthings for their gender. Our kids really loved playing together, so most of their play was gender generic: backyard soccer, Beanie Babies, Candy Land, card games, and climbing towers. We gradually reconciled ourselves to the fact that some of their play would never cross gender lines.
As they got a little older, our daughter found girlfriends who loved Barbie dolls as much as she did (there were some non-stop Ken and Barbie days from breakfast to dinner) and the boys played ball — all the time, with each other and with other boys in the neighborhood. (Our oldest son’s first question, when we brought his baby brother home from the hospital, was: “When will he be old enough to play baseball?”). Occasionally, when Ken and Barbie were tired or when her friends had to go home, our daughter would join the boys in the backyard for ball. But the reverse never happened, for two reasons: the boys never tired of ball and Barbies were for girls.
That brings us to the fateful day when our now 4, 6, and 8 year old kids taught us an important lesson about the ability of kids’ imaginations to transcend all the TV, movie, children’s books, and playground stereotypes they were exposed to every day. It was a rainy Saturday and Emily’s closest Barbie buddies were all unavailable. This was a potential 7.0 crisis on the kid Richter scale.
Downstairs, in the basement, our boys had a 5 foot basketball hoop set up for rainy days. To compensate for age and size difference, our 8 year old played on his knees. Meanwhile upstairs, our daughter was able to sustain a Barbie soap opera (there was always drama with Ken and Barbie) on her own for about half an hour, but then she exhausted her imagination and needed a friend to contribute to the plot and dialog. But on this day, there were no friends and no outdoor options.
This was clearly a parenting moment, and my wife leaped into action. She called the boys upstairs and told them they had to be their sister’s Barbie buddies, at which point we both upgraded to DEFCON 3 and waited for the explosion. No explosion. Just a loud groan from the 8 year old and an echo groan from the 4 year old, followed by the negotiations. Will she play basketball with us after? How long do we have to do it? Do we have to talk like Barbie? When’s lunch? Each question asked by the 8 year old was echoed by the 4 year old. At that point, mom made it very clear: Your sister puts up with a lot of boy stuff in this house. Please go upstairs, now. Play Barbie and pretend to like it. Big groan, echo groan, synchronous stair stomping.
Categories: GoodyBlog, Your Child | Tags: Barbie, basketball, Doll, dolls, gender, gender identity, gender neutral, gender roles, Harley Rotbart, harley rotbart series, ken, parenting, parenting advice, parenting style
Wednesday, December 22nd, 2010
Each holiday season brings us lots of cheer and joy–and a new Gotta-Have-It! toy (think Tickle Me Elmo and the Zhu Zhu Pets). So what are kids clamoring for this year? Pillow Pets, Dance Star Mickey, Squinkies, and of course, the Xbox 360 Kinect have all topped the list. But the surprise hit during the holiday shopping rush may be Lalaloopsy. The cute, Coraline-like doll line is super popular right now, and out of the eight main “rag” dolls, the blue-haired Mittens Fluff N’ Stuff is becoming really hard to find. Are any of these gifts on your child’s wish-list? What are you having a hard time finding?
Thursday, December 9th, 2010
Explaining that a new baby is on the way can get difficult when kids are a certain age. The stork story doesn’t quite fly anymore, but explaining natural childbirth can be confusing for toddlers and awkward for parents.
So maybe the best way to explain the new arrival is with a MamAmor Doll. We first learned about her on Café Mom. These dolls naturally birth babies—umbilical cord, placenta and all. There’s even a snap for the doll to breastfeed her newborn. The creators of these dolls are proponents of natural childbirth, attachment parenting, breastfeeding and open conversations with young children.
We can’t seem to decide what to make of these dolls! With prices starting at $130, they’re not exactly cheap but then again it’s a small price to pay to teach your toddler about what to expect. The FaceBook fan page has more than 3,500 followers. The doll’s definitely better than any educational video we’ve seen!
Would you buy one of these dolls? What do you think of them?