Bookstores like National Bookstore, Fullybooked, Powerbooks, and Booksale are our family’s must-go-to place whenever we go to malls. Often, we would give Baby Charley the option to pick one book to take home as long as it’s (1) a boardbook (she still eats the pages sometimes), (2) not written by EL James, and (3) within our Php 100-200 budget.
|A Family of Readers - That's us|
This particular weekend and book-picking was made extra special by another patron who chose to have an in-depth literary criticism plus parenting strategies type of discussion with me. Big words!
This mommy, who was with her young son, was completely appalled, yes, if not sickened, by my choice of book for Baby Charley. You see, this weekend, my daughter chose DK’s “Dinosaurs”, a touch and feel 8-page board book filled with, you guess it – dinosaurs.
|The book that started it all|
The mommy argued that since my child is a girl, I should buy her books appropriate for her gender, prolly the ones filled with glitters and screamed with pinkness. Apparently, according to her, books about dinosaurs are for boys only, and I should choose “A Princess Fairtytale” instead.
“You don’t want her to be confused with what she really is,” she added. My daughter, who is just one-year old could barely tell the difference between a pair of shoes and a cookie – she nibbles on them both when she’s not busy stuffing her dresses with socks. Sometimes, she talks in a language no human on this planet could ever understand. Also she sees her playmates as neither boys nor girls; for her, they’re just…well, playmates, if not “targets”.
You could say, that Literary-expert Mommy has pushed my hot button on oh-so-many levels! I thanked her for her time and expertise and explained what I think literature is.
Although there’s an intended audience and purpose, I started, children’s literature is meant to be read by kids regardless of gender. Is Tom Sawyer only for boys who get “whacked” by their school teacher? Little Women for girls? Les Miserables for depressed French ex-convict? Animal Farm for government officials – they’re not exactly about animals, in case you’re wondering.
My roommate (my husband, btw) and I do not limit Baby Charley’s choices on books, toys, and clothes on what’s girly and what’s not. It is paramount that she’s safe, comfy, and she enjoys reading, playing with, and wearing them.
Baby Charley reads a variety of genres and types of literature that catch her interest. For example, she makes us read Look at Me! I’m a Fairy! over and over again despite lacking coherence and thesis statement.
My singing prowess has been put to a test several times as I read to her Raining Fat Cows and Doing the Animal Bop because Charley loves the rhymes and beautiful pictures. She specifically waits for the fat cows to explode, so she could say, “Kapow!” Seriously, what are they teaching the kids now??
She also enjoys having The Very Hungry Caterpillar and A for Adobo read to her because she likes to pretend-eat the food and is not really interested about the butterfly.
Charley also has all-time favorites like Guess How Much I Love You, ABCs, Nursery Rhymes, Fairy Tales by Eric Kinkaid, among others.
If I would have my way, I’ll read to her the Harry Potter Series, Robinson Crusoe, and The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. But I’m gonna save that one when she’s a little older including Iliad, Dante’s Inferno, and Macbeth. Seriously, they should already consider funding a toddler version of these classics! Shout out to publisher!
Baby Charley enjoys dolls and trucks just the same and never discriminates her toys (she plays with a calculator, too!).
She loves playing with dolls because she can feed them and poke their eyes with a pen. She also can’t sleep without Bunny as she nibbles its tiny nose (don’t smell it!).
Sometimes, she wants to play with her pink kitty puppet and laughs hard as her parents make a complete fool of themselves speaking in high-pitched squeaky voice.
Lately, she’s into anything that moves, so she loves the truck Kuya Francis gave her and demands that we bring her out with the truck when the garbage truck arrives outside. She also plays with the red Coca Cola truck that she uses to run over her green dinosaur and orange tiger. She also loves her plastic wagon from Toy Kingdom, which she uses for her gardening and now as her “book place”. Finally, she loves riding the bikes and cars in Toy Kingdom and the only thing stopping us is the price tag.
She also appreciates the wonderful soft blocks her Tita Cecille gave her, so she enjoys stacking them together then kick them altogether so she can say, “Fell”. Bravo, Charley, bravo.
It’s no secret that 90% of Charley’s clothes are hand-me-downs, so we let her wear a variety of clothes as long as they’re comfy and Charley looks cute on them.
She received a lot of hand-me-down dresses (I’m talking about pink and ribbons) from her elder cousins and my colleague’s youngest daughter. She also wears Sunday dresses and doll shoes from Florsheim, Disney, and Sugarkids.
She also wears pants (yup, from the boy’s section) from SM, H&M, and Gingersnaps that go well with her Tough Kids shoes, sandals from Crocs, and the Airmax rubber shoes.
You can say that from her variety of hand-me-downs, Baby Charley often sleeps with a Disney Princess and fire truck pyjamas.
I told Literary-expert Mommy unless she planned to pay for it, she would never have say on the books I was gonna buy for my toddler.
I’m not worried that my daughter will be preferring more boy stuff or would go super girly in the future; what I want her is to treat others fairly and Christ-like and not judge anyone based on their gender, religion, or whatever preference they have.
So, if you see a little girl wearing a Hello Kitty blouse and six-pocket shorts riding a Monster Truck, towing a grey bunny with a torn-out nose – that’s prolly my kid having the time of her life.
And I don’t want you to treat her like a little girl, but please do treat her as who she really is – a child.