This month has been a little traumatic for me. My fantastic daughter is about a month away from being a year old. I could bore you with a litany of adjectives that describe how fantastic she is, but look at her:
She is an impressive specimen. This month has not been traumatic because I am getting baby fever from all the photos of little tiny ones that have taken over my Facebook feed, or because she has been walking for several weeks. It is because she has unveiled a part of her personality that is foreign to me: she has an all out obsession with shoes and purses.
When we go to the play area in the mall she saunters up to every woman with a bag and tries to rifle through it, then instinctively heads toward the wall of shoes to investigate the second I scan the area for her big brother. She carries shoes around the house like trophies, and empty Coke can boxes filled with her most precious possessions. I don’t know how we got here. This was reason number 347 that I was initially terrified to have a daughter: I am not a girly girl. I refused to carry a purse until my first grown-up job. I rocked the dangerous wallet keychain in college. My daily uniform consists of a worn out t-shirt, some variety of yoga/sweat pant that would devastate the folks at What Not to Wear and a pair of running shoes. I carry a sad purse because I have to, and it is usually stuffed with diapers, wipes and (if I am lucky and there is room because I am forgetting my phone) a sippy cup. So this feminist decided to breach protocol and enter the Pink Zone today. (Note: I chose Target to scout for her, because I do not feel I should have to hunt around for a specialty store for a simple present for my soon-to-be one year old, and your average household frequents places like Target for toys.)
In case you are not familiar, the unchartered territory I speak of is the designated “For Girls” aisles at Target. (Target Masters: do not take this to mean I do not still thoroughly enjoy wasting spending my money at your conveniently located establishments, because I heart you.) I decided to first do a quick walk through and assess the situation. How many aisles are here? Are the purses neatly grouped together or will I have to search? What else is in lost in the pink?
After the walk through, I circled around and began to take my time. The first purse I saw was located next to a similar product for boys, only it was a tool belt.
I tested the button to see what it said and the first thing I heard was “I love shopping!” I turned it off and called a friend, hoping she would have nothing better to do while she was at work other than sit at her desk and wait for me to call her for the first time in 18 months (Yeah. I am THAT bad about phone calls.) so I could freak out on her about purse options for my toddler. No such luck. I walk right past the various Disney Princess purses that come with a child’s first set of fake pearls and satin gloves to see this gem.
Of course, this is a better option than the one that talked, but I felt the nausea return and so I quickly called my mommy. (Yeah I did. And yes, I called two different people to discuss purses for a one year old. I am insane.) She suggested trying the purse section, (You know, the entire area devoted to women’s purses? I obviously was not thinking straight.) and filling it with her own car keys and a phone. Brilliance. So brilliant, I will overlook the fact that my daughter gets the shoe thing from her Grammi.
We walked away with a Paul Frank canvas bag for less than $3 from the tween section.
My blood pressure dropped, and my heart beat steadied enough that we then went to find her some shoes.
Her eyes lit up when she saw them. She frantically began to take off a shoe with one hand because the other had a death grip on the pair she fancied.
I am rather proud of myself today. Not only did I finish my daughter’s birthday shopping with a Lalaloopsy doll (big brother’s pick) and a purse with which she was smitten, but we shoe shopped as well. I conquered my Pink-phobia for the time being, because being a feminist doesn’t just mean fatter dolls and an end to traditional gender roles. It means letting your children decide what things fascinate them because, as Melissa Wardy would say, “There are SO many ways to be a girl!” (or boy, or child!)