All the experts tell us what we know intuitively- we should limit the amount of television that our little charges watch. But, let’s be real here, there are times when you gotta do what you gotta do. Personally, I am team PBS. Our kids were reared on Sesame Street. Arthur is a great show. But, Lo has strong opinions and wants to watch one thing only, on repeat. That thing is Doc McStuffins, an animated show about a little girl who plays doctor to broken toys. At first, I was turned off by the overt pinkness of the show. Why must all shows aimed at girls be so pinky purple? Why must the stuffed lamb character wear a tutu? What are we teaching our little girls? But, when I had occasion to pay attention (meaning I wasn’t busy chasing Cora who crawls at warp speed toward any particle of dirt, dust, flora and fauna she spots on the floor in order to cram it into her mouth before I can stop her) I started to feel a little differently. Little Doc McStuffins is imitating her mother, who is a doctor. Her toys/patients are not exclusively typical “girl” toys (exhibit A is action hero “Awesome Guy” and exhibit B are the Barbie-style toys who both brainy and athletic.) Doc passes on good messages through her songs, my favorite being “She’s Not Bossy, She’s the Boss.” Under this tutelage and as her stuffed animals could attest, Lo has developed a keen interest in the medical and veterinary professions. My daughter-in-law is a pediatric nurse and I just realized that one of Lo’s favorite imaginary games, “Work” (as in “let’s play work, Nana) is directly derived from her mother’s career. “Work” involves gathering up every doll and caring for them lovingly. Also mimicking what her mother does at work, Lo “pumps” at “Work.” And sings the Doc McStuffins standard “Tell Me What’s Wrong What’s Going On” when one of her patients needs attention.
In a culture that promotes little girls as princesses at an early age, it is refreshing that they can also recognize other options. But my goodness, they do love princesses! We got out the collection yesterday to comb their hair and adjust their wardrobes. This activity came to an abrupt end when I noted Cora had a curious look on her face. I dug Cinderella’s slipper from her clenched jaw.
Contraband snacks not withstanding, raising girls can be a delicate balance. I am happy to note that both of our young princesses are emboldened, active, loving, curious and funny. (Also beautiful, but if you have seen their parents you will realize they can’t help this. )
And just like Lo has little Doc McStuffins and her mother as excellent role models, I want to close with a quote from Lo that might just inspire you as it did me.
On her first day of her preschool, the teacher asked each child to introduce herself. Upon Lo’s turn, she announced (at 9 am) “Im Logan. It’s been a long day. I need to take a little break.” She then retreated to the corner for 30 seconds. She took the wisdom of “Tell Me What’s Wrong What’s Going On” to heart. All us girls should be empowered to do the same.