Monday, May 22, 2006

The ever important clothing decision - Dora or no Dora??

The other day my sister and I went out for coffee and shopping and enjoyed some fun sister bonding/child-free time.
Our conversations ranged from talking about husbands to in-laws to our friends, parents and of course parenting.
Becky's older daughter, Kyla, is almost 4 and in September she will start Junior Kindergarten. We got on to the topic of Dora, and more specifically, Dora clothes. Kyla has loved Dora for a couple of years now, but my sister has resisted buying her Dora clothes. She did get the running shoes, but never the clothes.
A big part of that is because Becky doesn't want a child who needs to have all the cartoon character shirts. I think it also has to do with Becky's taste in clothes, and it's never really bugged Kyla.
But, on to the deeper topic, which was about clothing in general.
I shared with my sister that a friend of mine has a 7 year old who wore a Dora ensemble (shorts and t-shirt) to school in sr.kindergarten. Her friends all made fun of her and called her a baby.
So, I told my sister that in no way should Kyla where Dora clothing to school. The other kids may laugh at her.
It turns out that Becky was aware of this, and she said that is why she is pushing her in the direction of Princesses and Barbie using subtle persuasion. For instance, if Kyla sees the Dora runners that light up, Becky will direct her to the Princess running shoes and suggest she get those instead.
To avoid being made fun of.
I'm pretty much on board with this solution. For instance, Matty loves Dora and he has a pair of Dora socks (that's as far as I was allowed to go even though Walmart sells boyish Boots playing soccer sandals. I didn't get those, in fact, because they looked like they would fall apart before we left the store). They are blue, but definitely girly. Even at the age of 2 I will not let him wear them to daycare. They are reserved for trips to Grandma's house. Why? Because I don't want my child to be made fun of. And, even at two kids make fun of other kids.
When I asked my friend the mother of Dora-wearing-five-year-old what she did about the situation, she confessed that she knew that her daughter would be mocked, but she let her wear the outfit anyway. Why? Because she felt that life isn't easy and she may as well learn young. And, she said she hated the outfit and she knew that if she let her daughter wear it to school she would never have to see that outfit again.
I have to say - I don't get that.
I understand completely that a parent should be a parent and a friend should be a friend. For instance, when your kid is misbehaving or just not listening you need to fill the parent shoes. But, I also think that being a good friend to your child cultivates a good relationship.
Maybe if she had told her daughter that her friends may laugh at her and call her a baby, her daughter may have reconsidered. Who knows. But, at least she may not have been quite as shocked and upset.
Personally, I like the way my sister is doing it. It makes sense. She's encouraging Kyla to wear something that won't be made fun of and is letting her fight the battles she needs to fight because I am sure there will be many of them.
Thank goodness I have a big sister leading the way.


ninepounddictator said...

Wow. I can't believe that kids make fun of what other kids are wearing at 7...

I thought Dora was super cool - but maybe that's for the younger set.

I kind of just had the same thing happen. I was told it was my turn to bring in the snacks for this one class I'm taking. So i asked my nanny, who takes my daughter to this one class, what kinds of snacks.

She said, "fruit." I became paranoid, because Nanny is a health nut, that every other kid brings in chips or cookies, and my daughter would be the only one to bring in fruit, and that every one would make fun of her.

So, while I do believe it's not good to encourage children making fun of children for what they wear, I do think it's perfectly natural to worry about it.

Maybe you should buy dora pajamas and let her wear them at home...

kate said...

As a mom of two grown children I have a different perspective than when I was "in the trenches" so to speak. Part of the parental role is protecting your child if at all possible. You wouldn't let your three-year-old ride out in the street on his tricycle, so why let her wear Dora clothes to school if you know she will be made fun of? And you're right there will be battles in the future that you will not be able to help out in, but as long as you can steer them clear of some harm or pain, why not?

becky said...

As usual, it's almost 11 and I'm at my computer checking emails before bed and I can't help checking my sister's blog to see how her day is going. Its amazing that suddenly the whole blogging world is getting a snapshot of my hilarious sister who can turn a crummy thing into tears of laughter. Or better yet - make you laugh for no aparant reason. To be in Laural's circle of friendship is amazing, to be her sister, you're truly blessed, to have her as an aunt - well, your universe is turned upside down in the coolest way.
Your blog is amazing Laural, I'm totally impressed.

Naomi said...

What about pyjamas? She can enjoy what she likes, without being made fun of?

It's really hard to know what is okay and what isn't okay with kids. Whta's cool one day, is not so cool the next. I teach high school, and really, it's the same there, only the girls are much nastier.

New reader here, like your blog! I'll be back!

Laural Dawn said...

So, I love the idea of the Dora Pyjamas.
Love it.
Doing it.
Next time I am at Zellers or the Superstore it will be Dora jammies all around. Even for Matty because who cares if he wears girl's pyjamas!