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.