the list

21 Nov the list

Last November, we were strolling around Target and Bronwynn caught sight of the toy aisle. Not just any toy aisle, but the one specifically targeted to girls. It’s a dizzying vortex of pink and purple that sucks toddlers in and spits them out slobbery and screaming for all the things they cannot have. Boys have an aisle too, of course. They’re seduced by wheels and polished chrome and real! live! action! sounds!

This is consumerism and gender stereotyping at its worst.

Like many parents, I felt helpless and desperate to pull her away before it got ugly. She started picking up dolls and hugging them and saying “Mommy, I want! I want! Can I have?!” To which I responded, “not today….maybe another time…” Her voice got louder, whinier. She was pleading. I could see where we were headed, so I tried to switch gears.

“Let’s make a list,” I said. “You tell me everything you want, and I’ll put it on your list, and at Christmastime or your birthday or whenever you earn a treat, you can get something off your list.” She jumped at the idea.

A year later, I can tell you that THE LIST has been one of my favorite parenting tools. I don’t have to actually write anything down. She just tells me what she wants to add to her wish list. Sometimes, if it’s really special, we take a photo of it with my phone. Bronwynn is aware that her list is very, VERY long and that she will not receive everything on it. But when a special occasion comes around, she tells me what one or two things on her list are most important to her, what she’d most like to have. Miles has caught on and started his own list. 

Shopping with toddlers has never been more pleasant.

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