Monday, November 8, 2010

On accepting differences, snorting pixie dust and my paparazzi problem

This is Sabrina at a princess-themed tea party she went to on Sunday. Every other girl there put on a princess get-up and a tiara, danced around to the music, ate pink-frosted cupcakes.

Sabrina wore a dirty Nike hoodie and sweatpants, refused to dance, didn't want a cupcake. She was perfectly content to sit next to her BFF and giggle and decorate a frame. The mother hosting the party kept asking if Sabrina was OK. A babysitter wanted to know if she was tired. A mom wondered if she was going to dress up at all; when I said "She's in her tomboy phase" the mom answered, "I'm sorry!" I said, "Actually, I'm fine with it." Then I blew some pixie dust in her face.

I get irritated when kids and adults single out Max for his differences. So much so, in fact, that I forget one basic truth: People have a hard time accepting any sort of differences in kids and adults. A 7-year-old who can't quite talk is going to come under scrutiny. Same goes for a little girl who stages a Belle boycott (and that little boy who dressed up as Daphne from Scooby Doo for Halloween—maybe one of those moms sent that lovely comment about my kids going costume-less?!).

I was proud of Sabrina for doing her own thing. I need to let the pride I have in Max override my concerns about how the world sees him. Easier said than done, but I think it'll help me to remember that it's not necessarily him—it's them. Perhaps snorting pixie dust would help, too.

In other news, Max continues to wheel his car wash around; we are going to have to hide that thing before the snow comes. He's newly hooked on Talking Tom Cat, a free app with a tabbie who echoes whatever sounds you make. It encourages Max to talk, and it's about the only pet we're capable of handling in our house right now.

Also, I did not run The New York City Marathon on Sunday but I did sleep until 10, which independent studies have shown is nearly just as beneficial to my health and sanity. Also, this blog made it onto Babble's list of Top 50 Mom Blogs. Avoiding the paparazzi has been tricky and the kids and Talking Tom Cat keep asking me for my autograph but still, I'm psyched. I'm in amazing company, and there are also great blogs cropping up on the "Nominate Your Favorite" list (I particularly adore #50, Teach Mama), so check them out.


  1. HA! My youngest would have loved that princess party--he would have showed up in his Halloween costume (to include wand with star) AND persona, and had the time of his life. The mother hosting the party would have probably had a s#itfit wondering what was "wrong" with him, too!

  2. go Sabrina! and go you, Mom!

    Embrace the differences, don't stifle them. The people I know that are most screwed up (myself included)are the ones that tried to conform to what was expected. We should all encourage our children to "try on" all sorts of things. Is it "just a phase"? Who cares? Being a child is about checking out all sorts of choices and finding the ones that fit.

    You are keeping your children safe, and encouraging their growth. What more is there?

  3. What a great post! I laughed out loud and it also really resonated with me. You're right, it's THEIR problem. People are so uncomfortable with different because, I think, they tend to see it as a criticism of what they are doing instead of just a good old, healthy variation.
    Mia's Kindergarten teacher apparantly told her that she should eat more "normal" breakfast foods when she found out I let her have pizza in the morning.
    #1) my homemade, organic pizza is healthier than most of the crap they sell in breakfasty boxes and #2)getting ANY food into her in the morning is a victory!

    xo Cat

    p.s. congrats on your Babble top 50!

  4. My family's still waiting for me to grow out of my "Tom Boy phase." Let Sabrina be who she is. She'll be better off.

  5. This kind of thing makes me ragey. Leave Sabrina alone! And on what planet is it okay to make those kinds of comments to other parents? GRR.

  6. Couple of things...

    First, congrats! I checked things out on Babble this weekend and saw you there. It's no surprise.

    And second, I love Sabrina's will and strong spirit. Always have. Good for a little girl who can be comfortable enough with herself to be a leader and not a follower.
    She seems wise beyond her years.

  7. I almost peed myself the first time I saw that 'talking tom cat' app. Hilarious!

    All that pink princess crap makes me gag. Go Sabrina!

    Good to remember its not us...its them. No doubt.

  8. I think we should start a campaign to have kids find the SIMILARITIES instead of differences. Highlights might be my first target.

  9. I am going to check out the Talking Tom Cat! Thanks for the link!

  10. This is my all time favorite blog post. I simply can't stand that parenting has become a competition and a perfection contest. Good for you, Ellen. Mind if I link this post on my blog?

  11. There is nothing wrong with being a tomboy.

    Though you totally could have sent her cupcake my way LOL :)

  12. Thanks, everyone, for the congrats!
    Cat: I am definitely mentioning organic breakfast pizza in an upcoming post. You are my new meal inspiration.
    GreenGirl: Looooove that.
    Angela: I HAD HER CUPCAKE! Also, I was a tomboy as a kid; I'd only wear a brand of jeans called Billy The Kid. My mother put up with me.
    Melanie: Post away!

  13. First of all, congrats - on being on Babble's list and for having such great kids. I am hosting a princess party next month and I can only hope that some of the girls will be as cool as Sabrina. We tried so hard to be gender neutral with our kids, so naturally we got a girl who loves princess and fairies and 2 boys obsessed with cars and trains. We all need to learn to let kids be who they are and to value them for that. Bravo to you.

  14. Will be investigating this Talking Tom Cat app--especially since Charlie has recently decided he can talk--maybe this will encourage more of that.

    You know, I think that there's a whole breed of people for whom fitting in is a religion--perhaps a way to avoid criticism or scorn? I don't completely understand the motivation because I do have a defiant streak in me. But I've known enough conformity types to know that it's a way of life for some.

  15. Some people have a hard time with children and people in general, nevermind if they are different! There are cranky, judgemental people out there who are quick to find fault with anyone they meet. They look for something to be upset about wherever they go. I think it's amazing how many people give me dirty looks for having a noisy but happy-go-lucky two-and-a-half-year-old. They seem mad if I bring him anywhere - hotels, airplanes, grocery stores, restaurants (& I don't mean anywhere fancy!). Apparently they would like me to hide him away in a closet until he turns 35 when he's learned to speak quietly and keep his laughter to himself. Those people suck and they are best avoided and ignored!

    Congrats on the Babble Top 50! I noticed you on there!

  16. I don't know at what point adults lose their ability to be polite and think it is ok to judge children regardless of the situation. Kudos to sabrina.....keep it up and don't worry about anyone else. All children deserve our love and support and as a mother of a preemie and a caregiver for disabled children people like that make me want to scream on a daily basis but this post made me realize all kids are under thr same kind of scrutiny.

  17. We love the Tom Cat app. at our house. There is also a bird and a robot. All fun!

  18. CONGRATULATIONS, Ellen! Can't tell you how thrilled I was to read your name in the Babble list. Well done!

  19. Congrats, Ellen!

    And people need to seriously learn to embrace differences - I am sick of people trying to shove my kids into boxes. I have two girls who do their own thing on a regular basis - one has some special needs, one doesn't. Both of my daughters are in tomboy phases right now. One prefers jeans coupled with a rotation of about three t-shirts (one of which is an old AYSO soccer jersey). My 9 year old prefers to wear all black (with a little camouflage mixed in) and the two t-shirts that she thinks best describe her. (One says "vegetarians rock" and the other says "girl genius.")

    Another mom recently told me it was too bad they didn't like to wear dresses. Who cares if they wear dresses? Frankly, their limited wardrobe interests save me a lot of laundry.

    Kids need to be THEMSELVES. Excellent post.

  20. Love this! I think my special needs son has helped to teach his younger sisters that they should embrace the person within. My middle daughter is only interested in being comfortable. She is a good athlete with a kind heart and a love for music. This is how she describes herself. My youngest is a princess to the core. She prides herself on the amount of pink she can wear in a day. Wings and a tiara are her accessories of choice on any outing, including sister's soccer games. As a mom I'm proud of my kids for knowing who they are and wearing it well.


  21. Congrats on the top 50--and on raising a non-princess obsessed daughter! I'm hoping my little girl opts out too when she's that age.

  22. I think that it's awesome that Sabrina doesn't feel the need to "follow the crowd". You're obviously doing something right. By the way, the pixie dust comment had me laughing out loud. Too funny! :)


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