As I look around me, I can see my darling daughter dressed in her 'Minnie Mouse' dressing gown, sitting in a sea of discarded toys that include not one but two handbags, sporting 'Hello Kitty' and 'The Little Mermaid' themes and it strikes me again how much I loath this character indoctrination we provide from such a young age. Now my bestfriend will have to forgive me for this post, as she is a frequent reader of my blog and provided the 'Minnie Mouse' dressing gown (which in all honesty I actually think is quite cute and it keeps my daughter suitably warm which is the job it was designed to do).
However since the moment Emily was born, she has gone through high volumes of character themed clothes. Dora the explorer, Peppa Pig, Hello Kitty and an array of Disney characters. And on receiving each present I have had to physically restrain myself from uttering the words 'why'? Instead I have replaced this question with a smile and a thank you as is the correct, appropriate, polite adult response (and I am nothing if not accommodating). When alone I have looked at said item and wondered, once again, why? My daughter is now only 18 months old and until recently had no real sense of self, she still doesn't some days, let alone any care or regard for Peppa Pig or any of these other popular characters. In fact we have never even watched Peppa Pig, we only ever watch Cbeebies.
It does frustrate me enormously and I know that I sounds completely irrational but to me it shows a complete lack of imagination and an assumption that all children, because they are children, will just be instantly attracted to these superficial characters. I mean what has Dora the Explorer ever done for my daughter? Or me for that matter?
I buy clothes for my daughter based on the following criteria, how expensive are they? Will they fit her properly and not strink on first wash? Are they pink? The last one is a form of indocriniation of my own, but not for Emily's benefit for the general masses that assume just because my daughter is of larger stature that she must be a boy!
"Oh he is lovely isn't he?"
"Yes, SHE is very lovely thank you".
Of course even the pink doesn't always work...some people are just stupid but I don't hold that against them.
Now don't get me wrong, once Emily has grown up a little and can actually keep her attention to an entire episode of Peppa Pig or one of Walt Disney's classic cartoons (which I will be watching with her...for supervisory purposes of course) and the day she turns to me, her little red ringlets swaying from side to side and utters the words
"Mummy Ariel has red hair like me, am I a mermaid too?"
or words to that effect then I will happily go out and buy her (within reason of course) all the 'Little Mermaid' paraphernalia her little heart desires. However until that time arrives, I fear it will continue to annoy me and 'oh joy' Christmas is just around the corner.