The Bratzification of Little Girl Culture Continues Unabated

First they came for Barbie, but I wasn’t concerned, because I don’t buy my daughter Barbie dolls.

Then they came for Strawberry Shortcake (making her hair long other cosmetic ‘grown up’ changes, but I said nothing, because I still had the old Strawberry Shortcake videos.

Then they came for Dora.

From the Washington Post:

The original Dora the Explorer was an adventuresome girl who appealed to kids regardless of gender. She first aired on television in 1999 and is known for loving baseball and her untraditional pet monkey Boots. She’s an outdoorsy girl who wears shorts and is always exploring.

This fall, though, Dora won’t be the girl many kids have grown to love. She’s growing up. And in the Mattel/Nickelodeon world, that means dumping her shorts for what Dora’s marketers call “a whole new fashionable look.” Though they aren’t revealing Dora’s new look officially until fall, Mattel and Nickelodeon gave a glimpse in silhouette. She’s got longer hair and is wearing a short skirt and pointed shoes. Gone are the shorts, backpack and sneakers of little girl Dora.

This can only end badly. Was there a memo that I missed saying that Dora needed to grow up? Was there an intense national debate on the beautification of female toddler icons? Is this Dora next?

i102.photobucket.com
Que horror!
Obviously we learned nothing from Bratz dolls.

You Say It’s Her Birthday…

Haven’t written in a while, but there’s a lot going on.

Since I’ve been regularly writing on this page, just a few things have happened:

– A new president was both elected and inaugurated, who happens to be African-American, in the truest sense of the phrase,

– The economy has tanked,

– I put a freelancing gig on hold,

– I moved, and am getting ready to move again,

– Grace got a weird case of strep through the skin,

– My family discovered the lunacy of Facebook and Twitter (and some of the ultimate time wasters of all time),

– New jobs, new legacy,

– Read a heck of a lot of books (man, you have no idea how many, but to find out, look at my Library Thing stats and then consider how many books I’ve actually forgotten),

– And I’ve connected with several extremely successful bloggers, on sites such as Zen Habits (thanks, Leo!), Divorce 360, and others.

All of this means that this site is going to undergo a few changes.  I have a host of fresh new ideas, a lot of new organization and integration is going to take place, and, most importantly, I’m fresh, because I haven’t been writing a heck of a lot.  So I’m ready to come back into the fold.  I’d do a Hello World, but I’ve been here for quite a while already.  I’m going to grow this site and go to the basic reason that I started writing this in the first place: for my daughter.

But not this week, because two weeks from now, my daughter turns 5, which means that one and a half weeks from now, I will have having a series of gatherings and parties just for her, and involving friends and family.  Really, I’m just letting everyone know that I’m going to start writing again, even if I have no idea where on earth I’ll find the time.

Thanks for everyone’s support!  It’s good to be back.

How I’ve Passed The Time

Hello, all! It’s been far too long since I’ve blogged here.  Yes, I’m still alive.  But time has proven to be an issue. 

In all honesty, though, I have been a bit busy lately, and posting suffered a bit. 

Expect a real live update here soon!

What Do Families Do In Denver?

As much as I hate to admit it, I’m rapidly becoming the “doing things” Dad for my 4 year old daughter. I’m not sure how it started, but I kind of morphed into the fun persona as I only get Grace with me a limited amount of time a week, usually on the weekends. Of course, we’ll still do things like read books, color, and watch various cartoons or movies (Disney! Oooh, they’re cunning ones, they are), but I also like to take the the little one out for excursions to art museums, festivals, parks… anything that the Rocky Mountains have to offer.

Of course, doing these things usually takes time, for researching the various activities, and money, for paying for them.

Or, at least one would think.

In my sidebar you’ll notice a link to KidsPages.org, an organization that has a website with various tips, hints, and activities both paid and free for families. They have become my weekly lifeline to largely free stuff – perfect for a guy like me that is busily trying to save money for his daughter’s college choice, lose money from my 401(k), and still maintain a relatively happy techno-geek life with his girlfriend. Yes, it’s all a challenge, but KidsPages.org makes it much easier.

Take a gander over there this weekend. I’m pretty sure that they have a dead tree (paper) version out there as well.

How To StifleThe Pain of Separation

Not long ago, I received an email from a single dad who is going through something similar to what I went through a couple of years back when Grace’s mother and I broke up.  This guy’s marriage crumbled, and he wanted to know how to, paraphrasing his words, avoid the accusations and feelings of abandonment and guilt.

Well, single dads and single moms, here’s my thoughts.

First, let’s be realistic.  Breaking up with a longtime partner or spouse is bad.  Really bad.  I’ve heard it be described as everything from feeling like you were in a serious car accident every day for years to, in one friend’s words, “simply worse than you can possibly imagine.”  I never knew what he meant until a few years ago.

Now, however, I know.  It’s bad.

Feeling of abandonment and guilt, whatever the prior situation, are bound to occur at some point, especially if you have kids, assuming that your family life held a high priority to you.  To put it bluntly, you can’t avoid it.  I might argue, even, that you shouldn’t.  Divorce and separation can feel like a death in a close family; sometimes, you just need to mourn.

But don’t go crazy.

In the situation where you left a spouse or loved one and left children behind, STAY ON TOP OF THE FAMILY SITUATION.  You love your kids, most likely, your kids love you.  You’re a parent, and become no less of a parent because you’re not there 24/7.  The dirty little secret is that very few of us are actually there 24/7 anyway.  But don’t lose track of what your kids are doing.  Ask questions: about school, friends, home, what their likes and dislikes are, everything.  If your kids are too small to answer back, play with them.  Watch movies.  Read with them.  Take them to parks.  In short, be an active parent.  You’ll be amazed at how much less sulking time that gives you.  I still get fidgety if I don’t see my daughter within a certain time period.

Another suggestion I would give would be to learn to tune out the noise.  Obviously, if you’ve been with your partner for any appreciable amount of time, they are going to know you alarmingly well, and one of those things that they will most certainly know and will almost positively take advantage of is which buttons to push.  Listening to the pertinent information and eliminating the noise is a skill that takes time to master, but it will be necessary for your mental health – and it will be your mental health that will allow you to thrive without your significant other.  Remember that, and achieve a zen-like comfort level.

Finally, and this might not seem to be obvious, but get a lawyer if you can.  This person is more than just a person that knows the law, it’s a person that knows the law that you are paying to be on your team.  This simple knowledge will give you an important, and at least in my situation, unexpected emotional boost.  Really it helped.  Also lawyer will give you all sorts of information that you knew, but somehow forgot about when it comes to separation.  It sounds strange, but it works.

Those are a few things that come to mind.  I know that I’ll come up with more.  I’ll keep thinking.

Hang in there!

The Cautionary Tale of Jamie Lynn Spears

Gentlemen,

Watch yourselves and the ones that you are with. Please.

The National Enquirer is reporting that 17 year old Jamie Lynn Spears is now expecting for the second time just three months after giving birth on June 19 to baby Maddie Briann.

And before you say anything about it being from TNE, just remember, they were right about her being pregnant the first time….

They say that Jamie Lynn is desperate to keep the shock­ing news secret and some people close to her are urging her to consider ending the pregnancy.

This newsflash comes courtesy, which probably isn’t the right word, of the Daily Stab.   If true, and one must consider carefully the source, then there are two responses that a responsible Single Dad could give.  One is:

The second thought?  Men, teach your daughters something, please.  PLEASE.  It’s impossible to relay how important being a good father really is to the welfare of your children, and especially girls.

This is not to say that Jamie Lynn doesn’t have a good father; I’ve never known or talked to the man.  But we know for a fact that at least some information on babies didn’t sneak through the adolescent filter.

Family is all important, so much so that I now tend to measure my wealth in familial terms.

Somehow, I doubt we’ll be seeing any more books on the raising of the Spears’ children anytime soon.  I hope not.

My First Book Review

LibraryThing Early ReviewersYou probably noticed that I haven’t been writing a whole lot lately.

It’s no coincidence, and yes, I’m still alive. I’ve just been busy. Besides doing some writing for Divorce 360 and my own blog, POW – The blog (although that’s been suffering recently – I need to go back to my roots), I’ve been hanging out with the four year old, working quite a bit, and now… reviewing books. As a member of the website LibraryThing, I signed up for the Early Reviewers program. It has its perks.

So, here’s my first review – that I’m going to put with my first freelance paycheck stub and my first volunteer freelance letter. Be kind, because God knows that I have no idea what I’m doing.

Yet.

But all is falling into place. I think.

To say that I fancy myself a poet is not exactly accurate; somewhere in a trunk at home there is a folder with Lord only knows how many pieces of poetry that I wrote in the 80’s and 90’s, when things for me were much bleaker and introspective. I even had some success writing a poem that was published a very long time ago.

Therefore, I looked forward to reading How To Write A Suicide Note by Sherry Quan Lee, a multicultural womanwriting about her grappling with suicide, growing up different, and finding herself. To say that I “liked” the series of “poems” (many of which read more like prose than poetry to me – that seems, in retrospect, apt) is not quite the correct word. This was a great series, but in some ways, was so emotional and passionate, that I actually had difficulty reading them. But then again, I’m often dramatic when it comes to topics of this nature.

This was a very good book that I would recommend to people interested in mental health issues, multiculturalism, self-help, poetry or real-life essays, and if you are a parent, read this and learn.

Let me know what you think. The curiosity is killing me.