Gender Talk

When you see photos like the ones below of girls talking in a group (just hanging out at a sleepover or at some other gathering), what do you imagine they’re saying to each other? (Okay, yes, I know they’re all dolls of a sort. Just pretend, okay?)

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Raise your hand if you think they’re talking about boys. Or hair and makeup. Or collections of tiny things like Shopkins. Or perhaps you think they’re gossiping about their friends or other people. Now, raise your hand if you think they’re talking about quantum mechanics (“the science of the very small,” according to Wikipedia), earth science, psychology, or what’s trending on the internet. Anybody? Hello?

Now look at the photo below. Think of them as boys having a conversation. (Um the one in purple is Batzarro, who is in Lego DC Comics Super Heroes: Justice League vs. Bizarro League.) What do you think they’re discussing? Sports? Quantum mechanics? Girls? Cars? Videogames? Collections of tiny things like Shopkins?


Many of us have preconceived ideas about what girls or boys talk about or like. Some of these ideas have to do with how we were socialized, and the expectations with which we grew up. You know the ones: girls like dolls and colors like pink and purple; boys like cars and trains and colors like blue or green. Girls talk about boys and hair at a sleepover. If a kid stepped out of the “bubble,” he or she was “corrected,” sometimes by other kids.

Think times have changed, now that we’re so “enlightened” about preconceived gender issues? Think again. A little boy I know used to love the color purple until he was told by another kid that purple is a “girl” color.

If we have kids, we want them to be all that they can be. But sometimes what we think someone else “should” like or be like has more to do with our own frustrated hopes than that person’s natural bent.

I read an article a few weeks ago (wish I could find it again) where a father mentioned the Girl Toy of the Year and the Boy Toy of the Year for 2015. The Girl Toy of the Year was the Shopkins Small Mart Playset (by Moose Toys). The Boy Toy of the Year was the Zoomer Dino (by Spin Master). There was a general Toy of the Year too. But in the article I read, the father complained about the girl toy and how it lacked action. Never mind the fact that a girl moving a doll around the market shows action and especially imagination. I can’t recall if this father had daughters or not. If he did, more than likely they should not expect to get this Small Mart Playset. (By the way, I’ve seen kids play with remote-controlled toys. They grew bored with them fairly quickly.)

Zoomer-Interactive-Dino-Boomer-1024x1024  Shopkins-Small-Mart-Playset

I wonder if this dad would be appalled if he saw some little boys I know happily playing in the giant toy kitchen set up in their home. They know their way around the kitchen, because their dad is an awesome cook who probably could open his own restaurant.

At this same house, I watched the kids at a birthday party recently. Now in this family, there are three kids: a girl and two boys (same as my family). The family will soon grow with the addition of a baby girl this summer (also the same as my family, though my sister didn’t live).

It’s fascinating to me to see to what toys and games children naturally gravitate. Though lightsabers and Nerf guns abounded in this house for anyone to use, the girls at the party chose to play quietly in a bedroom away from the raucous lightsaber/Nerf gun battle in which the boys participated. Every once in awhile, the girls would emerge from the room with a doll or doll blanket. (All of these girls were under the age of eight.) But they refused to join the battle.


Yet when I babysat the children of the host family, all of the kids participated in a game I introduced to them that I used to play with my brothers. We called it Houseboat. The couch was the houseboat. The floor represented the shark-infested waters. The object was to dive for pearls or other treasure and make it back onto the houseboat without being attacked by sharks. The lookout (usually me) would call out, “Sharks!” Everyone would have to get out of the “water” and back to the houseboat. There were always some casualties. 🙂


It’s fun to watch kids be kids whether they pick up a doll or a lightsaber. (And I’ve picked up both.) They can be all they can be as long as they know there is no shame in what they choose.

By the way, a girl at church who has been the beneficiary of some of my Shopkins mentioned that her brother wanted some of them too. Just sayin’.

Shopkins Small Mart Playset image from Zoomer Dino from Shark from Lightsaber from Other photos by L. Marie.

Snowy Super Bowl Sunday

The title of the post might seem to be a misnomer, since by the time you read this, it will be Monday. But I’m writing this post on Sunday. I have an ice cream winner to announce. And how appropriate a day it is—a blustery, blizzardy day—to announce the winner of something cold. Well, I’ll get to that in a minute. But first, you have to put up with my babbling. Or you could avoid that and skip down to the winner. Don’t worry. I won’t know if you do.

If I could choose three super powers (why stop at just one?), one of them would have to be the ability to generate heat at will. I could walk out in any blizzard in flip flops, secure in my own cocoon of heat. (What super power would you choose?)

I thought of that cocoon on this windy, snow-washed Super Bowl Sunday as I stepped outside in flip flops (yeah, I did) to take this photo, which does not really capture the blowing snow at all.


I returned inside to don my boots to make the trek to the parking lot to scrape the snow off my car and shovel the snow around it, since it has such tiny tires. Thankfully, it is equipped with front wheel drive.

Today was the perfect day to spend at least part of the afternoon on the couch, wrapped in a warm throw, with an Agatha Christie mystery (The Clocks) in my hands and a cup of cocoa at my elbow.

Afterward, I watched the Super Bowl, though I had no emotional investment in either the Seahawks or the Patriots. I have nothing against either team, mind you. I enjoyed the game. Still, I am disappointed that I’ve never been asked to sing the national anthem at any Super Bowl, though I keep my calendar open for such an eventuality. (And if you heard me sing, perhaps you’d tell me not to hold my breath.)


While we watched the game, my family and friends and I had a competition based on the score at the end of each quarter. We each were given two numbers based on some code my brother came up with. If each team’s score had those numbers, that person was declared the winner of that quarter. I won’t go into how the code worked. Suffice it to say I was ripped off every quarter! Yes, that was a clear example of sour grapes in case you were wondering.

Commercials during the Super Bowl that I loved:
• “Like a Girl”
• Clydesdales and the lost dog
• Dove Men+Care
• Invisible Mindy
• A Very Brady Snickers
• “With Dad” Nissan
• Toyota Camry How Great I Am
• Microsoft
• Doritos

I’ll give an honorable mention to the McDonald’s commercial for their innovative pricing. Love the emphasis on dads for many of these commercials. I also enjoyed the halftime show with Katy Perry and special guests Lenny Kravitz and Missy Elliott.


Congrats to the New England Patriots for winning Super Bowl 2015!

New England Patriots

Speaking of winners, the winner of the Baby, It’s Cold Outside Ice Cream Giveaway is looking for this very ice cream:

cherry garcia

And that person is . . .

Is . . .

Is . . .

Professor VJ Duke!!!!

Come on down, Professor! Please comment to confirm!

For anyone else out there, did you watch the Super Bowl? Were you rooting for the Seahawks or the Patriots? Which commercials did you like?

Super Bowl XLIX from Cherry Garcia from Book cover from New England Patriots logo from