Saturday, January 31, 2015

The Gift that Keeps on Giving (Me a Headache)

There is always that one toy.

The toy that I should have bought 3 of or none of because all the children want to play with that one toy.

Right now, that one toy is a pink polka dot stroller.
Adorable softie doll custom-made by Dunlap Love!!
Yes, my 2 boys and little girl are all fighting over the dainty doll stroller.

I didn't see this coming.

Elise is shocked at this raucous behavior.

I grew up with all sisters, so boys are still somewhat of a mystery to me (must they wrestle ALL DAY LONG??) My husband only had a brother, which is probably why he is still can't wrap his brain around the difference between a curling iron and a flat iron, no matter how many times I try to explain it. (Yes, I need them both and no, they are not the same.)

All that to say, ever since we found out we were having a girl, we've wondered how our family dynamic might look different from how we each grew up.

Will our daughter be more rough and tumble from having brothers? Will the boys grow up with a better understanding of girls from having a sister? Will she like trains? Will he play with her dolls? Will they even have any interest in each other's toys?

Up until this Christmas our house has been mostly devoid of girly toys, mainly because after the first baby the house is so full of toys that there is no need to run out and buy new things for the next baby. Also, babies, no matter the gender, are equally excited over a car or doll or paper bag. Actually, they are probably most excited over the paper bag. So, Elise has spent most of her life contentedly playing with action figures and ninja swords and paper bags...until this Christmas.

After living in a house filled with boy toys for the past 21 months, Elise was thrilled to finally get some girly stuff of her own for Christmas. Actually, thrilled is probably an understatement. Her euphoria could be compared to someone who has found an oasis after wandering the desert for nearly 2 years...a pink oasis filled with Disney princesses, that is.

She spent Christmas morning joyfully taking every toy she owns on a walk around the house in her brand new pink polka dot stroller, her new purse hanging from one of the handles, fully stocked with baby bottles and play makeup.

After she ran out of toys she raided the pantry and took the goldfish crackers for a stroll.

It wasn't long before the boys took notice of these new pink playthings and decided to test them out for themselves.

Henry spent time wheeling his new dinosaurs around the house.

Jack decided to "be the Daddy" and helped Elise take her babies for a walk. At one point he answered her new Minnie Mouse cell phone like this: "What is it, Boss? I'm with my wife right now! We're busy with the kids! I'll come in to work this afternoon."

Maybe I should have bought the boys their own strollers a long time ago. Who knew a simple baby carriage would prompt them to be so nurturing? Maybe having a sister will inspire them to be more in touch with their feminine side! Maybe my son won't grow up and make the mistake of telling his wife to "take off her sensitivity jacket." A-HEM.

And then the game "Motorcycle Smash" was invented. Motorcycle Smash involves no actual motorcycles, but boy is there a lot of smashing. In the game of Motorcycle Smash, one brother furiously pushes the stroller while the other brother runs for his life, the object of the game being for the pusher to catch the runner and trample over him with the stroller/motorcycle until there is much weeping and gnashing of teeth. And then they switch.

I decided that one stroller will suffice for this family.

Now we are practicing patience as each child waits for his or her turn to take a baby for a walk or play a riveting game of Motorcycle Smash or participate in the newest game, "Stroller Stair Punch."

At first I thought Elise would be upset to see her precious stroller punched down the stairs.

She was not.

Families that are raising all boys or all girls certainly have their own distinctive dynamic. Growing up, my sisters and I were profoundly feminine. Our house was like a mecca for Cabbage Patch Kids, Popples and My Little Ponies. We choreographed multiple dance routines to the vocal stylings of Mariah Carey or Amy Grant and all of our Barbies were involved in a continuous soap opera that lasted for years. Our favorite color was glitter. I have never ever seen an episode of He-Man or Thundercats and I don't remember ever owning any sporting equipment besides rollerblades. Our home was a pink paradise. (Needless to say, 6 years ago my dad was ecstatic to find out he was getting a grandson.)

Still, even though I doubt I will ever watch my kids perform a glorious reenactment of The Little Mermaid at the pool, I am looking forward to the best of both worlds.

I am excited to see how the sugar and spice mixes with the snakes and snails to create our own unique family recipe. I'm not only talking about embracing the differences in boys and girls; boys and girls are different, but each child has his or her own individual personality too.

What I'm saying is they all want to play with the stroller for different reasons. Personally, I hope that they can learn from each other's games and be inspired by each other's ideas and use the stroller in ways they would have never thought of on their own.

Metaphorically speaking, of course. Cause right now they are mostly just fighting and arguing and yelling about the actual stroller. In fact, I had to put the stroller away for while for safety reasons, because if I had to endure one more game of Motorcycle Smash, I was going to be the one doing the smashing.

But don't worry, I'm sure they'll find something new to fight over in no time.

En garde!


  1. Haha I love this! It's so fun (sometimes) seeing the same thing play out at our house, too. And you know what the funny thing is, if you went our and bought each of them their own stroller they probably wouldn't touch the darn things ever again lol!