neighbor gave 3yo DD Disney Princess set -- what would you do? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 34 Old 12-10-2010, 08:12 AM - Thread Starter
 
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An elderly neighbor gave us a gift to give our 3 year old DD, a set of seven Barbie-like dolls that are all Disney princesses. This isn't the exact set but it's a lot like this: http://tinyurl.com/2bezbjw . They have big breasts and small waists, and some of them have skimpy tops that are already falling off inside the packages.

 

The neighbor showed us the dolls before she wrapped them. DD doesn't know that she's been "given" this gift.

 

I would choose not to give DD Barbie dolls -- I didn't have any as a child thanks to my feminist mom. She's never seen a Disney movie so she doesn't know these characters. She hasn't (yet) learned about the princess craze -- princess games aren't really part of her repertoire at this point.

 

It would be easy to write the neighbors a nice thank you note and quietly make the dolls disappear. Or to give her just one doll and put the rest away to decide what to do with them at some later time.

 

I also realize that lots of kids play quite creatively with dolls that some adults fine "problematic." So I don't believe that just giving her these dolls would be the downfall of her childhood. smile.gif

 

What would you do?

 

 

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#2 of 34 Old 12-10-2010, 08:19 AM
 
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I resisted Disney and anything like Barbie until DD was about 3.5, when it became clear it was pretty much futile. We don't watch TV, but when DD become more interested in playing with friends, she thought their Barbies/Disney stuff was so cool. I have become much more relaxed about that kind of thing, and even bought the dvd Barbie Diamond Castle. She has a collection of both Only Hearts dolls (cloth dolls, Barbie size, that aren't sexualized) and some Barbie dolls and some Disney dolls.

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#3 of 34 Old 12-10-2010, 08:33 AM
 
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That's a tough one. If she'd already seen the dolls, I'd say it was wrong to take them away from her. I think that our kids will like and enjoy a lot of different things that we don't like, but we should be careful about unilaterally banning things without really solid reasons. But if she hasn't seen them yet, I might just quietly return them to the store and buy something that fits your values more closely. Unless you think the neighbor will notice they're not in your home, and be offended-- I don't like those dolls either; they offend my feminist soul, but I wouldn't offend a good friend over them. I just don't see them causing my girls any serious harm, in the big picture of their lives.

I held the line for a long time against those things-- but I've made my peace with them, now. My girls have stuff like that, and play with it sometimes, but spend way more time on other things. They don't really watch all the TV and movies that go with them, so when they do play with them, their play is not limited by somebody else's ideas of what the characters are. I don't buy the stuff myself, but I allow them to accept them as gifts from other people. It's working for us so far-- my DDs are 6 and 3 now.

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#4 of 34 Old 12-10-2010, 08:43 AM
 
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It's hard.

 

For us, because I favour connection to community and honesty over protection from branded merchandise, I would give her the dolls. I wouldn't want to be standing on the street in the new year with the neighbour asking my child "do you love the dolls I gave you?" and having to navigate that.

 

That said, I would see if they were being played with. If it were a lot a lot I think I would start talking about our values and finding substitutes. If they weren't at all, I'd get rid of them three months down the road.

 

I'm not suggesting this is the best response, just sharing what mine would be. This is the approach we took with a V-Tech gaming thing my son got. We really appreciated the thought but had had no intention of introducing video games at 3. So we put it on top of the TV but didn't really plug it in. My son did ask about it so we plugged it in and let him try it, and then unplugged it again and...I think he's only played with it once in the 2 years since. (I should fess up though and point out he plays some iPod games now and has been for a few months. We're not hard core no on the issue.)

 

If he'd been asking to play all the time we would have set limits or gotten rid of it. Actually I should get rid of it... smile.gif

 


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#5 of 34 Old 12-10-2010, 08:51 AM
 
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My idea:

 

- Thank neighbors very much and sincerely. That WAS very kind of them.

- Make dolls disappear (return to store if possible)

- Get dolls you're ok with

- Give to DD and tell her they are a gift from the neighbors

- If neighbors ask DD how she likes her dolls, she will be able to answer that she does

- Any issue on the doll names (like neighbor wants to know if she likes Ariel or Snow White the best) can just be addressed by stating truthfully that DD doesn't know the character names. Which is true. So your DD can say she likes "Rose" or "Tricia" the best, no problem.

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#6 of 34 Old 12-10-2010, 08:59 AM
 
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I'd give her the gift.  That was very nice of the neighbors to think of her.  

 

I'd thank the neighbor.  To me, the feelings  of my neighbors are more important than a temporary toy.  

 

I'd let her play with them.  At age three, they will end up in the tub soon, the clothes will be lost, and they lose their attraction and mystery pretty soon.  It's a hard toy for three year olds to play with.  Which means you have to dress the same doll EVERY NINE MINUTES, because all the child wants to do is take the clothes off.

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#7 of 34 Old 12-10-2010, 09:02 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by laohaire View Post

My idea:

 

- Thank neighbors very much and sincerely. That WAS very kind of them.

- Make dolls disappear (return to store if possible)

- Get dolls you're ok with

- Give to DD and tell her they are a gift from the neighbors

- If neighbors ask DD how she likes her dolls, she will be able to answer that she does

- Any issue on the doll names (like neighbor wants to know if she likes Ariel or Snow White the best) can just be addressed by stating truthfully that DD doesn't know the character names. Which is true. So your DD can say she likes "Rose" or "Tricia" the best, no problem.


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#8 of 34 Old 12-10-2010, 09:08 AM
 
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offtopic.gif  Sorry!

 

Ha anyone found any good Barbie/Disney Princess substitutes? I asked my DD what she like about Barbie (which she plays with at the daycare at the Y), she told me she like their "Pretty Dresses" and that their cloths are changeable. I told her we would find some dolls within those parameters (she understands that we are not big on plastic toys around here). Any cloth, wood, non-commercial ideas??  Thanks!Peace.gif


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#9 of 34 Old 12-10-2010, 09:18 AM
 
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Originally Posted by tjlucca View Post

offtopic.gif  Sorry!

 

Ha anyone found any good Barbie/Disney Princess substitutes? I asked my DD what she like about Barbie (which she plays with at the daycare at the Y), she told me she like their "Pretty Dresses" and that their cloths are changeable. I told her we would find some dolls within those parameters (she understands that we are not big on plastic toys around here). Any cloth, wood, non-commercial ideas??  Thanks!Peace.gif



 I haven't found any good substitutes that DD likes as much. We have tried the only hearts club dolls and she really prefers the hard plastic dolls.


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#10 of 34 Old 12-10-2010, 10:37 AM
 
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We have Barbie's and some Disney things...but if your DD didn't ask for it and doesn't seem attached I'd send the thank you note and then make them disappear.

 

If DD really wants something, and it's important to her, and age appropriate, like having a Barbie, I'm not going to judge her and I'll happily buy it.  But I don't ever feel the need to allow it be pushed on her, you know? Just because it was gifted, doesn't mean it's appropriate for her at this age. 

 

But, from the other side of the fence, if DD, now 5, expresses to me that she's interested and would enjoy a toy, I'll listen and accomodate.

 

It's a toy. Mostly she doesn't even play with toys!  So I don't give them too much power.

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#11 of 34 Old 12-10-2010, 12:09 PM
 
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I'd give her the toys. My mom got something like this for my dd last year and though it's definitely not something I would have bought for her, she LOVES them. She especially loves to take their clothes off and put them on each other. So you could get some better, less skimpy clothes for her to dress them in if you want. She does pretend they are princesses going to a ball and whatnot, she also pretends they go to work, go to school, go camping, go surfing, take care of their babies, etc.


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#12 of 34 Old 12-10-2010, 01:05 PM
 
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Give them to her. that's the thing about gifts -- you can't really choose what other people give your children. You may suggest, but you can't choose.

 

Dd got a Barbie of some sort from a relative the year she turned 3 (or 4?). She played with it for a bit, but then lost interest. They're really pretty boring dolls. And if she doesn't know the stories, then they'll just act out whatever doll play she's interested in, which isn't a bad kind of play. I find the Disney Princesses problematic because the toys tend to encourage the kids only to act out the Disney story. But as just dolls, meh. As someone else said, she'll rip the clothes, bathe the dolls, lose the shoes and they'll soon lose their appeal.

 

Yeah, they're unrealistically proportioned. My sister made that the hill she was going to die on  until she realized that the "wholesome" replacement she'd instituted had the exact same proportions. True, the clothing was more modest, but the rest was the same. And many dolls are unrealistically proportioned. My dd plays with Playmobil all the time. The people there are completely flat chested, and the only way to tell males from females is usually the hairstyle and the clothes. I don't think my daughter is growing up to see that as her ideal.

 

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#13 of 34 Old 12-10-2010, 01:08 PM
 
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I'd give her the gift.  That was very nice of the neighbors to think of her.  

 

I'd thank the neighbor.  To me, the feelings  of my neighbors are more important than a temporary toy.  

 

I'd let her play with them.  At age three, they will end up in the tub soon, the clothes will be lost, and they lose their attraction and mystery pretty soon.  It's a hard toy for three year olds to play with.  Which means you have to dress the same doll EVERY NINE MINUTES, because all the child wants to do is take the clothes off.



This. 

 

How very thoughtful of your neighbor. 

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#14 of 34 Old 12-10-2010, 01:27 PM
 
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I would either give her the gift and let her enjoy them or I would just tell the neighbor that DD isn't allowed to play with that sort of thing and return it to the neighbor.  I think hiding the dolls or switching the dolls is a bad idea and likely to be found out by the neighbor which just opens a whole bad can of worms.

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#15 of 34 Old 12-10-2010, 02:01 PM
 
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That's a toughy.  I'm pretty anti-Barbie and wish I wouldn't have played with them so much as a child.  I do think they affected the way I thought about and looked at things.  Anyway, if I did give them to her, I would definitely have them wearing different clothes than the ones they came in if they were inappropriate.


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#16 of 34 Old 12-10-2010, 02:08 PM
 
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I would have more of a problem with the quantity than the Barbie-ness (though before 2 dds I would have said the opposite).  I would show her the set and let her pick one to play with and put the rest away.  Then see how it's treated and loved before deciding on what to do with the rest, but would still probably keep it to one or two at a time. 

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#17 of 34 Old 12-10-2010, 02:10 PM
 
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My vote is to give her the gift from the neighbor. How nice of the elderly neighbor to think of your daughter!

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#18 of 34 Old 12-10-2010, 02:20 PM
 
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 Unless your jusr dead set against them I'd give them.. I've over the years have learned that my "adult" view is just not at all anywhere near what my child sees and honestly I can do her a HUGE diservice assuming shes sees things the same way.. 

 I know with my DD at 3 a princess doll was just that a princess doll didn't matter if it was disney or dollar tree if the doll had boobs or even if it had a face (waldroff was jsut as princess as her Ariel doll)  And yes they all learn the names and such regardless of being a disney family or not.. LOL

 And on a personal note we pretty much got the whole disney doll collection they were speical for maybe a month???? they have been abandoned ever since.

 

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#19 of 34 Old 12-10-2010, 02:23 PM
 
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Give her the dolls and thank you lucky stars you have such nice neighbors. But then I dont look at toys as anything other than what they are toys.
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#20 of 34 Old 12-10-2010, 02:27 PM
 
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Give her the dolls and thank you lucky stars you have such nice neighbors. But then I dont look at toys as anything other than what they are toys.


exactly!


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AGive her the dolls and thank you lucky stars you have such nice neighbors. But then I dont look at toys as anything other than what they are toys.




Thank you for saying it.

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#22 of 34 Old 12-10-2010, 04:28 PM
 
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Thank you for saying it.


Yeah that. They're just toys. I'm pretty picky about toys myself for various reasons. I have older boys and I've kept them away from the violent "ugly" scary Bioncle and fighting monster superhero this and that...but they still somehow know who Spiderman is after a neighbor gave my oldest a Spiderman pillow....sure enough they played "fight and dead" with it, never having ever seen a Spiderman movie etc. I have a 5 month old dd so I have been thinking about Barbie. I think it's no big deal if you keep it low key. Some people go all out with the cars and houses and every thing in the Disney collections. Just play with them with your daughter like you know nothing about Disney stuff. Just maybe read the fairy tales, the non Disney versions, and some play can be had from that alone. If you are really against it then you may have to fess up to your neighbor or if you can't do that maybe donate the toys.

 

I played with barbies and I honestly doubt my childhood or my feminist self was injured in any way.
 


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#23 of 34 Old 12-10-2010, 04:36 PM
 
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I'd give her the gift.  That was very nice of the neighbors to think of her.  

 

I'd thank the neighbor.  To me, the feelings  of my neighbors are more important than a temporary toy.  

 

I'd let her play with them.  At age three, they will end up in the tub soon, the clothes will be lost, and they lose their attraction and mystery pretty soon.  It's a hard toy for three year olds to play with.  Which means you have to dress the same doll EVERY NINE MINUTES, because all the child wants to do is take the clothes off.



I agree.

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#24 of 34 Old 12-10-2010, 04:41 PM
 
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I say give her the dolls.  It was very kind of your neighbor, and I think returning them on the sly has the potential for hurt feeling, which doesn't seem worth it.  I've given up the struggle against the whole princess thing, despite being fervently anti-Disney.  My DD uses barbies and princess dolls for all kinds of pretend play, it is not limited to the princess stories AT ALL.  However, she can also make silverware at a restaurant have conversations, so that's just the way she is.  I played with a barbie as a kid and never wanted to look like her, so I'm not worried about that aspect of it.


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#25 of 34 Old 12-10-2010, 07:42 PM
 
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I think you should give her the dolls if it is something that you vaguely felt you wouldn't do because your mom didn't rather than something you are adamantly against because you genuinely believe that it will cause her to hate her body.  I was raised with lots of Barbie in a fundamentalist church with a mother who was not a feminist until a few years ago when she started taking classes on it for college, and I still turned out to be a feminist and have always been far more liberal than my mom.  I don't think that the presence of absence of a doll guarantees that your child will take in your values.  I started out parenting being against Barbies, something my mother says all moms do (even she did), but they were something my dd really loved seeing in the store and she wanted one from the age of one, I finally got her one when she was three as a weaning present.  It sounds like you are on the fence about Barbie anyways so if you don't give them I suggest writing the card then saving them just in case because the Disney princesses are a little pricey and it may be nice to have them if your dd does get wildly into Barbie dolls and you want to give her something that you know she will really like at that point.

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#26 of 34 Old 12-10-2010, 07:58 PM
 
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We don't do Disney, Barbie or anything branded really.  If you don't like them, just write a thank you letter and donate them :)


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#27 of 34 Old 12-10-2010, 10:36 PM
 
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Responding to this post because my 4.5 y.o. DD will receive a similar Disney Princess doll set from my IL's as a holiday gift. DD asked for it specifically after seeing it in a Target catalog while having lunch with them a few weeks ago. I rolled my eyes when I heard about DD's gift request, but bit my tongue. Yeah, I wish she'd asked for something else, but hey, at least she won't ask me to get them for her! ROTFLMAO.gif

 

Though DD is interested in Disney Princess stuff, she also loves tarantulas, mud puddles, train sets, and lots of other non-princessy things... she's a pretty well-rounded kid! I think this is true of the majority of girls who own Princess merch. wink1.gif


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#28 of 34 Old 12-10-2010, 10:45 PM
 
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what's the big deal with dolls and princesses anyway? my daughter is 4.5 and has been playing with all sorts of dolls for several years already. she is *not* into "princess" play like so many little girls are. this has nothing to do with how i've raised her (i don't think) -- she's just more of a rough-and-tumble kind of girl. she knows about princesses b/c so many of her friends love the princess stuff. but my DD loves Dora and Diego and their always on the go adventures.

 

her pretend play includes dolls and stuffed animals. she incorporates whatever "props" are on hand. she is veryvery creative in her approach to things, always pretending something is something else, for example she will take a scarf and fold it into a sleeping bag for her dolls, a bed, a car seat strap, whatever is on her mind. i love to see her playing this way! she entertains herself for hours when she really gets into it, and i think it's awesome! if i'm just putzing around, putting clothes away or straightening up while she's playing, and i act totally casual, sometimes i get to here her little "conversations" that she makes between the characters, and it's all so sweet and nice. i can't emphasize enough how awesome i think it is!

 

so to me the princess dolls are just another "prop" in her "toolbox" of toys. she has a similar set of princess dolls, like the ones you described. they are at the top of her closet. she has occasionally asked for me to take them out (i have to reach them, they and many of her toys are in ziplock bags up high), and has had tea parties with her oversized for the dolls size tea set. it's all innocent, and it's all good.

 

soon enough, too soon, i'm sure she'll be on to other things and leave this kind of pretend play behind. but i think it's really good for her, draws on her own imagination, and gives her a chance to act out her own values.

 

oh, and i played barbies with my friends growing up and i grew up to be a pretty confident feminist type. i have no regrets about it, it was a pretty big part of my pretend play too.


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#29 of 34 Old 12-11-2010, 10:08 AM
 
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My 11 year old girl and 8 year old boy are both feminists - both are attuned to, identify and object to the -isms: racism, sexism, agism, and are very attuned to advertisers' techniques.  I wrung my hands about barbies etc when DD was younger, and had a few minor cardiac episodes during the princess phase.  My approach was to raise her with our values and to not fight too hard about the dolls and princess stuff as I figured the forbidden fruit would be made all the sweeter.  She had a couple of barbies, saw some of the princess movies, had some princess gear.  She's now a kick @ss 11 year old with self-confidence and reasonable expectations.  :)

 

I'd give them to her and remain neutral on the topic with her.  When she's playing with them and dresses them up and asks your thoughts, "yes, that dress is very pretty!" but otherwise ignore them.  The kids like Star Wars and that stuff - not my cup of tea, but I can show basic interest because it's what they're interested in. 


Mom to a teenager and a middle schooler.

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#30 of 34 Old 12-11-2010, 11:17 AM
 
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aaaaaah mama this is a hard place to be.

 

i recall feeling your way when dd was 3. now that i have parenting under my belt for 8 years i am wiser and more confident about making some decisions.

 

so here is what matters to me. people matter to me more than anything. and i have seen the result it has had on my dd. i have allowed things to happen which were big NO NOs in my books - for that relationship. i allowed my 82 year old neighbour give my dd an ounce of watered down pepi si when dd was 18 months old. i tried really hard to stop it but i couldnt. i could have cut off ties but i chose not to and ignore the pepsi. neighbour moved when dd was 2 into a alzheimer's home. we never saw her agian. she moved far away. 6 years later my dd remembers her ''gma' very, very clearly and she still recalls the love she felt from her. it was truly magical. we see so little fo this kind of connection these days that i was grateful for that blessing. in fact because gma knew i didnt approve of pepsi, she sneaked it and i think that's the most important thing that dd remembers. i wouild knowingly ignore the pepsi. 

 

with toys i did not encourage dd but didnt try to keep them away from her either. dd was going to dc so i knew there were too many influences out there. plus i was confident in a strange sort a way. i always felt what was more important was my actions - not other things. my dd got barbies. she played with them for a while and then was done. as another mama wrote it was exactly what happened. the clothes came off, they went into the bathtub and soon enough she lost interest. i have noticed with my dd though - even at 3, the best way to get a no reaction was to say yes. the moment i said no it became a big thing and she wanted to do it again and again. 

 

so really this is crunch time. its time to figure out your philosophy. this is my favourite thing about parenting. do what you feel is true to your heart. if it really wrenches your heart to give your dd the dolls then dont. but if you dont see the big deal then give it to her. 

 

you know one thing i have noticed - now that dd is 8 - what has a huge impact on her life - is my openenss and how i choose to live life. she truly gets the core issues. today i am still the biggest influence in her life. not toys, not commercials, not tv. me - not my words, but my actions. 


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