My baby girl, who happens to turn 6 on Monday, is fascinated with shoes. A couple of Saturdays ago, her sleepy brown eyes were barely open when she called me into her room to tell me something (in Madalyn-speak, tell means ask a question, because in Madalyn's world, there are no requests, rather only demands). We had planned to venture 70 miles south to visit family ~ our lovely Gammie (my mom), catch my nephew's basketball game, and then go by to see my grandmother.
"Mama... I need to tell you something..."
"What is it, baby girl?"
"Ummmmm... what shoes are you going to wear today? I think you should wear your boots..."
Seriously? Seriously. That's exactly how it went. Verbatim.
A few days ago, I was shaving my legs in the tub and looked down on the floor to find this scene:
Now, the Barbie shoe was on it's side, but it was literally positioned right beside my size 10 running shoes that I no longer run in, but there's no use getting into all of that today...
I'm looking at this tiny shoe wondering who in the world actually wears boots like that, and why my little girl's Barbie would need such footwear? I mean, what do the Barbies do for a living these days? And does it involve a pole?
Sunday, while cleaning out the entire bag of Barbie clothes and shoes in Madalyn's room, I paid attention to the clothing as well. I'm just mortified at some of the clothes that these Barbies come with these days. I promise, the skirts are short, the dresses tight, and the footwear just goes right along with the look.
Now, I must admit, I have chuckled at the segments on my favorite morning show when psychologists sit in the fluffy chair and talk about the waist and bust size of Barbie and how it affects the body image of little girls all across the country. I grew up with old-school Barbie, played with them until I was embarrassed to say it out loud, and I think I turned out okay. But, my Barbie didn't dress the way the new generation does. My Barbies wore long dresses or pants or clothes that my grandmother made from fabric scraps. I had a wedding dress and a bride's maid dress and a Barbie that rode a horse and had a fancy riding outfit complete with fringe. I vaguely remember shoes, but they were simple heels and usually tossed to the side because they seemed irrelevant. Now Barbies dress in tube tops and hot pants, platform heels or boots, mini skirts, low-cut dresses, and sandals that strap up their leg. What sort of an ideal does it put into their little minds when Barbie dresses like a hooker? Literally like a street walker. I don't know anyone who wears the type of clothing and shoes I found in the bag full of Barbie-wear in my daughter's room, and I certainly don't consider it appropriate or attractive.
I guess I wonder where, as parents, we attempt to draw the line. And I did use the word attempt. Because unless we lock our kids in their room and take out the TV and the radio and internet connection, there's no real way to protect our children from the outside world. We are constantly surrounded by influence and have little to no control over what runs like a ticker tape in front of our children's eyes and floods into their little ears. Even if we choose the right television show to watch, perhaps on Animal Planet (a fave channel for all four of us to enjoy together), we still have to worry about the content of the commercials at the break. In the afternoon, I am shocked to hear some of the things discussed on the nationally aired show on our local pop station. And dare I even mention the songs... I can't tell you how many times David has come to me with a request to add to his playlist on his MP3 player when I have to turn him down. And there are some which I agree to that I later regret.
If there was ever a time in my life that I doubted the existence of Satan or an Evil One, it was before I had kids. Seems like he starts in on their precious souls as soon as they start breathing, and these days, there's more opportunity than ever. Between the sassy mouthed stars of the popular television shows and the raunchy lyrics to the top-ten songs, seems like there's no safe place. I do try to take small opportunities to interject little thoughts or question my children on their thoughts of whether they feel something is appropriate or not. I would love to begin a new tradition with my kids, a devotional time, but getting my kids to sit down with me (and each other) long enough to do so may prove more difficult than it sounds. Especially after we somehow manage to get our reading assignments and homework done for the day. But it's something I really feel convicted to do lately, so I want to make the move to do so at least a few times a week. Maybe tonight we can start... right after I toss out that pair of silver Barbie boots and start sewing the perfect realistic outfit for Barbie and her friends ~ a pair of jeans, a sweatshirt, complete with grey New Balance.