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Darth Vader vs. The Butterfly Fairy

A Halloween costume catalog arrived in the mail on Monday. Excitedly, I showed it to my girls who immediately began pouring over the pages looking for the perfect ensemble. I sat with them and pointed out the sparkly butterfly and fairy costumes. “Look how beautiful…” Apparently I have some unexplored bias that girls should like sparkly butterfly and fairy costumes. I now stand corrected. My beautiful, curly haired, bright eyed, preschool girls have adamantly decided that one should be Darth Vader while the other is deciding between Iron Man, a pirate (the boy one, of course), or Spiderman. Of course, I share this with my husband who exclaims, “ALRIGHT! That’s AWESOME!”

Me? I’m dying a little inside. No sparkles. No wings. No fancy dresses desired. Just a creepy black Darth Vader costume, thanks.

I’m a little ashamed of myself for feeling this way. It is 2015. I listen to Macklemore and sing along with Same Love. I “liked” it when Target announced they were going to stop separating toys and bedding by gender. I guess it’s a little different when your own kids go through the various phases, whether temporary or permanent, of preferring items historically reserved for the opposite gender. It certainly challenges my thinking and makes me own putting my money where my mouth is. I’ve done a lot of soul searching since that Halloween catalog arrived. I think I’ve actually been quite accommodating of my girls preferring Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle toys to My Little Pony. I don’t (usually) put up a fuss when they ask to walk down the boy toy aisles. Their current desire to be Darth Vadar or Spiderman for Halloween isn’t something I need to get hung up on. I’m sure there will come a day when they’ll want to be “Sexy Nurse” and I’ll be like, “I think we can repurpose your old Darth Vader costume into something cool…”

I see a lot of pics on Facebook of friends from grade school and high school who have kids of their own mirroring the same activities they did when they were in school. I’m “guilty” of the same. I was in dance. My girls are in dance. I played tennis. My girls started tennis. This Halloween costume thing helped me realize that the draw to sparkle and wings is more about MY preference for MYSELF than about what my girls want for themselves right now. They’re just being creative and awesome kids. Gloriously oblivious for a little while longer. My soul searching tells me that it’s important to support my kids in exploring their own likes instead of (unintentionally, yet intentionally) shaping them to become a Mini-Me. Which just gave me an idea for another costume…

A. Lockhart

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2 thoughts on “Darth Vader vs. The Butterfly Fairy

  1. Thank you for the kind words. My friend, Heidi, reminded me that she also deals with this as the mom to a little boy. He’s been known to dress up in his sister’s sparkly gymnastic leotards. How we respond is so critical to healthy development.

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