the one about the horse

Yesterday, while at Target, Noelle was happily jogging alongside the shopping cart in her heavy snow boots. We were breezing by the children's clothing section when an older man stopped and said, "Well, you sound like a horse!"

Clearly this guy didn't read my post about how to speak to children.

Before I could react in any way, Noelle stopped and said in an assertive tone, "Why did you say that to me?"

The man was so caught off guard that he made a chuckle-gasp and nervously walked away.

I honestly think my 3-soon-to-be-4 year old daughter intimidated him.

Now, I don't really think this man was trying to offend my daughter or me. To be honest, her boots are loud and kind of clunky when she runs. However, the word "horse" didn't sit well with either of us. Maybe simply saying, "I like the way those boots sound when you run," or "I bet those boots are great in the snow," would have been better than comparing my little girl to a giant four-legged mammal.

I made a promise to my children as well as myself that I would no longer let people say ignorant comments in their direction without kindly and politely correcting them. I think this is how we get around this problem as a whole-- we have to address it and teach people how to treat us.

But my daughter beat me to the punch.

And again, rather than apologizing to her or merely answering her innocent question, the older man simply laughed and walked away.

She wasn't trying to be cute. She was trying to teach you how to treat her. You failed her lesson.

As a society, it seems we don't exactly know how to react to strong-willed, independent women. There's a bit of a double-standard. We want our girls to be outspoken, brave, and confident, but if they get too outspoken, too brave, or too confident, they begin to offend, intimidate, and off-put.

And let the record state that there is a fine line between outspoken and bossy, brave and reckless, and confident and cocky. That's why we've got to teach them young, teach them early, teach them now, how to be a perfectly powerful female.

I almost understand this man's bewilderment. You do not have to travel too far inside a store with a toy department and see what little girls are supposed to be playing with and supposed to be learning and supposed to be acting like. I made a trip inside Toys R Us last night to scout some ideas for Noelle's upcoming birthday, and I left empty-handed and annoyed.

The "Girl Section" was made up of every kind of house-cleaning or cooking replica you could imagine, plus grocery carts, baby dolls that pee and poop, and vanities with make-up and hair styling tools.

I get it. Noelle likes that stuff, too, but she's not a one-trick pony (notice, pony is kinder than horse). She enjoys all kinds of toys and games, so I thought I would browse the "Boy Section" for a few ideas.

Let's see. She could get a plastic workbench with some plastic tools that don't really do anything. She could have some Legos or dinosaurs or cars with flames up the sides.

I did find a small section of "girl" Legos that were of course bright pink and purple, and the kit was designed to build a castle for a princess.

So what's the big deal? I will just buy her the "boy" blocks and tell her to go to town. However, her poor mind has already been brainwashed by what she has witnessed in stores and on commercials so that at the age of 3 and 11/12ths, she knows that those are "boy" toys and girls "shouldn't" play with them.

I came to the conclusion that the majority of toys for kids these days really just suck. I'm sorry, but they do...especially the toys that we have easy access to at local stores. I honestly feel worse for boys. What do you buy your son if he has no interest in playing with tools or race cars or super heroes?

I have a new mission as a mother, and that is to introduce my children to toys that require them to think, to create, to invent, to draw their own conclusions. I'm not going to take away my girls' princess stuff anytime soon, but I do plan to make a very conscious effort to vary the types of toys that we bring into our home.

I am currently researching some items for Noelle's birthday, and here are some front-runners that I think mix engineering, creativity, math, science, and inventiveness with a kind of softness that girls naturally gravitate toward.

Roominate: A Building Toy for Girls

GoldieBlox and the Spinning Machine 

B. Pop Arty Snap Beads - even though this is a jewelry kit, it doesn't have gaudy colors and silly characters.

Kiwi Crate Monthly Subscription - We are about to receive our first monthly craft box, and I know we're going to love it.

The right toys are out there, but we might have to look a little harder than Toys R Us and Target.

Speaking of looking harder, I am currently in pursuit of the Elsa Ice Castle dress from Frozen (I told you I wasn't taking away her princess stuff). The Disney Store has been sold out online for quite some time, but I could always buy one from Ebay for $180 (

I suppose if she's going to love a princess, she might as well choose the one who doesn't need the love a man to save her...she just needs her sister.


  1. Love it. Glad you found Goldie blocks, I was going to suggest those. Also... Good for Noelle. I'm really proud of her reaction. Nice work chicka (and momma.)

  2. Those are great finds! :) I think my daughter would love the art materials