With the holidays coming up, my thoughts inevitably turn to play things. Holiday shopping for my kids is always a fine balance between what my three daughters are asking for and how much stuff we’re willing to allow them to have.
My husband hates stuff. He especially hates pink stuff.
But my kids—like a lot of kids—tend to love toys. Yes, they love spending time with family and friends, experiencing new things, and going on adventures. But they also love toys.
And my kids love to play with a wide variety of toys. Everything from dolls to cars to play-doh and princess costumes. They imagine, craft things up, create, tell stories—and then they’re onto the next thing.
Between holidays and birthdays, they’ve received many types and colours of toys. Gender-neutral stuff. Pink and purple stuff. Primary-coloured toys. Glittery things. Lego and cars and pirates and sports stuff. My 6-year-old daughter loves it all. She shows no real preference to one or the other while she’s imagining and building, playing and creating.
My 4-year-old daughter, on the other hand, gravitates to the pinks and purples and what I guess you could call the more ‘girly’ stuff. (Though I kind of cringe at that term). This year, she wants Lego for Christmas. But she doesn’t want any Lego. She wants the pink Lego.
‘Pink is my favourite colour’, she says to me very matter-of-factly when I ask her why she likes the pink toys more. As if she can’t understand why I would need to ask such a silly question. Of course she’s going to want to play with pink. It’s her thing.
She is the daughter who loves fancy dresses and carrying around flowery purses. She likes princess stories and sparkly shoes. She is also the daughter who prefers pink Lego. And I am 100% perfectly okay with that.
What I see when I watch my daughters play with different toys is play. As simple as that. They are building and imagining and telling each other stories. They’re lost in their own little worlds. They’re playing make believe. They’re being kids.
When I was a kid, I loved everything pink I could get my hands on. I had a hot pink satin button-up shirt that I coveted. I would pair it with my plastic pink headband and some pink jelly shoes and I was feeling fantastic.
What I didn’t have was pink Lego.
So I don’t recall playing with Lego all that much, which is really too bad. Because if I had, I would have built and explored and had fun—just as my pink-loving daughter does now.
And for someone who was so into pink and princesses when I was a kid, I have grown up to be a pretty well-rounded woman. My love of pink headbands and even pinker satin shirts didn’t mean that I couldn’t be whoever I wanted to be. That I restricted myself to certain roles or paths society has told me I should follow. It just meant I liked pink at one point in my life.
So when my daughter asks for a glittery Frozen castle—or a pile of pink and purple Lego—I don’t mind at all that it’s overly ‘girly’, for lack of a better term. She is building. She’s playing. She’s using her ridiculously incredible little mind.
And besides, in the words of my 4-year-old:
‘What’s wrong with pink?’
The answer is nothing. There’s nothing wrong with pink. In a world full of princesses, my daughter actually doesn’t want to be a hot dog for Halloween—and I’m perfectly okay with that.
There’s nothing wrong with it at all, kid.