Our friends Julia and Lindsay gave us Global Babies when Evy was just a couple months old. It’s been a favorite for a long time. At a few months old she liked looking at the babies’ faces. As she got older she liked pointing to their noses, mouths, eyes. And then naming each part of their little faces. And now she has the short sweet verse memorized, she imitates their facial expressions, and talks to each of them. It’s a wonderful book.
Evy’s love for and fascination with babies doesn’t end with the book. She just loves babies. Our friends’ infant is one of her favorite topics of conversation. She has a little cooing voice she uses to talk to babies. She has a couple dolls that are her favorite toys. When she’s playing independently she always spends a good part of the time changing her babies’ diapers, along with poor Noah from her Playmobil Noah’s Ark set. She found a bottle kicking around one of our kitchen baskets and uses it to feed her babies, “baby cup!” she says, pretending to give them sips. She wraps her babies up in blankets and carries them around, puts them down for “night night”, sings to them, and asks us to put socks and shirts on them. She just loves her babies.
This brought up a little conflict for me as I was adding some things to her Amazon Wish List. We’ve made an effort to stick to very basic toys that aren’t overly gendered. We have a small house and I’d rather we have toys that she’ll be interested in for awhile, that will last, and that won’t take up a ton of space. The preferred toys in our house are blocks, balls, books, puzzles, and crayons. And babies. We’re learning what activities Evy really enjoys, and what she’s drawn to. And she is drawn to babies, clearly.
|Evy with her baby (July ’12)|
So, now my dilemma: supporting that type of play and her love for it, without going overboard. I bristle at some of the dolls that are out there – both the price tag and the abundance of pink. When I first started thinking about whether we should buy her some more doll “accessories” for Christmas I panicked over the idea of a living room turned doll emporium. After talking about it with some friends I feel better about getting her some simple things she can use to play babies with– she clearly loves dolls, it’s not like we’re pushing this on her “because she’s a girl”. And, as my friend Julia pointed out, dolls are one of the most basic toys, which have been around since ancient civilizations made dolls of corn husks and rags. We should probably get her something nicer than a rag doll, but it doesn’t have to be a Disney Princess that comes with her own vanity.
I’m happy to nurture my daughter’s loving care-taking nature and love of babies- especially since we’re also supporting her love for playing with cars, collecting pine cones, and banging on a drum.