Friday, December 31, 2010

2010 Recap: Thinking Back and Moving On

I originally posted this video some weeks back. I was watching it again this morning and decided to edit a bit and repost for today as I could not have come up with anything better to say about the last year. How do we measure the last year? The last 365 days, 525,600 minutes, have almost completely expired now. Ever since I had kids, I have found that time has just flown by. It didn't take but the blink of an eye for 2010 to ring in and tap out again. Where did it go? What do I treasure? And where do we go from here?
video

I would also like to thank Andrea Krick for her amazing photographs of the family. We had such a great time and I hope we can do it again!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

To Little Man

You are always telling me that you don’t want the “boogies” to get you. Daddy is here to let you know that I will never let the boogies get you. you may be scared sometimes, you might be afraid. But Daddy is right here, and I will protect you.

Daddy is always here when you need him. To fight off the boogies, to fend off the monsters, and to be whatever you need me to be, whenever you need me to be it. There is no need to fear. There is no need to be afraid of what is not there, because Daddy is here.

It has been my honor and joy to watch you grow these last three years. To watch you mature, learn new words, new skills, and develop in your personality. You are like none other. You have a big heart and an endless imagination. Your passion for life and ability to make a whole room light up will be what everyone remembers of you.

Never forget who you are. Never forget were you come from. You are MY son. You are MOMMY’s son. We will always be here for you whenever you need us. We will be here to guide you, to support you, and to love you. No matter what life has in store for us, always remember we love you. It is a love that will never end, never go away, and can only continue to grow stronger. You are our son, and nothing can ever take that away.

With love,

Daddy

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

New Years: Just Another Day

The fireworks, the ball drop in Times Square, champagne and resolutions. Just a few things that come to mind when one thinks about the upcoming New Year’s Eve and New Year’s day festivities. There is so much anticipation, excitement, and a certain amount of uncertainty as we approach the new year.

So why do I not feel any kind of excitement this year? Why do I not feel the urge to set resolutions and goals and celebrate a year that has passed? Perhaps it is because I am older. I have a wife, kids, a job, bills, and this one night seems to pale in comparison to all of that. Maybe it is because I have been too busy to realize how quickly this year is coming to an end. Perhaps it is something a little bit deeper.

We all talk about resolutions: Our goals, hopes, and promises for the new year. For many of us parents it revolves around being a better parent, more involved, or doing more things with the kids. A lot of us married men tend to lean towards being a better husband, more loving, listening more, and treating our wives the way they deserve. This is where I lose the passion for the celebration. Are these not things that we should strive for any day, any time, and anywhere?

I always seem to set the same goals every year. Quit smoking, be a better dad and husband, do this and that. Every year though, I seem to fail. I started thinking about this last night and came to the conclusion that maybe I should stop worrying about once a year goals, and start focusing on goals in general. Why do we place such importance on this once a year and not year round?

This coming year I have but one resolution: To focus on my life as a dad and husband every day. Not just setting goals on January 1st, but striving to be a better person, better husband, and better dad, every day, all year long. I want to be the best dad and best husband I can be. That’s not just a goal for the year, that’s a goal for every day of my life. I am not going to worry about what I want to do in 365 days. I am going to focus on what I need to do for that day, one day at a time.

Maybe I have put too much thought into this. Maybe I’m on the verge of a great personal breakthrough. Who knows, life is like that. I do know this though: For my wife, my children, and myself, I will continually try to be a better person each day. It is what they deserve and what I am called to do.

How about you? What personal goals do you hope to accomplish, not just for the year, but for each day, one day at a time?

Christmas 2010

Friday, December 24, 2010

Twas the Post Before Christmas

Twas the post before Christmas and all through my mind
Just the sound of crickets and "Wonderful Christmas Time"
That song had gotten stuck in my head, it was true
And it caused me some writer's block, and now I was blue

The Kiddos were grouchy and they were ready for bed
I did not know that those shrill screams would be rocking my head.
We gave them a bath, got their teeth brushed and books to read
Then got them in bed and back downstairs I had to sneak.

The Wifey and I were watching a movie on the couch
With the subtitles on, and the volume as quiet as a mouse
When across the baby monitor their arose such a noise
That I jumped off the couch, my pants were surely soiled

We ran upstairs to see what the heck had happened
And found Little Man and Little girl on the bed laughing.
We asked what was going on and what was so funny
Little Man said "we just love you daddy and mummy"

We hugged them both tight and back to bed they did go
They had just drifted off as it had started to snow
I kissed my wife goodnight, and told her I loved her dear
Then drifted off to sleep knowing Christmas was so near.

Be joyful, ye men, ye women and each child
Tell your family you love them and even give them a high five
Merry Christmas to all, bless your hearts and your lives
Bless your sleep and your dreams, and to all, Goodnight!
Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Life on Pause: Taking a Break

Wednesday morning we will be getting up early to head down to SC to stay with my mom and dad for Christmas. I am so excited to be returning for Christmas tradition in the home I grew up in for 22 years. The Kiddos are all excited to see Nana and Papa and their cousin The Precious. The four of us: mom, dad, my sister, and myself, all under the same loving roof we shared many years ago. Just this time we have added my wife and two kids, and her husband and one child.

As we were packing and making final preparations I was debating on taking the laptop with us. I sat and thought about it, then started thinking about the trip. We are blessed this year for the financial ability to make this trip a reality. It is a great chance to take a break from every day life and share this blessed time of year with family and some friends. That's when I decided: no laptop, no emails, and no social media for this trip. Sure I will probably tweet as we are on the road. It keeps me entertained when The Kiddos are napping and The Wifey is driving. I might send out a few pictures of The Kiddos opening presents and visiting with everyone, but that will be about it. 

The chance to completely take a break from everything seems so rare these days. We all have so much going on in our lives that it is very hard to just simply relax and forget. Sure my parental and spousal obligations are still intact for this trip, and a few more things added to those obligations. However, I have 7 days away from work and five days out of the house and offline. I want to put life on pause for a few days, do something different, somewhere different. I decided to schedule my posts today as well as a few promotional tweets for each that way there is no need for the laptop.

This is a time for us to be with family and friends that we don't get to see often enough. It is a chance for me to put the laptop and the phone down and not worry about what is going on. Memories are to be made and family love to be shared. There are hugs to give, hands to shake, and miles of road ahead of us. I hope you all have a great holiday weekend and a Merry Christmas to all of you who celebrate. 

This is TheDaddyYoDude signing off. Catch you next week when we return!

Wordless Wednesday: Opening Presents

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Music Monday: "Not Afraid" by Eminem

"I'm not afraid to take a stand
Everybody come take my hand
We'll walk this road together, through the storm
Whatever weather, cold or warm
Just let you know that, you're not alone
Holla if you feel that you've been down the same road"

Most of you I am sure have heard this song. It is from Eminem's newest CD called "Recovery" and is one amazing song. If you are someone who can look past the profane language to hear the beauty of these lyrics than I suggest checking it out. 

"I'ma be what I set out to be, without a doubt undoubtedly
And all those who look down on me I'm tearing down your balcony"

We have all heard it at some time in our lives. Somebody out there has told us "you will never ...". You can call it having a strong will, a strong personality, or being stubborn, but that phrase always gets me. Who is anybody to tell us that we can't be or can't do or can't can't can't? I have heard it many times in my life. You know what? There are probably many things that I could never be. Today though, I am a lot of things that 10 years ago nobody would have thought I could be. "You'll never be happy. You'll never find that someone. You will never have a successful life." My life may not be perfect, but I have a wicked awesome life. I am happy and I did find that someone. Thanks to that someone there are now two more someone's for whom I live my life. 

"I promise
To focus solely on handling my responsibility's as a father
So I solemnly swear to always treat this roof like my daughters and raise it
You couldn't lift a single shingle on it"

Simply awesome. My first focus aside from being a husband, is my children. Their lives and their well being are my responsibility and come before everything else: my job, my blog, my friends. I would give my last 2 breaths to them if I knew that it would save them. I would give up everything I have if that is what I had to do. There is nothing that can stop me from being the dad my children need me to be. Well, except myself. It must be up to me to decide to be that dad. It must be my choice to do what I have to, or need to, for my family. Nobody on Earth can make that decision for me, and I don't think I would let them.


"Cause the way I feel, I'm strong enough to go to the club
Or the corner pub and lift the whole liquor counter up
Cause I'm raising the bar, I shoot for the moon
But I'm too busy gazing at stars, I feel amazing"

How I feel right now, especially after a lot of soul digging tonight and then listening to this song. It has been a rough few days emotionally and mentally. I'm not going to go into detail, but there are things that have to change, and things I need to work on about myself. Tonight after work I did a lot of thinking. I thought about who I am, and who I want to be. Then I thought about what I needed to do to make it from one to the other. Then I started thinking about The Kiddos, The Wifey, and life in general, and I smiled.

I feel great about where I am and who I am. I feel great about where I want to go and what it might take to get there. I am raising the standards for myself, and in turn, for my family. I will continue to shoot for the moon, but if I don't make it, that is quite alright. Because in this home, there are 3 stars, and I am happy residing among them. 
Saturday, December 18, 2010

Guest Post from The Dino Man: Paul Stickland

Welcome friends! Hope the weekend is finding you well today!

I am excited to once again introduce you to Paul Stickland. Paul Stickland is the author, illustrator and pop up book designer of many, many children's books and father to Rowan 27, Felix 17, Gus and Kit 15, Arthur 9 and Tabitha 20 months, all of whom had a lot of bedtime stories and some of whom still do! He lives in an rickety tall house in an ancient stone town in deepest Dorset in England and when not drawing dinosaurs and diggers likes to make a lot of noise with his partner Helen in their band. I invited Paul back to The DaddyYo Blog today to talk about his life as an author and dad of six. It has been my pleasure to meet him on Twitter and find out that he authored three of Little Man's favorite dinosaur books. So before I waste any more time, please welcome Paul, in his own words.
Friday, December 17, 2010

Friday Fun Day: Children's Entertainment or (Parent's Sanity)

As a parent we all know that it can take going to extraordinary lengths to entertain young children. Car rides, family reunions, or even just at home. Children have a mind of their own and can be a tough crowd when it comes to entertainment. We go to such great measures to ensure our children's satisfaction and calmness level. I'm sure you can agree with me that such drastic protocol is necessary sometimes just to maintain mommy and daddy's sanity.

I have been known to spin a football while making loud crazy noises; Sliding across our tile floors in my socks then wiping out in the living room; Crawling into confined spaces, hiding, and scaring the kiddos. These are just a very small sampling of things I have done to get the grouchy level in the house down to a bare minimum and bring back the laughter. Hitting myself in the head with different toys, stepping on my own toes, even stretching my cheeks to the point I thought they were going to rip off of my face. Sometimes you just do what it takes, right? I asked the mighty Twitter what other parents have done to gain the upper hand in keeping their children calm. Here is what a few had to say:

@angiekinghorn - Blew up a glove a dr's offc 2 make it look like animals and sang Old McDonald while waiting an eternity for dr to come in.

@Call_Me_Heather - tried break dancing, also would intentionally hit my head and say "oh no I think I got brain damage" in a funny voice.

@bluecollard - One time I strapped about four diapers together put them on and ran around the house with the kids. #diaperparty

@krellpw - Crude noise & bad cartoon imitations are stand-bys. I've been known to "accidentally" fall into a pool fully dressed to get a laugh from kids. come to think of it, I tend to fall down a lot just to draw a laugh from the kids.

So now you can know that you are not alone when doing crazy, funny, and down right silly things to keep your children entertained and calm. Parents all over are going to the limit, pushing the envelope, and having the  envelope come back and pop them in the head just to draw a laugh, or gain attention. What do you do when the time calls for it? How do you get a laugh and entertain in a hurry? Share with us in the comments and let's all have a good laugh at ourselves and delight in the things that can create a smile.
Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Blog Swap: Please Welcome Heather

Hey everyone! Welcome to The DaddyYo Blog today! Today I am honored to have a great friend of mine participating in a blog swap with me. I am about to jet on over to her blog to hang out for the day, and she has come here! Please welcome Heather to the blog today. Heather is mommy to a precious little boy, Malichia, and devoted wife to Jake, who is in the Army. She blogs about her life as an Army Wife, Toddler Mommy and you can also find her on Twitter.

Okay, I am out for the day. Headed over to Heather’s blog. So stick around and check out this wonderful post from her about the fears of becoming a mom and raising a child while daddy is away on duty. See ya later! Now, Heather in her own words.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

I'll Be Home for Christmas

This year I am super excited that we will be spending Christmas at my parent's house. It will be my first Christmas in that house in 6 years.  The year before I moved I had to work and missed the usual family activities. We will be going to spend time with my two grandmothers and other extended family as well. Typically we only make it there once a year. This holiday we were blessed with the finances for me to take that week off from work and head on down there.

As the trip draws near I think about all of the memories I have growing up in that house during the holidays. The anxious Christmas Eves after church service and actually looking forward to bedtime so Christmas morning would get there fast. The nights drawing the slips from the Advent calendar that now hangs in my living room this holiday season. The nativity scene on the entertainment center and the old Christmas candles my parents got the year that they were married. Those candles are now 33 years old and still holding strong just like the couple who bought them. The yearly Christmas parties we had when we were young and going caroling through the neighborhood were always activities to be on the look out for.

I remember sneaking in to the living room to see what I had gotten, and the time I got caught after knocking my first guitar over. The next year I found my parents sleeping on the floor to ward me off! I remember the year that "Santa" hid the presents and when I went sneaking in there were no presents. I thought that Christmas was not going to happen. Oh me of little faith.  There are just so many memories from when I was growing up. Our home around the holidays was magical, it was enchanting, and it was full of love.

My mom and dad always made sure we knew the true reasons for this festive season and what it was really about to us being raised in a Christian home. Sure we were a little disappointed when we didn't get what we hoped for, but we quickly overcame that. We knew we were blessed for everything we got, no matter what it was. We delighted in family and treasured the moments spent with friends at Christmas parties. We gathered with both my mom and dad's sides of the family and shared in the fellowship of giving and family tradition. These are the kinds of memories that are running through my mind this holiday season.

This year I will be home for Christmas. A lot of things have changed in 6 years. We will be missing my two grandfathers during our visit. I am sure their memories and stories will be shared as we reflect on Christmas times past. Some things will remain the same though. Christmas day we will watch as the wrapping paper flies and the kids faces light up. We will visit family and enjoy the fellowship of love. We will all be together for the first time in 6 years. Mom and Dad, I will be home for Christmas this year. Sure there are a few additions, but family is what it is all about. 10 days and counting. We cannot wait!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

In Honor of Grandaddy


Your warm smile and tender heart were open arms to us all. Your laugh and your amazing timing with a joke were a warming touch to a family gathering. You are a beloved husband, a respected dad, and an unforgettable Granddaddy.

Six years ago you left this Earth, to go home to your Father above. For six years I have shared stories of our times together. Playing Chinese Checkers, reading our bibles at night, and playing with potato chips during lunch. You were ready for us when sissy and I would spend the night. Up in the morning with the news on and the paper. We waited for Grandmama to make those delicious waffles, and breakfast was soon on the table.

You always kept us laughing and smiling. You knew how to capture us with a story and have us hanging on every word. From our trips to the Chinese restaurant and Putt-Putt, to the grocery store and Sunday school, I remember all of those times.

I remember your love and your kindness. I remember your sense of family and leadership. I remember you running next to the car as we would be pulling out of the driveway, tapping on the window and laughing with the force of a gale storm.

Grandaddy, we miss you. You are always in our minds and in our hearts. I see you in my own children now. In my son's smile, my daughter's laugh (and of course the Scroggs ears). I love you still and today I will remember you. I will remember your service to your country, and more importantly, to your family. I will remember all of the things you taught me, and I will do my best to honor those teachings. And I will remember your smile and your laugh. I will celebrate your life and what you meant to each and every one of us. And I will thank you for leaving behind a memory so full of life. I will cherish those memories always.

In Loving Memory of Hermann Marshall Scroggs (Grandaddy)
Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Roaring Review and Special Giveaway: It's Dinosaur Mania!!


Welcome to The DaddyYo Blog today! Be careful as you browse around  because there are huge, ROARING dinosaurs all over the blog today! I have been hiding here in the left sidebar so that maybe they won’t find me. I have to make it long enough to tell you about 2 books and give you the chance to win two signed copies!

It is my great pleasure to introduce you to Paul Stickland. Author, paper engineer, and pop-up designer. I was excited to meet Paul on Twitter a few weeks ago and find out he authored one of my son’s favorite dinosaur books, “Dinosaur Roar”. I checked out the site and his stores and I have to say I was impressed! Little Man absolutely LOVES dinosaurs and big trucks, and Paul Stickland has everything I could every want in both categories.

After a few e-mail exchanges the review and giveaway was set up and Paul was happy to help make this happen.  Major thanks to Paul for being willing to do this and even signing the copies to be given away! So let’s get started, shall we? A little about Paul, the bookstore and the truck and dinosaur stores. Then the awesomeness that is “Dinosaur Roar” and “10 Terrible Dinosaurs:”.

Blessed

It is late at night and I am still awake. Outside it is snowing, windy, and the cold is just brutal. I am inside, under the covers with the heat on, and posting from my phone.
I have been reviewing the day in my mind. What went wrong, who I was mad at. How was I as a dad today? Was I loving or did I fail to show love? Then I started thinking about how much worse things could be.
How blessed I am for what I have. How blessed I am that despite the bad, the good is prevailing. How foolish I am to have lost sight of all that is good and precious.
Tomorrow as the snow continues and the bitter cold remains, I will hug my children. I will show them my love and what they mean to me. I will kiss my wife and let her know my heart is still hers. I will let my family know that we are strong and we are blessed. I will not let the bad rule my thoughts. I am blessed and tomorrow I will live in the blessings that have been given to me.
Monday, December 6, 2010

Holiday Shopping on the Cheap

If you are like us, and like many many families worldwide, holiday shopping can make one’s brain hurt when it comes to thinking about the monetary aspect of it all. We are not a family that dwells too much on how much money each child is worth in Christmas presents. We do try to get them the same amount of items. When it comes to money though, we just set a limit on how much we spend all the way around.

This year I think The Wifey and I did the best we have ever done in our three years of holiday shopping for the kids. Each year the lists grows a little more and the budget does too. Almost every year we go over our budget and kick ourselves when bills are due. This year however we were able to get it done with the quickness and under budget.

A few quick tips for those on a tight budget this year. We live primarily paycheck to paycheck. Factoring bills as soon as I see a pay statement (usually 2 days before being paid). We know how much we will have leftover even after factoring out money for eating out. We squeeze it really tight sometimes, and over the last few years we have figured out how to accomplish everything at smaller cost.

Always figure out where the sale is. Sometimes the extra 10 minute drive will save you 10 dollars or more. If you are really looking, you can find huge savings in places you would never think of.

Settle for the next best thing. “Wow Dude that leather jacket is pretty stylin. Where did you get it?” My reply: “It is actually fake leather and it is from K-Mart. But thanks man!” I am a man of little shame and if I can get a look alike product at Wal-Mart for $20 less I will because that is $20 dollars towards something else. Quality doesn’t always have to be expensive. Take name brands off of the list and look for a quality bargain.

Big mistake for us around the holiday shopping season is thinking we haven’t bought The Kiddos enough stuff. Now, a lot of people would take this time to talk about how it is not about the amount of stuff. My children are 3 and 1 and to a certain extent, yes it is. HOWEVER: I also know that the more I get them, the more toys pile up in the basket not played with. Plus, there are other people buying for my children. Stick to just a few items that will be their favorites (my kids are easy to read) and don’t worry about the hundred extra items.

Finally: Don’t sweat it so much. Tis the season for laughter and joy. Not anxiety over money and frugality. It can be achieved with a little effort and a little cheer. Facing it with the attitude that no matter how tight you have to be, the joy that it will bring is well worth it, and not worth the brain freeze.

With all that in mind get out there and hit the stores! Have fun and be full of joy. The season is one of happiness and good tidings. Don’t let life drag you down! And a friendly reminder that there are only 18 shopping days left until Christmas (better get a move on)

Friday, December 3, 2010

Craft Time with The Dude: Decorative Christmas Strands

There are all kinds of fun activities you can do with you children that are entertaining, fun, and even educational. Making a craft has become a great time for me and The Kiddos on our Tuesday nights together. From the cup phones to the cardboard robot helmet, we have enjoyed making things and having that time to bond.

I have for you today a fun activity for you and your children while decorating for Christmas. I did not actually do this one with the kids, but after I had done it, I realized it would be a good craft time project. They are decorative Christmas strands that you could hang up anywhere you wanted. On the tree, above the doorways, even in the window for others to see as they pass by.

Christmas

 

Here is what you will need:

  • Beading line or fishing line
  • Decorative ornaments. For more fun let your kids pick out which ones they want to use.  (the ones pictured were purchased at Wal-Mart)
  • Scissors (the safest you can find for your children to be around. or the easiest to hide from them if they are like my two youngins)
  • Scotch Tape (optional)

This is what you do:

  1. Measure out how much beading line or fishing line you need. Leave a few inches extra on the ends.
  2. Tie a loop into one end of the strand.
  3. Select which ornaments you and the children would like to use. I alternated patterns in the ones above our doorways. To make it more fun let the kids pick out which ones to use.
  4. Slip the untied end of the beading line or fishing line through the ornaments until all of them are strung.
  5. Tie a loop in the end of the line.

 

That’s it! That is all there is to it! Now decide where you and the kids would like to display them and let them hang! We used scotch tape to help secure the line to the wall to support the weight of the ornaments.

Hope you get a chance to try this and have

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Fatherly Fears: This is Real Talk

I’m going to cut straight to the case with this one. I about lost my shenanigans when I thought about this tonight. The Wifey and I were watching “Look Who’s Talking Too” after hanging Christmas decorations. Towards the end of the movie there is a scene that made my mind start racing. Two children, about the same age difference as The Kiddos and with Little Man being the older of the two. They are in the apartment, alone, and it is on fire.

I immediately asked my wife what she thought our son and daughter would do. Would Little Man just flip out, sit down and cry? Would Little Girl sense there was danger or would it be something new and interesting? Is it possible Little Man would realize something is wrong and try to open the door and get them out?

My heart was racing, my eyes were filling with tears when I thought about the horror of that situation. What would they do? As my wife and I discussed further we determined one thing: Our kids will never, ever, EVER EVER EVER, be alone in our house. I am sure at some point they will reach a maturity level and build a trust I can believe in to be left alone.  But I think that is a level that my wife and I will decide upon and talk to them about before the decision is made.

I just felt like I needed to write this because I know I am not the only parent who has ever just totally tripped out on thinking about stuff like this. And in some ways, I think it is good that I thought about it. It is good to be fearful of some things. Not to the point of over protection and stifling our children’s right to grow up as an individual. It is good to the point that it lets you know that your love for them is real.

I quickly felt how real my love for The Kiddos is and how deeply sorrowful I would be if something like that should ever happen. It was good for me to feel that fear, and grow stronger in my strength and determination to protect and educate my children. When you can know that there is no limit to that love, it is an empowering feeling. It is what all the hours of screaming, late night feedings, and trips to the doctor are all about. It is what dreams are made of, only you are awake.

It is the power of love, from parent to child.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Tis the Season: Giving Back

It is always nice to see a community give back and people give back to their community. In a lot of ways it is sad that you see this more around the holidays and less the rest of the year, but seeing others selflessly give to someone in need is always inspiring.

This year I have heard all kinds of stories of churches, businesses, and individuals who are sponsoring families and children and making the holiday season a dream come true for many. It is the greatest example of what this time of year is all about. It is an image of selflessness we should all strive for, year round.

There are also many schools that are taking lists from families in need and gathering the items on the list to help make the holidays a great one. There are many many families struggling these days. This time of year can be especially hard on families who are still struggling after layoffs or the loss of loved ones. It is the time of year to put a little cheer back into someone else’s life.

I have had it done for me. Not ashamed to say it. I am here to let you know that it was a humbling and uplifting experience. When I can, I give back, because I know what it feels like. And it is indescribable.

Remember this holiday season, that there are always less fortunate than ourselves. Let’s all do our part to give back to those in our community. Let the season be filled with holiday cheer for everyone this year. Tis the season for giving!

Guest Post: My Daughter Will Redefine Girly


Being the dad of a daughter is going to be tough when Little Girl starts getting older. I know she will be bombarded by images and messages of what she should look like, dress like and act like. I make it my fight to make sure she knows that she is beautiful and powerful, just the way she is.

Today it is my pleasure to introduce you to Melissa. Melissa Wardy is a mother of two who owns and operates Pigtail Pals – Redefine Girly, an online store and media literacy blog that aims to change the way we look at girlhood. Our empowering products show girls they may be smart, daring, and adventurous. Melissa is hanging out with me today to talk a little bit about her own daughter, and redefining girly. So without further delay, here is Melissa in her own words!

When my daughter was born and I would spend the day holding her and dream about catching lightening bugs, teaching her to ride a bike and kick a soccer ball, reading “Little House On The Prairie”, and flying kites. A childhood fit for a Norman Rockwell piece for the Saturday Evening Post.

When my tiny girl was a few weeks old, I needed to restock on diapers so I ventured out to Target, running my first official errand as a mom. I came home mystified. My eyes were glazed over from pink pegboard and walls of plastic dolls that looked like sex workers and tulle and tiaras and slogans on every shirt that read “I love being the Princess” and “Daddy’s Princess” and “Sweet as Candy” and “Angel” and “Sassy, sometimes Sweet” and “Future Shopaholic”. The excess of tiaras and rhinestones had done me in. And why were girls being objectified into sweet candy? Gross.

This was girlhood? This was how I was supposed to raise my daughter? With these kinds of messages? And why was everything pink? I couldn’t understand it, and thought perhaps my post pregnancy hormones had made me time travel. You know, to 1950.

A few months later I was at a playgroup with my daughter and one of the mothers asked when I would introduce her to the Disney Princesses and Barbie. I suggested that maybe I wouldn’t, or at least I was in no rush to, because I didn’t think they were good role models for girls. The other mothers stared or laughed at me, as if I was from outer space. I explained I wasn’t about to raise my girl to wish upon a star and wait for
her prince. I’d rather teach her to get into a rocket ship and reach that star for herself. I wanted that message on infant girl clothing, but couldn’t find it. At least, I couldn’t find it on the “girl side” of the aisle.

Then I had one of those A ha! moments – why wasn’t anyone making clothes like that for girls? I scooped up my baby, raced home, and I filled page after page with ideas and drawings and plans…..for what would become my company Pigtail Pals.

I don’t see childhood as having a boy side and a girl side. I see childhood as a time for brightly colored, unstructured play fueled by powerful imaginations and the understanding all young children seem to have that the world is their oyster.

I have worked diligently to keep our home media literate, gender neutral with toys, and full of playthings that are open ended. My husband and I try to keep gender stereotypes and sexualization out of our home. I certainly will not be teaching my daughter, who was named after Amelia Earhart, to sit quietly and be pretty. I flatly refuse to teach her that her beauty is her worth.

I believe girls deserve better. I believe we need to change the way we think about our girls. I think girls should be allowed to dream in every color. I think girls should have the freedom to imagine growing up to be a doctor, a race car driver, a pilot, or an astronaut. Or a pirate or knight or dinosaur tamer. Today’s girls are being raised by a generation of women that is the most well educated, most well traveled, most liberated
to ever have walked the earth. But you wouldn’t know it after an afternoon of shopping. Today’s girls are being raised by a generation of men who are hands-on and emotionally intelligent and who now more than ever understand the special role of being a father to a girl.

I raise my girl to be smart, daring, and adventurous. I don’t think those things belong on the “boy side” of the aisle. I simply think they belong right in the middle of childhood.