I went to a birthday party today. The little girl is turning two, her mum is my good friend. I thought shopping for a birthday present was going to be fun. I was wrong.
I went to three shops for the right present. I did not know how difficult it would be to find good quality educational toys and books for a girl. Years ago when my son was a toddler, there seemed to plenty of books and toys that would stimulate his young curious mind. From dinosaurs to space shuttle, from police cars and trains to aeroplanes and ships.That was in late 1990s.
I don't know why book publishers today have to write "for boys" and "for girls" on the cover?! I absolutely hate this! I hate the fact that producers and publishers dictate us consumer. I would buy books for boys if it were for my own daughter, but as this is a birthday present for my friend's daughter, I could not risk it.
Another thing that made me angry is that books for boys have all the exciting titles like "I dream to be a fireman", "When I grow up I'm going to be an astronaut". Books for girls? "I dream to be a fairy", "Handbook for little princess", "Disney Princess dressing up activity book"...
For goodness sake, this is 21st century and they expect girls to have unreal occupations like fairies and princesses while boys fly aeroplanes and wear all the cool gears?! At least my grandmother's occupation as a housewife in 1940s was a real occupation! Be a fairy?! I am sure what the industry meant to say was, "Dress like a fairy (and buy our range of fairy dress and accessories)."
I ended up buying her a set of building blocks and a book about fireman - I was tempted to write "firewoman" with permanent ink but I did not. Though hoping that her parents would read her my card, I did write this, "Happy birthday my darling. I wish you will reach your stars. Dream high. Be a fighter pilot, be an astronaut, be anything you can dream of. And don't you sit around just waiting for a prince to come, that is yucky yealks!"
I am glad the little girl lives her building blocks. During the chaos of the party - including the time when a little boy decided to pour washing up liquid into the fish pond causing lots of adult got wet in operation saving nemo - the little birthday girl happily built her own tower.
Happy International Women's Day!