It has become more and more apparent that we may be irreparably damaging the future social skills of the Magpie. She doesn’t watch Dora. Or Diego. She doesn’t own much in the way of traditional toddler music.
She like jazz tunes, Feist and Hawksley Workman and will sing along with them all. She is in love with our local weatherman. And she knows the entire guest list of the first season of The Muppets almost by heart. Our daily conversations and stories are filled with the likes of Florence Henderson (she owns two of the cats in one the Magpie’s books), Peter Ustinov (he the one who really says ‘ho, ho, ho!’, you know), Ethel Merman (also known as Apple Lemon), Twiggy (sings The Loaf of Bread song), Rolph the dog (singing Cottleston Pie), George the Janitor and, of course, Lena Horne.
We’re not totally ruining her: She knows Blue’s Room, the Doodlebops, the Backyardigans and Jane and the Dragon. And, despite our best efforts, she is peripherally aware of Dora and “The Purple Dinosaur”.
But, before bed every night, it’s “TV Frog DVD” that she wants to watch. Whether the guest is Paul Williams or Phyllis Diller makes no difference to me.
I’m just hoping it doesn’t make that much difference come kindergarten in a few years.
When do kids start to get their culture from outside peer pressure? Though she knows of Dora, she has never requested anything Dora. The only thing she asks for, on the rare occasion, are items of clothing similar to one of her little daycare friends (I need orange pants, just like A!). I am completely dreading the day that she begs for a Hannah Montana something-or-other or a Bratz collection (are those still “cool”?). Now, she asks for sushi, piano and nature books printed from her aunt’s photography collection. When she reaches the age where friends matter more, will she conform or be condemned?
And so she has find the ridiculously fine line between being her own girl and fitting in with her friends. At 34, I haven’t totally figured it out. I can only wish her future five-year-old self the will power and the tact and my future me the willingness to let her express both.