And for once I am not about our 3-year-old Dylan, who has Autism but instead Oli our 7-year-old. On two separate occasions in two different shops yesterday I found myself biting my tongue and resisting the urge to go all Hulk style in response to some ladies comments towards Oli.
We went into town first thing yesterday morning as the previous day (New Years Day) we walked past a charity shop which had some various Star Wars related toys in the window. Queue lots of excitement from all of us and we made it our aim to be at the door for opening time so that we would be first to get our hands on them. We were and was tortured by the assistant who said that they had LOTS of stuff in but older gentlemen snapped most of it up. All three kids loved their new 90s Star Wars toys and spent the whole afternoon and evening playing with them.
— Emma Harris (@MeTheManAndKids) January 2, 2016
Because it was first thing in the morning I knew it was the right time to hit up the charity shops (we have several of them here in Evesham) and grab the bargains. The man spotted one of those hobby horses in fantastic condition with sound, and for £1.50 we snapped it up, Charlotte had been attempting to ride a small toy horse the day before so we noted how it would be cool to get her one, but despite that we never set up to buy it just for her as just like every other toy we buy outside of special occasions it was to be shared. Oli was the one who carried it around and took it to the till point. Queue ‘hold my tongue’ moment number 1.
The lady behind the till teased Oli and asked if it was for him but she did not say it in that way where she was full of praise, it was a tease with had my son quick to the defence and saying it was for his sister. She was laughing, and on some level, I would have classed this as bullying. Even the man picked up on this as we left and we discussed this together with Oli, who no longer wanted anything to do with this hobby horse, this nongendered toy which he would have got much enjoyment out of. Would she of said anything if he was holding a car?
Then a few shops later this was followed up with some ladies pointing out that he was carrying a pink toothbrush and then said it was OK when they saw him also holding a black one. And what would have been the problem if my son had picked out a pink toothbrush? His sister had picked it, and it was her toothbrush, but that was not the point. Would they of said the same thing if Charlotte had found a blue toothbrush?
My son is a gentleman in boy form, he helps me out and will carry anything I ask him to but am I going to be soon greeted with a child who will refuse to hold anything which may leave him open to teasing? I cannot believe in 2016 we are still experiencing such gender stereotyping when it comes to children’s products.