Parenting a little girl (that’s all I know about, sorry boys) is such a balancing act, a constant system of checks and balances, and it changes constantly.
TV is bad. Except for Baby Einstein. And the Wiggles and anything on public television, but definitely not Nick Jr. Well, OK, Spongebob once in a while, but no commercials. Whoops. OK, commercials but definitely no “regular” TV. Except for Animal Planet.
Barbies are bad. OK, she can have a Barbie, but not a Bratz doll. That is actually where I have drawn the line and so far managed to stick, but it’s been easy, since Annabelle’s not particularly interested in the slutty side of childhood. (Yes, there is such a thing.) I don’t take credit; I got lucky. This is a kid whose favorite cable channel is Noggin, which bills itself as “pre-school on TV”. She doesn’t notice; she’s in love with a large blue octopus with a top hat jauntily perched on his head. I love Oswald, too. So does Sophie. So it all works out fine, for the moment, anyway. I’m ready for the next adjustment; I tell myself that, at least.
I initially resisted Libby Lu. You can check it out at www.clublibbylu.com — but let me warn you, it looks worse than it actually is. (As long as you stand firm on some limits; we stuck to the “package” I pre-purchased.) For six months, I’d been promising Annabelle and a pal a “raincheck” for a cancelled play date — the whole idea snowballed til I felt like I really had to deliver. So I called Libby Lu.
Libby Lu is a store in what I call the “evil pre-tween” section of the mall, two shops down from Claire’s– culture shock after years on the Baby Gap/Pottery Barn Kids wing. Everything is pink, from the fake plastic cell phones for sale to the creamy bath stuff the girls can scent themselves. (Also for sale.) It’s as close to the spa as my kid will get for a long time.
In the end, turns out Libby Lu is a smart marketing concept that consists of 90 percent glitter and 10 percent cheap plastic crap. Hey, we have plenty of both at home, and “Miss Haley,” the cute high school girl who “did” the girls’ hair (no brushes, just a lot of twisting, bobby pins, and glittered hair spray) and did their makeovers used a lot less pale blue eye shadow on them than even I would have. The girls got bags they filled with bubble bath and hair clips, and silly pink head sets so they looked like Britney Spears, which is fine since they don’t know who she is and their midriffs stayed covered.
I can’t wait to take Sophie there.
“Is everything you own covered in glitter?” I asked Haley, as she dumped half a bottle of something sparkly onto Annabelle’s tiny fingernail, my daughter quivering with excitement.
“Oh yes,” she said, in a deadpan most impressive for a girl her age, particularly one wearing a side braid and a pink tutu over her jeans. “I have Sparkle Vision.”