Thursday, May 19, 2011

Swimsuits and Sippy Cups

After purchasing swimsuits for Froggy Boots a couple years in a row now, I am noticing a trend in swimsuits for babies and toddlers.  Almost all of the swimsuits I see are 2-piece suits.  And, not the kind that are just 2-piece to allow for easy use of the potty.  I'm talking about full-fledged bikinis. 

Am I the only parent out there that sees this trend as a little inappropriate? And, is it really necessary?  I mean, why should a one-year-old be wearing a bikini anyways?  Who are they trying to impress?  The little boy from playgroup?  I kind of doubt it.  And, ultimately, who made the decision to buy that bikini for the one-year-old little girl anyways?  I can tell you who -- her mom or grandma maybe; but, definitely not the one-year-old little girl. 

So, the real question is then, why would someone choose to buy a bikini for a one-year-old little girl?  Maybe it just seemed cute at the time.  I can buy that reasoning -- we all have those moments of "oh, wouldn't she look cute in that!" even though it may be something that really isn't practical -- like a totally white dress for playing outside in the sandbox.  Or, maybe there are some misguided underlying beliefs about what value girls and women hold in society. 

Either way, I think this is an issue that we really need to address in our society.   This is not purely an issue of swimsuits, it's clothing for young girls in general.  If you have browsed through the children's clothing section of most any department store, you know what I'm talking about -- pants that reveal a girl's bottom when she bends over, crop-top shirts that show off her belly, and shorts that hardly cover her underwear (or diaper for that matter). 

What kind of message are we sending young girls when we dress them in clothing like this?  I believe we are inadvertently telling young girls that their value lies in what their body looks like.  And, I don't know about you, but I want my daughter to grow up knowing that she is valued as a person, not as a pair of breasts with a head, legs, and arms attached.  I know that is a little blunt, but I really think we need to be realistic here. 

The reality is, as much as we like to say that our society is above this kind of stereotype -- look at the ads you see in magazines, on TV, and even on the internet.  What kind of clothing are those women wearing?  Usually almost none.  And, what is the ad supposed to be promoting -- a car, a health bar, some cooking utensils?  So, why are the women in the ads showing off their bodies in such a way?  I think you get my point.

Anyways, I will move on from the swimsuit dilemma, because if I don't, this may turn into a book instead of a blog!

So, in preparation for Froggy Boots entering school next year and because she is totally capable of drinking out of a glass, I have decided that I am going to get rid of all the sippy cups in my house.  Well, I may put them in the basement for the time being just because of my own insecurities. 

The school Froggy Boots will be attending is a Montessori School.    She will be in the toddler classroom (18 months to 36 months).  One of the things I love about the Montessori method is that it encourages independence and use of "real" things -- one of those being child-sized glasses (yes, I mean glass cups, not plastic).  Since I have been doing my own research into the Montessori method for use in my preschool classroom next year, I already had an idea of where to look for such an item.  I found child-sized glasses through Montessori Services online and ordered a set along with a glass pitcher.

In addition to the glasses and pitcher, I also found another great idea from some photos online -- a drink dispenser placed at child height with some spill safeguards -- i.e. a bowl -- positioned below the spout.  What a great example of a Montessori "prepared environment!"  A drink dispenser is next on my list!

Down and out with the sippy cups!

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