Tuesday, August 25, 2015

25 Things You MUST Do Before the Start of School This Year

Did we get your attention with this title!?  Did you drop everything you were doing to read it? Did you did you!!!??  We sure hope so, since apparently sensational lists with numbers are the latest thing in pseudo-journalism.  After all, if your article or post doesn't have a title like this it won't be read.  Just ask the peeps at Buzzfeed or Upworthy.  Hopefully, we've followed their formula correctly as what follows will now have absolutely nothing to do with the lazy attention-grabbing headline.

Some of you may have noticed the absence of posts in the past few weeks  months year.  And by "noticed" we mean thinking "what's that? you try and write now? (insert semi-maniacal laughter)"   Yes peeps, we do, but we've been on a bit of a hiatus.  There are several reasons for this:

1. Blogging is dead.  Apparently it takes much more effort to write a "post" than it does to write a couple hundred characters into a tweet or status update.

2. We are no longer anonymous.  It was kinda cool to rant and vent and say whatever we wanted when it was just "cyberspace" but then people we knew started reading this shit and then some of those "cyberspace" people became real people and then facebook friends and then worlds started colliding and then the filter had to come on, and we all know what happens to writing when the filter comes on.  You don't?  Keep reading this garbage, you'll see.

3. Mini learned to read.

Of course, all the above really just boils down to one real reason: shit got too dramatic and funny to have people we know read.  Perhaps one day we will finish that novel of hilarious single parent dating stories, or the not-quite-as-hilarious novel "vents from a divorce" or the even less-hilarious novel of "blended family fun" but until then, the most interesting and juicy stuff is just too personal to write about, at least not until we find someone willing to pay for it.  Wanna buy it?? Please???

Thus, we sit here with rare leisure time, sitting alone in sunny cloudy San Diego, working on our next screenplay....which, of course, means procrastinating opening Final Draft and fake-writing a blog post about nothing instead.  This certainly beats finally finishing either of those books we brought.

So for now, we'll warm up our writing chops with a short rant on gender-neutral toys.  Now, if you're up on your old news, you probably know that Target announced they are finally doing away with gender labels on toys.  Yes, we know, it's not quite so simplistic, but that's the essence of the idea and we're not reporters so we don't need to have all our facts straight.  So there.  Anyway, many people we've seen have been up in arms about this.  Really? You don't have other battles to fight?  From our perspective, we are super pleased with this decision.  Mostly because our daughter has an actual working brain and sometimes wants to engage in play that doesn't involve dolls, bracelet making, or doing your own hair.  It's crazy but she likes puzzles and science and building things.  And as crazy as it sounds, she likes building with blocks EVEN WHEN THEY'RE NOT PINK!!!  Actually, she likes it especially if they're not pink as she's quite the anti-establishment 10 year old.  Crazy, huh?  What kind of girl doesn't like pink or doing her friends' hair?  We, too, were disappointed at this, but once we realized the kid had a mind of her own and that her mind couldn't be sufficiently fed without wandering into the "BOYS" section we were most pleased when companies like Target began acknowledging that fact that mini has a brain.

Similarly, while most boys we know have brains too, some of them like to use their brains more creatively by playing dress up, pretending to cook, and doing their friends' hair.  Equally shocking, these boys do not want to be referred to as "girly" because of any of these interests.  We think it's weird too but these kids insist even if they wear a tiara with their cape they still don't want to be referred to as girls.  Go figure.

Finally, from a practical standpoint alone, making kids' bedding gender-neutral simply makes sense.  After all, why should all the cute animal prints always fall under "boys"? Why do they get them, huh?  And what if your girl likes sports?  Does she need to keep that in the closet?  As a mother who has had to shop in the "boys" bedding section because our child liked blue more than pink, we applaud Target for taking a step toward acknowledging the fact that our children are multi-faceted human beings who deserve to be able to explore their own interests without fear of being labeled or mocked.

And for those of you who will need some help deciding what toys are best for boys or girls without those labels, we have included this handy dandy reference chart.

Credit to Mieke for this awesome chart

So we give props to the folks at Target and hope people will stop giving them a hard time for taking an important step forward.  Maybe next year at back-to-school season they'll finally take out all the toy guns.  Nah, that's probably too much to ask.