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Hollow Tree Ventures parenting humor
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Banning boy band backpacks

My daughter went on a shopping trip with my mom last week.

In her haul she had the usual back-to-school assortment of goodies: a skadillion unsharpened No.2 pencils, multi-colored folders with unspecified purposes, enough glue to assemble a scale model of the entire Spanish Armada out of popsicle sticks, and a backpack.

But not just any backpack.

A boy band backpack.

Now, I'm sure almost every other girl at school will be toting around a backpack plastered with the faces of Big Time Rush or The Wanted or The Drooly McPreteen Heartthrobs, but the mama bear in me didn't care.

I normally err on the permissive side just a teeny bit (or a huge bit, if you ask my husband), but in an uncharacteristically swift and decisive move, I banished that backpack straight back to WalMart or the depths of hell or wherever it came from.

Why such a strong response, you ask?

one mom's reaction to One Direction by Robyn Welling @RobynHTV

My 8-year-old daughter is as girly as they come. She likes pink, glitter, dressing up and pretending to be a ballerina. I don't know where she gets it, because it sure isn't from me, but it's as undeniable as the mountain of stuffed unicorns that dominates her bedroom landscape.

As for reading, she normally retreats into a relatively typical little girl's fantasy world. Fairies, magic, and mysteries fill her bookshelves, and the stories she retells at dinnertime are usually full of adventure and pixie dust.

However, her preferences have taken a slightly more realistic turn recently; it all started when she was introduced to the wonderful world of biographies.

More specifically, she was introduced to the unfortunate fact that there are biographies written about boy bands. Especially her favorite: One Direction.

The first time she came home with one, I figured it was harmless. After all, I sang every verse of New Edition's "Cool It Now" into a hair brush. I fought with my friends over who was going to marry Jordan Knight, leaving everyone else to pick from the New Kids On the Block leftovers. I even lived through the dark and shameful days of Menudo.

But that was then, and now I'm the mom.

I'm the mom who wants to encourage her daughter's love of the library, and the freedom it holds within its overly-air-conditioned walls for a child to walk whatever path her heart desires along the miles of shelves. But I'm also the mom trying not to curse out loud or sprain a hip while carrying the library's entire collection of One Direction biographies to the checkout desk, while simultaneously getting mugged by throngs of squealing 3rd grade girls.

I'm the mom, regaled with dinnertime tales about which dreamy songster loves spaghetti ("Just like me!" she exclaims, as I eyeball her suspiciously to determine if she only likes these creeps, or if she's started to like like them).

I'm the mom, biting my tongue as my not-so-babyish-anymore baby waltzes in with One Direction pins on her sweet sundress, so reminiscent of the NKOTB pins that once adorned my acid washed denim jacket.

I'm the mom who's aware of the boy band double standard evolving in our house, but who's been thisclose to putting her foot down — because it's hard to be rational about your 8-year-old showing interest in boy bands, even if you remember all too well going through the same phase yourself.

I thought I could just ride it out. It's normal, I told myself. This too shall pass.

Then my 2-year-old, the perfect shadow of her older sister, flipped one of the biographies open.

"Cute boys!" she declared in her tiny toddler voice.

BOOM. Just like that, the foot came down.

Normal phase or not, my daughter's simply going to have to focus her One Direction attention in another direction. At least until she and her sister are older.

Much older.

And have moved out of my house.

(Article originally published on In The Powder Room. Reprinted with permission.)

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11 comments:

  1. I cringe thinking about my little girl liking boy bands. Mainly because I just cured myself of Bieber fever, and I'm twenty-nine. Can you convince her to get a Hanson backpack? They're already in stable marriages with a bunch of kids. They also make their own beer now. Eh? Eh?

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  2. I'm lucky enough to have avoided this phase so far, but mostly because I have Spotify and I know how to use it. When my daughter fell in love with Rhianna's "Shut Up and Drive," I was quick to point out that she almost covered New Order, note for note, and we listened to them both. Fortunately, this generation of music artists is the most unoriginal we've seen in 20 years, so a short lesson in musical history is all that is needed. But what troubles me is the direction it has taken. I get the posters, clothes, etc. They've always been there. But a few years ago, there was a t-shirt in the Children's Place that said "Future Mrs. Beiber" on it. I'd like to hope that my daughter would aspire to more than that. I was sickened.

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  3. My kids are free to be fans of ANYONE who makes their own beer. Too bad Sam Adams doesn't have a band.

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  4. That's a great angle - my kids might be a little less smitten with the latest music if they knew how much of it was essentially stolen from our music (and our parents' music). And yes, the merchandising has gotten waaayyyy out of hand.

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  5. It is a proud moment in any parent's life when your daughter can pick out the Led Zepplin in 5 different current songs....even if you don't like Led Zepplin, you know you're doing something right.

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  6. If it's not One Direction it will be someone else. I loved NKOTB as well, although I preferred Jon. I would rather have One Direction in my house than the oh so wholesome role model that Beiber has become. Good Luck with keeping the fandom to a minimum!

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  7. That's true - she had a brief bout of Bieber Fever, but it subsided pretty quickly. Maybe the 1D thing will go away soon too, or at least I can hope they won't start spitting on their fans. :/

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  8. I take exception to the comparison between boy bands and Duran Duran in the other piece. I'm pretty sure Duran Duran wrote and played their own music on instruments. Like they had actual talent. Boy bands generally are assembled to perform someone else's stuff, and are highly produced, don't play instruments, etc.


    That said, your piece made me grateful once again that I have boys. :)

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  9. I'm willing to bet you're right, and I'm also willing to bet NKOTB had to lip sync a lot to make up for the fact that they always seemed pretty winded when they had to do that Hangin' Tough dance. :) It's things like this that make me grateful for my boys, too, until I realize what they lack in boy-band-mania they make up for by peeing on the toilet seat.

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  10. Your boys pee on the toilet seat? You are so lucky. My 5-year-old pees half-awake in the morning, and I'm sad to say he doesn't get near anything that is remotely a toilet.

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  11. HA! :D <--- Except I know you're not kidding, so I'm really, really sorry. ;)

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