My girls are girly girls. They like their dolls, their dresses, their creature comforts. My little one prefers bows in her hair.
But this has never, ever stopped them from reaching out to traditionally "boy" areas of play. One of my favorite photos is of my girls and a couple of friends in princess dress-up costumes paying with Tonka dump trucks outside.
In our backyard, we're creating a natural habitat. We started with the pond and it has grown from there. We're planting ecosystem- and fauna-friendly plants, and trying to make sure our backyard helps the plants and animals we share our space with. This gives our children ample opportunity to delve into the world of bugs, tadpoles to frogs, crawfish (yes!), snakes (yes!) and even some cute mammals such as bunnies, not to mention our bird families.
Overall, I'd say our kids are the normal amount of skeptical reluctance to new things, but their natural curiosity leads them to try anyway, which is our general family rule.
So when we got invited to a promotional party at Ridemakerz, I was a little put off by the big focus on boys, even though I understood why it was specifically reaching out to boys. Making a car sounded wicked cool to me, even better than stuffing some bear (although my kids are huge fans of Build-A-Bear).
I RSVP'd my yes, and we went.
The party was on Sunday and my kids have not stopped with the cars since. First, they had a BLAST choosing from the umpteen million (technical number I hear is 70) body styles. Then they loved getting to choose which tires and rims, but wait, it gets better...then they found the stickers to decorate the car with and the blinged out accessories and went crazy. The guy who helped us was good about explaining the car parts---my girls now know what a chassis is!---and showing the girls how to put the car together all by themselves.
Since coming home with the cars, the kids have played with their Ridemakerz car in our cul-de-sac every day---which requires borrowing Mom's and Dad's cars for friends. I asked my kids about their favorite part and both said "making the car," which, after some investigation, meant "applying power tools to the assembly of the car."
That's my grrlz, all about the Power Toolz!
Now they want their own Power Toolz.
They got to register their car on a computer, get a certificate, and even create custom license plates.
My husband was impressed that they only offered American car models, but I think he was trying to sound smart and adult because I know what he really liked was (other than the whole thing) choosing the accessories (is there a more technical term for those spoilers, bumpers, running boards, etc?) because he loitered there the longest.
My only complaints here is that our lives now revolve around their Hot New Cars, we have to play Name My Car while we drive (and I really suck at that game, just ask my brother), and they overheard our Ridemakerz guy tell us we can bring our cars back in to redecorate them.
Can we say Ridemakerz Addictz?
I can't explain to you why I feel better about watching my kids play with their cars, or why I like Ridemakerz better than the alternative. Maybe it's a relief to know we haven't locked our kids into stereotyped gender roles. Maybe it's good to know that remote controlled toys don't intimidate them, or they didn't even notice the store was geared to boys (the younger is very sensitive about that). Maybe I'm glad that even though Persistence chose the hot pink car, she chose it not because it was girly but because, "It looks fast!" Maybe it's because Patience chose a mini-Cooper in blue.
I think it's all of these. I just feel good to see my girls have fun, show confidence in slightly complicated toys that take tools (they just do it, no hesitation), and not even hesitate or consider that they are treading into an area girls were basically banned from when I grew up (not that this stopped either of my parents---especially my dad, who, as a race car driver on the side, was very into all things car).
But truthfully, it might be that I think it was way more wicked cool than almost anything we've done and it does my heart good to see my kids and their dad having equal levels of fun playing.
Ridemakerz has stores, a Web site, and lots of data about all the types of cars they offer, and ways to use them. You can check the Ridemakerz Web site for the details.
Right now I'm too busy planning two Ridemakerz party. Yes, you heard me. My kids decided that's the party they want this year. I'm also taking the gift card Ridemakerz gave me and putting it towards a party for the members of my mom's club. I want to give back to this great group of women but it's also selfish---now my kidz can meet their kidz in the cul-de-sac and they can all play with their own carz and leave mine alone!