Request to Santa leaves mom a bit blue

December 25, 2013

Chicago Tribune

Toddlers may be known for their fickle ways, but my 21/2-year-old daughter has not wavered on the one thing she wants for Christmas.

A blue bike from Santa.

The request started shortly after Thanksgiving, when we reminded her that Santa brings children toys from the North Pole. Last year, the concept was still a little over her head. But this year, when I showed Gracie pictures of her younger self sitting on Santa's lap and told her she'd see him again at her dadda's company Christmas party, she began her campaign.

"I gotta tell Santa I want blue bike for Cwiss-mas."

It was so early in the season that I didn't take her seriously. Surely I'd be able to talk her into one of the red Radio Flyer tricycles on sale at Toys R Us, I figured, saving the coupon under a magnet on the refrigerator.

Then came the holiday party. Gracie was so excited when Santa entered the room, she ran at him full speed and wrapped her arms around his legs. And when it was her turn to sit on his lap, there was still no hesitation.

"Please can I have a blue bike for Cwiss-mass?"

I'm ashamed to admit it, but her certainty brought out layers of uncertainty for me.

I didn't mind that Gracie didn't want a pink bike or a sparkly bike or one with princesses painted on the sides. Since day one, Shawn and I have tried to find a good balance that would allow Gracie to be as girlie, or not girlie, as she wanted, despite the gender stereotypes that seem to bombard children at every turn.
Her bedroom is a cheery mix of greens, blues, purples, yellows and, yes, pinks. She's never watched a princess movie or TV show but has a couple fairy tale books and dress-up tutus for when she wants to play pretend.

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