Monday, October 01, 2007

"Built for Boyhood"

Tonka Trucks are "Built for Boyhood." It makes sense, after all "Boys, dirt, and trucks" are a natural combination. "From the word go, [boys] are all about loading, dumping, and zooming around with the mightiest trucks they can get their hands on." "Boys are built different," and luckily for us "Tonka's got the blueprint." "Give a boy a Tonka brand truck and a big pile of dirt to drive it over, and he's good to go for hours." What a blueprint! I wonder what that says for us boys. "When it comes to trucks, boys want real action and real performance! And for generations of boys, that's just what the Tonka brand has provided." I wonder what that says for boys? "Real action and performance?" That may be apropos beyond boyhood.

Some of us may look at the above and wonder how we've slipped back into the 1950s. Tonka was prescient enough to know that women and wussy men like me who stay at home with their children rather than working at a real manly job would be coming to their website for answers, so they provided a guide for us.

"Just For Moms: Being a mom to a boy can sometimes be quite a challenge. [being a mom to a girl, however, is a piece of cake ... maybe even literally] Although many experiences growing up are universal, regardless of whether you're a girl or a boy, let's face it - boys are way more into dirt! [The brilliant advertising gurus who thought this up haven't met my daughter. Last month she offended an older boy by covering herself and him with dirt. She must be a lesbian. That boy must be gay. I'll have to tell his parents] And that can be a good thing, really! One way you can help your son do what he loves most [should you really help with that?] - like covering himself in sand, soil and mud - is to give him a special place of his own in the backyard. [What will the neighbors say? Where do I send my daughter for a special place of her own?] Stake out a little plot of land that he can use as his own construction yard where he can keep his Tonka Trucks and build his dream system of roads, bridges and tunnels. Then just sit back and let him enjoy it! For your own peace of mind, you can establish some boundaries yourself - such as setting up a little wash station by the back door or in the mud room where he can wipe his feet, clean his hands and hang up his little hard hat when it's time to come in. [If the house is clean, you'll be happy ... what else would you concern your little head about?] It's also a good idea to have "indoor" and "outdoor" Tonka Trucks - keep a few inside for those rainy days when the drive to play takes over! [You know boys and their drives!"

I also looked at the dad's instructions, even though I probably shouldn't have. I did, however, take off my apron and lace panties. "Just for Dads: Playing with Tonka Trucks is a big part of every boy's childhood. There's nothing like it - they're rugged, realistic & guaranteed for life! It's a great idea to create a special construction yard. [Wait a second, mom's were allowed to do this too!]But half the fun is planning the site and setting it up. Get your kid involved. Let him help with the planning stage and clearing the site. [Oh, we get more details. You were just keeping the little woman informed. It's still dangerous, but it's not as bad as I suspected] Set up boundaries with beach stones, rocks, pavers, railroad ties and whatever materials you have on hand to create a vegetable or flower garden. That’s sure to make mom happy! [That could be dangerous too. Watch it with the flower talk.] Get real! Dirt's great, but it's not the only thing you need - you need sand, gravel, and all kinds of materials to really make the coolest, most realistic construction yard in the neighborhood. Take your son with you to a landscapers supply yard and get a bag or two of different materials [clearly a job that mom couldn't handle]. And while you're there, you might want to pick up some flowers for your son to plant outside the yard - for even more bonus points with Mom. [OK. Mom will need to be involved with this. The whole flower things is really freaking me out. I wouldn't want any son of mine to be involved with flowers. The next things you know, he'll be a florist. Besides, what's left for the girl to do if the boy is doing flowers?]"

So what do I do with my daughter? What is built for girlhood? Easy bake ovens? What happens if I give my daughter a Tonka truck, or (gasp) a tool set. What kind of %&$# is this? Who thought of this? Who approved this? Who is OK with this? Can we ship them all a copy or two of Free To Be ... You and Me. If William can have a doll, my Seren can have a Tonka Truck. If you think trucks are for boys and dolls are for girls, then ... well you're wrong and I don't have energy to waste on you, even though I am only raising a girl.

I have included William's Doll, from Free To Be ... You and Me. Obviously it was much further ahead of its time than I'd ever imagined.

Aland Alda: When my friend William was five years old He wanted a doll to hug and hold
Marlo Thomas: "A doll ..."
Alan Alda: ... said William
Marlo Thomas: "... is what I need To wash and clean and dress and feed A doll to give a bottle to And put to bed when day is through And any time my doll gets ill I'll take good care of it"
Alan Alda: ... said my friend Bill
Both: "A doll! A doll! William wants a doll! Don't be a sissy!" Said his best friend Ed "Why should a boy want to play with a doll? Dolls are for girls!" Said his cousin Fred "Don't be a jerk!" Said his older brother
Alan Alda: "I know what to do," said his father to his mother. So his father bought him a basketball A badminton set, and that's not all A bag of marbles, a baseball glove And all the things a boy would love And Bill was good at every game Enjoyed them all but, all the same When Billy's father praised his skill
Marlo Thomas: "Can I please have a doll now?"
Alan Alda: ... said my friend Bill
Both: "A doll! A doll! William wants a doll! A doll! A doll! William wants a doll!"
Alan Alda: Then William's grandma arrived one day And wanted to know what he liked to play And Bill said:
Marlo Thomas: "Baseball's my favorite game I like to play but, all the same I'd give my bat and ball and glove To have a doll that I could love."
Alan Alda: "How very wise," his grandma said. Said Bill:
Marlo Thomas: "But everyone says this instead"
Both: "'A doll! A doll! William wants a doll! A doll! A doll! William wants a doll!'"
Alan Alda: So William's grandma, as I've been told Bought William a doll to hug and hold And William's father began to frown But Grandma smiled and calmed him down Explaining:
Both: "William wants a doll So, when he has a baby someday He'll know how to dress it Put diapers on double And gently caress it To bring up a bubble And care for his baby As every good father should learn to do William has a doll, William has a doll 'Cause someday he is gonna be a father, too!"

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