But you know what, this one is more important. Because when I came across this literacy set in a toy shop today, I just wanted to cry.
What the hell is something like this doing in a shop, alongside keywords, sight words and literacy in the 21st century? How can it possibly be that anyone, ANYONE, thinks that helicopters, forests and dinosaurs are for boys and sweets, secrets and cooking are for girls?
Peter and Jane will be drawing breath and going back to their gender specific roles by morning. Forget 30 years of progress; it's all been wiped out in one slam dunk of a literacy set.
Boys are about money and girls are about tiaras. It's official. Now they can be stereotyped with the national curriculum too.
For 14 years, to all intents and purposes and leaving aside the matters of my heart, I was only the mother of girls. And yes, they dressed up and liked to wear pink, except for the one who liked to wear blue and be Peter Pan in games. They liked to cook, apart from the one who liked to do woodwork. They liked to play baby games, except for the two who played baby games and ran pretend businesses. They made jewellery – and sold it, with a balance sheet and a marketing plan. They wore tiaras and high heels in plastic and kicked them off to do cartwheels and press ups. We played Barbie and we talked about body image and then hauled on yesterday's muddy clothes for another round of madness in the garden.
It's true there are differences between boys and girls; I've got enough experience of four very different girls to know I can draw some broad parallels between them and compare them to the wide set of boys I know. And I know, bringing up Bene, that I perceive differences in him that I know were fundamentally not present in my girls. He has a slightly different air to him, a set of shoulder, a way of being, a loudness, a forceful body which is mildly different to them all, though close to one. The hairs on his face grow differently, his chest is different shape. He possesses me, demands my attention, in a slightly different way.
But that is one thing. Packaged words are another.
Let me tell you some words that apply to my four girls.
Loud. Strong. Beautiful. Intelligent. Pink. Blue. Gold. Purple. Red. Green. Yellow. Taekwondo. Press ups. Six pack. Dance. Rugby. Trampoline. Love. Force. Science. Engineering. Ice skates. Balance. Grit. Determination. Muscles. Slim. Elegant. Sturdy. Red belt. Classy. Crazy. Thoughtful. Reading. Gifted. Talented. Cross country. Rugby. Tap shoes. Blisters. Pulled muscles. Biceps. Outdoors. Fearless. Scream. Relentless. Courage. Pain. Voice. Brave. Solid. Loyal. Ballet. Gymnast. Muddy. Jeans. Combats.
That's just some of them. Less of the words on the right apply than those on the left when I think of my daughters and their upbringing, their person, their bodies, the desires and aspirations.
Let me tell you about my boy.
Blue. Green. Orange. Blonde. Fluffy. Fuzzy. Loved. Cherished. Precious. Little. Breakable. Fragile. New. Small. Growing. Baby.
I don't agree with labels. I may be a toy seller but it galls me beyond all expression to see dolls packaged in pink and jewellery sets for girls and trains made to appeal to boys. Yes, this weekend I entertained a little boy with train sets, but they belong to my daughters and have for years. I don't agree with dolls for girls and tools for boys. I know it is true that children are drawn to toys that lend themselves to a gender, often if not always. Such is life. We are all biology after all. But choice is what matters and choice is what should be offered.
Those word packages are despicable, humiliating, degrading and insulting. They do nothing for equality, nothing for the future, nothing to build confident women or thoughtful men who see mutual advantage in equal and different.
Bunnies. Ballet. Butterfly.
Frogs. Flags. Forest.
I don't care about focus groups or literacy outcomes or marketing. Fridge Magic needs to do better. When it comes to giving our children words to grow up with, we need to do wholly better than this. We should be giving them words to empower them not encase them in stereotype.
I think they need to explain themselves.