Princess Phooey at TADA Youth Theater in NYC

Princess Phooey Postcard FRONTLive in NYC and looking for something fun to do with your little prince & princesses? Then check out Princess Phooey playing at the TADA Youth Theater now through August 1st. Use code PRINCESS5 for $5 off.

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Words of Wisdom As Told By a 7 Year Old

For the past 2 years or so (age 5-7), I’ve been jotting down every funny and bizarre comment that comes out of my son Max’s mouth. I call them “my little gems”. And what makes these “little gems” so priceless is that they’re not said with the intent to be funny; they just naturally are. I’ll continue to be his own personal stenographer until he becomes a boring adult just like the rest of us. – Jill Topol

Max Huff Post

1. “Obama is the boss of America, and you’re the boss of me, right?”

2. “I love you more than diarrhea.”

3. “Mommy, when you tell me not to do stuff it hurts my brain a little bit.”

4. Max – “I’m really good at helping baby animals.”
Me – “What do you mean?”
Max – “Like if a cheetah was chasing a baby bird, I’d give the baby bird a knife so he could defend himself.”

5. Tomorrow is Max’s 5th birthday. I told him he needs to be polite and say “thank you” for all the gifts he receives, even if he doesn’t like something. His response to me was “You mean like a suppository?”

6. “You can rub soap on your penis, but you can’t rub a dog on your penis.”

7. “Grandma doesn’t make pancakes, but she has a delicious recipe for hotdogs.”

8. “You cracked my heart.”

9. Max – “Yay, the winter Olympics are starting!”
Me – “What sport are you excited to watch?”
Max – “Bowling.”

10. “Women grow boobs and men grow beards.”

11. “Mommy, when you and Daddy were little were there trees?”

12. “What do you like better, technology or cookies? I’m having a hard time choosing.”

13. “Some kids in my class did something very inappropriate today. They twirked. But don’t worry, I think the principal saw them do it on the security cameras.”

14. “Some doctors say if you eat candy when you have rabies it makes you better.”

15. “Smiling is a sign of laughing.”

16. “Shut your pothole is a much better choice then saying shut up.”

17. I was watching TV with Max and this elaborate commercial with fireworks comes on for KY Jelly. Max turns to me dead serious and says “Mommy, would you like me to buy some KY for you as a present?” I told him, “That’s ok, you already got me a lovely Christmas gift, but thank you.”

18. “What if everyone was all made of sugar?”

19. “What if everyone in the world farted at the same time?”

20. “There’s no pee in peanuts, right?”

21. “The Catwoman Lego is way cooler than the Wonder Woman Lego because she’s wearing mascara.”

22. Max is playing with his Catwoman doll. He rolls his R making her say “Purrrr-fect”. I try to say it, but can’t roll my R’s to save my life. His response was “Mommy, you can only roll your R’s if you’re hispanic or a cat. You’re just Jewish”.

23. “My 2 favorite animals are cats and unicorns.”

24. “Mommy, you have a vagina and it’s hairy. No seriously, it has hair.”

25. “What would happen if someone fell asleep on the potty while they were pooping?”

26. Max – “I can’t believe Daddy’s last name is so short?”
Me – What do you mean? It’s the same as yours?
Max – “No Mommy, Daddy’s last name is Jr.”

27. “Can you put Tic Tacs in my lunch box?”

28. “Can I have a ring pop for breakfast?”

29. “Tell Grandma I’m not hungry for food, but will eat ice cream.”

30. We’re on the train heading out to visit my mom. Max breathes into his hand and smells it. I ask him what he’s doing? He says “ I want to make sure I have fresh breath for Grandma.”

31. “I think I’m going to marry my friend Lily. She’s funny. She’s smart, and she’s easy to lift.”

32. “I need somebody to kiss, cause I’m already puckered up.”

33. Max’s cousin Violet asked to marry him. His response was “I can’t marry you because I’m already marrying my best friend Lana, but if we move to Utah I can marry you both. You can marry as many people as you want there.”

34. This past Sunday I took Max to the carnival. He won a stuffed poodle at a darts game. When I asked what his poodle’s name was he replied, “Her name is Diamond. You know, like Madonna. She only goes by one name.”

This story was originally written & published for The Huffington Post.


The Gender Bias World of Toys

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It is scientifically proven that a boy’s testicles will shrink if they pick up a Barbie and a girl will undoubtedly grow chest hair if she plays with a Batman figurine. As preposterous as this sounds, this is what our society sees when it comes to our children and acceptable playtime behavior. But who decided that pastel colors and dolls should only be enjoyed by girls, and blue and trucks by boys?

As a parent, I have Nickelodeon, The Disney Channel and a whole slew of other kids networks blasting from my TV more than I’d care to admit. One thing that is blindingly obvious during toy commercials is that you rarely ever see boys and girls playing together. Boy and girl commercials are two very separate entities, with the very rare exception of a board game or Slip and Slide commercial. How do we expect our children to broaden their creativity when the toy companies and retailers themselves are stunting their growth by dictating what toys they should play with based on gender?

Even Disney’s beloved Frozen sadly falls into the category of gender bias commercials. Almost every child in the universe (boys and girls alike) have seen and fallen in love with the movie Frozen. And who can blame them? It’s a wonderful movie. It grossed over 1 billion dollars in worldwide box office revenue, making it the highest grossing animated film of all time. But if you take a look at toy commercials for Frozen you’ll see one obvious thing missing, the boys. Why is it ok for little boys to love the movie, but not ok for them to play with the toys? I just don’t get it. It makes me really sad. We’re stifling our children’s creativity in fear of what? That they’ll turn gay if they play with an Anna and Elsa doll. You know that’s not how it works, right?

I take this whole stereotyping toys BS very personal. As the proud mother of a 7 year old boy who sees no gender when it comes to his imagination and love for toys, Frozen dolls were on the top of his holiday wish list last year. Like millions of other children, my boy couldn’t get enough of the movie and was constantly singing “Let it Go”. A ballad that for many parents became as annoying as nails on a chalkboard due to the fact our kids were belting it out from sunrise to sunset. But for me, the song always made me tear up. I’d listen to the lyrics and my heart would slowly break a little inside. This was my son’s anthem. “Conceal don’t feel, don’t let them know…Well now they know!” As “Let it Go” lyricist Kristen Anderson-Lopez explained it, “I was really excited to write an anthem that said, ‘Screw fear and shame, be yourself, be powerful,” That’s my beautiful little boy in a nutshell. A boy who makes no apologies for liking pretty things. A boy whose imagination takes him on adventures we only wish we could experience in real life. A boy who’s been called “Barbie” by bullies in an attempt to make him cry (and failed). A boy who stands up for himself on a daily basis at school because his peers don’t understand why he likes “girl” toys. Well whoever taught these kids that these were “girl” toys? Why can’t they just be TOYS!

It’s time we realize that toys don’t have a gender. We assign it to them.

My child’s story is far from an isolated case. There are tons and tons of children out there who like toys originally created with the opposite sex in mind. The problem is that many kids are afraid and embarrassed of the repercussions if exposed. A boy who only feels secure playing with his Hello Kitty doll in the privacy of his own bedroom because he’s ashamed someone might see him. A little girl who’s turned her locked bathroom into Spiderman’s lair because she’s worried her brother will tease her if she’s caught playing with the web slinger. Playtime should be a joyous time for our children. They shouldn’t feel worried that making the “wrong” toy selection based on their gender might get them teased or bullied. Or are we a society so narrow-minded that we really do believe a boy should only stick to sports, super heroes and bloodshed and girls are better suited for shopping, beauty and tiaras. This is the same type of mentality that says “A woman’s place is in the home”.

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Instructions from a 1973 Lego set has recently made news reminding us of the beauty of gender equality through play. It also shows that over the last 40 years we have sadly taken a step backwards. (Pardon the grammatical errors. This was translated from a German Lego toy set)

The urge to create is equally strong in all children. Boys and girls. It’s imagination that counts. Not skill. You build whatever comes into your head, the way you want it. A bed or a truck. A dolls house or a spaceship. A lot of boys like doll houses. They’re more human than spaceships. A lot of girls prefer spaceships. They’re more exciting than dolls houses. The most important thing is to put the right material in their hands and let them create whatever appeals to them. – Lego

And let’s not forget Marlo Thomas’ 1972 ground-breaking film Free To Be… You And Me. Teaching children (and parents) the concept of gender equality and finding acceptance within. The song and video for “William’s Doll” (the story of a boy longing for a doll) is still as meaningful today as it was 40 years ago.

While companies like Toys R Us are still segregating the boys from the girls into different sections of their brick and mortar and online stores; making it virtually impossible for a child to feel comfortable shopping outside of what’s expected of them, there are companies trying to make a difference.

Back in 2011, London’s historic Hamleys (the world’s oldest toy store) took steps towards gender equality by taking down their pink and blue signage and replacing it with floors divided into themes. A year later Harrods followed suit by creating their own 26,000 square foot gender-neutral toy department called “Toy Kingdom” which is also divided into themes, rather than sex. Hopefully this is just the very beginning of a new trend on how we view toys.

While I’m not saying every little boy should drop their race car in exchange for a princess;
I long for the day when Cinderella can hop into a Hot Wheels and drive off into the sunset…AND IT WILL BE NO BIG DEAL. – Jill Topol

 

 


I Love You Keith Haring

Since our latest “T-Shirt of the Week” is a Keith Haring tee, I thought it was only fitting to repost this tribute I wrote 2 years ago dedicated to one of my all-time favorite artists. xo, Jilly 

Back in my high school days, I was a funky new wave chick with a mad passion for art, music and fashion. To paint a clearer picture, I would have been the perfect casting choice for “the best friend” of Molly Ringwald & Duckie in the movie “Pretty in Pink”.

I remember wearing my Keith Haring pins on my denim jacket, and a limited edition Keith Haring Swatch Watch that I got as a birthday present from my grandma. I literally wore that watch everyday until it fell apart. Pop art always had a special place in my heart. The bright colors and whimsical attitude just seemed to fit in perfectly with my lifestyle. Andy Warhol was the master and Roy Lichtenstein was a genius, but growing up in the 80’s nobody could come close to Keith Haring. He was the Andy Warhol of my generation.

Throughout his career, Haring devoted much of his time to public works of art including hundreds of white chalk drawings in subway stations and painted murals throughout New York City. He also collaborated on numerous projects with the likes of Madonna, Grace Jones, Yoko Ono and his own mentor Andy Warhol. Though his images had a childlike quality, the messages behind them were anything but. They were deep and relevant to modern day issues. Touching on subjects as serious as drug abuse and AIDS.

Sadly, Haring died way too young of AIDS related complications at 31. His legacy will forever be immortalized through his art.

Last weekend I went with my husband and Max to see the Keith Haring exhibition at The Brooklyn Museum. The exhibit chronicles Haring’s earlier work in NYC including personal sketchbooks and preserved subway chalk drawings. It was amazing to see in person stuff I had only previously seen in books. Plus it was great to watch Max’s reactions to some of the art. Even when he pointed to one painting and started to shout “I see a penis! I see a penis!”  In his defense, he did! Plus I’m pretty sure Keith Haring would have been okay with it. – Jill Topol

Brooklyn Museum

Keith Haring: 1978-1982

March 16 through July 8, 2012

www.brooklynmuseum.org

Keith Haring 1958-1990                                               My High School Swatch Watch

Posing with Brooke Shields 1986

“Crack is Wack” 1986  Handball Court Murals on Harlem River Drive and East 128th Street,  NYC

Untitled, 1981  Enamel on fiberboard

Down in the Subway

The exact moment Max realized Keith Haring was cooler than Justin Bieber

SOME COOL KEITH HARING ITEMS YOU CAN PURCHASE:

Keith Haring Rocker $260.00 www.openingceremony.us

Keith Haring Bumpkins Superbib 3 Pack $19.95 www.diapers.com

Keith Haring IPad Case $64.00 www.patriciafield.com


Call Me Blondie!

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This past weekend I took Max to see the Blondie 40th Anniversary exhibit at the Chelsea Hotel Gallery in NYC. With walls covered in visual delights and glass displays housing rare and unusual memorabilia, it was an overload of pure enjoyment for fans of the iconic band.

Photographers and artistic legends including Andy Warhol, Mick Rock, Annie Leibovitz, Robert Mapplethorpe, Bobby Grossman, David Godlis and bandmate Chris Stein adorned the gallery walls with their personal perspectives on one of the most highly regarded bands in both music and fashion history.

I decided to take my 7 year old son Max (who was reluctant at first) to the exhibit with hopes that exposing him to the music mommy grew up on would somehow give him an appreciation for Blondie and broaden his musical horizons beyond the soundtrack of “Frozen”. I’m happy to say my efforts paid off. Max marveled at the Blondie videos playing on the large screen to the point of being in a trance. After viewing a block of videos in his hypnotic state, he asked if we could watch “Heart of Glass” on YouTube when we got home. I was elated. He also told me that Debbie Harry was one of the most gorgeous women he’d ever seen, and resembled one of his Monster High dolls. The biggest compliment the boy could possibly give.

While I would never force my son to like the same music I do (said by the girl who’s dad only let her listen to show tunes in elementary school and still resents him for it), it’s nice to know that Max is open-minded to try new things, and not just what Nickelodeon says is cool.

“Call Me” or “Call Me Maybe”, it’s all good!

Jill Topol

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MiniBlondie

1. Rowdy Sprout – Blondie Tank Dress (size 3m-8yrs) $46.00 www.rowdysprout.com
2. Rowdy Sprout – Petunia Blondie Sweatshirt (size 12m-12yrs) $41.00 www.rowdysprout.com
3. Goody Two Sleeves – Blondie Poster Tee (size 2-4yrs) $22.00 www.babesta.com

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Olympic Innocence

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An untarnished imagination gives children the power to transform themselves into monsters, princesses and even Olympic athletes all within the walls of their mind. As a slide magically transforms into a luge, and an ordinary broom wins gold in curling, we pay tribute to our Olympic athletes through the eyes of a child. Jill Topol

  1. Olympic Rings image – www.recultured.com
  2. Hula Hoops image – www.hooping.org

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  1. Luge image – Pinterest (source unknown)
  2. Slide image – Pinterest (source unknown)

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  1. Womens U.S. Curling Team image – NBC.com
  2. Kids Sweeping image – National Geographic

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  1. Russian Figure Skating Team image – The Daily Mail
  2. Young Ballerinas image – Pinterest (source unknown)

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  1. U.S. Gold Medalist Ted Ligety image – Time
  2. Super Hero Kid image – Pinterest (source unknown)

KISS Kids

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If your star-child likes to “rock & roll all night, and party every day”, than congrats…..you are the proud parent of a KISS Kid. As one of the greatest rock bands of all time, KISS has miraculously managed to stay relevant since the 1970’s, and last month were finally inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. With their flamboyant comic book inspired personas, elaborate stage shows and classic rock songs, KISS will no doubt continue to be loved and admired for generations to come. This includes fashion fans everywhere, as KISS embarks on yet another new venture as the face of John Varvatos’ Spring/Summer 2014 campaign. – Jill Topol 

  1. Hello Kitty – KISS Pop! Vinyl Figures $11.95 Each www.hsn.com
  2. Super Goody Bag’s own “Starchild” Max at 2 years old for Halloween (costume custom-made by Jill Topol)
  3. Sourpuss – KISS Skulls Kids Tee (size 6m – 5yrs) $22.00 www.sourpussclothing.com
  4. Archie – Archie Meets KISS Onesie (size 6-24m) $17.95 www.store.ticketmaster.com
  5. Oeuf – KISS Hat (size 12m-4yrs) $48-56.00 www.oeufnyc.com
  6. Be Lucky Kids – Panda Pullover (size 2-10yrs) 25,00 Euros www.beluckykids.com
  7. Sourpuss – Kids KISS Socks Set (size infant & toddler) $10.00 www.sourpussclothing.com
  8. Rockabyebaby – KISS Lullaby Baby CD $15.90 www.littlerockstore.com
  9. H&M – KISS Long Sleeved T-Shirt (size 1 ½-10yrs) $14.95 www.hm.com
  10. Rowdy Sprout – KISS Long Sleeve Tee (size 3m-12yrs) $38.00 www.rowdysprout.com
  11. Little Rock Store – Kids Glam Bears KISS T-Shirt in Yellow (size 2-5yrs) $17.90  www.littlerockstore.com