Brandi was stunned. Her blood started to boil while the cashier just looked into her eyes and gave her a blank stare. Were her ears deceiving her? Meanwhile, Sophia held on to her doll as if she was afraid someone would take it, and someone did. The cashier reached over and grabbed it from the child’s arms. “This one doesn’t really look like you. Don’t you want some other doll?” Brandi was speechless. But not for long. She wanted to give her a piece of her mind, but her daughter beat her to the punch.
Brandi’s baby girl, Sophia, was happy and healthy. What more could a mother want? Brandi knew her daughter was awesome the day she was born. Alright, so maybe she wasn’t always perfect, but she was practically an angel on Earth. She was always happy and she shared that happiness with Brandi. But it seemed like she started walking and talking in the blink of an eye. But Brandi wasn’t expecting this from Sophia, at least, not at this age.
Most people gasp when they hear about the “terrible twos.” For most parents, it symbolizes temper tantrums, defiance, and plenty of sleepless nights. It’s certainly not something new parents look forward to. Once a child reaches that age, logic and reasoning go out the door. And there isn’t a parenting technique in the world that can make this period in a child’s life easier. But people don’t realize that kids are struggling with learning how to become independent. But Sophia was a unique child.
Brandi and her husband, Nick, had a tough time dealing with Sophia during dinner. Tucking her into bed was also a challenge. But shopping with Sophia was the worst. But Brandi refused to change Sophia’s routine. Of course, that didn’t mean that it wasn’t an uphill battle with their child. Eventually, Sophia returned to her old sweet self again. But there was one more challenge that the little girl would have to overcome.
Brandi did plenty of research on parenting sites, and by reading books. But when it came to potty training, one thing was certain. She had to get Sophia to stop using diapers right away. If she didn’t, then her daughter would get too comfortable, and she’d never learn how to use a toilet properly. But Brandi was terrified, and she wasn’t in the right mindset either, thanks to weeks of restless nights. She wasn’t sure if she would be able to have another fight with her daughter. But Sophia stunned her parents.
Sophia needed incentives to get through her potty training. So, Brandi created a reward chart. With it, Sophia would be able to monitor her own progress with each sticker she earned. Not surprisingly, she had a couple of accidents along the way. But then, the little girl gained enough confidence and experience so she wouldn’t have to use diapers anymore. A month later, Brandi let Sophia decide what she wanted as a reward for being such a good girl. So, they drove her to the store. But they were shocked by the way the cashier treated Sophia.
For Sophia, the toy section of the Target store in South Carolina was like a dream come true. Now most kids would have picked out the entire store and begged their parents to buy everything. But Sophia understood that she could only pick one item. So, after browsing for 20 minutes, she found that special toy she really wanted. But there was one person who wasn’t happy with the selection she made.
The 2-year-old picked the doll that represented her dream job. “She kept going back to the doctor doll, because in her mind, she is already a doctor. She loves giving check-ups and if you come in the house, she’ll tell you that’s the first thing you need,” said Brandi. Of all the toys in the store, this one grabbed Sophia’s attention, and she wanted it. But someone tried making her doubt her decision.
“While we were checking out, the cashier asked Sophia if she was going to a birthday party. We both gave her a blank stare,” explained Brandi. “She then pointed to the doll and asked Sophia if she picked her out for a friend.” Brandi clarified that the doll was Sophia’s reward for her accomplishment. But it didn’t explain why the cashier assumed the doll was for another child. Then, the cashier made a startling revelation.
“Are you sure this is the doll you want, honey?” the cashier asked Sophia. “Yes, please!” Sophia answered excitedly. The cashier looked horribly confused by the doll’s appearance. Then, she said, “But she doesn’t look like you. We have lots of other dolls that look more like you.” Steam started coming out of Brandi’s ears. Why did something so trivial like that matter? She was getting angrier by the minute. How could the cashier be so cruel?
Sophia’s doll was African-American, but children don’t usually notice that when picking a toy. Brandi couldn’t believe what she was hearing. Should she quietly educate the cashier? Would making a scene change anything? Should she have left the doll behind? Then Sophia replied, “Yes, she does. She’s a doctor like I’m a doctor. And I’m a pretty girl, and she’s a pretty girl. See her pretty hair? And see her stethoscope?” Sophia took the wind out the cashier’s sails and Brandi was so proud.
Brandi had never taught her daughter about skin color, mainly because Sophia hadn’t asked. As a child, she never registered skin color. She was too innocent to waste time on something so trivial. Meanwhile, the cashier kept her mouth shut while she scanned the doll and returned it to Sophia’s loving, non-judgmental hands. But there had been so many other dolls on the store shelves. Why had Sophia chosen this particular doll as her reward?
Sophia chose Dottie, an animated character from the TV series “Doc McStuffins.” On the show, Dottie is a doctor who goes around helping toys around the neighborhood with the help of her friends, Lambie and Hallie. Together, they fix toys that are in rough conditions. The show’s been on the air since 2012, and it teaches kids to say no to stereotypes and embrace diversity. But Dottie had also taught Sophia words like thermometer and stethoscope. Brandi never realized the show had made such a huge difference in Sophia’s life.
Sophia is just 2 years old, but she already knows that race is just a social construct. And Brandi continues to support her daughter’s wise way of thinking. “Doc McStuffins” has two arms, two legs, and two eyes and ears, just like Sophia does, and that’s all that matters to her. She might not have understood what the cashier had tried to imply, but she managed to show everyone that race and skin color doesn’t have to be such a big deal. So why is diversity so difficult to embrace?
Most children prefer to see people instead of skin color. Fortunately, television, books, and toys are teaching kids that it’s okay to be different from an early age. Maybe Sophia taught the cashier something, and if she didn’t, then the cashier should try watching some “Doc McStuffins” episodes!