Proofreading Under There

MLP unders

I found a typo on my underwear this morning.

It was a new pair of underwear, as yet unwashed and unworn—a just-because present from my wife, who found the last pair of My Little Pony men’s boxer briefs at our local Target yesterday. I suppose that some people might call me Brony, a designation I’ve been able to fend off for quite some time thanks to the fact that I have two young daughters.

Every parent knows that children make for the best excuses when it comes to open consumption of entertainment directed at 4- to 8-year-olds. I mean, the only reason I can name the residents of Pixie Hollow, sing most of Phineas and Ferb’s catalog, discuss the Fire Nation’s tactics, and explore the mythology of Ninjago is because I have young daughters. Right?

Sorry, I couldn’t hear your response. I was humming “Everything is Awesome.”

I watch these shows and movies with my girls because I want to see and hear what they’re seeing and hearing. I watch for “teachable moments” to use as springboards for bedtime talks about ethics and morals. (“What would you do if an enemy came to you, asking to become your friend?”) And I watch, admittedly, because I get a bit invested in the characters and plot lines.

Let me put it this way: I’m not regularly agreeing to “just one more” episode of Caillou.

Pegging my own developing fandom on my children only goes so far, however. I mean, my local comic-book store owner might believe me when I say that I’m picking up the latest serialized issue of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic for my girls, but there’s no spinning a pair of men’s boxer briefs. That’s all on me.

I will be wearing these with a bit of irony. Rainbow Dash isn’t even my favorite pony. Plus, there’s the aforementioned typo:

Image

Dear underwear label writers: The word “it’s” is a contraction, smashing together “it” and “is.” An apostrophe does not make it possessive. But you already knew that, since you used the correct spelling earlier in the same sentence.

I obsess about grammar and word use way more than I obsess about pretty much anything else. But aside from Word Girl, there aren’t many shows for kids about the subject. I’ve yet to see a cartoon that addresses the Oxford comma and saying “champing at the bit,” not “chomping at the bit.”

I haven’t seen much in the way of grammar-based underwear, either, come to think of it.

Toy Week: Brick House

Toy Week: Brick House

We were riding down the elevator at Barnes and Noble with an employee of the bookstore yesterday, and my girls spied a stack of animal-themed Lego boxes on a dolly she was leaning on.

“What are those?” my 6-year-old asked.

“These?” the worker said. “These are Chima. It’s a boy thing.”

Maybe she was trying to have some moment of solidarity with my daughters, like “Boys and their weird hobbies, am I right?”

But I bristled.

“Oh,” I replied. “My girls are into Ninjago right now.”

I hoped that retort would be enough to indicate to her that girls can like Lego stuff, too, but I don’t think she noticed. She probably didn’t even know what Ninjago was—because to her, it’s for boys.

Plus, from a strictly sales standpoint, I don’t know why someone would turn off an interested party to a potential sale, no matter their gender.

Despite being a boy myself, I didn’t know what Ninjago was until last year, and even then it was a hazy concept my daughter brought home from kindergarten. She recently discovered an animated series on Netflix, and I’ve watched some of it, so I’ve recently learned quite a bit about the Lego characters who fight by spinning themselves into living elemental tornadoes.

I grew up with Lego sets, but they were the basic kind, with no plans or directions. Then came the Pirate and Castle systems, but even with the themed kits, there was a lot of possibility, and mixing everything together yielded amazing combinations, like Robin Hood-style tree forts with billowing sails and mounted cannons.

In college, I met my brother (as an only child, I decided to pick a sibling when the right one came along) when a guy I sang with in choir invited me back to his dorm room to play Lego. We were eventually best men in each others’ respective weddings.

So Lego sets are awesome.

The best thing about them, though, is that no matter which ones you get, they’re all about creation and working with what you have to do what you want. Feel like following the directions down to the last brick? Go for it! Want to scrap the blueprints and piece together something out of your own imagination? Anything goes!

It’s a great life lesson.

Having a floor-focused 1-year-old running around means Lego pieces are hazards in our house for the moment, but I’m still planning to get some Ninjago stuff for the girls for Christmas. Don’t tell them.

I’ll have to supervise, or course, to make sure no little plastic pieces get lost and/or eaten, but I don’t mind. I get really excited about these kinds of things.

But these presents will totally be for my girls. What would I want with spinning Lego ninjas?