I’m not that old. Either that, or I didn’t realize 34 constituted the need for Centrum Silver. But, this post might make me sound just the slightest bit like an old curmudgeon.

It really hasn’t been all that long since I was a little kid. Just ask my parents. I know that things change, but I’m finding that I am just a little bit unnerved by some of the changes. Part of that is probably because, well, I’m the mommy now.

I’ll give you an example (two, actually). As you can imagine, I played with dolls when I was a child. I certainly had favorites, and Strawberry Shortcake was one of them. Oh, yes. I had the dolls – plural because you couldn’t just have Strawberry Shortcake herself; you also had to have her friends, Blueberry Muffin and Apricot. My obsession didn’t stop there. I had the comb and brush set, the bowl, cup, fork, and spoon set, the sleeping bag, the wall hangings, the t-shirt, and yes people I ate Strawberry Shortcake cereal for breakfast.

This is how she looked when I was 5: 

Look what a cute little girl she is! Everything from the pudgy cheeks to the sweet smile to the ruffled pinafore screams innocence and fun for young kids.

This is what Strawberry Shortcake is, 2011:

I’m OK with her wearing her little jeans and t-shirt outfit. But, and this is where I start to sound old, can someone explain to me why, exactly, a five-year-old needs to be putting on the glitz? What message does that send to little girls when we can’t keep them sweet and cute without “glitz” beyond their single-digit age?

I have another example, and it is another doll that I loved as a child. Remember Rainbow Brite? If you weren’t a little girl/didn’t have a little girl in the early ’80s, then probably not. But, I do! Again, I had the doll, the coloring books, her horse (whatever his name was), the stickers, and I watched the cartoon every Saturday.

Here she is, ’80s style:

In case you’re unfamiliar with Rainbow Brite’s story, she is supposed to be a little kid – like, 8 or 9 at the very oldest. She’s a child on a mission to bring more love and joy to those who don’t have it. But, in 2011, Rainbow Brite is…

…no longer a little kid! What the heck?? I thought the whole idea behind these things was for kids to be able to relate to the characters and aspire to do good because they see children like themselves doing the right thing.

Are we really in such a hurry for our kids to grow up and look like adults? Why does a kindergartener need to dress like a high school kid?

I know I ask this a lot, but, is it just me?? Am I really so weird because I want my daughter to be a little girl for a while – to have fun playing outside and coloring and dressing up her dolls while she’s so young?

If this whole “tart ’em up early” thing is the current accepted trend in childhood toys and fashion, I’m still going to lean toward the Amish thing. I really don’t want her to grow up too quickly, and it bugs me to no end that so much of our culture is geared toward making her believe she’s supposed to.

I would really prefer to let her be a child for as long as she needs to foster a sense of strength and self-worth, so that she can learn who she is without all these images showing her what she “should” be.

I ask again – am I that old? That weird? Is it just me??