My 5-year-old loves My Little Pony. We watch "My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic" together every night and have even seen "My Little Pony: The Movie." Twice.
The ponies are adorable: Rainbow Dash, Pinkie Pie, Fluttershy and Twilight Sparkle (our favorite). The message of the show is all about friendship, and how we should be good to each other. But not everyone would agree that I should let my child watch "My Little Pony."
He discovered "My Little Pony" on a playdate with a little girl from his nursery school class. "Do you watch My Little Pony?" she wanted to know. That very evening, he wanted to see what all the fuss was about.
It was a welcome change from what we were used to: Superheroes that were way too violent and too scary, like "Transformers." And don’t get me started on "Star Wars." Even the "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles," in their new incarnation, were rated PG-13 — way too mature for my 5-year-old to watch.
But I’d find myself in the company of other parents not mentioning the fact that my son loved “My Little Pony.”
He wants to know what happened to Batman’s parents, he wants to fight just like Superman and Green Lantern do. He thinks Darth Vader is the good guy. Even when I don’t allow him to watch the shows, his friends do. Together, they re-enact scenes from the shows on the playground.
We welcomed "My Little Pony" into our repertoire happily. It was a nice calm show for when he was allowed to watch television. No one had dead parents. No one was physical with each other. There were even songs! I’m not embarrassed to admit that I enjoyed watching it myself. (Well, OK, I’m a little embarrassed about that.)
But I’d find myself in the company of other parents not mentioning the fact that my son loved “My Little Pony.” I didn’t want to discuss it. I didn’t want to have to explain. My husband never held back, proudly telling anyone that our 5-year-old loved “My Little Pony” and wasn’t that cute? My friends would pull me aside. "Aren’t you concerned about letting him watch a girl’s show?" they asked?
No. No, I’m not.
What’s the harm? Should I be afraid that these shows make him less of a boy? Or that a preference for these shows somehow indicates he’s gay? If he is gay, then I will love him just the same. As a parent, all I really want is for my kid to be safe, healthy and happy. If he’s happy watching a “girl’s” show, then so be it.
Last week, my son asked for a plush Twilight Sparkle to sleep with.
What I’ve come to realize in being a parent is that these kids are who they are. What’s more, I think they came out of our bellies that way. No amount of telling them what toys to like, or what shows to watch, or what sports to play is going to change that. And certainly a purple pony isn’t going to make him into something he’s not.
He still loves superheroes, "Transformers" and "Star Wars." He still wears a different superhero shirt every day. He can give you a detailed analysis of DC Comics vs. Marvel. (He’s partial to DC.) He can still transform any ordinary object into a sword, gun or light saber.
Last week, my son asked for a plush Twilight Sparkle to sleep with. The look of pure joy when he saw Twilight Sparkle waiting at home for him, after he got off the school bus, was priceless. He hugged her, and then promptly introduced her to Batman.
“I think they’re going to be friends,” he told me.
That night, they slept side by side. My son, Twilight Sparkle and Batman.