Mom Confused When Cashier Stops Daughter, Until She Hears Her Response

Questions

Facebook/Brandi Benner

Brandi was horrified. Her body began to boil. Her mouth went dry. Sophia became heavy in her arms. The cashier stared at her blankly. Was she hearing things? Sophia clung to the doll like it was the only toy left in the shop. The cashier reached across the desk and pulled it from the child. “This one doesn’t really look like you. Don’t you want some other doll?” Brandi took a deep breath. She was about to give this woman a harsh dose of reality. Then, her little tot piped up.

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Motherhood

Facebook/Brandi Benner

Brandi considered herself lucky. Her beautiful baby girl, Sophia, was happy and healthy. She knew she was special from the moment she was born. Sure, she had her moments, but for the most part, Sophia was an angel. She would wake up and fall asleep happy. She constantly brought happiness to Brandi’s. Before they knew it, Brandi was walking, talking, and making her own decisions. But Brandi never expected this one so early.

Parenting

Facebook/Brandi Benner

People flinch at the mention of the phrase “terrible twos.” For many, it’s a reminder of the restless nights, temper tantrums, pickiness, and absolute defiance. For new parents, it’s an anxiety-inducing reminder of what’s to come. All “parenting skills” used until then become irrelevant. Studies, techniques, and research can no longer aid in the struggle to keep a calm household. Most children struggle between the reliance on their parents and the conscious want to be independent. Sophia was like no other.

Struggles

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Brandi and her husband, Nick, began to struggle. Bedtime was a battle. Dinnertime was chaotic. Shopping was chaos. But she stuck to her guns. Brandi refused to budge on Sophia’s routine, even if that meant putting her to bed six times every night. The first few months were a battle of wills. Eventually, after plenty of tears, Sophia finally began to calm down and reverent back to her charming self. But there was another hurdle to come.

Potty

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Hours were spent staring at the computer screen, replying to parenting sites, and reading books. Brandi took one thing away from her research—better to rip the plaster off early before it gets too stuck. The sooner she got Sophia out of diapers, the better. Otherwise, she would become too fond of the comfort and too lazy to get up and go. Brandi was nervous. Weeks of sleepless nights had made her weak. She wasn’t sure if she could keep up another prolonged fight. But Sophia shocked them all.

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Natural

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There was one crucial aspect that was needed for potty training—rewards. Sophia quickly earned more stickers than Brandi’s make-shift reward chart could hold. As expected, there were accidents the first few weeks. But then, Sophia began to flourish, finding confidence in her diaper-free independence. After a month of using the potty, Brandi wanted to treat her daughter. Instead of buying her a surprise, they wanted her to embrace her independence by letting her decide. A trip to the store was in order. They didn’t expect the cashier to act like this.

Choices

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The toy section of South Carolina’s Target store was something from Sophia’s dreams. Many children would collect as many items that they could carry and beg for them all. But Sophia was an understanding girl She knew she was only to pick out one thing, so she wanted to find something special. After 20 minutes of browsing, she found the perfect match. But not everyone agreed with her choice.

Dreams

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At only 2-years-old, Sophia had picked a doll that was already 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,” Brandi shared. Out of all the available toys, this particular doll caught Sophia’s eye, and was delighted with her find. But someone questioned her choice.

Doubt

“While we were checking out, the cashier asked Sophia if she was going to a birthday party. We both gave her a blank stare,” Brandi thought she misheard. “She then pointed to the doll and asked Sophia if she picked her out for a friend.” Brandi explained it was her daughter’s reward for her hard work. Why did she think the doll was for someone else? Then, the cashier made a shocking comparison.

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Persistence

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“Are you sure this is the doll you want, honey?” the cashier asked Sophia. Before Brandi could answer, Sophia squealed in her arms. “Yes, please!” The woman looked confused as she held the doll the counter. “But she doesn’t look like you. We have lots of other dolls that look more like you,” she encouraged. A lump formed in Brandi’s throat. She hadn’t even noticed. Why would it make a difference? Her temper began to rise. How could a perfectly sighted woman be so blind?

Color

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Sophia had picked an African-American doll, but children and most adults don’t notice these things when choosing toys. Brandi didn’t know what to say. Should she make a scene? Quietly lecture the cashier? Leave empty-handed and refuse to return? “Yes, she does,” Sophia responded. “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?” Brandi had never been prouder. The cashier was speechless.

Inclusion

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Brandi had never explained the color of people’s skin before. Not because she didn’t want to, but because Sophia never asked. Being an innocent child who neither notices or registers skin color, Sophia put the cash back in her box. It was as if she had an answer prepared before she was even asked. The cashier remained mute as she scanned the doll and returned it to the safe, loving hands of Sophia. But there were plenty of other dolls. Why did she choose this one?

Television

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Sophia had picked Dottie, the star of an animated television show “Doc McStuffins,” in which Dottie is a doctor, helping neighborhood toys. With the help of her two best friends, Lambie and Hallie, they “fix” toys who are going through some hard times. The show has been running in 2012 and continues to show young children diversity and challenge stereotypes. Sophia was a fan. Dottie had taught her the word “stethoscope” and “thermometer.” Brandi never imagined a TV series would have such an impact on her daughter.

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Learning

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Brandi continues to encourage her daughter’s wisdom. Only 2-years-old, Sophia already understands that race is irrelevant. “Doc McStuffins” has two eyes, two ears, a nose, a mouth, two arms, two legs, ten fingers, and ten toes just like Sophia. Although she had no idea what the cashier implied by her comments, Sophia has showed the world how easy it is to forget about race and ethnicity. Is it really that hard to accept diversity?

Future

Facebook/Brandi Benner

Many children don’t register skin color. With television shoes, toys, and books becoming more diverse, kids learn from an early age that it is normal to look different. Hopefully, this cashier learned a lesson from young Sophia. And if not, maybe a few episodes of “Doc McStuffins” will help!

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