There are so many stereotypes based on gender that it’s not even funny. Unfortunately, there are too many that have an adverse impact on a young girl’s interests. Barbie dolls, learning how to cook and clean, become an elementary school teacher, wear pink (can’t fight all the stereotypes I guess) and the list goes on. And when it comes to cars, that’s so obviously a guy thing, right?

So, when the Washington Auto Show is in town, I take my little girl. Now, Najwa does seem to not be that into cars in general. Partly because she has repeatedly said that she has no intentions of learning how to drive a car; instead, she’ll get one of those autonomous driving cars so she can chill in the back and watch YouTube on her mobile.

But, going to a car show is not the same thing as going to a car lot. There are cars, sure, in every make, model and flavor you can imagine. But there’s also concept cars that give us a glimpse of the future of motor vehicles, technology such as the VR experience or the cars that will open day run off hydrogen cells and water, and then there’s hanging out with your friend regardless of the venue.

It’s funny how when I watch them pile up in a random car, one takes the wheel, the other adjusting the radio that’s not even on, I can almost see these two divas fast forward 10 years from now and I don’t seem to smile as much. Then I bring myself back to the moment and marvel at their fascination with cars in general, even as little girls who aren’t inclined to take an interest in such boy things.

Another thing I did, being a believer in free range kids, is I set a time for us to meet at the entrance and set them free. Alone. And when I say the showroom floor is cavernous, I had a hard time following yet hiding from them. The goal is to give them a complete sense of freedom to do whatever and not have a parent directing traffic. The challenge for me was that they’re short, they’re small, they got into vehicles and got out and I kept losing them. Not that I had any concern at all of there being any issues. If anything, I’m also learning how not to being an overbearing parent, hovering over their every actions, not allowing the kids to explore and develop a sense of making decisions on their own.

Hence, I don’t have as many photos as I wish I took. But the experience is the goal.

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