My son making me feel a little
better about the whole thing.I have twins -- one boy and one girl. Baby jackpot some would say. They just turned 3. My parents bought my daughter a dark blue velvet jacket for her birthday. It's adorable, but Pippi will not put it on. She pushed it away and said, "No, that's for Hunter." I explained how it's a gift for her but she said, "No, that's a boy's jacket."
My daughter, who wore mostly pink for the first few months of her life because you can't find preemie clothes in many colors, has been pink-washed. My daughter -- the little baby girl who I bought baby dolls for and dressed in tutus -- is a girly girl who doesn't think she can wear certain colors. And it's all my fault.
My son does it, too. When all the toy catalogs were coming in the mail leading up to Christmas, Hunter would look through them, see dolls, and say, "Those are girl toys, where are the boy toys?" He would be happy when the page turned to reveal the trucks, cars, and superheroes. This upsets me. I don't want them to think there is this separation, but society teaches them that there is. I apparently, unknowingly, unwillingly taught them that as well.
I don't think I treat them differently, but I have dressed them "as a girl" and "as a boy." They learned this from me. It's one of those little things we as parents do without thinking and it's something our kids learn from us. Is this something to worry about down the line?
My son does enjoy wearing barrettes -- something considered a "girl" thing to do. He also takes a time-out from playing with his race cars to play with dolls. He showed me his nurturing side not just from him tucking in and saying goodnight to his firetruck, but by feeding baby dolls as well. I hope this is a sign he knows he can wear whatever color he wants, and play with any toy he wants, whether marketed to him or not. I do believe that we focus too much on gender-specific toys and that needs to change. Easy-Bake Ovens aren't just for girls and boys shouldn't feel they can't play with them. Matchbox cars aren't just for the little guys.
But my daughter loves her pink. She loves her princess crown and ballerina dresses. She's more drawn to frilly things and fairy wings than dark colors and motorcycles. My son prefers the train set over the play kitchen, and Diego over Dora.
Perhaps when they are teenagers, learning more about themselves and what they like, my daughter will want to wear all black all the time (just like I did). Maybe my son will love cooking and be really into fashion. I just want them to know they can like whatever they want to like -- there are no "girl" toys or "boy" toys. They can wear any color they want and be who they want to be.
I never want them to feel limited because of their gender.
Does your daughter prefer "girl" toys over "boy" toys? How about your son? Is it something you worry about? Will your child shun toys supposedly meant for the opposite sex?
Image via Michele Zipp