“Can I have a ponytail?”
“I need a barrette!”
“Today I want pink undies.”
“Where is my leotard?”
I hear questions and comments like these almost every day. From Buba, my son.
He sees his sister (Tiny) getting pretty things for her hair, a special outfit for gymnastics class, and all kinds of pretty, sparkly, pink things, and he wants them too. At this point, I haven’t fully figured out why he really wants these things. Does he really, really want a ponytail, or is it just that he wants the same thing that Tiny is getting?
I think it might be a little bit of both. He seemed not to care much about the leotard until Tiny started to make a big deal about it. Once I gave him a special set of clothes (a Gap T-shirt and some gray sweatpants) and told him that they were just for gymnastics class, he stopped asking about the leotard. But he does seem to genuinely like pink things, and, especially at this point, I feel it is okay to let him have and enjoy the pink sparkly things. Because, well, who cares?
For the most part, I try to avoid any gender stereotyping with my kids. They both got baby dolls and trucks for Christmas, and they both love playing with the tea set just as much as they enjoy playing with the set of toy tools. But they’re starting to become aware that some things are perceived as being for boys while others are for perceived to be for girls. At the dentist’s office, the kids each got a goody bag to take home. Buba’s was green with trucks and dinosaur stickers inside, while Tiny’s was pink with Strawberry Shortcake and princess stickers (along with a toothbrush and sample sized toothpaste, of course). And then there was the donut shop girl who, after serving a chocolate frosted donut with multicolored sprinkles to Tiny, gave Buba a plain chocolate frosted donut and explained that this was the “boy donut”. No one has a problem with Tiny racing around the floor with her cars, but even a close relative told Buba that he needed a wallet, not a purse.
I guess my feeling is that I just want to let Buba be Buba. If he wants to dress up in a tutu and carry around a purse, fine. It makes him happy. And that makes me happy.
So how about it? Anyone else have a little boy like mine? How have you handled gender stereotyping with your family?