Boys Will Be Boys?

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Categories Parenting Twins

“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?

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10 thoughts on “Boys Will Be Boys?”

  1. I have 2 year old twin boys with a 6 year old sister and a 9 year old brother. My Little Guy has always had a closer bond with his sis, so he loves carrying her purses and wearing her shoes. But he will get down and fight over a truck or ball with his brother too. I think in the early years they are just exploring. If my 6 year old was a boy, I think Little Guy would be wearing his shoes and such.

  2. I have 2.5 year old twin boys and they love it all! They’ll play with trains, trucks and balls all day, but they also love to go to my friend’s house and play princess dress up with her daughter. They have my dolls from when I was little and they love to play with them too.

    As far as dealing with family members opinion, I’ve talked privately and casually w/ one family member about it, because I didn’t want him to hurt the boys’ feelings. Specifically, I asked him not to worry about their painted toe nails, because they loved it and it would bother them if he mentioned to them that he thought it was ‘girly’.

  3. YES! I have boy/girl twins and I totally agree with you! Nate always wants the pretty little pink things Lilly has and I am just not ready to tell him he can’t have them! They are only two and a half and I like that they don’t limit themselves to pink or blue or dolls or trucks yet!

  4. I have 3 year old B/G twins and they have always shared everything. Lucas wears pink princess shoes and Gracie plays with Lucas’ trains and trucks. I don’t have a problem with it, but there are some people who clearly do. When they start to get all crazy about Lucas and his pink shoes, I just remind them that the crazier you get about “only boy” and “only girl” things, the more importance you place on them and the more shame. Being 3 means you get to experiment with toys, clothes and everything.

    That doesn’t mean that the media hasn’t already started to separate my kids and their preferences. I hear a lot of “I can play with that, Mommy, but Gracie can’t.” or “That’s for me, Lukie, not for you!”

    Oh, and I’ve painted Lukie’s toenails too!

  5. With the exception of some stuffed animals/dolls, our boys generally have gender specific toys (mostly gifts from relatives), but whenever we visit friends, they *love* playing with the tiaras, tutu’s and fairy princess wands! I secretly love it too. Who cares! Let them play! …and if they ask for a pink baloon at a family-friendly restaurant, pink is what they’ll get. Society needs to loosen up a bit and quit assigning colors to genders.

  6. I don’t like the gender stereotyping either and I can tell that it does get to them because we once saw a science kit at a store (microscope, simple electronics kit) and one of my girls stated, “This is a boy toy.” Well, as an engineer myself, I quicly pointed out the aspects of it that she would like and said its a toy for girls too!. No idea where she got that idea from, but it certainly wasn’t from me!

  7. I totally agree, and can’t believe how stereotyping people are. I am pregnant with twins and have no other children (unless you count dogs…). I have been shocked at how many of my friends say I can’t dress a baby boy with anything pink! We don’t know the sexes yet- but can’t resist buying stuff for them. And I am not talking about a pink dress but just a simple onesies that might be considered a little more feminine. Oh well not my problem- :)

  8. My son loved pink as a toddler! For preschool, each child (with parent help of course) had to design an “All About me Poster” on their favorite color posterboard. His proudly hung all year in the classroom wall with its bright pink background! Im not sure when or why he changed his mind about pink, but I know it wasn’t anything I said or did to discourage it!
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  9. Great Post! I just wrote about a similar thing. My boy has already accepted that pink is for his sister. He always tries to play with her dolls but she says they are hers and not his. He has his own doll, but there are too many times that I’m hearing “that’s for girls.” I hope I, and all the people around the children will just let them be. In our case too, no one mentions a thing if she plays with trucks and trains, but if it’s the other way there is more likely to be an issue.

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