Pink is for girls, blue is for boys. Right?
I guess so, but even when they were babies, I dressed my girls in things that were considered somewhat less than girly (they had a green camo outfit that was always a favorite.) I painted their rooms pale blues and greens. I chose a jungle-themed nursery followed by one with cute little bugs. I went with a gray and black stroller and a beige car-seat.
No, I haven’t purposefully steered my daughters away from trains and toward tiaras. I haven’t hidden the Barbies from 2-year-old Jedidiah and tried to force him toward toy trucks. I've tried to remain neutral.
But, honestly, it doesn’t really seem to matter.
With no urging from me, my girls want to wear fancy dresses every single day of their lives. For hours, they will sit and color beautiful pictures of unicorns, rainbows and princesses. They want to wear sparkly jewelry and lip gloss and high heeled shoes. They like to paint and make all sorts of crafts. They sit still and listen during Storytime. They like to talk. And talk and talk and talk. They love to play dress up and have tea parties. They read and play Candyland and bake cookies. They build tents in pretend jungles and they pretend to be mommy lions with lots of little baby lions. They like to sew and wear aprons and look for fairies.
Jedidiah, who doesn’t even know what a sword or a gun is yet (he’s two) turns half of the things he picks up into weapons and the other half into “choo-choos” or “aiwpwains.” One of the first words he ever said (if it’s considered a word) was “vroom.” He doesn’t care much for books, unless he’s using one as a projectile. He doesn’t like to color – on paper anyway. He prefers a nice clean wall or an unsuspecting dog. He runs at all times. He covers himself in mud and splashes all the water out of the bathtub. He loves sticks and balls. If he sees a button, he has to push it. If he sees a DVD player, he is compelled to stick something in it (usually something other than a DVD.) If it’s on, he has to turn it off. If it’s full, he has to dump it out. He wants to climb up the tallest slide on the playground and hurtle himself down at top speed.
I wonder if these characteristics have been influenced by my children's families, their peers, their church, the gifts they received when they were babies - or are their little brains hardwired to be this way?
It’s weird. My girls will wear their fancy dresses even while they’re climbing trees, making mud pies, playing Legos and watching Lord of the Rings.
And Jedidiah is 100% boy, but he loves to use the Dustbuster and help cook in the kitchen. He likes sparkly things, stickers, fluffy stuffed animals and pushing his little baby doll around the house in the stroller.
I love the way they don’t care one bit about gender stereotypes. They like what they like, period. And as for me, I’ve come to this conclusion:
So what if my girls want to take archery lessons or gut fish? Who cares if Jed thinks it’s funny to try on his sisters’ shoes or put a hair-bow on his head once in a while?
They are learning to be who they are – and that’s exactly who I want them to be.