Growing up, I was never a girly girl. I went through phases where I wanted to wear make up like my Mom, but I really couldn’t get into it. When I was a preschooler, I could often be found digging in the dirt with one of the neighborhood boys. I played with Barbies, too. I took dance lessons, and I studied martial arts [for much longer than I took dance, mind you]. My parents never told me I couldn’t do something because I was a girl. And for that, I thank them.
I always joked that I was going to have 3 boys when it came time to have children. I could just see my life as Jill from Tool Time. Since M and I have decided we’re done after this one, I got my 3 boys in an unconventional way – my husband and my 2 children.
That’s not what this post is supposed to be about, though. This post is about the toys Butter plays with, and Baby Boy will play with in the future.
I don’t mind if my boys want to play with rocks or dirt, or wrestle with their Pop, or any of the things little boys are “supposed” to do. I also don’t care that Butter currently has a hand-me-down Power Wheels Jeep that rocks a purple and pink Barbie paint job. He’s also got a pretty kick butt tricycle that has a Harley Davidson paint/sticker job. He plays with both of them, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
The point is, if at some point one of the boys asks to play with a Barbie, I’m not going to tell him no because it’s a “girl’s” toy. In fact, the toy we plan to purchase for Butter from his brother is a kitchen. M loves to cook [far more than I do; another way in which I don’t fit the “girl” stereotype], and sees absolutely no problem with his sons playing in a kitchen. I know for a fact my mother in law plans to buy one or both of the boys an Easy Bake Oven in the future, and dealt with snide retorts of, “That’s a girl’s toy,” from her brother in law when she bought one for M. For the record, my husband loved that toy.
My boys are my boys, and I love them for it. No matter what toys they prefer to play with, I’m not going to stop them because isn’t it my job as a parent to nurture them and their interests? If they want to be cheerleaders [and I just had a flashback to 8 Simple Rules: “YELL CAPTAIN!” (fast forward to about 2:15 if you don’t want to watch the whole thing)], I’ll let them. Hey, there are college scholarships for cheerleaders, after all.
If Butter wants to walk around with a ball stuck up his shirt, pretending he’s just like Mommy, that’s fine.
No, he didn’t try to lean over, tell his belly, “Hi Brudder,” or try to kiss it. Every time it fell out of his shirt, he definitely asked, “Where did it go?”
To quote Allison: “Kids? Are kids. Can we just let them be kids? Not throw our stereotypes at them starting at birth? Not teach them our wrong beliefs?”
We should definitely let them be kids. Nothing is better than hearing your son squeal with delight as he steers his Barbie Power Wheels down a steep hill for the first time to visit a neighbor, the same way nothing beats hearing, “I did it!” when he makes a really good kick at a ball in the living room or hits a ball of a tee all by himself. [I try to discourage that kind of play from inside the house, but I swear M encourages it when I’m not around and is nearly as bad as Butter when you get right down to it. I really don’t want a broken window right now.]
Nothing is better than loving your child for who he [or she!] is and will be in the future. If I do nothing else right in this parenting thing, I will always be able to say I love Butter and Baby Boy for who they are, not who the world says they should be.