Four months in, and having a boy is…exactly like having any other baby. Obviously, things work a little differently in the diaper department than I am used to, but I adjusted to that quickly. I have noticed that in children’s clothing stores the boys’ section is disproportionately smaller than the girls’ section, which is crap. It is a LOT harder to find cute boy clothes. Oh, the injustice!
Last week James and I went to the grocery store while Annie was at preschool. An older women started cooing over him, and when she heard James had an older sister at home she said, “Make sure you pick up some footballs and trucks and let that boy be a boy!” I was polite, but I made a face as I walked away.
Madeline never really gravitated to the girlie stuff, but Annabel was drawn to it like a moth to a flame. I fell onto the tomboy side of the spectrum when I was growing up and really resented when people implied I was wrong because I wasn’t a girl who liked dresses and dolls. So, while it’s fun and different to have such a girlie-girl in Annie, I’m making sure she doesn’t feel like her interests are right or wrong.
I will make sure James has access to “boy” stuff as well as “girl” stuff, but mostly he’ll just have access to stuff and we’ll let the chips fall where they may. With Annabel as his sister, he’s going to know all about Disney princesses and cake decorating (her latest obsession), but also bike rides and baseball and playing pretend. I don’t really buy into the whole, “boys will be boys” thing. I just want my kids to be kids
You know those long tubes that wrapping paper are wrapped around? Well, during the Christmas season we have plenty of the empty ones lying around this house…and the kids will play with them constantly. To my boys they become swords! They run around and play pirates and battle and all that good stuff. To my girls these tubes become magic wands! They tap each other on the head and Poof! You’re a fairy! I did not teach my kids how to play with these tube thingies – this is just what they do! When either me or my husband pick up an empty tube, we don’t use them as swords or magic wands. Nope. What WE do is put our mouth to one end and blow it like a horn into each other’s ear when they are not looking. Now, THAT is how they should be played with. Nothing gender specific about that!
I have two girls. One a girly-girl who isn’t afraid to be rough and muddy, and one not so girly, but she still loves her dolls.
They’d use them as swords or horses.
I find cute boy stuff all the time! I have a 3 month old girl so when I’m looking for girl stuff(that will fit my tall skinny girl) it seems like there is more baby boy things than girl, especially at target as of late!
I have a 4-year-old that loves Dora, Doc McStuffins, Princess Sofia…equally with dirt, Spiderman, motorcycles. He takes dance but also loves sports. I am proud that he likes exploring different things and don’t push things on him. I try to take it in stride but…geez…try finding boy dance clothes
My son, now 18, had 2 baby dolls when he was a young child. He asked for them for Christmas and I got him one boy and one girl doll. He played with them for a couple of years, eventually they ended up as bath dolls and then passed on to his younger sister.
Hes also been known to partake in tea parties with his younger sister too.
My son enjoys my little pony and princess Sophia and I will gladly record them for him. I want him to enjoy whatever he wants regardless of its a “girl” or “boy” thing. As long as he’s happy. My older son had all Dora stuff before Diego came along.
Autumn Canter says:
Had a boy first and then a girl. I do see a trend of them gravitating towards boy and girl things. My boy loved construction vehicles, car and trains. Though my daughter will play with those things with him, so prefers the toy kitchen, dolls, animals, princesses. My son’s favorite color was pink until he started preschool and a boy told him that was a girl color. So sad. He still loves having his nails painted. I drew the line and said “No painted nails in kindergarten.” Still not sure if this was the right thing. I just don’t want him to be teased. But I also won’t paint mine except for summer. I also tell him “No pants with holes in kindergarten!” So I hope he just lumps painted nails in with looking nicer for school. He wants to wear a skirt like his sister, so we are getting him a kilt. It’s hard to fight the urge to not enforce gender stereotypes but allow for innocent self expression. We try our best over here. Also, my son likes the Disney princess movies. Not as much as my daughter, but he does like them! We never have told them “Only boys can do that” or “only girls can do that!” except for boys standing to pee and girls having babies and nursing them!
Your son is lucky to have parents that don’t try to change him but just love him as he is!
James will be whoever James chooses to be, and whatever, he will be terrific!!!!!!!
My 3 boys always had dolls too, they were definitely a phase and sometimes come back onto the scene. Not with my oldest anymore and it’s getting less and less with the second oldest. My girl hasn’t been much different yet (13 mo) than having a boy. Except it’s fun seeing her brothers all excited by her “pretty” things….headbands, shoes, dresses. I would say they definitely gravitated towards “boy” things when given the opportunity from a young age, although that was easier to see when it was at a friend’s house and not just at our house by default of having an older sibling. It’s fun watching them grow and change all the time!
Good for you! My daughter is told at school (she’s 6) that some of her shirts are “boy” shirts because they have superheroes or Doctor Who or Star Wars or something on them. She just tells them “there’s no such thing as boy stuff or girl stuff, there’s just stuff.” I like this infographic on how to tell if a toy is for boys or girls. http://www.duelinganalogs.com/infographic/how-to-tell-if-a-toy-is-for-boys-or-girls/
I was determined not to gender stereotype my boys, yet like your Annie, they let me know very early on what their preference was for toys. I now have two boys who are obsessed with trucks, superheroes, dinosaurs and robots. They never let mommy watch any Disney princess movies either! Darn!
When they were littler we bought them a play kitchen but it sits unused with. (They do throw the play food at each other though, sigh). We also have a gender neutral dollhouse and stroller and dolls that they rarely play with either, except to use the stroller to haul trucks around.
They are who they are, and I think it’s important to honor that. I will continue trying to expose them to things they are gender neutral, but I will let them gravitate toward whatever they are interested in.
I think kids just gravitate toward what they want, regardless of what anyone else wants.
I totally agree with you. We have boy/girl twins (just like you and your brother :-)). We did not know their genders before birth so they have a green room. All their toys and first baby clothes were gender neutral. As soon as they could declare their favorite colors, she announced “pink” followed by “purple”. He has always picked blue everything.
I was super surprised when she was picking out glasses at age 4 she passed right over the pink and purple glasses and choose black. She then informed me that “black is her new favorite color.”
It is all good. xo
Like you, my 3rd child is a boy. Before having a boy I would be the 1st to voice my opinions on nurture verse nature… but the boy came out of the womb with a obession for all things with wheels! He played with the doll strollers, walkers, etc. Racing these things around the house and crashing into things until they broke. Also, we had a no toy guns rule but that did not stop him from building weapons with legos or pretending sticks were guns and swords. He watched all the same Disney movies our girls did… Toy Story was his favorite. He did like the Little Mermaid but only because he was hot for Ariel!! Yup, all boy, despite having 2 older sisters.
When my son was a baby, it was the height of Cabbage Patch so I bought him one. I felt very hip ignoring gender stereotypes. It sat in his crib with Rudolph, the red nosed reindeer, and his bear. When he could talk he named the doll Baby Beth, and the bear, Boo Boo. He never attached to the doll but loved the bear to pieces (literally). Baby Beth was just politely ignored.. When my daughter was born, she reached and grabbed for it at nine months and hasn’t left her side since…..it is currently at college with her. As my son grew, he liked cars and trucks. my daughter liked dolls, sports, and make believe. I do think boys are girls are wired a little differently but just let them be and like what they like.
Boys AND girls, not boys are girls….my bad
Michelle H says:
Kids naturally emulate their older siblings when they are young. I don’t think it will influence their true inner being at all. I have some awesome pics of my boy at 2 in his sister’s Ariel dress. He just wanted to do what she did. Love those pics of him! At the same time, he slept with a car in his hand instead of a stuffed animal. He wouldn’t be caught dead in a dress today at 7 (but it would be ok with me if he wanted to wear one!)
Good for you to not let those comments bother you. Happy kids are the best kids! They don’t need any extra pressures these days.
Mary Brock says:
I have an 8 year old daughter and a 2 year old son. Since my son was old enough to walk, he has gravitated towards girl stuff. I don’t know if its bc he looks up to his sister, or bc thats just who he is. Anytime there are choices for colors, he chooses pink!! He also loves to wear headbands and necklaces. My husband is not ok with any of it. He forces him to choose boy stuff and it aggravates me. Any suggestions on how to show my husband that my sons choices are “ok”?
I think you might need to drill down a little deeper on this with your husband. It is probably less about your 2 year old’s choices than it is about the bigger implications your husband is worried about. Find out what that is about and then have those conversations. If he’s worried about him being gay, that is a big discussion and I don’t know how to tell you to even begin that. I can tell you this… if he’s going to be gay or feminine (which DON’T always go together), it isn’t those toys and colors that will make him so. Honestly, it’s all probably because he has an older sister and nothing more. That’s really all you can assume at this point. But maybe have that “bigger issues” discussion to get at the heart of what your husband is thinking, then take it from there.
I agree with all of the above except I noticed that boys are into sound effects. Everything has a sound and everything becomes a gun. I tried a no toy gun policy, but the blocks became guns, so I had to teach gun safety instead. But, all I have are boys so…who knows?
I have a 5 year old girl and a 2.5 year old boy. We have noticed what many would consider to be “opposite” gender roles for both. Our boy loves dolls, cares a lot about his clothes and shoes already (whereas my 5 yr old recently said, “Clothes are clothes, who cares what they look like?”), spends a lot of time cuddling with us, is pretty sensitive… And our girl is very active, did not enjoy ballet but likes soccer, most of her friends right now are boys, seems less aware of her peers and their interests than other girls and on and on. They are both happy kids and it will be fun to see if anything changes as they age!
YES! I completely agree. This topic motivates me to not want to find out the gender of my baby until it’s born. Or maybe find out and just not tell anyone. Not sure if I can hold out, though. I just hate the idea of shoving a kid into some mold. My mother in law already said she wants a boy because she wouldn’t know what to do with a girl. What? How about color with her, take her to the park, watch movies, play games, dance, read… I try to ease my own stress about the state of the world (I take this stuff way too seriously) by telling myself its a generational thing and will fade out with time. But then I hear/see someone my age doing this stuff and I’m right back to plotting a million man march. Went to the Lego store recently and became so bothered by the pink legos (WHY do they need to be pink? WHY does a castle or a veterinarian’s office need to be gender-specific?) I practically ranted a thesis to my husband on the car ride home. I need help. But so do our children. Keep fighting the good fight!
My brother played Barbies with me. Of course more times than not Barbie ended up being a “motorcycle” or something but he would play with me. And my cousin grew up with 3 sisters. While he had “boy” toys he was surrounded with dolls so he played with those as well. And the girls played with the trucks and cars. No big deal. Drives me crazy with the toy specifications.
Good for you! I keep hoping this mentality will happen more and more with time. The other day I was in Party City buying my daughter a Halloween costume, and when I asked for Iron Man, the automatic response was “how old is he?” I said “SHE is six.” Then they immediately tried to steer me toward the girly super hero outfits. I’ll let my daughter wear whatever costume she wants, thank you very much.
I definitely didn’t try to push boy things on my boy, but man at 18 months he snagged a Thomas train at Target and howled and screamed when I tried to take it away, and to this day at nearly 5 he plays with Thomas trains and Hotwheels nearly all day long. I made sure he has baby dolls, a play kitchen, and even a fantastic set of Barbies, and while he does play with them, and he will even enjoy dressing up in Disney princess gowns when he plays with his best girl friend, at the end of the day all he wants is his trains and cars. It’s fascinating.
When my 14 year old male cousin was just old enough to speak a handful of words, he loved to play with both his and his three year old sister’s toys, but we got a kick out of the way his little voice would get deeper and gruffer when he saw a ‘TUCK’.
I thought we did a fairly good job introducting different kinds of toys to my son, and he definitely preferred anything that had wheels and his favorite activity was wrestling with other boys. But he also loved to dress up and have his nails painted. Today as a teen he proudly calls himself “metrosexual”, wears colored skinny pants to school when everyone else is wearing athletic shorts, and laments the fact that he’s not gay because he thinks that would make him more interesting! But he’s absolutely crazy about his girlfriend of over a year. You just never know what early childhood choices mean, if anything. You just have to create a loving, accepting environment. It will be interesting to see what my 6 year old daughter’s preferences will be in the future as she’s grown up enamoured with her brother’s toys like trains and dinosaurs. Her favorite movie is Cars. She doesn’t care what she wears, but she’s fiercely proud of the curls that reach her waist and won’t let us cut them. So much more fun to raise independent-minded kids than stereotypes!
I was the girliest tomboy that ever lived. I loved playing sports and taking hikes and riding my bike but I loved skirts and dresses and SHOES! My dad used to roll his eyes because I HAD to put makeup on to play softball. Mascara and lipstick every game. I must have been very confused as a teenager. Lol!
I HATED that gender bullshit with my boys. My 18 year old used to put on my white pumps and take the sun top from his brother’s car seat/carrier and would use it like a head scarf and go outside with the pumps, scarf, and a diaper and walk up and down our sidewalk acting like an old lady. I would laugh because he was using his imagination. Mr. would get huffy. Meh. Bigger things in life to worry about than if your kids are going to play with GI Joe or Barbies. Let them start farting and it won’t matter their gender – it will be a giggle fest.
When I had my daughter, I was determined to dress her gender neutral as much as possible. At some point we had to stop, because it’s tough to find clothes that are gender neutral for a kid as young as 9 months! After that, we just had to surrender to pink things. My daughter turned out not to like pink, either, and is into yellow. She’s the kid in yellow shoes, pants and shirts in the middle of winter. But she’s equally at home playing trucks with other kids as she is feeding baby dolls, so we’re quite pleased.
With the boy, rather than try, I recycled as much of the unisex stuff as possible, and am trying to stick to yellow and red when possible. Again, tough. It’ll be interesting how much his interactive play will be influenced by having a big sister, for us: both my husband and I were halves of an older brother, younger sister pair, so the older sister/younger brother is uncharted territory for us.
I had always noticed that the boys section of clothing stores kinda stunk. Having had 3 girls and then and boy you really noticed when you had to shop for a little boy. Yes there is cute stuff out there but alot less racks to choose from than the girls racks.
My son is 2 and loves loves loves Dora! He loves putting his sisters headbands and elastics on his his head and he can strut his stuff in a pair a high heels like no other. But he also gets down and dirty playing with his cars, farm animals and other typical “boy” stuff.