Friday, November 5, 2010

Say What?!

A few nights ago, my daughter was sitting in her highchair eating supper.  Well, okay, refusing to eat supper.  Until I hand over her "baby" to play with.  She wouldn't eat her supper until I let her hold her dolly.  When I finally handed over the goods, she cradled the doll, kisses its plastic forehead (and then promptly threw it on the floor and proceeded to eat).

The doll, Stella, was actually Boy-o's.  Sort of.  He never even gave it a sidelong glance.  Not one.  (Perhaps, like his mama, he thinks those little plastic face dolls are freaking weird).   Plastic doll creepiness aside, I encouraged doll play (with that and a nice soft, cuddly boy doll), and he pooh-poohed every last bit of encouragement.  So Stella (and baby boy doll) sat in the corner, untouched until baby-sister came along.   I did not, I repeat NOT encourage baby sister to play with Stella.  (Why you might ask, would I encourage my boy and not my girl towards playing with dolls?  Because, in short, I believe that boys are socialized against the instinct of loving and nurturing towards others, where girls are completely over-socialized towards caring and nurturing for others. 

While I won't discourage Girlio from doll play, neither will I go out and buy her the pink baby doll with pink baby doll furniture.  Anyhoo...)  And yet, play with it she did.  One day a few weeks ago, Girlio came upon Stella.  And what did she do?  She promptly picked up baby Stella, pronounced it  "BayBeee" and nestled her gently in her arms.  And then didn't she reach down and pop a sweet, slobbery forehead kiss on that doll?  Sure did. 

Best intentions aside, Girlio has already learned to nuture.  And  Boy-o?  Well, the nurturing bit is a work in progress. 

So in this instance, anyways, the score thus far seems to be:

Gender-f*ck parenting - 0, Rest of the world - 1. 

(But ya'll know I'll keep trying :)


  1. LOL. You know, I think there is a lot to be said with nature. I pushed truck books, shows, songs on to Riley and she could've cared less. Jackson is OBSESSED with this stuff. Riley is all about the dolls, jewels, make-up and dresses. Dolls, I love, the not from our household.

  2. Stacey - I'm still on the fence about what the degree of nature/nurture is. But I'm happy to say that Girlio loves trucks and cars and airplanes just as much as her brother :)

    Mama T

  3. We were astonished when Erik became obsessed with tools as a baby and held onto that love for a very long time. He would cry and scream for someone to take him into the garage. We were like, how is he this much stereotypical boy at 8 months old?! It's not like we use tools around here unless we have to. And Ian, who is 15 months old, is all about trucks. Anything with wheels makes him happy.

    Now Erik is almost 4 and he's pretty much forgotten about the tools but loves, loves, loves superheroes. BUT, I'm happy to report that he also likes to play with dolls at times too and paints our toenails and this past week has been all about trying make-up. :)

  4. I bought Clara all sorts of trucks and cars and things with wheels. She got a blanket and tucked them all into bed.

  5. I read Steven Pinker's "Blank Slate." It changed my view of the whole nature vs. nurture argument...not that it persuaded me that either was the dominant force in how your child develops, but that both are so intertwined with each other we may never be able to definitively say: "This part of my child is due to genetics, this part is due to how I raised them."

    It takes some of the pressure off being a "perfect parent," to be honest. :)