Some little girls just don’t like dolls, and Mary is one of them. Last night we went to Mcdonalds, and somehow they mixed up which gender specific toy belonged in which happy meal. Mary was thrilled to get an Official Spy Gear Gadget with her chicken nuggets. Ethan, on the other hand, was less thrilled to find a Polly Pocket with his cheeseburger. After realizing that the small scuffle in the back seat wasn’t about to resolve itself, we intervened. Mary was fairly upset when we told her to trade with her brother.
“What am I going to do with a silly old doll?” she protested.
And I wondered for a moment, what have I done?
As I’ve said before, I’ve never tried to push my kids into or even away from their stereotypical gender roles. As I see it, they’ll be who they want to be. Society will just have to like them as they are, or hang it in their big collective ear. But still, such a strong distaste for dolls made me worry just a little. I’m not sure about what, really. But it didn’t seem quite natural.
I shouldn’t have thought twice of it. Just now, Mary walked up to me and handed me a couple paper airplanes, the same ones she’d given me yesterday, come to think of it, and asked, “Do you remember these airplanes?” Of course I did!
“Weeellll…. the baby airplane doesn’t have anyone to play with. He’s so lonely. What do you think I should do?”
Before I could come up with a solution she liked (“let him play with the kitten?” didn’t go over so well), she pulled her hand from behind her back to reveal yet another tiny paper airplane.
“His mommy has to work, but now he doesn’t have to be lonely because I made a little sister for him to play with!” And soon the two baby airplanes were playing tag back and forth across the room, happy as doodlebugs, while the mother airplane worked and watched from the couch. Just like me.