Before I write this, I want to say that I am aware that I'm generalizing and feeding into stereotypes. Mine is the first heart to melt when a boy breastfeeds a doll or proudly wears a pink tutu, and I love to see little girls playing with trucks and wearing blue. However, I don't think you can ignore the fact that in general, boys and girls are different. I have to admit that I am "guilty" of encouraging and nurturing Zoe's interest in dolls and all things "girl" probably more than any interest towards "boy" things (although never discouraging), but I myself was a doll playing, dress wearing little girl at ALL TIMES and as parents, we most definitely pass along to our kids the things we enjoyed when we were young so how can I resist? Nathan loves football, and so of course Zoe does too, so it can go both ways. I'll be interested to see what kinds of games Owen tends to gravitate to as he gets older.
Anyway, I've really gotten a kick out of noticing these differences lately. My friend Gretchen was over the other day and we were letting Zoe and her son Hunter (consequently the breastfeeding, pink tutu wearing little boy in my life right now) run around in the front of my apartment. We had drawn hopscotch on the sidewalk and were letting them play the game however they wanted. I ended up drawing a second one because they couldn't agree on how to play. Zoe was trying to carefully go through each number and say them out loud in order and Hunter just wanted to barrel on through. After keeping to themselves for a couple minutes, Hunter started barreling through both and Zoe would get frustrated and go to try the other one and start to carefully start from the beginning again, only to be interrupted by Hunter's version of the game They went back and forth like that for a while and Gretchen and I just had to laugh because it was such a stereotypical boy/girl conflict.
Although I really think that a lot of the gender roles we fight so hard against are here to stay no matter how hard we try, I am relieved to be bringing up my kids in a much more accepting world than it was 50 years ago. We have SO much farther to go, obviously, but I am amazed to think about how different life was for women, really not that long ago. It's not hard for me to find friends with similar views in this respect and I'm so grateful for that. I want my kids to grow up thinking it would be strange to assume ANYONE is less deserving than anyone else and that just because someone looks different than they do, makes different choices, has different viewpoints and different ways of life doesn't mean they are better or worse than the next person. I hope Zoe can always keep and pass on to her brother the ability to see and appreciate people for who they are, not judge them by how they are different from her. One of my neighbors, (who is raising two kids with her partner) was playing with Zoe on the playground one day. She came over to tell me that Zoe had asked her where the "other Mommy" was. We had never talked about the fact that the kids have two Mommies, because I don't think it's anything that needs to be pointed out or "explained" and she doesn't think that it's weird. Here's hoping we, as a society can continue to make strides forward and guide our kids towards a life of kindness and compassion.