Childrearing

My Kids Are Walking Gender Stereotypes

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pink baby shoes blue baby shoesMy kids are so stereotypically gendered, it’s crazy. I’m not sure how this works, except to say that when my daughter was a baby she was so, so much different than my 1-year-old son.

“That’s boys for you!” my friends who have boys will tell me when I speak of how different my girl and boy are.

Yes, I dressed my daughter all in pink and I dress my son in blue. My daughter was a good baby. Meaning, she never touched anything she wasn’t supposed to, and I didn’t even have to tell her not to. I didn’t even have to baby proof the house!

My son, however, can find any outlet, even those that are completely hidden. He likes to stick his fingers in things like fans or the tiniest hole in the wall that anyone would need glasses to see or find. The toilet bowl is fascinating to him.

My daughter has about 300 stuffed animals and she can name every single one of them. My son? Give him a stuffed animal and he will whip it across the room almost as if saying, “What the hell am I supposed to do with this thing? This is stupid!” He has absolutely no interest in stuffed animals or dolls. He is interested in wheels. Lots and lots of wheels.

When I used to take my daughter for walks, she would love to stop and see the trees, flowers and pigeons. My son? I literally had to stand in front of a house that was under construction the last time I took him for a walk because he was so interested in the trucks and the builders. I was bored senseless.

Even when it comes to television viewing, my son loves Thomas the Train, a show that I could never figure out. I mean, what the fuck is so interesting about a train(s) that really do absolutely nothing except talk so super slow that I feel hypnotized or stoned. Even my daughter found that show completely boring, which I think makes her super smart.

My son? He adores Thomas the Train. When my daughter was frustrated about something, she would let me help her figure out how to put block pieces in boxes, for example. My son? If he gets frustrated, well, he will seriously just whip, again, whatever he his holding across the room. He’s tough!

My daughter loved to cuddle and kiss but when I cuddle my son I actually count the seconds (14 seconds!) that he will lie there, leaning on me, before deciding that it will be more fun to try to get under the fridge or into the dishwasher. My daughter never left my side and loved to just be hugged. My son? He likes to high five. He’s like a fucking monkey and only likes to climb me like I’m a tree. My daughter knew when the couch ended. My son likes to leap off it like he’s Superman (cue stitches on his chin.)

I admit that I do treat my son differently than my daughter, but that only came after learning that my kids are so different. For example, I can literally throw the kid on my bed like he’s a football and he LOVES it. I think I did treat my daughter, when she was a baby, more delicately. But my son? Well, the swing has to be swung has high and hard as can be. I hold him upside down and throw him over my shoulder and he loves it. He can never be thrown high enough!

I, of course, love both my children equally, but I have to say I was way more interested in playing tea party than I am sitting outside construction zones for hours or lining up cars. And he loves balls – tennis balls, golf balls, soccer balls. My daughter liked dressing up in ballet skirts and dancing. And she didn’t whip things – ever! And she didn’t crawl on me like I was a tree.

I’m not saying my daughter was a perfect baby (because I’d be lying) but I do think she was easier (and smarter – who in their right mind thinks Thomas the Train is INTERESTING?) than my son, who thinks climbing into the dishwasher is fun. Even if I dress him in pink, I’m telling you, my son is a completely different species than my daughter.

The silver lining, I’m thinking, is that my daughter was an easier baby (now that she is 10, she has social problems with friends that are heartbreaking.) When my son is older, I figure, he’ll just punch a kid and move on. And they’ll be friends again. I wish I could say that boys and girls aren’t different. But mine are! They just ARE!

(photo: Ruth Black / Shutterstock)