Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Boy vs Girl

With 4 weeks to go, I'm wondering about the dynamics of having a boy versus having a very girly girl.

We didn't purposefully raise a girly girl. I don't remember being particularly girly as a child, but from the moment I met Lilly, I knew she was a pink princess.

Lately I've been trying to get her to be slightly more gender neutral. A) Because we're about to be a split household of 2 boys 2 girls, and B) because she has a lot of boy friends at school and I want her to be able to easily fit in with both the girls and the boys.

But is it nature versus nurture, in what kids like or respond to?

Recently I got my first Kate Spade purse. It came in the mail, and while it's definitely very nice, it feels a little too much to me. (I'm a Target purse girl; a splurge to me is a Banana Republic purse once every couple years.) As I started to examine it to see if I could actually feel comfortable with a nice purse, Lilly took it from me and said "Wow, I like my new purse." Then she looked inside, and asked for a wallet and money.

She wasn't raised on fancy things, yet she somehow looks at them and appreciates them in ways that don't feel natural to me. And by the way? She's been carrying that purse nonstop for 2 weeks. Like, everywhere. I've had to convince her to leave it in the car instead of taking it into school in the mornings.

I've also been trying to get her to watch more gender-neutral movies. While I love Tangled and Princess and the Frog and Enchanted, for the past couple months we've been pushing Muppets and Toy Story on her. And she definitely appreciates them as well. I even got her little Toy Story figures for the bath. (She has a group of "everybodies" that she plays with in the bath which includes Sesame Street characters, princesses, Winnie the Pooh, etc.) But, I think I've realized - you can only do so much to shape your child with what they want, and how they relate to it. As much as she completely loves Toy Story - and she certainly does - I realized her favorite new bath game is having Woody and Jessie lie on a washcloth as the "girl and boy", while Buzz Lightyear plays Mary Poppins and sings "Feed the Birds" to them. This girl is not going to be persuaded to play superhero with her new toys.

But we'll see, in a few weeks she'll start seeing more blue, and maybe in the car we'll stop listening to as much Broadway and start doing more gender neutral songs and activities. But as hard as it was to adjust to Lilly's girliness, I think I'm going to find the boy-world even more uncomfortable.

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