Growing up I was definitely a tomboy who often ran around with the boys. There was not as much doll playing as bug playing. I was always knee deep in some kind of dirt. Searching for bugs and frogs often gained me the reputation of “That dirty looking girl!” in the neighborhood.
When my son’s imaginative play started to take off, I bought him lots of animals, a nice gender neutral play house set and a train set to help him play. Little did I know that he would spend most of his time in the play house with tiny figurines of animals that were soft and cuddly.
Eventually, he graduated from those soft little animals to Barbie dolls. Now, he insists on playing with his Barbie dolls all the time.
We have a bucket load of animal figurines that now lay neglected.
I try to use gender neutral practices with him. So, I supported his interest. We read Disney’s “Frozen” story. We eventually read all the Disney princess stories. I reveled in his interest since I didn’t grow up reading those stories.
All the reading really made his imagination soar.
He would spend seemingly hours “swimming” in the bathtub with his little mermaid. He would walk his “Rapunzel” on the roof of the doll house and attempt to slide her down over and over. He would put Barbie in the car and ride her around his “neighborhood” while having an entire inaudible baby conversation with her.
I still think it’s so cute that he does all of this imaginative play. At the same time, each time we go to the playground, I’m hoping that he will play well with the boys instead of following some older girl around.
As a parent, I have a lot of conflicting emotions going on here.
With all the gender issues, race issues and general turmoil for any kind of minority living in this world today, I am fearful of my son’s future if he continues to play with “Girl” toys. At the same time, I love seeing his sensitive side when he kisses his dolls and takes care of them. I love seeing his imagination blossom.
Ultimately, I always choose to support my son no matter what. At a recent consignment sale, I bought a small “Frozen” castle, a bunch of play house furnitures for Barbie and lots of Barbie dolls in both genders.
Secretly, I’m still hoping that he will go through a “transportation” stage like all the other boys so that he won’t be the odd one out when playing with a group of boys. In the mean time, I’m embarked on customizing my old book shelf into a Barbie doll house for him.
For first time mom tips, check out 5 Regrets from a First Time Mom + 5 Tips.
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