By Andrea Millay, Manager, Mommy PR
I never put much stock into “gender toys” until I had my first son. I was over-diligent exposing him to “girl toys”- babies, dolls, tea parties, etc. All he wanted was balls, cars and anything else that had wheels or moved. So when my second son was born I naively thought he would be the same. To my dismay, I was horrified when, shortly before Christmas this year, I found out that my 20-month-old had a deep abiding love for babies and dolls and I simply had no clue!
We visited family, who had a new baby, and my little guy sat for hours watching this baby. He talked to her, patted her and even got to hold her with Mommy’s help. Did that clue me in to his fascination with babies? Sadly, no. It took him tossing all his Christmas toys aside and playing with my niece’s crawling baby doll to make me realize my mistake. Since then I have made an effort to expose both of my boys to the so called “girl toys.” Now, my sister is even getting my youngest son baby doll gear (playpen, high chair and car seat) at my request for his birthday. I know he will love it since I watch him putting his babies in makeshift beds and pushing them around in a baby stroller on a daily basis.
Does this make my son less boy? Of course not! We still have daily fights over Thomas trains, cars and balls – all “boy toys.” The boys still wrestle and hit way too much as boys will do. But, when I see my youngest patting his babies or bringing them a blanket to cover up with, I am proud: proud he is learning to nurture, proud he is learning that it is OK to play with “girl toys.”
Does this mean I will force “girl toys” on my oldest? Nope. But will I expose my niece to “boy toys?” You bet I will. She already has an interest in Thomas engines and Disney Pixar cars thanks to my sons and I hope that they will all continue to share their toys with each other so there will no longer be “gender toys” and all toys will just be toys.