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Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Boys Will Be Boys?

Dear Son discovered pockets a few weeks ago. He's been obsessed with little tiny objects for months. Things like the tiny pieces that Dear Daughter has in quantities of hundreds that go with her Littlest Pet Shop stuff (thanks to Great Uncle Ron and Great Aunt Pat). Son just loves these tiny little replicas, and when he finds one that he especially likes, he squeals "Treasure!" and into his pocket it goes. He also discovered the tiny little Cherries in Daughter's Hi Ho Cherrio game and loves to stuff them in there as well. All forty of them at one time. He spends lots of time stuffing various objects in his pockets and then rearranging them over and over again from one jeans pocket to the other. Sometimes he gets his little fist shoved in a pocket and wrapped around one of his "treasures" and then can't get it back out. He's not willing to let go of his fist, lest he have to also let go of the treasure wrapped inside of it, and so he stands there with his fist stuck in his pocket screaming, "Stuck! Stuck!" I now have two reasons to make the effort to go through the clothing pockets that belong to the male members of the family. If I don't, mysterious tiny objects find their way through the wash and into the clothes dryer and tumble for an hour or so before I discover them. Did I mention that those "tiny objects" also include slightly larger, yet still relatively small, objects such as Dear Husband's blue tooth? Yeah. Well after going through the washer and the dryer, it's no surprise he was soon shopping for a replacement.

And while I'm on the topic of boy stuff, are these creatures just born with an innate awareness and fascination with guns? I had no idea my barely two year old son even knew what a rifle was until he started toting the vacuum cleaner extension rod around the house, hiding around the corners, and then jumping out with it aimed like a rifle while screaming "Back! Stay back!" Where does he learn this stuff? I swear he didn't learn it from me, and he doesn't watch much t.v. Certainly no t.v. that would portray people jumping around corners with rifles. The question of whether or not to buy toy guns for our boy is a non-issue at our house (if it ever really was an issue in the first place), as he has this uncanny ability to turn anything from his own little fingers to an empty paper towel tube into a gun.

While I don't like to gender stereotype or place gender specific expectations on my children, they have largely found their ways into their respective gender boxes regardless. Son with his guns, footballs, and dump trucks, and Daughter with her princess and ballerina obsession. Daughter, however, has some dreams that I am pleased to say break free from the limitations of potentially oppressive stereotypical gender roles. She has been consistent for a good two years that she wants to be an astronaut when she grows up, and her imaginative play finds her in roles that are not always typically "female." I am remember a recent post in which I described this amusing statement made by Daughter while she played "Doctor" with Taggie Book, "Mommy, I'm a doctor and my husband is a nurse." As of yet, Dear Son has no interest in becoming a ballerina. I have to admit, that would be harder to be neutral about than Dear Daughter wanting to be an astronaut. I'm pretty sure I'd rather have him play with guns.


Tracy said...

I think that when we became parents to both a girl and a boy, you can't help but notice the stereo types.
All of my kids play with the dolls in the toybox. The girls play house and are the dolls mommy. My boy uses the baby as a bat to swat at his sisters.
The girls will carry around my old purses and put their toy compacts and what nots in it. My boy uses it to carry all of his trucks and toy tools.
I think that it's just in our DNA to do these things.
Oh and Peter has just recently become fascinated with his pockets too. I think it's so cute!

Maternal Mirth said...

Just wait... boys also save chocolate and chapstick in their pockets. Makes for an especially long day of laundry.


Student of Life said...

The gun thing is very frustrating for me as well. I can't explain it any other way than to say it must be innate, because I have done all I can to "protect" my young son from those images. He wants to "shoot the bad guys" at least a couple times a day.

As far as the pocket thing goes, my big boy is much more frustrating than my little one on this. I find everything from trash to lighters to buckeyes in his pockets. It takes me forever to empty his pockets before doing the laundry.