When I was pregnant with Sophie, we wanted to get Oli a little doll to get him used to the idea of having a new baby in the house – it’s not an uncommon thing for parents to do this. Well bowl me over, when a family member suggested that by giving our little two-year-old a doll might ‘make him gay’ and that it was inappropriate. Are you serious? My rebuttal – “Oli loves his ‘baba’ and if he wants to play with girls toys I have absolutely no issue with that, and should my child ever decide his sexual orientation was anything besides being ‘straight’ it would make me love him no less”. Cue silence.
How ridiculous? Oli loved his ‘Baba’ for many years until he gifted it to his sister but will happily play with her Sylvanian Family in her dolls house, and burp and feed the Baby Alive Doll Hasbro sent us a few months ago. Oli absolutely loves his sister’s Our Generation Vet Doll, and all the veterinary paraphernalia it comes with – he is obsessed with animals – so does that mean he can’t play with it because it’s designed with girls in mind? Absolutely not. He also loves his vast collection of Hot Wheels, and builds LEGO and Engino for hours on end, as well as colouring, painting and doing anything crafty. Why should we limit what our child can or can’t play with?
Sophie is such a girly girl. But she’s also strong, the fastest on the monkey bars (it’s no wonder that’s the way she also broke her arm) and delights in sleeping in her brother’s hand-me-down dinosaur, Minion and robot pajamas she stopped me from adding to ‘donate’ pile. Nothing wrong with that! She’s worn loads of Oli’s old clothes that are from the boy’s section in popular stores, and if it’s cute, nothing will stop me shopping in the ‘other’ section. Why should they have sections at all? Granted, more and more retailers are slowly coming around to the fact. She’ll prance around the garden bare foot in a tutu, and then get stuck into some ‘construction’ with her brother’s backhoe.
I was just like Soph at her age. I loved girly things, clothes, Glamour Spots (who remembers those?!) on my ears, but I’d take my skateboard to go visit my besties (both boys).
My two cents? People should stop worrying about what is gender appropriate for their children and just let them explore and discover for themselves who they are. Who wants to be cookie cutter anyway?