Thursday, March 08, 2007

Nature? Nurture? Let's Call the Whole Thing Off!

I've read many a discussion of (here, here and here just to name a few) about sex, gender and the way it's geared towards our children. It's in the toys and clothes, cartoons and movies. I read with interest, but at the time Sam was still a wee one, and a crinkly piece of paper could be his whole world for an entire afternoon. There's no gender bias there.

Most toys for infants are fairly neutral, and while there are oodles of blue and pink baby clothes out there, it's also fairly easy to find clothes that don't immediately reveal what's under the diaper. Weather your feeling cutesy or edgy, there are plenty of outfits that work well on both boys and girls. Most of the clothes we buy for Sam fall into the edgy/neutral category, mainly because we like the style. We've received gifts from friends and family that are less neutral and more 'I'm a boy therefore I like fireman,' but he usually only wears those when I haven't done laundry in a while.

Now that he's getting older, though, the toys they are a-changing. For his birthday, Sam became the proud owner of several small trucks. In the interest of science and research, we put the trucks in with his other toys for him to discover on his own. Imagine my surprise when last night, having never played with these trucks before, Sam pulled two out and starting driving them around the floor. And then imagine my shock when he started crashing them into one another and into other toys and objects in the room. I looked at SOB, convinced that he had introduced him to this tiny demolition derby, but he was just a shocked as I was. Sam does spend some time in the care of others during the week where he might have picked up this behavior, but he is one of the oldest kids in his class and the care takers are both older women. I find it a bit unfathomable that the Presbyterian granny patrol is demonstrating this kind of play.

So where did it come from? Are boys, by nature, inclined to crash vehicles into one another? Was it something he saw on Sesame Street one day? Should I run out and buy him a dolly? Do I discourage the crash playing, even though it makes his giggle uncontrollably?

The questions could go on and on, so I'll stop. For now, we'll let him continue to cause three truck pile ups in our living room. He's still a baby and this could all be chalked up to simple developmental exploration.

I can make you one guarantee, though. You won't see us shelling out for a Power Wheels any time soon!

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super des said...

How can you be sure a girl sam wouldn't have crashed them?

bherpen said...

dude, i totally had a Power Wheels when i was a li' kid. i think it was a that i see the Escalade, i'm jealous of today's toddler who gets to roll in style.

Michelle said...

My daughter crashes her toy vehicles all the time. She also lovingly rocks her babies to sleep.

Lora said...

i feel that boys are monsters by nature and grow up to be upstanding gentlemen with nurture.

then again, girls are monsters by nature too, and grow up to be respectable women with nurture.

bottomline, don't worry about your monster baby, he'll turn out fine.

btw- what week are we on with the new one? do you have an u/s scheduled?

Amy Jo said...

I think eventually we will get him some kind of doll or doll-like toy to see how he plays with it. I don't think he'll turn out to be some kind of violent criminal, he just surprised me is all!

By the way, when we were kids I think they had, like, two power wheels, a girl one and a boy one. When did they turn into real cars? WTF?

Lora, I'm at 16 weeks. We're sneaking into the hospital and using the ultrasound this weekend, and I should be scheduling my official one at my next appointment on monday! Keep chanting 'vagina' for me, ok?

Her Bad Mother said...

WonderBaby does some super-girly things - like drape herself in scarves (and, um, bras) and carry little purses and cradle her little baby dolly. NONE of which were introduced to her by me, all of which she gravitated toward at playgroups and the like and which I acquired *after the fact* to buy myself some peace. So I've thought a lot about the potency of nature - she is ALL GIRL.

But, but... she also loves her little cars, and spends much time pushing them along the floor hollering VROOM VROOM. She does not, however, crash them.


susan said...

All I know is that when I tried to introduce a little gentle nurturing into the picture around here, LG took the two sweet dollies that I offered him and threw them to the floor. Then looked at me like my head had just exploded when I picked them up and hugged them. At which point I knew for sure, beyond any shadow of a doubt, that we must not further procreate.

Mom101 said...

The answer is, yes, absolutely, boys are wired differently than girls. If you read research on it it's fascinating. My feminist parents always talk about how they gave me both dolls and trucks but I just didn't gravitate to the trucks the way my brother did. It seems so cliche but...for a reason, I s'pose.

So,'s a boy!

Amy Jo said...

Well, now we'll get the chance to see how girls deal with turcks. Numero dos is going to be Sam's little sister!