The fact that boys and girls play differently, and that they start to play differently very early, is often taken as evidence that these differences are natural or normal. Others insist that the differences are all learned, drilled into children by a sexist society. They are both sort of right. Many years of research can be summarized in one sentence: Inborn sex differences are real, but they are quite small. Parenting, culture, and education can either minimize or exaggerate these small biological differences. In our society they tend to be exaggerated.
— Lawrence J. Cohen, Playful Parenting
Long, long ago, when I was a little girl, I did not much care for little boys.
And now, look at me, the mama of two little boys, whom I adore!
I think a lot about how I’m going to raise my boys not only to be feminists, but to be as free as possible from gender-based restraints.
For now, my philosophy is simple (and borrowed from Maria Montessori): follow the child!
For example, for a while the Critter was obsessed with working with the baby dolls at his school. So after the Gnome was born, we got the Critter his own baby. Then the Critter started asking for a stroller for his baby. The one I happened to find for him (left out on the sidewalk to be thrown away!) is pink and purple. And so it is.
Taking the baby out for a stroll …
Giving the baby a ride …
One might worry about this sort of care. But: “My baby likes it! She likes it!” shouts the Critter.