Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Boys and Girls

I'm amazed that at 23 months, Jack know the difference between boys and girls. I don't understand how he picked this up, but I have some theories.

When we stopped breastfeeding, one of ways we talked about the transition was that mommy milk (or, in Jack speak, "mamoo") was for little babies, and that Jack was a big boy now. This never made him feel bad; rather it seemed to make him proud and pleased to no longer be considered a baby. So since we talk about him being a big boy (always as a good thing), it makes sense that he knows he's a boy.

So how does he understand what makes a person female?

About 8 months ago Jack received a castle play thingy, that came with 4 figures: a king, a queen, a peasant man (!), and a horse. (Actually, I could write quite a bit just about the choice of figures, but that's another blog....) As Jack played with them, he would sometimes call the king or the peasant da. I wondered how Jack would relate to the queen, with her full gown and long hair. Who was she to him -- he has only seen me in a dress once. Did he know she was supposed to represent a woman, and that his mommy is a woman? Well, he mostly ignored her (as well as the horse). But somehow knowledge about gender has filtered into his brain, because now when we read a book that has illustrations with children, he can identify the girls from the boys. And when I ask him if mommy is a girl or a boy, he says girl. In the store, if he gets a balloon from a female clerk, later he talks about the balloon he got from "the lady."

It's all very interesting, and reminds me to watch what we show/teach him -- I am committed to raising a healthy, non-sexist boy who will be respectful of women (and everyone else).

Whoops -- maybe I spoke too soon about him having a firm understanding of gender differences. This afternoon he says his da is a lady.

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