Toys For Boys

We are home now from a lovely week spent in VT with my family. Two “Christmas”es, two feasts, lots of wonderful time spent with my parents, siblings, etc.

Lewis is getting really comfortable with all his aunts and uncles and Grandma and Grandpa now. He is especially attached to Auntie Anna, possibly partly because hers is the only name he can say. I have been hearing all about “NaNa, NaNa!” ever since we saw her at Thanksgiving, so spending another week with her has further cemented his love. We got back Sunday afternoon, and Monday morning he was repeatedly pointing to the door saying “vrrrm, vrrrm.” (Asking to go in the car.) When we started getting ready to head to the store for groceries he then began asking for NaNa.

Besides the great family time, we also of course had Christmas presents to enjoy. For Lewis this meant getting way too many presents, although they were all wonderful things that he will enjoy. Most of them came from Chris and myself, but he also got more than I expected from everyone else. (Although as one of my sisters pointed out, I should have expected this since he is the only baby in the family. Of course he is going to get spoiled by everyone!) On top of the gifts received, Lewis also had access to some of our childhood toys and things that are still in my parents house.

With all this toy shopping, gift receiving, etc. it is interesting to see which toys he favors and how these choices relate to “girl toys” vs. “boy toys” and such. (I also got “Pink Brain, Blue Brain” by Lise Eliot, Ph.D. as one of my gifts, so this probably contributes to the fact that this topic is on my mind.) So far Lewis’ toys have pretty much all fallen into the “gender neutral” category.  He had a few small cars and some balls (which apparently are categorized as “boy toys”?), and loves coloring which is considered a “girl” activity, but besides that it is all animals, puzzles, blocks, music toys, books, etc. It seems that toys for younger babies and toddlers are thankfully often closer to being “gender neutral” and as children grow older there is more and more of a divide. This divide partially reflects the natural differences in the preferences and play styles of the different sexes, but also plays into it and creates even more of a divide.

So how do Lewis’ new Christmas toys fit into these categories of girl/boy/etc.? It seems we have managed to keep a pretty close balance, sticking close to “neutral” territory.

He got a three new trucks, which fall firmly in the “boy toy” category and are definitely his biggest stereotypical boy interest. He started getting interested in construction vehicles a few months ago after seeing some trucks at work every time we walk to Starbucks or the grocery store. He’s been making car/truck sounds for a while now, and often random items become “cars” to drive around, including pieces of food, a coat hanger, a block, etc.

In the “girl toy” category is his new toy vacuum. Generally housekeeping items are favored by girls, as well as play food/kitchens/etc. (He does enjoy playing with my kitchen things as well as pretending to feed his stuffed animals, but we chose not to get a play kitchen yet due to limited space.) But he loves helping me when I vacuum so we new a vacuum of his own would be a hit!

Comparing his own vacuum with the extension from Grandma & Grandpa's.

Comparing his own vacuum with the extension from Grandma & Grandpa’s.

The rest of his toys, I think, fall into the neutral category. Wooden blocks, a few more books, small animal figures, a T-Rex puppet, animal fridge magnets, and a crawling tunnel.

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I’m pretty happy that his interests are still so diverse and he hasn’t yet been effected by societies expectations of what a boy should like and do. In some ways he does already fulfill stereotypical ideas of what a boy will be like: active, noisy, likes trucks and dinosaurs and monsters. But really, he is just his own person and that is what I love. I look forward to seeing him grow up, and hope I can help him keep a balanced personality and enjoyment in all types of activities and interests.

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