Understanding Gender: Toddler Talk

We do not separate “boy toys” or “girl toys.” We do dress the children according to gender but we don’t really emphasize it. We do put pretty little bows on the girls when we go out but do not freak out at home if the boys come through with one of the girl’s headbands. I guess we just do not make a big deal out of it. But, for whatever reason, in the mind of a child, differences are based on the person and NOT their gender.

Earlier today, my mother and I had the four grandchildren on the back porch playing on the water blob (this thing is great by the way) when Clarabelle informed us that she needs 11 baby sisters and 10 baby brothers. We asked her why and she really did not have an answer but just continued counting her “future” siblings. She then called Braxton her baby sister. When we asked why her male cousin was now her baby sister, she says “he just is.” When we told her sisters are girls, she, of course, asked: “why.” We explained that they just are and she went on about her business. Later, when the boys were raiding her lunch plate while saving theirs for later, I jokingly stated: “boys sure eat a lot, don’t they?”

This seemed to offend her as she exclaimed,

“So do girls.”

Well, I said, boys are more rotten and again, she did not like this.

“Girls are rotten too”

I was on a roll! Boys are icky.

“Girls are icky too” she chuckled.

Well, boys do things differently, don’t they?

“No, boys and girls are the same.”

Now, she is almost three and she understands that boys can get away with not wearing a shirt but girls cannot. We are on full blown Potty Training Times Three so she knows there are obvious differences but the point she was making was that boys and girls do not do things differently, act differently, or like different things. She knows that she does not like raisins and the other three do so people can like different things but this is not because they are a boy or a girl it is just because of the individual.

We do not separate “boy toys” or “girl toys.” We do dress the children according to gender but we don’t really emphasize it. We do put pretty little bows on the girls when we go out but do not freak out at home if the boys come through with one of the girl’s headbands. I guess we just do not make a big deal out of it. But, for whatever reason, in the mind of a child, differences are based on the person and NOT their gender.

At some point in life, we are taught to categorize everyone and assume their likes, behaviors, and roles.  We do this based on gender, skin color, ethnicity, religion, and a number of “othering” characteristics when really, WE ARE ALL THE SAME with individual likes and choices that do not justify such categories for the whole.

Appreciate each other as individuals!

“Gigi”

Potty Training Times Three

Today, my mother and I decided that it was the time that we embark on a journey towards freedom (from changing diapers). Due to many reasons, our family does not utilize day care outside of family members which places my mother and me with my four grandchildren for much of the day. While this is a blessing, it is also A LOT of WORK!!! You see, these little darlings range from the age of 3 to the age of 17 months and there are four of them! It is like a toddler fest all day every day mixed in with cuppies and diaper changes and non stop cries for “num num!”

Clarabelle (age 2 almost 3) is potty trained which has resulted in a great deal of savings on the diaper runs. We have worked with the other 3 independently but on super crazy days we fall back into the daycare mentality of changing all the diapers at once and running around on “cuppy patrol.”

So, we have decided to do an all out potty training attempt. All three. Gloria (age 3) has Down’s Syndrome which makes potty training a bit difficult but, as her school is working with her now and she follows her cousin, Clarabelle, to the bathroom, we believe that she is ready for this. Elliott, (age 20 months) and Braxton (age 17 months) have both began taking their diapers off and, when we are not fast enough, adding to the daily cleaning list. (Yes, this has happened). So we believe that they are ready to begin, as well. The issue, of course, is getting them to tell us when they are ready to go. Not only is this difficult with one child, when there are three we anticipate that (A) they will be too busy and (B) we will be making a lot of runs to the bathroom.  But, with three, the savings will be amazing!!! In fact, I believe that if we conquer this over the next two weeks, then their parents should send us away on a nice weekend getaway (HINT HINT)!!!!

So, we know our challenges and can envision the rewards…here we go!

Wish us luck!

“Gigi”