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Getting Girly

In the last few months, my daughter has started to become more girly. She is a highly active, spirited child who usually prefers physical play to sitting down and doing anything quiet. She would rather climb and jump and race cars around and throw and kick balls than play with dolls and have tea parties and read books.

At least, that used to be true.

In the spring, the Pumpkin discovered tea parties. She LOVES to have tea parties. We sit down with her special tea set, she pours the tea and cream and scoops in the sugar and stirs it up. When my mom got her an adorable (and handmade) toddler table and chairs, we put it in her room for her tea parties. Just about every morning these days she asks if we can have a tea party. We now always have some birthday cake (the Melissa and Doug wooden set) to go with the tea party. I'm having a blast with these, and we often give a cup to the Pookie or the dog, too.

At some point over the fall, the Pumpkin's interest in dolls took off. At a friends birthday party, she got a gift of Disney's Belle princess doll. She absolutely loves it. She loves it so much that we got her a Belle costume for Halloween. She also got a Tinkerbell doll from my mom recently, and she is really into her now too. In addition, she actually started to play with the doll I got her last Christmas and the one my mom got her the Christmas before, as well as with the bassinet and high chair for the dolls that my sister got her last Christmas. She puts them to sleep and rocks them and feeds them. She used to have no interest in dolls at all, but either because of her age, her current development or from being in school, she is really getting into dolls.

And the last sure sign of girliness developing? She's starting to play dress up. Inspired by a visit to my sister's house where she and her cousin (who is a year older) played with dress up dresses and accessories, I suggested playing dress up at our house. We had a Barbie dress up dress that my FIL got her once, plus the Belle costume from Halloween. I pulled out some old beads that I'd had from a Marti Gras-themed party, some feather boas (I have three from various things, no need to get into why), my tiara from my wedding and a silly hat I've had hanging around for a long time. Oh, what fun we had dressing up! Her favorite part is putting all the bead necklaces on herself and others (including me, Daddy and the Pookie).

One of my favorite moments recently was when my sister came over with her kids and our girls were playing dress up and I suggested we have a tea party while we were all dressed up! The baby boys sat in my sister's and my laps while we helped the girls set up the tea party in their finery. It was the kind of thing I had hoped for when I found out I was having a girl.

Now, we are still encouraging playing with cars and trains and balls and trucks. She is still highly active and spirited, an amazing climber, runner and jumper. But it's nice to get to play with some girly things too.

I myself have always had a foot in both sides of the typical gender-stereotyped play. I absolutely LOVED--okay, still LOVE--Barbie and many other girly toys. But I also always loved to climb trees, pretend to be GI Joe characters and dig in the dirt. As an adult, I love high heels, jewerly and makeup; but I also love football, poker and action movies.

Girls and women in this day and age are very lucky, IMO. We can wear pink and blue, show both the feminine and masculine sides of ourselves. I think this makes us well-rounded as humans. I only hope that it becomes more acceptable for boys to show both sides as my boy grows up. For now though, I'm enjoying playing with dolls and having tea parties with my little girl.


mom2boys said…
"As an adult, I love high heels, jewerly and makeup; but I also love football, poker and action movies."

It's nice that we don't have to worry so much about our daughters being able to enjoy a variety of experiences, but I have to say that I'd worry about the quality of life my son would have if his passion involved high heels and make-up more so than I'd worry about a daughter who wanted to be a stunt double or professional poker player. The Adam Lambert backlash is tough for me to watch. Not that I'm a fan of crotch to face on network tv in any form, the hypocrisy makes me cringe and worry for all the boys who do want to grow up to be something other than a professional football player.
Cloud said…
My Pumpkin likes to make birthday cake out of her Lego. I love that.

@mom2boys- I agree with you. We need to work on allowing our boys to pursue their interests, whatever they are, too.
caramama said…
@mom2boys - I have a whole rant about how unfair it is to hold our boys to these masculine images even though it's finally acceptable for women to move away from only what is feminine. And although I'd prefer my son not to want to be a grown man wearing high heels and makeup in our culture, I do hope he is accepted if he enjoys baking or knitting or watching chick flicks.

This gender divide and double standard starts at such a young age. For example, a light shade of blue is simply called light blue and baby girls can wear it as much as baby boys. But light red is called pink and baby boys simply cannot wear it. It's just a color, people! It does not determine the gender of your child!

Anyway, the rest of that rant is for another day.

@Cloud - We'll have to try making a birthday cake out of legos! That's a cute idea!
Cloud said…
It was all Pumpkin's idea. And I have to confess, it doesn't look much like a cake to me....

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