Monday, March 22, 2010

March Madness: Guys and Dolls

Before Miles' birthday I let it be known in a not-so-subtle way that I wanted him to have a doll. I think the conversation with my sister went something like this: "What does Miles want for his birthday?" "He wants a doll. He told me."

So, being the best Auntie in the world, she obliged.

I think I was more excited than Miles was when we opened it up on his birthday. I may or may not have squealed.

She got him the cutest little baby doll (darker skin, of course) that can also go in the bath. The doll came with some bath toys and a little diaper that can get wet in the tub. We haven't actually taken her in the tub yet because Miles has now decided that she needs to sleep in the crib with him. Soooo sweeet.

Now, I am delighted that he has taken a liking to this doll. I didn't think it would happen because I'm pretty sure the first thing he did with his doll when we got home is throw her across the room. Ummm, yes. That is exactly what happened. My boy has a good arm.

So when he wanted "Baby" (as he calls her) to take a nap with him the other day I just about cried.

And so did Grant.

But for very different reasons.

Here's the deal: I've said it before on this blog that I am not a feminist. I don't think that traditional gender roles are evil. I just like to think that kids can play with all kinds of toys. What's so wrong with teaching Miles to be gentle around babies? I think nothing. I wanted him to have a doll for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is because if there is a baby in the house again someday we can start to teach Miles how to behave around a little one. (BTW, this is not a hint that we are adopting again right now, don't get any crazy ideas.) And I DO think that it's sort of limiting to only give trucks to boys and dolls to girls. I got Miles a play kitchen for that same reason. We live in a world where traditional gender role lines are becoming less and less valid, and more and more blurred. I dig that.

Grant, on the other hand, is not so sure how he feels about Miles wanting to snuggle his "Baby". I don't think it makes him uncomfortable, but there is naturally a little part of him who just has to let some of those preconceived notions of what boys and girls should be playing with go. He is warming up to this idea, let's just say that ;)

I have a friend who has three boys and her oldest is in dance. I have to admit that the first time I saw a picture of him with his dance class with all the little girls in tutus around him (and him in tights) I recoiled a bit. I will be the first to admit that I was a little taken aback by the site of this little boy doing such a NON boyish activity. But now that I think about it I really applaud his mom for being brave enough to allow him to participate in the activities that he wants to participate in. No judgment. Just good parenting, in my book.

If Miles wanted to put on some tights and go to dance class I can honestly say that it would give me pause. It would give Grant a heart attack. I guess we will just cross that bridge if and when we get to it. (Those of you who know Miles IRL are laughing right now at the thought of Miles in tights. He is such a rough and tough BOY. In a good way.)

What kinds of toys do you give your kids? How do you feel about toys and gender roles??


  1. Spencer does not have a doll... yet. He does have Scout and Tad Jr though which he loves to hug and kiss and cuddle... but I just haven't pulled the trigger on the asian little boy doll. Yet.

    Mostly we have the typical "boy" toys here... but we have very, very few toys in general since S just isn't a "toy" kid. There's some "gender-bender" toys available to him, but he could honestly care less. Until he shows more interest in toys in general, we probably aren't going to invest in too many more of any kind. A dishwasher of his very own is another story though. ;-)

  2. Patrick's baby doll is with him almost as much as his blankie is. Naps, bedtime etc. He even takes it to daycare on occasion. I think it has been a wonderful thing for him. If he feels comfort in it, then I am all for it! Tell Grant to put on some tights and do a little dance, because his boy is very "normal"!

  3. following from mbc-fff. i buy my kid things that stimulate his mind and try to leave gender our of it. stop by and see us at

  4. I say yay for Miles and his doll, and yay for the both of you for making sure he got one! Yes, it's fine, it's good, and it's dang cute that he wants to take it to bed. Do you remember the movie Free to Be You and Me? I bought the soundtrack a while back, I still love those songs and the movie. If you know it, do you remember the "William wants a doll" song?

    I'm with you - I'm not big into the girl stuff vs. boy stuff, Delaney likes dolls but she loves dinosaurs. I haven't really bought trucks and standard "boy stuff" but she gets to play with what interests her to play with. I'm just not going to worry about it - though I know it's probably easier to feel that way as mom to a girl than mom (or dad, I know) to a boy.

    Sure, I can see pausing a bit at dance, but hey, what a way for a tough little guy to get in good with the ladies! :)

  5. Minh has a few dolls and he loves them. He is sweet and gentle with them and that's a good thing. He has pretty gender neutral toys- mostly wood. He's huge into trains and airplanes right now. He is, what people would call a 'real' boy. But we don't see how not learning to be gentle and loving is healthy. His dad is a total guy but also very gentle and loves babies! We don't push him to play with boy oriented toys or dress him like a jock.

    If it turns out our son is straight, gay, a football player, doctor or ballet dancer, we have no issues with any of it. We will carry his toolbelt or tutu with pride ;)

  6. Gavin's had a baby doll since about eight months old, though it was nearly impossible to find a boy doll. Companies make dogs and bears instead, sadly. Thankfully, I finally tracked down a little green outfitted boyish baby at Toys R Us. We've since added a little boy Cabbage Patch. He loves them.

    Natalie wears tutus and plays tackle football. Gavin cuddles babies and wrestles his dad and sister. It's a good mix.

  7. Good for you. Yup, my other half would take a lot of convincing, but good for you.

  8. Both my girls play wih trucks and cars and I didn't even blink twice about buying them. We LOVE to crash things.

    I am sure I would buy a doll for a boy too, but I am sure Tyler would - wait he is sitting right her and I will just asked him....

    now I am hysterical because he looked at me like I had a hole in my head. I guess you have Tyler's answer.

    I am still laughing at him and his expression!

  9. My husband and I have always agreed that we're really glad we had a girl and don't have to deal with that stuff. I always think of the movie Billy Elliot. "He wants to do the BALLET." I think we'd both be pretty horrified and I know it's not right.

  10. This is fab, Anne. I don't buy many toys for Liliana. I don't have to. She gets so many gifts. But it's funny, now that you mention it. I actually OVERCOMPENSATE to surround her with gender-neutral things or gender-OPPOSITE things. Trucks, for example. Cars. Rockets. And of course, since we live in the country, I'm teaching her to pick things up--bugs, bones, etc. I DO NOT want a squeamish girl! LOL.
    When confronted with a "pink" thing or a "green" thing, I'll buy the "green" thing or "yellow" thing. Isn't that funny?
    I think I do it unconsciously, but I'm still doing it.
    And I would have NO problem if she wanted to play football with the guys. I would just worry a lot, about her getting thrown, punched, trampled, crippled...hee, hee, hee...

  11. Where did you sister get the doll?


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