When my daughter was still in nursery school, she announced: “No more “boy toys.” She had a birthday coming up and wanted to make her gift wishes very clear.
“Oh, sweetie,” I said, in my best mommy-explaining voice “You know there are no such things as ‘boy toys’.”
“You know what I mean,” she said patiently. Then she began to enumerate:” Balls, dump-trucks, matchbook cars. . . “
This was over thirty years ago and the beginning of a feminist movement I fully supported. We told our little girls that they could be anything they wanted to be. And this was so. My daughter went on to law school. Today she was an important job with a non-profit which involves board meetings, travel, and a professional wardrobe.
My daughter is also a mom. She has a girl and a boy. Ruthie has never shown the slightest interest in “boy toys.” She has always played with dolls and enjoyed dress-up. One of her first full sentences while leaning out of her stroller was to a beautiful woman who passed: “I love your heels,” Ruthie called.
I admit that there’s something to the boy/girl/toy thing beyond cultural influences. Recently, my daughter and the kids were in the car and Ruthie, now seven, taunted her little brother: “Wilson, I have a secret to tell you. I don’t like trucks. Mommy doesn’t like trucks. We’re just pretending to be interested.”
Undaunted, Wilson pointed excitedly to a construction crew: “Big digger!” he yelled. Ruthie rolled her eyes.
I’m still glad my grandkids could be anything they want to be.