Friday, January 25, 2008

Equal Opportunity Parenting

A major concern of the modern parent, or at least of modern parental advisors, seems to be raising children in a manner free of gender bias. Thus parents may be advised to encourage their little girls to play with trucks and their little boys to play with dolls.

Regardless of ideology, this seems a little challenging to me. All the parental encouragement energy I have is used up encouraging them not to play with things like my bedding and the toothbrushes. I have none left over to encourage them to play with the politically correct (or, for that matter, the politically incorrect) thing. If it doesn't break easily and I won't have to wash it at the end, it's fair game.

Fortunately there's another way to ensure your child gets a well-rounded playtime free from gender bias: have a child of the opposite gender fifteen months later. (Although honesty requires me to confess that in the long run this is probably not less work.) Suddenly your house will be filled with boy and girl toys, and we all know there is nothing to "encourage" a child to play with a toy like the sight of it in someone else's hands.

The children will, of course, ignore toys of all descriptions and play with their blankets and the laundry baskets.

The ducklings do occasionally both play warm, nurturing games of tucking in stuffed animals. (We only have one doll here, and as it never has clothes on, I think that's enough.) For some reason it's always called "hospital," not "house." Sometimes they play more aggressive games of crashing cars together. But usually they play games of universal appeal to male and female, young and old, like traveling to exotic locations (usually located behind the couch) and eating.

Yesterday they held church services behind the couch, D1 preaching in her most impressive tones with her previously-unknown Scriptures ("Come unto God in the Holy Day of Thunder"). She always imitates the intonation of the most Bible-thumping of traveling evangelists, instinctively I suppose, since she never hears it at church or home.

I wondered whether I should intervene with a discussion of roles of women in the church, when I found a far more pressing issue arising. D2 suffered a minor head bump, and D1 paused her exhortation long enough to comment, "Go tell QOC about it."

"Excuse me?" I said, "I am your mother."


Eric and Wendy said...

It's amazing to me what people who have time to read parenting magazines can find to worry about!

SongBirdy said...

Your daughter's comment made me laugh. Just wait until some other child tries calling you Mother. There was a stage where I couldn't get another child to stop calling me mother. I felt so bad for her mother.