In addition to his penchant for the library's Fiddler on the Roof-esque costume of his own making, he enjoys wearing aprons, hats, my shoes and sneakers, and just about anything else he can find around the house.
He also loves wearing his sister's pink Elmo jacket, which was a gift someone originally gave to Isabella when she was a baby.
Every time we go to the closet to put on jackets, he asks for it by name. He has his own jacket, of course, and the Elmo jacket isn't even Luci's primary fall jacket, so it's not as if he sees her wearing it all the time and is blinded by a jealousy. He just loves it. So, I let him wear it.
The hubs does not like it.
And yet the hubs is not that guy.
Despite being a guys' guy and a sports fanatic currently participating in no fewer than 12 fantasy football leagues, he has never coveted a boy. He didn't put a ball in Nicholas' hands the second we brought him home from the NICU. He doesn't play soccer or baseball with him (instead, he plays with Isabella who loves to swing a bat), and doesn't insist that his son play with only trucks and cars. He's progressive, open-minded, and (mainly) a liberal, like me.
And yet the idea of his son in a pink jacket bugs him. I think boys in pink probably bug more people than just the hubs, too.
Here's Luci wearing what is obviously a boy's jacket. I doubt that this would bug anyone.
But why do boys dressed like girls (or boys playing with "girl" toys) bother people?
It is, of course, the leering spector of "gayness": that to allow a little boy to wear pink, girly jackets, play with dolls, or carry around a Dora purse (all of which Nicholas does) will "turn" him gay, which it obviously will not, given that sexual orientation is not learned.
It's also the antiquated notion that boys should be tough and strong and masculine. Pink ruffles are not masculine.
Young kids don't see gender as rigidly fixed as adults do. And frankly, I don't want my children to believe in the narrow ideas of gender identity-that only girls wear pink, that only boys can be police officers. I have no doubts this will inevitably happen to a certain degree once they hit kindergarten, but until they do, I want to create a gender neutral play environment for them.
So if Nicholas wants to try on Isabella's old Christmas dress, I'm going to let him.
Nicholas is growing up with two sisters, and yet our house is not an explosion of pink and princess. Since Isabella was born, I've made it a point to buy mostly gender-neutral toys. Yes, we have dolls, doll strollers, and doll houses (and of course boys can and should play with them, and Nicholas does), but we also have a tool bench. We have cars and a car garage, complete with an elevator and ramp. We have trains and tracks, a baseball and bat, and a set of golf clubs. These were all originally Isabella's toys. All three kids play with them now.
I loathe the idea of "boys toys" and "girls toys." I didn't run out and buy trucks and sporting equipment when my son was born anymore than I ran out to buy Disney princess dresses when Isabella and Luci arrived. Luci and Nicholas' birthday gift from us is a train table, which some might see as a stereotypical "boy toy." And yet both twins love playing with Isabella's train set, and so I knew this would be a perfect gift for them.
Research supports gender-neutral play environments as being the most developmentally beneficial for kids. It makes me sad to enter houses where the kids are all one gender and see only that gender's traditional toys. Yes, some girls naturally gravitate toward the frilly, girly princess-y stuff and some boys to the dinosaurs and trucks, but I believe that this is the exception rather than the rule. Many people buy their kids (or their nieces/nephews/grandkids) playthings that the big box toy stores tell you are "for girls" or "for boys."
"She's a two-year-old girl, so of course she'll love the Disney princesses!"
"He's a two-year-old boy, so of course he'll love this talking dump truck!"
Sure, these toddlers might like these toys. But I also think that the two-year-old girl might like the dump truck. The two-year-old boy might like to wear the tiara.
And there's nothing wrong with either of these preferences.
What's the toy box (or dress-up chest) like in your house?