Raising Slightly Less Gendered Kids in a Gendered World. (And realize when I say “gender” I’m not referring to biology, but to culture. There’s nothing in the DNA that says girls will play with pink toys.)

09/12/2010 By Shawn Burns

A trip to the toy store today ended with toys in the trunk.

Aside: Do you know who Mister Dressup is? I try to explain him to Americans and they stop listening when I say “Tickle Trunk” .

Adrian has an older sister. And he has parents who rarely buy toys. This means that he ends up playing mostly with his older sister’s toys.

We’re all progressive and stuff, so it’s not like Erin’s room is full of Barbies and Disney Princesses and pink, but…hell, there are some Barbies and Disney Princess things in there. How did they get there?


Adrian plays with Erin’s toys, and these toys include Barbies and Disney Princesses. But the dude is obsessed with cars. Cars! It makes no sense to me. I’m not a car guy. There are only about three things in the house that look anything like a car and one of those is a boat and another is a bus. But he seeks out cars (and trucks) like a junkie on the prowl. And he has a screech.

Kaw!! Kaaawww!!!!!” He is a loud screecher, and never louder than when he spots the one car in the house. Or the bus. Or the boat.


We went to the toy store after getting Adrian’s hair cut today. Erin and Adrian played at the train table while Emily and I tried to figure out what to buy them.

Aside: Do you know that one of those train tables, the Thomas the Tank Engine brand, costs $300?? And that it doesn’t include the table part where you actually set up the trains? That is an extra $80. The non-Thomas knockoff table is $200, plus center piece. I am completely floored by this. It’s a table. Why in the hell would you pay $380 for a table that doesn’t even include the goddamned toys???? Why would you pay $300 for a table with a big hole in the middle just to pay $80 for the middle, separately? Whatever.

In the end, knowing Adrian loses his mind over cars and trucks we bought him a dump truck. It’s big. It’s plastic. It has good wheels that won’t fall off after the third time down the hallway. We feel weird about it. Like we should be pushing him toward Barbies or Disney Princesses or something because maybe the reason wars happen is because boys play with trucks.

It was also time to get a lunchbox for him. He’s moving up a class in the daycare and since he’s not in the baby room anymore

Aside: Holy crap. He’s not in the baby room anymore. He’s not a baby anymore. Despite what Emily says he’s not a baby anymore. He runs around the house and screeches “Kaw!!!” at things and he begs for food when I’m cooking and he plays on his own and he tries to make a break for it out the door so he can run down the street to the park.

he needs a lunchbox. When we got to the lunchbox area of the store he of course pointed to the one with the trucks and trains on it and screeched “Kaw!!!” and I considered that a trumping of Emily’s choice of the pirate-themed lunchbox, which seemed to her more gender-neutral. Girls love pirates too.

Erin needed a toy too. Because as every parent knows the Third Parenting Commandment reads: Thou shall not buy a toy for one without getting a toy for the other.

When Emily took Erin around the store to pick one out they ended up in the costume/dressup section (Seriously, do you know who Mister Dressup is?) Erin looked around briefly and then asked her mother “Where is Sleeping Beauty?” Emily promptly countered with “Hey! Look! A doctor’s kit!”

And so the toys in the trunk were a dump truck and a doctor’s kit.

We’re not perfectly consistent, but I think we’re inconsistent on the side of the line that leans toward equality. Eventually.

Or so we like to tell ourselves.

Seriously. How did the Barbie get here?