As all of you, my dear readers know, I have three kids. Irish triplets, if you will. This means they're practically the same age (and two of them are). Of course, the other thing you may remember about my kids is that I have one girl and two boys.
When you have three children of practically the same age with a mix of boys and girls, then you've also got a mix of toys. Thomas the Tank Engine is racing alongside a Strawberry Shortcake RC car. Meanwhile, Barbie and CPT Kirk are discussing warp engines and tutus next to Dora riding atop a Hot Wheels Battle Force 5 Buster. Seriously. This house is a gender-bender of gigantic proportions.
Bubba has spent many days wearing his sister's headband. Miss-Miss has been known to tear up the front yard with a toy bulldozer. And J-man? Well, that boy has run around this place dressed up as Tinker Bell more times than I can count. But? At the same time, they will pop back into their "proper" gender spaces just as quickly.
What's the point of all this rambling? I'm getting there. Simmer down, people. Typically, when a woman is pregnant with her first baby(ies), she receives gender-specific clothes and toys. Girls get pink and princesses while boys are the recipients of blue and baseballs. Why are we doing this to our kids? Why are we limiting our children's toy/clothes/life choices based on what's in between their legs? Now, before some of you get your panties in a wad about You're raising your boys to be drag queens!/Your daughter's going to be a butch construction worker! just wait a minute. I have no idea of my children's futures. I don't know who they will love, what they're favorite clothing will be, or where they'll work. And you know what? I don't care. What I do care about is that they will be happy, loved, and satisfied in their lives.
The great thing about mixing up gender-specific toys for your all-girl/all-boy house is that your children, I think, will end up a bit more well-rounded. When Miss-Miss is confronted with a Thomas the Tank Engine table at Barnes & Noble, she knows the score. She can identify all the trains by name and go on adventures with the little boys playing at the table with her. She's socializing and the little girls standing around not knowing what to do are wondering where their Cinderella dolls are. And when Bubba and J-man arrive at the Livingston home (Mom+Dad+2 little girls) for April spring break in a couple of weeks and find themselves surrounded by a plethora of pink and princesses, then they'll have a blast and even be able to relate to the Livingston daughters when talking about the pain associated with wearing Cinderella's glass slippers (read: clear plastic shoes with light-up heels).
My advice for new parents out there? Just raise your kids. Don't worry that one Matchbox car or that one Barbie doll will mess up your child for life. If your son shows an interest in a pink tutu, let him wear it around the house. If your daughter wants a firetruck, then splurge. Look at it as a way of broadening their horizons and giving them a good dose of empathy and understanding for the opposite sex.
*With a nod to my friend Chip who comes up with the most interesting euphemisms for genitalia. He could write a thesaurus.