Guest Blogger: My 3-Year-Old
Yesterday at Target one of my 3-year-olds pointed at a bottle of Essie’s “A Cut Above” pink glitter top coat. He asked if we could buy it so he could wear it. We occasionally do mommy-son manicures so I said sure. I, too, found the glitter a little bit irresistible.
He laughed with silly delight when the polish was on his nails. His assessment was: “Sparkly,” followed by a belly laugh. He agreed to let me take a picture, then asked me to take the polish off. It seems he was convinced that he couldn’t use his fingers to play if they had color on them. And you can’t explain anything to a convinced preschooler.
As I was scrubbing the remnants of glitter off of his hands he had a quiet moment. He looked up and said, “Mommy, I don’t want to look like a girl.” This is a conversation we’ve had a lot of lately. One of the kids at daycare has gotten gender stereotype messages from somewhere, a parent or a sibling or TV. And in the last couple of weeks both of our boys have come home telling us what’s for girls and what’s for boys. My other son wouldn’t let me put Chapstick on his chapped lips because someone told him it’s only for girls. His daddy straightened him out by showing off his own tube and applying it.
It makes me sad. They’re 3-years-old and should be free of silly gender stereotype assumptions. We don’t have that sort of talk in our home. We don’t buy toys that are gender specific, and we’ve made it clear that you can play trucks with colorful fingernails.
It’s just frustrating to be conscientious about not filling their heads with ideas that will skew how they see themselves within the context of the world around them, just to have another kid who has been fed a narrow world view dump all over them.
So we’re working on it. They still like to have their nails polished with me, and we’re working on helping them to understand that they’re the boss of their own bodies, and no one else can tell them what they can and cannot wear.