At a visit to the pediatrician, the doctor looks in her ear and asks if Cinderella is in there.
At another appointment, a doctor tells her that all of the stickers left are “boy stickers” and that she’ll go get “some princess and Barbie stickers.” (Both of these doctors were women.)
She’s asked if her favorite color is pink, they are sure she must love pink. (“No, blue. Blue is my favorite!” she says.)
It’s not that I think princesses or pink are bad, and I know that plenty of little girls love them – there’s a good chance she will one of these days, too.
It’s just that my daughter is so much more.
She loves being read to – Madeline, Harold & the Purple Crayon, The Snowy Day, Pete the Cat, Olivia, Lowly Worm.
She loves painting and drawing and building tall towers out of blocks and Legos.
She loves playing with her dolls, taking care of her “teeny tiny babies” and “cooking” in her play kitchen.
She loves dancing, throwing balls, playing train, helping me bake, telling stories, and dancing.
But not many people ask her about what she likes. (And believe me, she’d tell them. She has so much to talk about.) They just take a guess -and that guess usually has to do with princesses or Barbie. What message is she hearing?
I know that it can be hard and weird to make conversation with a toddler.
But I think we can all ask the children around us better questions, boys and girls. When you do, you’ll hear all kinds of awesome things come out of their mouths.
Ask them what books they like.
What do they like to play with at home? What do they play with at school?
What do they like to do in the snow?
Have they drawn any pictures lately? What colors did they use?
Our children are people, and they all like different things. They have stories to tell, things to share. I would never assume I know what an adult likes just because of their gender – our kids deserve the same respect.
(And, for the record, she took a Spiderman sticker that day at the doctor’s office, and wouldn’t take it off all day. She thinks spider man catches spiders…)