Fact: My son is all boy.
Of course, this statement is obvious from a biological standpoint, but lately I have noticed that it’s just as true when it comes to his preferences and personality.
For awhile, our little guy has had a fascination with anything and everything on wheels—toy cars, real cars (we’re trying to curb this enthusiasm for awhile, preferably until he’s 18), trains, wagons, tractors, even the vacuum cleaner.
If it’s got wheels, he’s in love. He also loves when things go “boom,” play wrestling, bugs, dinosaurs, and every other stereotypically boy thing you can think of.
Then, last week, I started wondering if his fascination with all-things-boy was rooted in the DNA of his Y chromosome or if it was simply a result of us not giving him any “girl” toys to play with, like dolls or tea sets. You know, the old nature vs. nuture debate.
For the record, although I wouldn’t be entirely against him making friends with a doll, it’s no secret that that I’m a big fan of traditional gender roles. Tom works a full-time job, while I work part-time and take care of Jacob. I also bake pies—always bare foot and sometimes pregnant. (At least for the nine months before Jacob was born.)
Anyway, the question of whether Jacob’s “boyness” was inborn or a result of his environment was answered the other afternoon while he played alongside my friend Heather’s little girls in our church nursery.
There were lots of toys to play with, most of them gender-neutral and Jacob busied himself with these for awhile. Then, he spotted it: a truck. And, not just any truck, an 18-wheeler truck. The kid was in wheel heaven.
He pushed it around the floor, waved it in the air, and made it generally obvious that he had found a new best friend.
Then, something happened that settled my question once and for all. He set down the truck and looked around. He spotted a pink baby doll nearby. I watched him closely, unsure of whether he was planning on making friends with her or plotting her demise.
He picked her up (by the foot, no less) hung her upside down and begin to shake her violently. Then, he set her back down. Since he does this with most every toy he plays with, including his Tigger puppet and sock monkey, I didn’t think his actions were definitive proof of his feelings.
But, seconds later, he made clear his preference. He grasped the doll in hand while he crawled over to his beloved 18-wheeler. He looked from one toy to the other for a moment, then began flogging the doll with his truck.
Like, I said, the kid’s all boy.