From afar, we could see a whole section of the department store covered in hot pink. I assumed that was where we needed to go get our Christmas present for the little orphan girl that we “adopted.”
By the way, I have three boys and it’s been ages since I had to walk into the girl section of the toy store. My sons’ only loves are trains, Legos and sports equipment. Who knew that there were so many kinds of baby dolls? There were enough to take up two whole aisles! I was amazed. But I was mostly amazed at how my boys responded to all the “girl” toys. They ooohed and ahhhed at the doll houses that lit up and made noises, as well as the baby dolls that actually urinate after drinking their bottle.
My three-year-old walked away from this experience asking for a doll house for Christmas. This present would not even have crossed my mind, not because we are against our boys playing with dolls or babies, but only because they’ve never shown an interest in this type of toy.
When my oldest was four, he showed a great deal of interest in cooking. So for Christmas I bought him play cookware, an apron, and hot pads. He loved it! Though down deep inside, I knew if my very Hispanic, traditional roles, dominant father would have seen these gifts, he would have had some choice words to share. I grew up with my brothers doing all the outdoor chores while I had to do the indoor chores like cooking, cleaning. Though my brothers also washed dishes and picked up after themselves, I didn’t learn how to use a lawn mower until after I got married. That’s just how my family rolled, though it irritated me sometimes. It’s all my mother had known and it didn’t seem to bother her. So I didn’t question the roles in our home.
So I gave my toddler an early Christmas present, he got his very own doll house with a family of Little People. He was thrilled to say the least! I was curious to watch him play with his doll house. He pulled out all of his action figures, his plane, his trains and had a grand old time. He played consistently for over an hour. So I walked away, but I could hear little voices coming from the other room. Occasionally I would hear my son say, “Shhh, the baby is asleep. Where’s Lita (grandma) going to sleep? Come kids.” And I was moved, until I heard crashing, shooting noises and people screaming. I ran over to see what was going on.
Apparently his plane decided it was going to crash into the house and surroundings.
I walked away, laughing because that’s SO my son. Cuddly, warm, and tender one minute. The next? He’s wiggly and energetic, jumping off banisters, pretending to be a train, and making shooting noises. (Train noises have been heard coming out of his room while he’s asleep. The boy loves trains.)
My conclusion after many observations of my son playing with his doll house is that it’s absolutely vital to let our children explore and create with all toys. This is how they learn. This is how they create their own little world and expand their cognitive development. Don’t let it make you feel uncomfortable. Just because boys may be playing with dolls doesn’t mean they will have identity issues. Saying that is as crazy as saying that my son will grow up confused about whether it’s okay to eat dirt or not.
Here’s 12 Reasons I Got My Son a Doll House For Christmas & You Should Too:
1. He needs to explore the little world around him, and children do this best through imaginative play.
2. Because we need to break the stereotype that women should be the ones who coo, feed, and care for their babies.
3. Men and boys can play with babies too, whether real or pretend.
4. It’s okay for boys to show emotions of love, compassion, kindness, and tenderness.
5. It provides lots of opportunities for your little man to develop fine motor skills, from dressing the baby to opening and closing the doll house doors.
6. Baby dolls can be a great tool for encouraging potty training.
7. It’s fascinating to watch children express and share their emotions in pretend play. I caught my children once being polite to bad guys, “Excuse me robber, what are you doing?”
8. It’s a great way to encourage and help them develop their nurturing and caring skills.
9. Because a real man changes diapers.
10. Because they need to learn to be loving, caring, involved fathers. I am thankful their father is a living example of this to my boys.
11. If you’re having another child and want to help your child learn how to be gentle with the new baby, get a baby doll. Role play is a wonderful tool at this stage.
12. Our boys need to learn that they can be monster truck racers (that’s what my 6-year-old aspires to be) or Superman (my 3-year-old wants to be) and still be tender fathers.
Stop by my Facebook page and let me know what your experience has been with buying your child toys that weren’t necessarily marketed for their sex?
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