Gender Genes


It’s official – I can’t deny the differences between daughter and son. Basic, instinctual leanings wrought by nature, not just nurture. Let’s see, when did it start? Oh, the other day when Charlie (4) started playing doctor after Sophie (2) returned home from ours with an ear infection (no, they didn’t play that kind of doctor yet!) I was to be the patient (of course) while Charlie took my blood pressure and gave me “shots” with the medicine plunger. I pretended to cry after my shot and Sophie turned all protective, jumping into my lap to “protect” me from Charlie and telling him to stop. She was really rather fierce in her protection of me and I was secretly thrilled.

After all, Charlie has yet to realize I have feelings too and remains in his egocentric view of the world (normal for toddlers). Sophie, however, demonstrated the female nurturing quality so inherent in our beings. She already asks me if “I’m okay” if I say ouch or appear hurt. She’s repeating what I say to her, sure, but Charlie hasn’t picked up on that yet.

The kids played up their gender roles again this week with our little ladybug friends (some of you may remember when ladybugs moved in last Fall). Sophie has become quite affectionate of the few little ladybugs living in her room. She loves to put them on a finger and let them crawl up her arm, fascinated when they quickly flutter wings and depart. Charlie on the other hand, seeks to destroy each little spotted friend with a swift hammer of his hand or eager stomp.

Alas, these leanings are pretty run of the mill. But they’re a first for me to witness. Certainly Charlie has his compassionate moments and Sophie her aggression. And I’m wary to pigeonhole either one in a gender stereotype (feminist graduate of a women’s college as I am). But isn’t it interesting when they follow the norms?

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