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Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Nature or Nurture?

"No Amma, no pants! Ana ishio gwisgo skirt and tights"

happens to be the song pretty much every morning these days when I try to get Ana dressed for daycare. She seems to have developed a dislike for pants for some reason. All of her pants fit her fine and she does manage to wear them on and off during weekends, but, she is very picky about not wearing them to daycare everyday.

She is all of a little over 2½ years old.

Isn't that a bit early to have dress preferences? I asked myself... I don't remember having any particular likes or dislikes regarding clothes until I was much older... but then again, I don't have a good memory, neither does my mom, regarding this.

It can't be due to potty training as I had thought initially, because pants are easier to take off and pull back on (the elastic-waist ones ones that she has, at least) than tights and skirt.

I ended up sewing a few quick fleece skirts for her to satisfy this obsession and stocking up on pretty little toddler tights.

Now, it made me wonder if I inadvertently sent any messages about girls not wearing pants. Can't be. I wear pants myself most of the time. Am fairly sure her teacher in daycare doesn't send such messages. She wears pants most days herself too. And, Ana's classmates Emily, Sidney et al are trouser-or-overalls-clad girls...

Also, I am fairly certain they don't perpetuate gender stereotypes in her daycare. I have seen that she has easy access to Firefighter toys, Bob The Builder toys, Thomas, truck toys and whatnot, in addition to dolls and other girlie stuff... She has some trains and tools at home too.

And that's why it has been interesting for me to note Ana's distinct interest in dolls and all things girlie at this age.

Is it Nature? or Nurture?

Did I steer her towards girlie stuff because she sees me most of the time at home (more than she sees her dad who happens to use the power tools and fix things around the house) cooking and crafting and crocheting and knitting and thinks she has to do what mommy does? Or, is it some genetic thing that inclines her towards dolls and all things fluffy and pink?

It's not about ability to learn to do various tasks regardless of gender-association of those tasks. In a pinch, I can hammer a nail as needed or fix a broken hinge on the door or stick my hand in the dreaded toilet tank and jiggle the plug to fix the flow... now, do I enjoy doing those activities? Nope. Not one bit. My aptitude lies in artsy craftsy things and that is what I was wondering about...

I am sure it is only a phase... I am sure a few years into school she would be peer-pressured into activities that blur the lines of gender stereotyping and she might end up enjoying the trucks and race car type things that boys seem to naturally gravitate towards from early on...

But, it was interesting to note how her preferences are developing already.

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5 Comments:

At 2:37 PM, Blogger SJ said...

Hi Sheela,
Yes, it was in Portland, OR. I wish I had thought to ping you. I do read your blog sometimes (tho rarely comment). Looking forward to your post on play area in the nook.
BTW, A also loves the Lorax (tho I am sick of reading it). Last month Costco had the book "Six by Seuss" It has the Lorax and 5 other stories, you would probably like those as well.

 
At 2:44 PM, Blogger Sheela said...

Hi SJ, thanks for stopping by! I hear you about having to read the books over and over :)

And, yesm, we read the whole gamut of Dr. Seuss books to Ana - from board books like The Foot Book, Hop on Pop, The Tooth Book, Mr.Brown Can Moo Can you? Ten Apples Up on Top when she was little, to the bigger books like Dr.Seuss' ABCs, Fox on Socks, McElligott's pool, Solla-Sellew, Wocket in my Pocket, Green Eggs and Ham...

D grew up reading them and started introducing them to Ana early on and she seems to love them :)

 
At 5:06 AM, Blogger Nisha said...

I am also confused on this front. I can definitely say that the brat though he is with me through the day, he doesn't copy me or try to be like me. Nor does he imitate his dad. The baby is also fairly like that. But I have noticed that the baby likes girlie things already, she is going to be one tomorrow. And the brat likes cars, trucks, trains etc. In spite of me not buying them gender specific toys. But he loves drawing, coloring and crafts. So actually I don't know how these kids actually pick up things like these.

 
At 7:10 AM, Blogger MLM Mommy said...

Great post. It's hard to tell sometimes if we are getting and giving our children what we want or what they want. My son loves dinosaurs but my husband keeps getting him trucks and cars. He means well but it is what he wants. A timely debate.

Sommer
http://www.greenandcleanmom.blogspot.com

 
At 8:16 PM, Blogger Preethi said...

first time here... and loved this.. Ana sounds so much like all the girls I know.. so I think its defly genes.. I have a 3 yr old boy who wont be caught with anything pink.. i think its media, friends and well the truck and doll preference has to be genes!!

 

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