We’ve always tried to be fairly gender neutral in the toys we’ve given Elanor. She has a toy truck (that she has played with zero times in the almost nine months she’s had it). She has blocks. She has a ball pit, a ride on toy, a ball popper (none in pink). She has stuffed animals from travel, from holidays, etc that she showed interest in, but has quickly lost interest in.
Until recently her favorite toys were her ride in car, the ball pit, books, blocks, her Elmo cell phone (where Elmo talks to you) and her Fisher Price play camera (as in it sings not as in it takes pictures).
Then something odd happened a few weeks ago, the first time I took her to Royce Gym, an indoor play place (palace might be more appropriate). Royce has slides, a book corner, ride on cars, trucks, drums, dolls, swings, trains, play kitchens (plural…like 6 of them), a play house, a ball pit, and so much more. It’s like Disney for the under 5 set. (Yes, I’ll do a separate post on them another time). But with all the choices she had, after a few slides and some climbing, Ella spotted the baby dolls laying in a cradle. And proceeded to drag them around for the rest of our play hour.
I was surprised because she’s had a cabbage patch baby-sized doll (smaller than the full sized ones) and hasn’t really paid much attention to it. But when we got home, I made a point of calling her attention to her Cabbage Patch Kid. There was some interest, but the CPK was dropped fairly quickly.
We went back to Royce a few days later because Ravi wanted to see it after all my raving about it. Elanor again made a beeline for the babies and carried them both around for an hour.
CPK at home? Meh.
A third visit with a different friend (it’s a super popular playdate destination). Again with the babies.
CPK? Whatever, dude.
A fourth visit with B over our honeymoon weekend? Baby baby baby baby.
But while we were “away” (as in a 10 minute cab ride) we ended up buying a guilty gift…a baby identical to the one she obsessed over at Royce. We waited a week before we gave it to her (we don’t want her associating people arriving for a visit or back from a vacation with presents–I realize it’s probably futile, but we’ll try now). And she went nuts.
As you saw in yesterday’s post..Baby (E’s word for it) goes everywhere (almost) with us, as does “bottley” (bottle) which is a bit more irritating as it’s easy to lose the bottle.
It’s interesting because I remember at my friend Aimee’s son’s first birthday party, another guest gave him a truck or a train. Within seconds the boys were down making “rrrrrr” sounds. Elanor couldn’t have been less interested. And now she’s all about baby dolls. Neither Aimee nor I are trying to socialize our child in a gendered way but they’re both enjoying traditionally gendered play (which isn’t to say E will never love a truck or that CJ won’t love a doll).
What do you guys think…nurture, nature, or some of both? If you have children, what have you experienced with them?