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Gender and Toys: Boy Stuff Vs. Girl Stuff

I don’t buy into boy stuff and girl stuff. I think kids should be free to express their likes and dislikes, exploring toys and imaginative play at their will. So, I’m cheering for Katie, a first-grader in Evanston, Illinois who was bullied for bringing a Star Wars water bottle to school, because, you know Star Wars is exclusively boy territory.

When she came home in tears, her mom, Carrie Goldman, a blogger for Chicagonow.com took to the Internet writing: "The confusing part for me is that I know these first-grade boys.  I can't simply see them as random mean boys bullying my baby.” They are good kids individually, and Katie often plays happily with them."

Carrie’s blog caught on and thousands of Star Wars fans (they are like the mob, btw) pledged to wear Star Wars attire in support of Katie. Now, instead of crying about the bullies at school, Katie spends time reading supportive comments after dinner with her mom and dad. Yipeeeee!

Well, this story got me thinking about one of JD's Christmas gifts hiding in my walk-in closet. It’s a play kitchen. Yep, I said kitchen. JD loves the kitchen at his pre-school, the childcare room at the gym and his friend Lily’s house. My son loves to pretend cook and serve me. Well, we currently don’t have a play kitchen so JD uses my real pots and pans and makes what he calls “car soup,” by throwing a bunch of  Matchbox cars into the spaghetti pot and mixing it with a spoon, then serving it up to me in his plastic cereal bowl. Yum!

Come Christmas morning he’ll be cooking in this kitchen with tons of fake food, like cheese, steak, fruit—you name it! Generally, people associate playing kitchen or house with little girls. I don’t care! My son enjoys playing kitchen. I call him "Chef Jacque." He loves to play trains and cars too.

He also loves to feed his Mickey Mouse baby doll (I said DOLL!) with one of his old bottles.

As a single mom raising a little boy, I do feel pressured to do “boy things” and to make sure JD is around guys who can be role models to him. I do throw the football around with JD and I know all the words to the Cars movie. I’ve been on many bug hunts and I’ve gotten dirt under my fingernails. I’m doing my best. JD wanting to play kitchen, feed his Mickey Mouse doll, draw flowers and tell me my hair smells good, too--I know I’m doing my best.

Boy toys. Girl toys. Whatever.

Do you have a son that loves to play kitchen and a daughter that enjoys racing cars? Please share.

I'm on Facebook and Twitter @JDSMOM2007

Full disclosure: I bought that kitchen. It was not gifted to me for editorial purposes. I do not endorse the products mentioned in this post for any type of compensation.

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