Train sets and stereotypes

This was the scene that greeted me when I walked into the house on Sunday.



Tents and dens; strings and poles, a flurry of little and big boy activity that, quite simply, was a foreign language to me. I love how Arthur has carved out a world of trains and trucks for himself and he’s absolutely obsessed with his train track and begs the big little boy to build it for him at every possible moment.

But it’s something I watch from the sidelines, I can’t make the train track very well and get totally bamboozled by the bridges and stations that have to be factored in. I’m not brilliant at building Megablock towers either. Is it nature or nurture that makes my little boy so staunchly male in his choice of play? I don’t think his dad has forced these things onto him, yet I have to admit I haven’t exactly showered him with dolls and tea sets either.

As a child I never liked dolls, and was most happy playing outside mixing mud cakes and making rose petal perfume – with my younger brother I might add. I had a Cindy house but quite simply thought it was a ridiculous waste of time and effort. I would prefer to read a good book.

It’s an age old question and one I’m not going to attempt to answer. But it’s one that shapes our relationships and the time we spend with our children. With me Arthur loves, reading, singing and silly games. With daddy it’s all about building, vehicles and exploring outside. We’ve fallen, quite easily, into this pattern. It’s shaping his view of the world and maybe I should be doing more to erase these stereotypical roles but quite frankly they work for us.

But occasionally, I get to peek into their world, just to dance on the edges of their boy time, ready and waiting to pounce with a book and a piece of mummy’s homemade cake. Maybe, if I have another baby, it will be a girl and she’ll love trucks and trains too. Maybe the things you love are intrinsically linked to the people you love.