Recognizing Gender Differences


Today at Musikgarten I noticed more gender differences in our budding toddlers. In a class of 3 boys and 3 girls, there were clear things that boys and girls did differently. First, the boys were more likely to run away from the group to explore the room. Actually, I never saw the girls do this, but us moms of boys were constantly up on our feet to retrieve our little guys.
The other thing is that all of the boys, at least twice each (or about nine-million times for Caleb) kept going over to examine the door stop on the back of the door. They never saw each other doing this, but would in their own time notice it and then squat down to flip it up and down. Two of the boys were also very interested in the under-parts of the folding table, one piece would make a clinking sound. There seemed to be this deep boy interest in exploring and figuring out how things worked.
The other boy difference I noticed is that Caleb and one of the other boys are obsessed with trying to find the remote control for the CD player. If the teacher has it, they try to get it (sometimes both at once!). If she sets it down, one of them will inevitably escape his mother and nab it before taking off towards the door. Caleb will take it and point it at the CD player while pushing buttons (I really have to be fast at catching this one!). His mother and I usually mumble something about “his dad loves technology” before whisking our child away and trying to distract him with something else.
The girls, seriously, all stay near their mothers and participate in class with the singing, playing with stuffed kitties, jingling little bells, and playing peek-a-boo with colored scarves.
I encourage my son to participate in the class as much as I can and strive to show him benefits that come from both male and female. At home we have toys from both genders as well as gender-neutral ones. He observes me more than he observes dad (because I’m home with him all day), but is definitely getting strong influence from both genders.
However much we’d like to believe that gender differences don’t exist, it’s so apparent when observing little ones that they do exist. It just brings out the complementarian in me even more.