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Dinosaurs, Spiders, Worms and Bugs - This Is What Little Girls Are MadeOf

So excited to discover a young teen fishing at the pier
We have always tried to raise Little L without conforming to gender stereotypes. We've given her equal access to all toys, save for violent ones and Barbies, and we've never associated anything with a particular gender (e.g. blue for boys, pink for girls). We don't dress or accessorize her in frills or ribbons, we don't read her princess books, and we don't say that anything is "just for boys" or "just for girls" (unless you count standing up to pee, in which case we do insist that she sits).

The result is that Little L sometimes prefers things that make me squeamish or that completely baffles my fairly girly mind. For instance, she is drawn to toy dinosaurs and worms and spiders at our local craft store. Often, when she is afforded a toy selection to purchase, she will want to buy some of these little plastic toys instead of a fairy wand or tiara or cute cuddly animal.

When we play "pretend," she likes to imagine that she's a dinosaur, a bear, a puppy, a superhero or a doctor. She has never (to my knowledge) imagined herself as a princess or a fairy, and only occasionally does she don her tutu to become a ballerina. Our make-believe adventures involve fishing or riding a magic stroller or rescuing each other from polar bear attacks.

Why yes, that would be *the* yellow-jacket in question
On our outdoor excursions, my girl is the one stooping down to find bugs to play with. Her favourites have been pill bugs, although just the other day she managed to wrangle a dead yellow-jacket wasp (fully intact) from a crevice in the front steps, and it quickly became her "pet." Whenever we notice a spider or crane fly in our home, she is the one who wants to grab it with her bare hands (inevitably, and unintentionally, killing it).

Wanting to play with the Transformer on our balcony at 5:00 am
Her favourite sippies are her plastic Sipper Saurus cups, and she likes to play with Hubbs' Transformer collection. Little L loves walking to the pier to watch fishermen fish, and she would rather spend time at the Oval doing sports with her daddy or playing on a playground somewhere than having a tea party at home or pretend-playing in her kitchen. She isn't afraid to lie down on the pavement or run around in bare feet, and will happily get her hands grubby touching everything under the sun.

Sure, she has a few traditionally-girly affinities too, but overall I don't think she embodies the "girly-girl" stereotypes in any way.

While all of this puts me entirely out of my comfort zone (particularly the bugs), I'm actually pretty glad that she is not limiting herself to any interests or hobbies that society typically assigns exclusively to one gender. I like that she has no fear of the gross slimy things, and that she doesn't see them as dirty or disgusting. It makes me proud to watch her pursue whatever she fancies, without inhibition or the embarrassment that comes from feeling like she is doing something strange or socially unacceptable.

And so my hope is that, once Little L begins school, she does not lose any of these interests as a result of social pressure or a desire to "fit in" or belong. I hope that she doesn't turn into a timid little girly-girl who balks at getting her hands dirty. I hope that she is doesn't ever allow herself to be pigeon-holed, or defined, or limited, just because she is a girl. May she always be brave enough to define for herself what this little girl is made of.


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