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What is it about construction equipment?

The rain just won’t quit. The pipe at the bottom of the 9-foot-deep hole broke after they buried it and spewed mud down our street (also, no water in our house for a day). It’s all tidied up now, but…COME ON.

However, the babies got a chance to sit in the digger (known as “our digger friend”), which is probably the best thing that has ever happened to Bunlet.


They left it in our yard over the weekend. If you leave your digger in my yard, I’m GOING to put my toddlers in it.

Bun Bun was a little scared of it.

We don’t try super hard to protect our kids from gender stereotypes, but we certainly don’t expose them to very many. They wear clothes and not boy or girl clothes, and refer to themselves as children and not boys or girls, and to others as children or people. I know this shit is pervasive and I’m sure I’m reinforcing it in all sorts of ways that I’m not aware of, but what I mainly want to know is why is my male child so totally passionate about large machines (that part makes sense–they’re cool) and my female child so uninterested?


12 Comments Post a comment
  1. Maybe it’s an age thing? Learning to ski is so much easier when you’re young enough to be blissfully unaware of how steep that hill is and how hard the ice…
    Then again, I think my parents did this kind of like you, and I still never cared for playing with Legos while my three brothers immersed themselves in it for hours. Years later I said I wanted to be an architect, and my mom said “you never played with Legos, I doubt you really want to be an architect”.
    SB already grabs for other people’s glittery watches (mom doesn’t own anything like that impressive gold watch). No idea where she got those ideas.

    July 8, 2015
  2. Bug used to go nuts for construction equipment before he could even talk. And then of course we’d go watch construction, because free entertainment, so I’m sure I reinforced it. Sweetpea is too little to like anything but boobs and people food but I guess we’ll see….

    July 8, 2015
  3. Ana #

    So I have 2 boys. 1 (younger) who is so so typically “boy”—loves cars, trucks, construction vehicles, superheroes, etc… and 1 (older) who is, actually, typically “girl”—loves princesses, pink and sparkly things, tutus, etc… So I don’t know. There must be something about the testosterone-fueled brain development that makes one more likely to like construction vehicles but its certainly not 100%. They both love Legos.

    July 9, 2015
    • I know so many kids are all over the gender stereotype spectrum, and I imagine it’s kinda reassuring to see it in your own family. A reminder that little of it is parenting. It will be interesting to see how Bunter differs from her or his same sex sibling.

      July 9, 2015
    • And mine, also 3.5, adores BOTH construction equipment and princess dresses. Equally likely to be found making coffee in his play kitchen or putting worms in his pockets. Ewww.

      July 10, 2015
  4. My girlchild would’ve been right up there with Bunlet if she had the chance. (My parent’s city has a “touch a truck” fair every summer, and someday we will get back when it’s happening so she can go!) The street we walk along to nursery and back is one of the two major entries into the city so it gets a lot of interesting trucks and equipment, and quite often we’ll stop and watch — there’s a roundabout at the bottom of the hill which clogs up traffic and I’ve noticed that truck and equipment drivers are pretty in tune to small children standing on the sidewalk staring and pointing at them. Gwen gets waved at by so many of them, and she LOVES it.

    July 9, 2015
    • Big machine drivers DO seem to understand that children want to stare at them! There’s some work going on at the end of our street and a digger driver honked and waved at us as we watched, and later as he was standing around said hi and asked Bun Bun who her favorite princess is. She stared blankly and I had to explain she doesn’t know about princesses.

      July 9, 2015
  5. Amazing how such a fucking bother can be the BEST THING that ever happened for Bunlet. A little lesson in perspective, spewing mud right there on your front lawn.
    It’s not sexy to say it, but I think there is something biologically driven in our kids’ choice of toys and interest, which is inseparable from all the social learning, which can never be gender neutral. (did you understand that run on sentence, because I’m not sure I did. I can be summed by “bidirectionally of Nature and Nurture influences on child development”)

    July 10, 2015
  6. I have 3 boys. My eldest (15) is of the nerdy intellectual dreamer type; he is nuts about girls and apparently good with them, but not likely to lift anything heavier than a spoon. The middle one (8) is a stereotypical boy, who loooves football (which is really weird, because we don’t watch it at home) and cars and Legos and playing all sports and is just competitive as hell. The youngest (4) is very much a boy in the sense that he’s physical, loves Legos and cars and trains, wrestling, superheros but also his favorite colors are pink and purple and he had me paint his finger and toe nails purple and gold, respectively (I don’t usually have my nails painted; he found nail polish at the grocery store and was mesmerized, knew what it was and wanted it applied right away). Which then prompted his middle bother, ever the little alpha-male, to have his own toenails painted in the colors of SF 49ers on one foot and the New England Patriots on the other. But he took it off in the morning because he knew he’d be teased at camp for wearing nail polish… Which made me sad, but it’s true.

    July 10, 2015
  7. Boy child loves all things truck and train. So does his mama, though.

    Girl child seemed drawn to dolls early, but her deepest, truest love is balls. She can find a ball or something good enough to use as one in under five minutes in any environment. She shamelessly steals them at playgrounds and the like. “Ball” was her first word beyond family names. At 16 months, she could dribble a soccer ball about as well as I could at 16 years.

    They also both like art and drawing. Boy loves shoes and books. Both love string. Girl loves peek-a-boo and animals. If we gendered these interests, would they fit or not fit expectations? When Boy first evidenced his love of vehicles, strangers would declare, “such a boy!” They didn’t remark one way or another about his love of anything that didn’t confirm gender expectations. (Thank heavens no one remarked on his love of dollhouses, say.)

    In some way I don’t have fully formed this makes me think of the 19th century conversation about women becoming doctors. (Not until I believe the 1980s were there again as many female doctors in the US as in the late 19th century, fun fact.) One side said it was unfeminine, for reasons I’m sure I don’t need to enumerate here. There was a strong counter-argument, however, that as care of in particular children was the traditional and correct sphere of womanhood, becoming a doctor was exemplary femininity.

    July 15, 2015
  8. SRB #

    I have nothing insightful to add here, other than to remark at how ADORABLE that photo is. Just look at that big, strong, handsome boy on the huge, powerful truck! 😉

    July 16, 2015
  9. Yes to this. In terms of the boy part – the girl child hasn’t expressed her own interests so much as of yet, other than DOGGIE! And actually, she really does like balls. And I fear, daily, of all the ways that I am unconsciously shaping their interests and choices. Must add this to the list of things to Think More About.

    July 23, 2015

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