For some reason my daughter-in-law finds my life amusing. Yesterday she asked me to tell her something funny. Having just spent the morning with 2 and 3 year-olds, I could oblige. I had volunteered to be a “Love Lady” in the children’s program at Community Bible Study which meant I chose to be with the little ones for the morning instead of my regular group of adults. The teacher was the kind of person you would eagerly leave your child with—soft-spoken, unruffled, sweet and grandmotherly.
After free play, she got out her props and told the story of baby Moses found in his basket, floating in the river. Her large blue piece of paper covered the floor as the river, and “baby doll” Moses was wrapped in a pink, fuzzy blanket, secure in his basket. The princess with her flowing headdress, scooped him up and took him to his mother to be cared for. After the story, the children were encouraged to use the props to re-enact the story. All the girls found a baby doll, put him in the basket and looked for the coziest pink wrap to cuddle Moses. They brought me the babies since I declared myself his mother. Taking turns wearing the princess’ crown with dangling ribbons, feathers and glitter, the girls acted out the story over and over.
The  boys, on the other hand, ignored baby Moses and went over to the “water” to stomp on the paper. They were delighted to watch it crinkle and tear. Maybe we needed a dad in the story to capture their interest.
I am not advocating separating toys by gender but kids do make choices based on their interests. When I was working with 3 and 4 year-olds at the special education preschool in Fairfield, I noted a few of the toys enjoyed equally by boys and girls. They loved the play kitchen, cooking up imaginary culinary delights and serving them to peers. Dollhouses also were popular with a mixed crowd.