Saturday, April 30, 2011

Sex Differences Prevail!

I’ve written before about how, despite the all the hype given to the advantages of rearing little boys and little girls alike, parents—and children—still seem to find themselves spontaneously drifting towards traditional, sex-sterotyped ways. This fact is making itself particularly apparent to me as I observe my twin grandbabies—Nate and Olivia—develop. I’m including two photos I recently took that help make my point.

The first illustrates how toddlers themselves make stereotyped choices. In it you’ll see Olivia holding one of her favorite toys—a baby doll—and Nate holding one of his—a police car. Those of you who have been following this blog for awhile will remember that I talked about this difference around Christmas time in terms of the “truck gene.”

The second photo illustrates a different point. In this picture you’ll see the results not of the children’s predilections, but of their parents’! This photo was taken at an Easter Egg Hunt this past weekend. As usual, it was a hectic morning with the added pressure of getting to the event by 11AM sharp. In situations like this, with twins involved, a division of labor becomes necessary. In this case, that division took the form of Mommy dressing Olivia and Daddy dressing Nate. The photo shows the result: Two toddlers holding hands and romping through the grass—Olivia all dolled up in a pretty dress with brand new matching sandals and Nate in a comfortable and highly practical flannel shirt and jeans. Need I say more?!

By the way, even though each of their verbal vocabularies is blossoming at an absolutely amazing rate, they still find themselves signing upon occasion. This time it took the form of the sign “MORE” accompanied by a very wistful look up at Papa and Grammy when, having arrived a little too late to the Easter Egg Hunt, all the eggs were already gone! Oh well, there’s always next year.

Happy Signing! (And don’t forget to follow up on Facebook!)

Linda Acredolo, Ph.D.
Co-Founder of the Baby Signs® Program
Professor Emeritus of Psychology, UC Davis
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