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Your kid has a gender

Y our kid is not gender neutral. In case you were living under a rock and missed it, the news has had a few instances lately of "modern" parents who choose to wait to reveal the pronoun of their baby until he/she/it reaches toddler. Lots of analysis, too, about the arrangements for gender-neutral toys, clothes, etc.. Don't get me wrong--I hate pink and preferred my son in greens or animals than "baby blue."

But you can't deny biology. Sure, we can try to be open and flexible with the preferences of our children. It's about boys being able to play with dolls and girls being able to play with trucks. The point is to not force boys into playing cowboys-not-teacups. Not telling girls they can't be a pro wrestler.

To insist that we can erase gender entirely is another matter.

Ok, ok, maybe what these crazies are trying to say is that we should focus on individual personality, not gender? I get it.

But as open-minded as you can be as a parent there comes a time when you realize certain things about your kid. Mine is a boy and a girl. Well, the girl has a lot of growing to do before I'm sure of her temperament. The dude is most surely a dude though. I'll buy him ballet shoes or let him wear pink or keep a Hello Kitty collection if he really wants. It's just that I can't see that happening.

I've actually been thinking lately that my son would have made an exemplary Victorian boy of the British Empire. He shows little affection, he's rambunctious, wrestles and jumps and runs and loves to smack others in the face, pound on your back, yell loudly.

In contrast, my infant daughter is the opposite. Quiet, social and enjoys interaction, peacefully sleeps through the night or lays calmly waiting for someone to pick her up and take care of her. Well, she burps loudly still so maybe that's less lady-like.

In any case, there's maybe a small amount of steering Cole towards, say, Thomas and Friends and away from, say, Barney and Friends. But I can definitely say he loves to pull things down, knock things over, throw things and otherwise be physical. Can my daughter play with toy farm machinery? Sure. Will she? We'll see. All I know is I can't quite explain my son's love of garbage trucks (for me it was school buses) any other way but "he's a little boy."

Because how many little girls do you know that really, really enjoy bulldozers? A few, sure. But how many women construction workers do you know? And there's the issue. As a Stay At Home Dad living as a parent in a mom's world, I can say that gender is alive and well. You can't get rid of it.

And, frankly, we've tilted so far in favor of girls that it is true that boys are getting left behind. Our schools and behavior expectations and even my own experiences as a dad have given me new appreciation for the way we've pigeon-holed men. It's no secret that the current economic climate has hit men harder. Women are now on average better educated.

When I see my son pushing a dump truck around the living room, screeching at the top of his lungs, crashing it into his collection of blocks which are scattered everywhere, I smile. Well, the screaming I could live without. But he's happy with who he is and I'm hoping it stays that way. Because there is the truth about gender is that the world has a cruel way of trying to make us feel uncomfortable in our own skin.

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