all boy

I have worked hard to raise my children in a family environment free from constricting gender expectations. But no matter what I do, or have done, each of them generally fits gender stereotypes pretty well.

J. my 6th grade girl, loves shopping, makeup, high heeled sandals (which she isn't allowed to wear in public), and her growing collection of purses. She has a strong belief that a girl cannot have too many handbags.

And E., my third grade boy is - for lack of any better way to put it - all boy.

Yesterday, Jon wrote about how E. SPENT HIS AFTERNOON,, and yesterday, as I did piles and piles of dirty laundry, I had to carefully dig the rocks, string, pocketknives, and bits of snakeskin out of E's pairs of pants before throwing them in the washer.

Last night, E. fell asleep in our bed. Before Jon could carry E. to his own bed and put him in it, I had to clean the bed off, because it was covered with:

-a real machete (in sheath) recently unearthed in the kudzu behind our yard
-a large, sharp knife E. bought at a flea market (in sheath)
-two lacrosse sticks
-a baseball helmet
-three balls
-two giant nerf guns
-two cap pistols
-one book about monkeys
-one animatronic monkey

Let's just put it this way: in 11 years of raising a girl, I've never found knives or guns in her bed, while both of my boys seemed to end up with these items all over their sleeping spaces.

Although now that H. is in high school, his bed is more likely to be full of guitar picks and dirty socks.

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