To be honest, I never considered gender ratios when it came to child care. Who seriously considers that? My first priority when choosing a daycare was that he was taken care of in a nurturing environment, with age-appropriate levels of care, and an experienced provider.
What I didn’t entertain was the notion that an all-girl daycare for a little boy might just be a really awesome thing.
(He is currently slaying dragons and eating a raw parsnip, if anyone is wondering.)
He has plenty of fabulous male role models. He has a dad who is in his life, a step-father who has stepped up to the day-to-day role of caretaker alongside of me, he has an extremely outdoorsy grandfather and great grandfather, he has various uncles (blood related and not) who also help him learn what it is to be “a man.” So, I’m not worried about overstimulating him with femininity.
However, I believe a very, extremely healthy dose of feminism, femininity, and females in his life is extremely appropriate. He was raised for the first three and a half years of his life with one woman as his primary caretaker. He was exposed to various amounts of classical music, heels, getting “dressed up,” what makeup is, and the fact that women don’t pee the same way men do. (Or generally speaking, anyway.) He was also exposed to rock climbing, hiking, and all the cartoons and movies and books having to do with chivalry and dragons and knights an honor.
I’m not sure if this is a blog post about gender roles in single parenting, or the fact that Will’s daycare provider sent me the following photo today:
The thing is, I think it’s intensely healthy for him to be able to have fun with both boys and girls, in many different ways. He feels funny and laughs and enjoys when Hannah dresses him up, but he also doesn’t mind telling me all about what it’s like to kill a dragon and save the lady. (Although he is reminded many times, over and over again, that ladies do not always need saving…)
I think that to encourage boys to be boys means that boys should learn how to interact with men and women. Boys and girls. And “boys being boys” means that boys need to know that they aren’t above or below playing games with girls.
I’m sure there will come a time in his life where all of a sudden, it isn’t funny to play dress up with the girls. And that’s ok. But I want him to know from the ground up, that it’s ok to play in all ways with all people. Many good things come of positive interactions with men and women, from knowing right from wrong, from refraining from horrible behavior as a grown man.
So cheers to dress up, at any age, and any sex.