About 6 months ago, our daughter gave birth to our first grandchild, a boy. She and her husband knew they were having a son and promptly named him after his father – a full four-name moniker, the second. How to raise a boy is a hot topic, but one about which they are both sensitive. Their clothing choices and book requests and bedding designs are not boy-centric. Rather, there are lots of neutral colors, animals, foods and abstract designs. Same for the toys they have chosen.
But what about the grandparents, especially the grandma? Having worked in a school, participated in a Gender Equity study group and analyzed my own attitudes about how I treated the issue of equity in my classroom, I was sure I was open and ready to promote equal opportunities for all to my grandchild.
One day in prep for the new baby’s arrival, I was going through some stored baby items and came across a box of my daughter’s stuffed animals and dolls. (Yes, I still had them all; her brother’s too – that’s another blog!) In the mix was a small Raggedy Ann and Raggedy Andy doll. Perfect! Soft and cuddly, I would definitely wash Andy and send him along. But, what about Ann? Should I save her for a possible granddaughter down the road? I caught myself. My daughter had been given both the dolls and they always travelled together. Was my hesitation because it might be considered more appropriate for a girl to have a “boy doll” than for a boy to have a “girl doll”? If these are the questions about dolls I’m struggling with now, how will I really be able to guide my grandson when he is with me? Will I fall into old mindsets? I decided to wait on the dolls.