When I was pregnant with Madeleine all I hoped for every day was a healthy baby. And then finding out my healthy baby was a healthy baby girl was the glitter on top of the perfect pink cupcake! I've always been pretty girly and was excited to share some of those things with my daughter. It's not that boys can't cook or sew, but having been taught these things from my mother, I was excited to pass them on to my little girl too.
Everyone teased me and said that I'd have such a tomboy daughter, but oh how they were wrong.
There's been a few articles flying around lately about "things parents of boys only know" (here and here) and it got me thinking about how Maddie truly does none of those things, and how she's such a little girl. I don't like stereotypes and generalising genders to a few traits, but I get told so often how much of a girl she is, particularly by parents of boys. Just this morning at the park there were a few of us observing the little ones playing in the sandpit, all with distinct gender characteristics. The girls were each sitting and quietly building castles and generally having a good time. And then there were the boys. They were crawling/running around the sandpit, taking each other's toys, throwing sand, eating sand and generally having a good time.
I don't push pink or dolls onto Maddie, (actually she doesn't even have a doll) but have always enjoyed watching to see what toys she is interested in herself. If we're in a group play setting, she has always favoured the classically "girly" toys, and even now requests to be dressed in a "pretty dresssss" most days. These are some other things that Maddie does that little boys aren't well known to do...
Such as gently seeking out lady beetles to let them crawl across her hand and tickle her. She will crouch down and put her little finger near the lady beetle and wait for it to climb up on her finger. Then she just watches it crawl around, giggling and squirming until it flies away (to which she gets very sad about!).
Maddie LOVES sitting and colouring or playing with her stickers, she will paint for an entire hour without barely moving. She gets a little upset when her paint colours get too mixed up, and has a threshold for how much mess she can handle on herself, but definitely has no trouble sitting quietly still and crafting!
Maddie treads carefully. She is very delicate with her movements, which I appreciate isn't the case with a lot of girls, but certainly true of Maddie. She likes to hold your hand to navigate tricky paths, and is very careful where she goes. She is tougher than she thinks though, so we are always challenging her to be more courageous and trust us that she's safe.
She likes playing with horses. It seems to be an innately "girl" thing to be interested in, but she has her rocking horse Hank from Pop, a special hobby horse Bonnie at Grandma's house for special Skype chats, a few My Little Ponies, and another few horses around too. Lots of girliness! Although to even it out I've bought her Lego blocks and a wicked train set too, because I really want her to play with lots of toys and not be pigeon-holed to barbie and cabbage patch kids.
Madeleine is very sensitive. I know this is not gender specific and I hate casting generalisations, but she seems to be a very sensitive little girl, who, I'm quite sure is soon to tell me "it's not what you said but how you said it". She can get very easily upset, but then very easily made happy again. Just yesterday she started crying big sad crocodile tears, all because I finished unpacking the dishwasher without her. I know, how could I. So she collapsed into my lap, threw her arms around me, nuzzled in for a minute and then proclaimed " Oh thank you Mummy, I happy 'gain".
I often hear the classic worrying silence that usually indicates a toddler up to no good, which is sometimes the case for sure, but more often I find her sitting in fromt of her book shelf, reading through her favourites. She loves to read and be read to and it amazes me how long she can sit still reading. No little boy I've ever known can control the ants in his pants for that long!
But thankfully, Madeleine doesn't kick "like a girl"! We spend a fair amount of time in the Heath or at Fenton a House playing with ball, and I love how much she loves it. She's got a good little right-footed kick, and a great Netball lob in her, although her catching leaves much to be desired. She is definitely keeping up with the boys her age with ball skills, despite her hesitation to walk in long grass or among the fallen leaves!
When Maddie was a baby I was always asked many times a day how old my little boy was, so perhaps this is the flip side to that?! There is no doubting that miss Madeleine is very much a little girl now!