Thursday, April 25, 2013


Sometimes Edie and I play a game I call play-kitchen.  It's pretty much what it sounds like, where I take out a mixing bowl and some spoons and whisks and the lemon pepper and pink Himalayan salt that she can't take the top off of, and we take turns shaking the spices into the bowl and Edie stirs.  I pretend to have a taste, and Edie looks perplexed.  Edie seems to like it, and it's our first foray into pretend, which I think is exciting as it was a very important part of my own childhood.

But, the other day, I was sitting on the kitchen floor with Edie, using an unopened box of diapers as our table, playing play kitchen, and it suddenly occurred to me that maybe this wasn't such a great idea.  That maybe it was a little too on point, gender-role-wise.  Maybe I should get Edie a toy tool kit, just to switch things up.

And then I started thinking some more.  Edie has started, just barely, but started, to mimic me.  Right now it's in small ways, words I say or the way I run my hand over her crib sheet at night, searching for the pacifier she has thrown.  And I think she likes play-kitchen because it mimics things I do.  Stirring, shaking, moving things around in a business-like way.  And it's dynamic.  More so than other things I do: reading, writing, typing.  And then I thought, but she does those things, too.  For months and months now she'll pick up a book--her own or one of ours--and very earnestly read aloud, turning pages when appropriate.   She has a play computer that she pounds on, and her very favorite thing to do is write industriously with pencil or pen in a spiral-bound notebook (as I do, because I'm way old-school).

And besides that, I never use a tool kit.  And neither does James.  So what good would that do her, anyway?

After I thought all these thoughts, I relaxed, and kept stirring and shaking and pretend tasting in play-kitchen.

*in the photos above, Edie looks concerned about gender roles, but I don't think she is.  


  1. The other day I saw a play kitchen (like a kitchen made out of an entertainment center or something) on Facebook and someone commented and said: "I need a girl so I can get this!" And I was really confused by that because dont all toddlers like to cook and pretend to cook? Anyway, you're not the only one who sometimes second guesses "gender specific" activities. And you're not that only one that ends up shrugging about it

  2. Isn't it amazing to ponder how we are and are not responsible for developing their brains, their sense of self, and their understanding of culture? I am also very proud of the fact that my illiterate children pretend read constantly. Having twin girls has been an amazing experiment. When they were born, I was certain that the nurture side weighed much heavier than the nature side and I had my plans. But they came to us as completely unique individuals, that's obvious. Delia really does have propensities toward artistic creativity and design that Josie has no inclination to. She draws completely on her own, so concentrated and in such a particular style. She is fascinated with cameras and taught herself how to post on Susanna's Instagram. She likes clothing with neat and simple patterns. It's fascinating. Josie loves dolls and real life babies and from very early on has nurtured one thing or another. This used to concern me a bit. I wanted to be sure to expose her to other things as well. But I've observed that it is exactly and uniquely who she is. It is an interest of hers and it is a serious talent. And she has many others, different from her sister. She also LOVES play-kitchen. And she is a bossy little lady. I have her actually help me cook all the time and talk to her about why I am doing what I am doing and about the restaurant she could have some day. I'm trying to guide her toward Mediterranean, for my own sake, but French pastries would be nice, too.

  3. THIS IS SO AWESOME! Jacob and I have talked a lot about gender roles and how to teach our kids and have just sort of been perplexed enough to not know exactly what to do. So I like this.

  4. Don't you think the kitchen is the perfect place for kids to learn about creating things? It's like the stage of the house.