View Full Version : Fathers of SONS (and moms too), I need some feedback...("gender based toys")

12-21-2007, 12:13 PM
DH and I got into an argument last night about a toy I purchased for our two boys for Christmas. I would like some input from other dads of sons about this issue, as I think DH made a huge deal about nothing.

We have two sons, ages 3.5 and 1.5. Our oldest son is autistic, so it is pretty important to get him toys that foster pretend play and imagination.

Both kids are NUTS for our vacuum cleaner. They are constantly pulling it out of the closet and playing with it. My oldest son likes to "help" me clean, but he wants to actually push the vacuum around, which is dangerous (he plugs it in and turns it on and everything). The youngest is all over the vacuum all the time too.

My solution to this was to buy them a play vacuum. It's a Dirt Devil Junior, dark red, basically a mini version of a real one. It runs on batteries and makes a vacuum sound, has a light, and actually does work (probably very badly though). ;) I figured if they had their own "real vacuum" they could "help" when I clean the house. In addition, it allows them to play with a vacuum without the hazard associated with a real one. I think this type of play is very good for kids. They already have a play kitchen and love to "cook".

Fast forward to last night. I decided to wrap the presents early (for once). I got the vacuum out to show DH...I thought he'd think it was great. Instead, his reaction was "you bought them THAT???" (with a really snide tone). I said "yeah, I think they would love this." His response, "I don't want them to have that...there's a ----- girl on the box." I responded that there was a boy on the other side of the box, and what difference did that make; it was not a "girly" vacuum. It wasn't pink or anything. It looks like a real vacuum. He proceeded to go off about how this toy would make his boys, for lack of a more family friendly term, "not enjoy the company of women". I could not believe how ridiculous he was being. I just said, "fine, I'll return it, as if I don't have enough to do already, I'll return it and pick out something else." I was so mad. More so because he did not give me any feedback into what I should get the boys (as usual, I did all the shopping this year) and he tends to poo poo all over every toy I show him that I think our kids would love. Basically, if HE doesn't think it's cool, he doesn't want it in the house. He doesn't seem to want to "get it" that toys for toddlers are NOT something that HE is going to want to play with. He's basically a big kid himself, but I really think sometimes he wishes his kids were, like 8, so they would play with "cool" toys that he can get into.

I am now re-thinking my plan to return the vacuum. I really think his response to it was over the top, but I don't know, as I'm not a guy.

Guys, what do you think of this? Am I being too emotional about this? Does my husband have a valid argument? How would you react if someone gave your son a gift like this?

12-21-2007, 12:52 PM
I would not return it but that is just me, Boys playing with vacuums and dolls don't m,ake them gay and the same as girl who play with hotwheels and make mudpies. yourhusband has some serius issues but i bet if yuor son wer eto hurt himself with the real vacuum that would be all your fault to right? I sure hope he comes to his senses and i will keep your family in my prayers. best of luck with everything.
P.S my son played with my old cabbage patch kids and my old barbies and he is now 12 in karate and wreslting and has umpteen girls calling for him on a daily basis and he loves every minute of it.

12-21-2007, 12:53 PM
Guys, what do you think of this?I think your husband needs to lighten up and maybe do a little shopping himself or forfeit his gift opinions.

Am I being too emotional about this?No.

Does my husband have a valid argument?No. Maybe in a locker room somewhere.

How would you react if someone gave your son a gift like this?I'd be mad...that it wasn't a real vacuum so he could actually clean the house.

Hope your son enjoys the vacuum!

12-21-2007, 12:56 PM
Just my :twocents:...

I can see his side. I see it as a girls toy. Sorry not to be Politically Correct all the time but that's how I see it. He's over the top with the "influencing future preference" talk though.

Sadly, it's all stereotypes and that's not good but it's reality. If you want to try to raise a tom girl, you buy her a BB gun, not a Princess dress. Same goes for a burly boy. Avoid the vacuum and get a lawn mower.

Lawn mowing is just the manly vacuuming of the yard... ;):D:blush:

12-21-2007, 01:01 PM
I have DS 5 and DD 3, so I have the advantage of purchasing a toy like that for DD and have no problem with DS playing with it.

Personally, a vacuum cleaner would not bother me at all to give to my son.

Uhm... i have been known to use the vacuum ocasionally.

Hardly something that I think is going to cause issues later in life and it sounds like your boys would love it.

Heck the favorite toy in our household, including the children of friends - both boys and girls - is a stroller that is made for a doll. They ALL love pushing it around, its crazy how much they love it and is easily the most played with toy at our house.

I say tell your DH consider it life skills training.... :D

12-21-2007, 01:02 PM
Nat, I don't know your husband obviously, but if you're asking my opinion as to whether or not he thinks your sons will grow up to "not enjoy the company of women" because they played with a vacuum cleaner when they were little ...

There's so many things wrong with that I don't even know where to begin.

A. in my house I do the vacuuming and I can 100% assure you that I enjoy the company of women.

B. I'm fairly certain that the toys we play with when we're young are not a determining factor in whether or not we "enjoy the company of women" when we're older.

C. It's not like you bought them a Barbie doll or a princess dress-up kit or something. That I would take issue with. It's a vacuum. Is your DH indicating that he thinks vaccuming is "woman's work"??? If so ...

Actually, I think I'll shut up now ... :secret:

Hayden's Dad
12-21-2007, 01:03 PM
I don't see anything wrong with the vaccum especially if it is something they really do enjoy. If he thinks that his sons shouldn't be doing "women's work " he is sorely mistaken. There is nothing wrong with a man helping around the house or being a stay at home dad for that matter. I say keep it and it is a good safe option for your sons to helping mommy with the vaccum that they will probably love. If it would make you husband feel better go to the store and get you husband a toy drill, saw, transformer, or car that he can play with from the boys or santa.
Don't let this ruin your holiday. Merry Christmas

wedway fan
12-21-2007, 01:04 PM
as a father of 2 boys who have played with and enjoyed that same dirt devil vacuum, i've gotta side with you and say your husband's reaction was over the top.

i see toys like vacuums, kitchens, tools, lawnmowers, etc. as gender neutral. i won't even go into the debate on whether or not we should even be assigning "gender-appropriate" toys to toddlers anyway, but toys that anyone could and should know how to use are appropriate for all.

i want my daughter to be able to use a drill and circular saw, just like i want my sons to be able to iron and cook. the earlier they understand that these kinds of things have no gender base, the better.

12-21-2007, 01:05 PM
Give them the vacuum.
Let hubby shop for what he considers to be a more manly gift.
I certainly would not return a gift that I know my children would love.
Just my not so humble opinion.

12-21-2007, 01:05 PM
My oldest son loves to cook (he's 7 now). I bought him a kitchen playset when he was 3 and he loved it. He's as much a boy as any kid out there. Kids like to emulate what they see, especially in your son's condition. What he plays with now has absolutely nothing to do with how "manly" he'll be when he grows up. If your son likes the vacuum, then the gift you got is perfect, especially for his age and developmental ability. Far from scarring him, it will foster his imagination and validate him as he is able to do something he previously wasn't able. Go for it!

12-21-2007, 01:27 PM
My now 4yr old has one and he loves it. I bought it for him when he was 2 yrs old. I bought the playschool one and it is purple and yellow with eyes that move when you push it.

My husband didn't get mad. My son also has real and fake tools, and a toy lawn mower too.

I say keep it. I think your boys will love it a lot.

12-21-2007, 01:29 PM
My friend has 2 boys 4 and 2 and she is buying them both a kitchen set and a vacum cleaner. There is nothing wrong with them playing with either toy. I think it's a great idea! Give it to them for Christmas

12-21-2007, 01:35 PM
Give them the vacuum.
Let hubby shop for what he considers to be a more manly gift.
I certainly would not return a gift that I know my children would love.
Just my not so humble opinion.
This is my advice exactly.

I am the mother of two young autistic sons and they have such a mish mash of toys -- they'll likely enjoy the company of pack rats when they are older ;). DS3 has a Fisher Price doll house that he got for his 2nd birthday -- and he still loves to play with it. DS9 had toy "kitchen tools" as a young child, and now enjoys cooking and baking with me. It's all good! :thumbsup: This year is all about Transformers though....

I hope this does not impact your holiday and that you and your family have a terrific Christmas together! :santa:

12-21-2007, 01:37 PM
As a child care provider and one of 5 children I know the importance of providing your child with the play things that will foster their imagination and help them to become well rounded adults. Boys and girls both equally like playing with things like baby dolls, play kitchens and vaccums. Allowing boys to play with things does not make them "sissys" or what not. It actually fosters their sense of nurturing and compassion. We as adults are the ones who place gender specific roles on certain chores, children dont understand the difference. In my house hold, my step dad is the one who does most of the cleaning including vaccuming and mopping the floors. He also does his own laundry. Oh the horror!!!!

I can tell you as a child I loved climbing trees and playing in the dirt. I played with just as many boy things as I did girl things. And as an adult that hasnt made me any less girly, it has made me more independent because I learned about tools and cars and bugs. My younger brother used to play with my baby dolls and barbies and now he is 16 and into sports and girls.

And if your son's want to wear pink or purple let them. It is just a color. And if they want to play with a vaccum let them!!!

12-21-2007, 01:40 PM
I agree with Ian, does he really think that boys/men should not have vacuums? I don't consider my DH less than manly when he vacuums, why would yours think that a little boy playing with a "play" vacuum instead of injuring himself with the real one would make him girly? I think you should keep it, wrap it, and when your little boy opens it up and freaks out with excitment just wait to see the look on you husband's face. You know your kids, and I think you made a good call with this present. Btw, I'm one of those crazy wifes that likes to get cleaning things for christmas too, if my DH bought a new vacuum for me, I would be estactic, I go through them like crazy! :blush:

Have a Merry Christmas, tell DH to relax too :D

12-21-2007, 01:59 PM
Just FYI ... so you have some context around my feedback and yet at the risk of being flamed ...

Many, many people have accused me of being a Neanderthal, Fred Flintstone-like, wishing for a return to the 1950's kinda guy. Even I'll admit that I'm not exactly what you'd call "enlightened" when it comes to my views of masculine and feminine roles in society. ;)

So what I'm saying is if that even I don't think it's a big deal, then wow! :eek:

12-21-2007, 02:08 PM
...put on the tag that it's just from YOU.

For the record, my 2.5 DS has a vacuum, kitchen set (complete with monogrammed apron), AND a baby doll. His 5 month old brother will have them too. After teaching kinder for 5 years I've seen many, MANY boys clean and take care of the babies.

12-21-2007, 02:17 PM
Dh and I have a 4 year old son and a 2.5 year old daughter. We bought both of them a vacuum cleaner and the love them. DH is actually the one who vacuums in our house and both kids take theirs out and help him. When they are finished, DS goes back to his trucks and DD back to her dolls. I have also bought my son a doll when I was pg with DD because he wanted a baby too and this year my DD is getting matchbox cars so she stops stealing her brother's.
I want both of my children to be well-rounded and I think it's important for them to decide what htey want to play with and not be stuck in what society decides is ok.
Tell your DH to lighten up and get out of the cave.

12-21-2007, 02:19 PM
C. It's not like you bought them a Barbie doll or a princess dress-up kit or something. That I would take issue with. It's a vacuum. Is your DH indicating that he thinks vaccuming is "woman's work"??? If so ...

Actually, I think I'll shut up now ... :secret:

Exactly what I was thinking. To me, it seems that he is saying that vaccuming is womens work and by using a vaccum it will make them feminine. I'll tell you if I had had the same arguement with my DH I would have riped him to shreads, you where A LOT nice then I would have been! Plus, if he doesn't like what you bought tell him to do the shopping!

My nephew is developmentally delayed. His therapists have suggested he have a doll to encourage imaginative play. He loves it. My BIL was a little put off at first, "my son is playing with a doll?!" But, he's ok with now. I can't imagine what your DH would say to that!

Please don't return it! Your right, their going to love it!! DH needs to get over it!

12-21-2007, 02:49 PM
You know really even the whole "playing with dolls" thing is a little overstated ... I mean you can call a G.I. Joe an "action figure" all you want, but guess what?

It's just a doll for boys.

12-21-2007, 02:51 PM
I'm not a guy but I really don't see anything wrong with it. Both my boyfriend and my DS vaccume all the time.

If you were buying him a bunch of PINK stuff or more girl orientated stuff I could see a bit more where he might be rather "uncomfortable". Technically whatever they play with as young children mean NOTHING about what their preferences become later. I think he's taking a bit over the top.

I'm all for peace and comfort of all at Christmas. Have you considered just putting the "gift" in the closet next to your own vaccume cleaner and just calling it theirs instead of a Christmas "gift". It could be a nice after Christmas surprise to go in the closet and see the vaccume.

12-21-2007, 03:00 PM
Thanks everyone. I appreciate the feedback.

First off, DH is normally a very laid back kind of guy. I *just* bought a baby doll for our youngest son, as he is also in therapy for some developmental delays and the therapist wanted us to have a baby doll for him to learn some symbolic play skills. I bought the most masculine doll I could find...it is wearing a dark blue footed pajama and it's a boy doll. DH had no problem with that. DS #2's favorite type of toy is doll strollers too and I REALLY want to get him one to go with the doll, but I draw the line at a pink flowery one, which is all I can seem to find in the stores, so until I can find a more "neutral" one, I'll hold off.

Second, DH is the one who does the vacuuming and dusting in our house. It has always been that way. His argument is more along the lines of "the toy vacuum will not stop them from playing with the real vacuum, but the toy vacuum is a stupid TOY" (i.e., not the type of toy HE would play with).

Third, I think DH is just under a lot of stress. He is going to deploy to Iraq in February and be gone a year. I think he is having a hard time dealing with this impending separation from his family and he's taking it out by being irrational about stupid things (this is not the first time in the past few weeks something like this has come up).

I returned the vacuum. I feel like if he had such a strong feeling about it, I don't want to create any sort of resentment, especially now. I want us to just enjoy this holiday, as he will not be here for Christmas next year.

I have decided that I will buy the boys the vacuum next year after DH leaves. If they end up loving it, great. If not, I'll donate it and DH will never even know we had it.

In general, though, I agree with all of you, and in general, DH agrees with me on this stuff. He's not a neanderthal and he CERTAINLY doesn't have issues (usually) with gender type stuff where his kids are concerned. He's a Marine, though, and there is a certain "manliness" about him that is exacerbated by the type of people he is around on a daily basis. He is certainly more liberal than most of his co-workers, but still, I have to roll my eyes at some of the opinions he has about gender stuff sometimes.

12-21-2007, 03:09 PM
He proceeded to go off about how this toy would make his boys, for lack of a more family friendly term, "not enjoy the company of women".

So that's what causes it! You know, they should probably put a warning label on the box. :crazy:

First I'd like to say that obviously it's not for any of us to say what you should do here. This is an issue between you and your husband.

When I was young, I too enjoyed playing with the vacuum, but not so much as a tool for cleaning, but as something that made a lot of noise and had that cool hose with all the suction.

As far as the influence of toys on our personal development, I did actually have a toy lawn mower, and now, I HATE mowing. On any given Saturday during that time of year, you're more than likely to find my wife mowing, and me vacuuming.

So, do I feel that a toy vacuum is a "girl toy", no. Do I think something like that could effect one's gender preference, no. However, do I think it's an issue that's worth causing a family issue over........ not for me to say.

12-21-2007, 03:18 PM
Give your boys the small vaccum and give the large one to your hubby.:D

12-21-2007, 05:28 PM
I like the idea of wrapping it with a tag FROM YOU. Be sure to have the camera ready when they open it.

I grew up as the daughter of a builder, and spent many days playing in dirt at house sites, pounding nails, etc. I also liked Barbies and baby dolls.

When I was about 9, my mom bought my BIL's son a microscope. I was watching her wrap it, and said, "Wow, I'd like one of those!" My mom made the mistake of blurting out, "But it's a boy's toy." She later told me that they had already bought all my presents, and that was the only excuse she could think of. I never let her forget that!

Good luck!

12-21-2007, 06:03 PM
I didn't even read anyone else's posts because I didn't want it to sway my own opinion so... I think that you should not return the vacumn cleaner. You do all the shopping, you knows your boys will like the vacumn therefore you should give it to them. Why go through the hassle of returning it when you know it's a toy that they will love! I have an austistic little brother and I know how hard it is to get him to actually play for toys and not just watching television or play video games so I understand where you're coming from. Those toys are meant for your kids and not for you husband. If he still disagrees with you about not returning the vacumn then make him go out and do the shopping and maybe next year he will think twice about commenting on what you buy. :mickey:

12-21-2007, 07:28 PM
Listen, my husband had a toy vacuum when he was little and guess what....he is STILL obsessed with vacuums and that works out just fine for me! LOL. Let a man grow up thinking it is OK to pull some of the housework, for heaven's sake!

When my oldest DS was little, he carried a small snoopy lunchbox with him everywhere he went and referred to it as his "purse". It was FUNNY! He is a manly 11 year old now who likes girls and everything. My autistic son loves getting one of my particular dresses out of the closet and wrapping it over his head. BEcause he wants to dress in drag??? No, cause it smells like mommy. Big deal. We ask him if he feels pretty when he comes down stairs with it.

If your kiddos will enjoy the vacuum, then by all means give them the vacuum. Get your hubby a real one, while you're at it ;):secret:

12-22-2007, 11:13 AM
First the issue, I will give you the "scientific" response not the gender one but remember that
toddlers don't have a gender identity until the reach about 4 years old so gender rolls mean nothing to them at this age. Also we can now "control" the preference of a hamster by manipulating his hormones so research is showing more and more that it's not what they play with that will affect them. The hormones do start in utero and the development of gender identity starts later.
I think your later post hit the nail on the head. If he vacuums and the boys love it the vacuum may symbolize that they won't miss him or need him. I think his reaction is MUCH deeper than a toy. I'm sure all sorts of thoughts are going through his mind right now. His thoughts are on you and their futures. :hug: I'm glad you brought it back. You are very wise and in touch with his needs and sacrificing your own preferences over his for Christmas is a very loving gift in itself.

Nat, I don't know your husband obviously, but if you're asking my opinion as to whether or not he thinks your sons will grow up to "not enjoy the company of women" because they played with a vacuum cleaner when they were little ...
There's so many things wrong with that I don't even know where to begin.

Ian --I'm impressed!!

12-22-2007, 11:27 AM
I agree with many of the previous posters. It's not about fostering their future life choices, it's about fostering life skills. Heck, my husband has his own vaccuum, although it's a shop vac, he loves it. I catch him using it all the time, in the cars, in his shop, everywhere. As a matter of fact, when I was shopping for a new vaccuum, he was more into which one we should buy and why.

Several years ago, I bought a christmas gift for a girl I know. I bought her a tool set. Very manly gift. DH thought I was nuts. She loved it, especially since she lived on her own at the time. And it was useful.

Your sons may very well live on their own during their lifetime and we don't all have the luxury of a house keeper or our mothers coming to vaccuum for us 2-3 times a week. Heck, my sons 12 & 10 vaccuum for me now and fight over whose turn it is. And boy do they burp and fart like other men I know.

Get the vaccuum and be happy about it. They'll love it.

12-22-2007, 05:05 PM
When I was young, I too enjoyed playing with the vacuum, but not so much as a tool for cleaning, but as something that made a lot of noise and had that cool hose with all the suction.Ha ha! Now that you mention it, the thought didn't occur to me at the time I first read this post, but yeah ... same here.

My Grandfather had a cannister vac in his basement workshop and I loved that thing. I used to **** up anything that wasn't nailed down!

12-22-2007, 05:45 PM
Sorry to read that you returned the vacuum, but buying it next year when your husband is gone is a good idea if it keeps the peace this Christmas.

I did ask my husband what he thought of a vacuum cleaner for a little boy and he sort of winced. That made me laugh, because he does most of the cooking in our family. He never touches the vacuum, though!

12-22-2007, 06:43 PM
Well, you've asked and answered your own question, and I think it's a shame in this day and age (almost 2008!) that these things are even a topic of conversation. There was a similar question on the radio here the other day asking men if they would buy their sons dolls if the child really really really wanted one. (The responses were split.)

C. It's not like you bought them a Barbie doll or a princess dress-up kit or something. That I would take issue with.

This I find so incredibly offensive. Why would that be an issue? Your children are who they are - not being supportive of them only leads to conflict and hurt later in their lives. You can't "make" a child gay or straight by giving them (or not giving them) particular toys. You can alienate them and instill a feeling of shame though.

As for the great vacuum debate, my husband does the vacuuming in the house because I hate cleaning floors. Don't know why- I just do. His mother owned a cleaning business when he was growing up, and he helped her out on weekends. I *love* that woman for teaching him how to clean a house quickly and efficiently! I, unlike so many other women, do not have a sloppy husband. I thank my MIL every time I see her.

He also had a fascination with makeup when he was young. And now? He works for Weta Workshop. And his more masculine brother? Gay. You never know how things will turn out!

12-23-2007, 08:59 AM
I just wanted to throw my :twocents: in, for whatever that's worth!

First, I think by Natalie returning the toy she was able to ensure peace in her house this holiday and there is nothing wrong with that!

But, I am the Mom of a boy who has always preferred girls toys to boys and it's not an easy road at times - but, I think that's because as parents we make it harder than it needs to be.

When Conor was an infant and toddler, he prefered books over anything. He would also get fixated on certain things - for example, when he was 1 1/2 - 2, he loved the color yellow, the letter "H" and the number "4" (he was like a walking Sesame street episode!!). Around 2, he started to gravitate towards things that were shiny, sparkly, etc. He loved the color pink and became totally obsessed with Sleeping Beauty. Mike and I were totally confused by this - wasn't he supposed to be into cars and play with his home depot work bench? Well, he did play with it at times but he definitely preferred more "girl" toys. Repeatedly we were told that the toys weren't gender specific, but it was the parents that made them gender specific. Mike definitely had a harder time with all of this than I did. We went to a Family picnic when he was 2 1/2 and we watched him playing with his girl cousins and their polly pocket dolls - my son literally sat there for 3 hours without moving - having the time of his life.

When he was 3, two things happened - first, we went to Vermont and while there, did a tour of the Ben & Jerry's factory. Conor saw a tye-dyed t-shirt that he fell in love with and begged us for. We thought it was pretty cool that our 3 year old liked tye dye, so we got him the shirt. After we got it for him, he smiled and said "look Mommy, now I can wear pink". That was when I realized my son was pretty darn smart, because the shirt did indeed have pink in it and Mike and I didn't even notice. But, Conor did and knew that it would be okay for a boy to wear, because it also had blue, green, yellow, etc.

Then, he was going to have a playdate and before his friend came over, we saw he started to hide some of his stuff. At that point we knew that WE were giving him the impression that it wasn't okay for him to have "girly" toys. We'd buy them for him, but I guess he still knew that we were confused and a little uncomfortable.

So, right then and there we both realized that Conor was who he was and we needed to accept that. While I don't care what toys my son plays with, I do care that he feels completely free to be himself - and never, ever have to hide what he truly loves. So over the years he's had powerpuff girls stuff, sleeping beauty's castle and Winx club dolls - that he still plays with at times.

At 7, he still loves pretty things, his favorite show and music is Hannah Montana and last year he asked for and got an easy bake oven for Christmas. But, he also is completely crazy about Pokemon and for the first time ever, asked for action figures (pokemon) for Christmas. He is "girly" one minute and all boy the next. He still gets concerned about what others will think and we repeatedly tell him that it is totally okay for him to like whatever he likes, but that he needs to be sure of himself and be able to defend his choices. We sometimes will steer him away from certain things to avoid issues in school (the pink camouflage back pack, for example) but we totally let him be himself the rest of the time.

And like I said, while his build-a-bears still wear girls clothes, and most of his stuffed animals are "girls", he plays sports, loves to go to hockey games with Mike and can be as rough as the next little boy. I don't think any of this determins who or what my son will be in 10 or 20 years, especially as his wants and likes are constantly changing. But, making him feel bad about his choices or making him feel that he is doing something wrong was not an option - he's a child and he deserves to be a happy child, no matter what it is that makes him happy. And for what it's worth, my sister is gay and there is no way we could have predicted that by how she acted as a child or by what she played with. And now, she's a very happy, successful woman with an amazing daughter and a wonderful partner - I can only hope my son achieves that kind of happiness in life, no matter who it's with.

My proudest moment was when he was 6 - he loved all the littlest pet shop toys and had many of them. He is a huge animal lover, especially dogs, so it never occurred to him that some might think they were "girly". We were having a meeting at our house for the Kindergarten parents about their upcoming Graduation and Conor was downstairs playing with his classmates. One of them, whose always been somewhat of a bully and a problem, found the littlest pet shop stuff and yelled out "These are girls toys! Conor has girls toys". Mike said Conor stood there for a moment, then walked right up to this boy, took the toy from him and said "These are NOT girls toys and I LIKE them!!!"

If he can stand up for himself and be comfortable with himself, then I think we're doing an okay job as parents!! :cloud9:

12-23-2007, 02:53 PM
...I think it's a shame in this day and age (almost 2008!) that these things are even a topic of conversation.

100% AGREED!!! My thoughts exactly. When are things going to change?? Not soon enough for me!

I find it funny how people assign masculine and feminine characteristics to arbitrary objects...especially, when they are not stereotypical things like pink dolls or blue trucks. It really gives you an insight on what people think about gender roles, traits, etc.

I wonder if his reaction would have been as strong if he had daughters and his wife bought them a car set or something, thought by some-myself NOT included, to be a "boy's" toy?

12-24-2007, 10:46 AM
I remember that same conversation when I bought the boys a play kitchen one year for Christmas. You would've thought I bought them the entire My Pretty Pony collection.

That was 6 years ago and now both boys love to cook . . . they will make 2 girls very lucky some day :blush:

01-14-2008, 04:01 PM
BrerGnat good for you returning the vaccum.

With your DH deploying why stir up anything during this time. It's silly to fight a battle like this when other things are so much more important like being together.

I work with the military and every one of them have a tough time leaving family...who wouldn't. Little things they normally wouldn't think about...bug them.

The vacuum doesn't have to be a PRESENT it could just be a toy that "shows" up in the closet without a lot of "fanfare" attached to it. If they like it fine if they don't your idea to donate it is wonderful.

01-14-2008, 10:14 PM
Sorry I just found this. I also wanted to say good job for making this a non-issue and just returning it. My husband is currently deployed, so I understand the petty arguments that arise from the stress both before the spouse leaves and after they return.

I also think you should buy your boys the vacuum after Daddy leaves. Especially if your DH is the one that does the vacuuming. Maybe this would help them feel closer to dad while he is away.

Oh by the way, thanks for the info about the vacuum. I'll have to go get one for my boys that are 4 1/2 and 3. They would LOVE it! :thumbsup:

01-15-2008, 12:59 AM
From your later comments, I bet your DH is regretting he made a big deal out of it in the first place.

An aside: Have any of you bought Happy Meal toys at McDonald's lately -- when they CONTINUE to ask whether you want a BOY toy or a GIRL toy (not doll or car or whatever, but gender-specific!!)

And a funny story: When my brother was little, my dad was always working and was rarely home, so mom had to do all the household repair jobs. When brother was about 6, he saw Dad with a hammer and asked him what he was doing with a hammer because that was a girl's job!!!

01-15-2008, 11:44 AM
An aside: Have any of you bought Happy Meal toys at McDonald's lately -- when they CONTINUE to ask whether you want a BOY toy or a GIRL toy (not doll or car or whatever, but gender-specific!!)

I REFUSE to answer with "boy" or "girl" to indicate what sort of toy I want. I frequently get the "boy" toy for my DD because I don't like the "girl" choice, especially if it's a Bratz doll!

01-15-2008, 11:55 AM
Coming from a guy, i say :
Don't return it, if they like it, its because they are trying to be like their parents and they like machinery- its a gaget- not a doll-
And in reality- is playing with a GI-joe playing with dolls? yes it is....

Is it better than giving them the Rambo 3000 Knife set so they can make believe they are stabbing their friends? of course.

I have girls, and sometimes they want dolls. but other times they want race cars or sports equipment. We have no issue givng them either. Many things are not gender specific.

If the kids have fun playing with it- who cares what it is as long as its safe and doesnt teach them bad values or morals.

Logic prvails- my message to him would be - " lighten up , its 2008, we live in a different society now, the leave it to beaver generation is over. "

Disney Doll
01-15-2008, 04:50 PM
WOW! It is 2008, right? I don't think I could have let this go, but then again I think my husband knows better than to even suggest that a vacuum is a girl's toy (one reason he's my husband). We let our son play with whatever he wants. You kept the peace for now, but is going behind your husband's back to get the vacuum while he is gone really a better solution? I'd get the vacuum now and hash it out with DH. To think that playing with a vacuum may cause your son to be gay is just ridiculous! My :twocents:

01-16-2008, 08:22 AM
This I find so incredibly offensive. Why would that be an issue?Well as far as you finding what I choose or don't choose for my own kids to be offensive, I'll withhold comment ... :secret:

But as far as the general topic, you need to read this thread more carefully ... First of all, I came down strongly on the side of the OP. Secondly, there were about a dozen or more people who expressed similar viewpoints. Perhaps mine was just the first one you noticed, but outside of that I can't really figure out why you singled me out.

Quite honestly, I find the desire of some people to go out of their way to find something to get offended by offensive.

01-16-2008, 09:24 AM
Natalie, sorry you had such an issue with this. I won't even begin to try to understand what your DH was thinking, especially when he does the vacuuming, but obviously he was upset and I think returning the vacuum and keeping the peace was best. Good luck with your DH's deployment.

01-17-2008, 09:28 AM
My son had the typical "boy" toys when he was little, but he also had a baby doll and kitchen set too, and enjoyed them greatly. Kids need exposure to all the activities they will be doing in life and aside from the activities of mowing the lawn and tinkering with tools in the garage, they will undoubtedly need to know how to nurture a baby and some minimal cooking skills. In fact, I wish I had gotten my son a vacuum cleaner when he was a toddler or preschooler--maybe it wouldn't be like pulling teeth to get him to vacuum now that he's 15! ;)

Glad to hear that you came up with a solution that you're comfortable with, Natalie. Lots of prayers and :pixie: to you and your family on the upcoming deployment.

01-19-2008, 03:01 PM
I admit I've only skimmed the responses, but here's my $.015

My DS (now almost 4) has a play cleaning set. And has since he was about 2. He loves helping around the house, and I can actually withhold letting him help sweep as punishment.

Am I worried about what this will do to him in the future? Heck no. I am a stay-at-home dad, so I do most of the cooking, cleaning, laundry, etc (plus all the typical "dad" chores, like mowing the lawn and taking out the garbage).

(And my DD, almost 1, will get her own set. IMO, children need to learn how to clean up, just so that they can help clean up the inevitable messes that they create.)