I knew it was going to happen but it still surprised me.
I had just picked the 4 year old up from preschool and we were turning into the parking lot of my wife’s office.
“I wish I was a boy,” she said.
A thousand thoughts flashed through my mind. Why? What? How?
Earlier in the week she had spent some time explaining to me what were “boy colors” (blue, orange, green) and “girl colors” (pink, purple, yellow). So in turn I had been explaining that there are just colors and boys and girls can wear or like whatever colors they want. So the statement wasn’t completely out of left field. Perhaps the first signs of a preschooler noticing gender differences.
But that is precisely what had me concerned.
My wife and I have worked hard to instill in our daughters that they can do and be anything they want to. Each night after brushing their teeth they repeat a Stuart Smalley-like affirmation that includes things like I am smart, brave, kind and “I’m going to be a scientist”. To her mother’s chagrin she adds, “I’m going to be a Ninja Turtle.”
As we talked about her wish her childish innocence shown through. Her desire to be a boy was because the lead character in her favorite show is a boy. That hadn’t stopped her from taking on the role while she played “Lion Guard” with her friends on the playground.
While we waited for my wife to come down we talked about how girls can be and do anything boys can. On a 4 year old level she understands she can be anything she wants to, even if that is a cartoon lion or Ninja Turtle.