Like many mums of more than one of the same sex, I get to see that many of the supposed gender-specific behaviours are actually anything but.
My girls like football, climbing things, cars and lego, as well as dressing up, dolls and colouring in. On the other hand, DS loves soft toys, fairy dresses and crafty stuff.
Since having a boy, I have seen very few real differences between the sexes. The one obvious contrast between DS and the girls, is DS’s enthusiasm for vehicles, mainly trains.
The girls had toy trains and cars of course. They did play with them but used a lot of role playing in their games. This train was the mum, this one was the baby, they were going shopping or to school or exploring; that kind of thing.
DS will play ‘stories’ with the trains if one of his sisters is playing with him, but he’s quite happy to make endless configurations of tracks and just shunt his trains around them while choo-chooing quietly on the floor.
And he LOVED Thomas The Tank Engine. Anything Thomas. We have had what seems to be entire range of Thomas themed toys, cutlery, linen, clothes and books through this house at some point.
DD3 had a similar obsession with Bolt at the same age, but there was less merchandise for her to acquire. Thomas is bl**dy everywhere.
Thomas has been part of our life for years now, but this phase has shown signs of waning over the last six months. I’m not terribly sad, that little plastic smiley face creeps me out a little.
But the other day DS cornered me in the kitchen and asked ‘Mummy, Is Thomas Real?’
I really didn’t know how to answer this. I had never considered that DS might think TTTE was real; I had just assumed he knew he was a character in a book/on TV. Would he be upset to learn Thomas was just made up? We’ve already had to have the ‘Santa’ talk with our two oldest girls and it was traumatic for everyone.
In the end I told the truth. Thomas was part of a story a man once made up, a book was written and some pictures drawn, then a TV program was made and now there are some real trains around that pretend to be TTTE sometimes. He wasn’t upset at all but was very interested in the idea of trains ‘dressing up’ as Thomas. After I’d said my stuff he trotted off quite happily to play with his lego.
So the little blue train is on the way out and he’s going to leave a bit of a hole in his wake. What’s going to fill it?
DS likes Lego but hes not obsessed like he used to be with Thomas. He also likes Hama beads and Skylanders on the WiiU.
Of course he doesn’t have to be into anything really, but just in case I have any choice in the matter, does anyone have any suitable suggestions for a 5 year old?