In the ongoing Skinner box experiment that we call raising our son, we’ve noticed that the lad has developed an evident preference for one thing: tractors and more specifically, their big tires. In fact, if there is anything he likes more than tractors, it’s wheels. While looking for a stroller to replace the second hand one we bought that is falling apart, and to find one to accommodate his large size, he had to be dragged away from the strollers as he just couldn’t stop delighting himself with spinning their wheels.
He also has to touch my car tires, the wheels on his stroller, the wheels on his toddler sized car, and the wheels on his toy cars.
I don’t think we’re the types of parents who are trying to slot him into some kind of “typical boy behaviour”. We didn’t actively go out and look for trucks and tractors, expecting him to love them. We don’t want to impose a gender role on him. I rarely correct people who tell me what a beautiful daughter I have. And he loves walking around the house with his mother’s old purse on his arm.
But as much as I’ve been told that gender roles are entirely a social construct, it does seem that some things are innate and I’ve no idea. If the lad had been born a girl, would he have the same interest in tractors and their tires? I have no idea.
The sight of a firetruck in a storybook led to an interest in those and the purchase of a ride-on firetruck for his birthday. A fascination with the heavy equipment digging up the next street led to the purchase of a Mighty Machines DVD. And now, a fascination with tractors led to library to find a big picture book about tractors, which we must read to him approximately 14,723 times a day. While flipping through the book, he always points at the big tires.
I think for Easter, he’s getting a set of all-season radials.