We have not one but TWO construction sites near our home. One is a new bridge that is being built and the other is the beginning of a new section of development at the T in our road. They started dropping off large construction equipment over the past few weeks at the 2nd site.
My dear son is OBSESSED with large vehicles - particularly construction equipment and garbage trucks. This did not come from our encouragement. In fact, I have probably lean more toward trying NOT to gender stereo type (do I really worry about this? I mean seriously... did parents in previous generations? No... SO WHY LORD WHY DID I EVEN USE THAT PHRASE... moving on) though it is hard - most clothes for boys display vehicles or ickkk monster trucks or baseball/football/soccer. I usually go for stripes or plain without the decoration unless it says something cute like 'I love Mom' or that dang Coexist t-shirt I want to get him so badly but of course cannot find anywhere in B-town.
I encourage play with baby dolls, dress up including in mommy's bra which was not encourage and just happened and at least no one was around for that "dress up" session, playing with make believe food in the make believe kitchen, assisting with baking/cooking and helping around the house with laundry, vacuuming, etc... chores that SOME might consider women's work (AND most of these things are also encouraged at school...)
I am convinced more than ever that boys are different from girls no matter how hard I try to make it seem status quo. He has always been sturdy and I always joked that I sort of felt like he was born not very baby like. He never seemed that helpless to me. Which is odd because I am sure he was but he always had these hard little legs and he wanted to push off with those legs from day one and he wanted to learn to crawl & walk well before I was ready for it. Now, he plays hard hard hard - like cuts, bruises and bumps hard - and he just does not care most of the time (unless of course it really hurts...) I watch on the play ground, at school, etc and there are little girls who are tough but it also seems that little girls are different even when they play tough. It is just different though I cannot put my finger on it. Matthew could care a less about being dirty - in fact one of the ways we got him to sleep the first night camping was telling him he could get muddy all day the next day. He went to sleep blissful and sure enough the first thing he did when we got to the beach was run to the part of the beach where it was all muddy and mucky and nasty and sat down in it. Charming, I know.
And some where along the way Matthew has naturally gravitated towards trucks of all sorts. Of course once it was obvious he loved trucks, we encouraged it. Gender whatchmacally? Maybe but if Matthew loved the color pink, I would not say 'Matthew NO PINK for you' just because it is not a color I want him to like or want to see on a regular basis... Or not encouraging art or music just because I am not good at it (because we all know that is the case!)
So trucks it is. We use trucks in creative ways. We count trucks on our drives, we yell at trucks when we are on long drives to release pent up energy, we discuss the color & shape of trucks (as well as buses and any other large vehicle) and most importantly trucks keep his toddler mind occupied for more then ten seconds so they are a lovely distraction when ill or in a bad mood.
Why all of this bloody context you ask? Well, I thought the three scrapers, two bulldozers, an excavator and the random tractor were pretty cool to see close up the first 16 times but I am now SO over it. Everyday when we get home, we have to ride the trike over there and see them CLOSE up and personal. Through the huge weeds - bugs and snakes (okay totally my own fear but still...) to touch the trucks. Then some times he throws a toddler hissy fit about going over to the OTHER construction site which I discourage wildly because soon enough that site will be finished and it will once again become a real live working road with cars. driving. fast.
SO every day either Kevin or I trudge over to the site, check it out, and then fight to get home, out of the heat, to go pee and be done with the scrapers, bulldozers and trucks OH MY. I love that he loves these trucks but PULEASE - I would love to go in the back yard and play in the pool, do finger paints, draw with chalk whatever - just no TRUCKS once in a while! SO I have taken to doing the daily construction vehicle pilgrimage for a few minutes but then I say "Matthew, do you want to go pick up doggy poopy in the backyard." My kid practically trips over his own feet to get home to pick up the dog poop. We have a lovely clean yard all the time and I do not have to stand there hot and uncomfortable because I STILL have to pee... Now I can get home and pick up poop with my son.
Not the activity I thought would bring us together but it is sort of cute when he runs out there, finds a poop and screams "moooommmy, POOP!" Ah, the memories being built over and over again... I can just hear therapy sessions now...