This weekend, Alex has turned into quite the little scholar. He's such an active little boy, we were convinced that he would never sit still long enough to read. In spite of this, I kept reading to him - every night and most afternoons as well. I don't know what clicked this week. Maybe it's that he is connecting symbols (i.e., pictures) with words. But he has decided that his favorite book is one called "Trucks." He stands under his bookshelf and whines to be picked up. He will pick that book off of the shelf. We have to read it over and over and over and over. He loves to turn the pages and point to the cartoon pictures of all the different kinds of trucks. "Here is the bread truck with bread for the store." I dream about trucks at night.
What amazes me is the inherent gender implication built into this selection. You always hear about how boys love trucks. "Oh, my son is all boy. He just loves trucks." I never believed this. I always thought that these were the parents who refused to buy stuffed animals for their boys because, "Oh my gosh, those are much too close to dolls. And my son will never (I repeat never!) play with dolls." But now I know that not all parents with truck-loving sons are those militant right-wingers terrified of raising a gender-confused child.
How do I know? Well, Alex has hundreds of books. He owns one truck (a dump truck with Legos in the back) and tons of stuffed animals. The boy even has a doll (Raggedy Andy, whose red hair he still strokes lovingly). We have done absolutely nothing to steer him toward trucks. Every night we pick a different book to read. This particular book comes from a series (Planes, Trains, Boats & Trucks). All of the books are the same size, and aside from the cover art featuring the "star" transportation mode, they are virtually identical. If I pile all of his books on the floor within his reach, Alex still sifts through the pile searching for the Trucks book. It never fails that he comes up successful.
I've even taken to hiding the book because I can only handle 30-40 repeat readings a day. When he can't find the book he gets whimper-y and frantic. Sometimes he will begrudgingly settle for The Very Hungry Caterpillar or Dr. Seuss' Circus McGirkus. But this is a rare ocassion. Usually he keeps searching until he finds his favorite book or I can distract him.
It may not be that my son loves trucks. It may just be that he loves the art or colors in this particular book. Although from a very, very young age, he would stop eating and gaze out the window transfixed if a truck drove down our street. So, I don't know what causes boys to love trucks and sports statistics. But I'm convinced that certain things are hard-wired into each gender. Although, my dog is a female and she loves motorcycles. But maybe biological gender markers are different in the animal kingdom. Hmmm....