Every night, as the kids lay in their bed, I make up a story about SuperMonkey and SuperMunchkin rescuing someone. Monkey usually picks a location--a cruise ship on the Hudson, Coney Island or the waterfront--and I weave a tale about the kids seeing a cause for action and, ta-da! turning into super heroes. Repeatedly, I have to resist from giving Munchkin the role of the comforter and Monkey the role of the super hero who does the heavy lifting. I mean, they both have magical powers so why can SuperMunchkin only lift and rescue a child from the roller coaster while SuperMonkey rescues an adult? Why should Monkey console the imaginary child whose cat has climbed the tree while Monkey is the one who brings it down? Considering Munchkin is the kind of kid who tackles her brother and climbs every jungle gym in sight without fear, my short-sighted instincts need correcting.
It's funny how issues of "typical" gender roles and preferences surround us, but it's my own behavior that I really need to tune into and tweak. If I'm a strong role model who wears baggy t-shirts for runs as well as sparkly shoes for a night out, Munchkin will learn from that. In fact, when she pulled out that baggy blue Thomas shirt, it's clear she has learned and it's me that is behind the curve. I'll get there though, one Really Useful Engine at a time.