My two-year-old son loves to play with cars, especially Hot Wheels. I loved toy cars too when I was a child and now proudly watch him play with them. He also loves to push around his toy shopping cart, which I never thought twice about until recently when a neighborhood kid, who is at least five years older than my son, asked me why my boy pushed a shopping cart around.
He didn't say it, but I could tell he was thinking shopping carts were better suited for little girls.
I reacted without thinking and tried to explain how the shopping cart helped my son practice walking and running. I didn't want to over do it, but I hoped the kid understood how those skills would come in handy one day, you know, when my son begins playing baseball or basketball. Later, my wife teased me for being defensive. Then I remembered that for Christmas, she bought my son a toy kitchen set, complete with cooking utensils, microwave oven and sink.
I have to admit, I contemplated asking her to get rid of the shopping cart and kitchen and replace them with more manly stuff, like a toy tank or bazooka. I mean, boys should play with boy toys, right? When I was just a little older than my son, I played mostly with Hot Wheels and G.I. Joe dolls. Wait, that's right, I played with dolls ...
The next morning I woke up groggily as my son begged me to get out of bed to play with him. I followed, half-hoping he'd pull out his toy lowrider or ambulance. Instead, he took me to his kitchen where he pretended to make me a hamburger breakfast, replete with corn and a pizza slice.
It was the most fun breakfast I ever had. It even kept me in a great mood later that day, when I chased my son - and his shopping cart - around the house.