Sort of AIBU, but I'm too much of a wuss for the real thing. Picked DD (nearly 3) up from nursery today. She and her friend had decided they would fly (were leaning over a table waving their legs in the air). Nursery worker told them to put their feet on the floor. I asked DD: "Are you a dragon?" She said she wasn't and I told her that, in that case, she wasn't allowed to fly. Cue two small girls deciding that they ARE in fact dragons (although they don't climb back on the table). Nursery worker then says: "You're not dragons. Dragons are nasty, aren't they? What about fairies? Are you fairies?" Further cue two small girls deciding to be fairies instead. So... Was the nursery worker just trying to calm down two excitable little girls at the end of a long day, or was she trying to fit them into pretty little gender roles? And if the latter, is it completely inevitable?
In the interests of full disclosure (in true AIBU style) another member of staff has previously told me how much she hates DD playing the mud and how un-feminine it is. Also, DD has just moved up to the pre-school room and by the end of her first week was coming home and asking me why I wear "boy shoes". I add the last bit because I suspected that some of this gender division stuff is just coming to her attention for the first time, courtesy of the older kids in the room, but now wonder whether the staff are 'helping'.
I brought DD (2.5) for new shoes the other day. The sales lady said 'Now aren't you a pretty girl. Look in the mirror at the pretty girl with her new shoes' So now I have DD looking in mirrors all over the house saying 'I'm a pretty girl'. Which she is! But i'd rather it wasn't on her radar for while yet.
that wouldn't happen at the nursery I use, the staff encourage the children's imagination and if a girl wants to be a dragon or a spider etc etc that's fine.. but sometimes SOME children are uber sensitive about "scary" characters and one of the girls might have been going home having bad dreams after play involving monsters recently and the nursery worker was just trying to niceify it? I know a couple of (girls) like that and will be aware of it when they come to DS's halloween party.
The mud thing is silly, kids are supposed to get muddy and covered in paint at nursery. I run a mile from nurseries that are full of clean kids!
I feel like the staff are nudging the gender divisions along. But always one to play devils advocate I would say perhaps they wanted to encourage the girls to be a quieter flying creature. Dragons could be a very noisy game for nursery....? The mud thing, if it was about the mess then maybe understandable.... but unfeminine?!?! I would be keeping an eye on it.