Monday, April 03, 2006

Gender-bias inherent in Unschooler's Activities

How's that for a headline? This past weekend, the girls all headed into New York City for a lunch excursion at The American Girl Place while the boys went for a hiking adventure in the South Mountain Reservation. Let's face it, sometimes divisions down gender lines are really in the best interest of all, with the fact that everyone actively chooses their preferred activity making all the difference.

As part of Julia's birthday celebration, which comes right after Christmas, we scheduled a trip into American Girl Place for early Spring. My sister-in-law works just down the street from AG, so she's easily able to get us reservations, train and subway tickets and lead us into the city without a moment's thought or stress on my part, and let me just tell you how wonderful this is! Our trip into the city was a girls' outing with Aunt Kim and Gramma, and Aunt Kim came over the night before to do a girls' spa night that included manicures, which went over big! Julia even got a quick makeover while waiting for the commuter train to arrive. We had a wonderful morning of shopping and finished our day with a lovely lunch in the AG restaurant with our new and old dolls! If you ever have a chance to go, I highly recommend restaurant reservations. The food is quite good and reasonbly priced, considering you're smack-dab in the middle of Manhattan.

Emily decided that she, too, would like her birthday celebration at AG, so we did a combined birthday for the girls, complete with shopping and lunch in the restaurant. Jules had been saving her money for this trip since her birthday in January, and both girls got all their birthday presents from myself, their aunt and cousin, and their grandparents. Let's just say, we had a few packages by the time we left! It really was the quintessential Manhattan shopping excursion, topped off by a white-knuckle cab ride back to Penn Station to catch the commuter train back into Jersey--way too many packages to deal with the subway on the way home!

Now, don't the boys look much happier out in the wild, moving and building things? Okay, so the camoflage was a bit over the top, but the boys couldn't have been happier. Sam got to spend the day with his best friends in the whole world--his papa, his cousin and his grampa, while his cousin got to play hookey from school and hang outside. Honestly, I can't imagine a single one of these boys enjoying one moment of the Manhattan shopping trip, though the older two are magnanimous enough to handle it very once in a while for the women they love.

The boys had new hats and shirts for their hike, new insect jammies to wear while the girls did their spa night, and new water bottles and carabiner clips complete with compass and non-working flashlight, which was apparantly a feature. But, what did I expect for a couple bucks in the Target camping section? The guys were thrilled, and that was the real goal. They spent their day crossing streams, creating dams and rock climbing. Ah, bliss!

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