My second child is a little princess. We didn't make her that way. Or maybe we did, I'm not really sure. Ever since she was born, we've called her our little princess, but something seemed to be hard-wired into her brain to enjoy girly stuff. I can't explain it.
Children definitely come with some default programming when they're born. Oh, that's not to say you can't "patch the software", so to speak, via their environment and the way you teach them; but generally speaking, there are certain innate behaviors and likes and dislikes that just seem to be a part of who they are.
For example, I just don't really get the whole dress up thing. I watch my daughter and her little friends run upstairs, get naked, and come down in little princess outfits with total bemusement. I just don't understand. And where do they learn how to posture and pose? It's one of the most bizarre behaviors I've ever seen.
However, I did figure out one little girly trick that my daughter tries on me every once in a while. I caught my wife teaching her this one. Sometimes when she really wants something, she'll come over to me, cock her head to the side, tilt her head down, and bat her eyelashes at me. She'll then put her arms down in front of her and ask with a sly grin, "Please, Daddy?" If it weren't so darn cute, it'd be downright obnoxious.
Playing house with her can actually be a delight, however. As far as I can tell, playing house mostly consists of sleeping and eating. Since I'm always the designated "child" (with her the "mother"), she pretty much feeds me all the time and makes little beds for me to lay down in. What's even better is that she's never troubled by the housekeeping duties that so vex my wife, namely the cooking and the cleaning and the taking out of the garbage and the sweeping of the floor. After a long day at work, playing house with her is a pretty good gig. Sometimes on the weekends, I can milk a twenty minute nap out of it!
One of the greatest joys right about now is to sit down with her on my lap or next to me and to listen to her read. She just finished kindergarten, and her reading skills are blossoming. She surprises herself sometimes by being able to decipher words on cereal boxes and on the covers of magazines. We have reading time every day, and my wife, thankfully, is a stay-home mom who does "school" every weekday during the summer with the kids.
Bottom line, this little girl -- this little wonder -- is a glorious blessing. While I may never understand the allure of pretend makeup or pony dolls, what I do know is that my little girl is magnificent, a miniature version of the woman I love, with an additional mix of mystery and mischievous cunning.
My only hope is that I can be the daddy she deserves.