My extroverted feeler son announced that he wanted a barbie for his birthday when he was turning four. I told my mother and she sent him a barbie with blond hair down to her calves. He promptly named her Pocahontas, which tickled me.

We had moved when he was 3.5 years old and were in a new state. He had gone from a wildly liberal daycare to a more conservative one. In his previous daycare most of the kids were unimmunized (I realized later that he probably immunized everyone for polio since we were still giving the live attenuated oral vaccine) and when one little girl got pink plastic jelly sandals, they all did. Boys and girls. In his new conservative daycare, one boy always wore all black with his gunbelt, toy six shooter, cowboy boots and black hat. The extroverted feeler immediately stopped wearing his pink Winnie the Pooh and Piglet sweatshirt.

One day the EF announced that he wanted to take Pocahontas to daycare. This worried me a little but I decided not to be protective. He also wanted his pink backpack. This was a small cotton pink backpack with rhinestones. I was able to find it and he stuffed the barbie into it head first. I was rarely the one to take him to daycare but I did that day. I watched as he took the backpack in. He went right up to one of the girls and opened the pack for her to look. I had to go off to work, but remained curious.

That night I asked the Extroverted Feeler, "Who did you show the barbie to?"
"Um, Hannah, Mary, Annie. Oh, and Julie."
"Did you show Pocahontas to any of the boys?"
He rolled his eyes with that pained look in dealing with a dense parent: "Mom, you don't show barbies to boys."

And that is why I stopped worrying about my Extroverted Feeler on the playground.

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