Gender play

Eli with transformer



“A surprise for me!!!”

Little Brother third birthday

and the first present arrives.

“Cool!  It’s a robot!!”

“Open for me!”

Big sister five lingers nearby.


Her two-months-passed birthday

still fresh in her mind.


Can I play with it too?”

She sits close to her brother, with watchful eyes


Eventually,  Almost Three loses interest in his prize.

He says, “I want to cook with Mommy!!”

Runs to the kitchen. Clambers up the stool.

“Bowl please! Want some water please!

Want spoon please! Man spoon!”


Alone on the floor now,

Sister works the cast off prize.

She has figured it out.

Put on the wings.

Make him fly.


Little Brother wants Man spoon.

I pull out a teaspoon.

“Nooooo!” silly mommy!”

I pull out a tablespoon.

“Noooo.”  He rolls eyes.


I pull out a long-handled ladle.

“Yes!! That’s a man spoon.


He growls as he stirs .

She sings as robot flies.


The next morning

Big Sister’s sighs.

“Mommy, are there any

princess transformers?”

“I don’t think so.” I say.

She is unsatisfied.


“I know!

A Cinderella robot…

that transforms…

into a carriage!”

Her idea makes her smile.


And that same morning,

Little Brother carries

robot into school.

On his right hip,

gently cradling him,

Just like mommy

used to do.






Too soon

Does this dress make me look fat?

(No. It’s too soon for this.)

It poofs out in front.

(But, you’re only five.)

And I want to look pretty.

(Is this my fault? Is this me?)

You’re cheeks are so round.

(That still stings, but just smile.)

And your belly’s so big.

(And so it’s begun.)

And so it’s begun.

And so it’s begun.

Has the damage been done?

No, my work’s just begun.