I'm pretty sure I've mentioned before that my elder daughter loves Spider-Man. She enjoys him so much that she has seen both Spider-Man movies, has got me to borrow DVD collections of the most recent cartoon show, has a Spider-Man futon she loves, and has even made some construction paper Spider-Man window decorations with help from her father. Her upcoming sixth birthday party is planned around a Spider-Man theme, complete with Spider-Man crafts, gift bags, and games like "Pin the Mask on Spider-Man."
Her enthusiasm has gone noticed at school, where she has a Spider-Man backpack and where she wears Spider-Man sneakers. Not one but several other children have mentioned to her that Spider-Man is for boys, and girls can't like him. So she told me Friday, while we were waiting to be seen at the dentist.
I hate gendertyping, so I love it when it's easy to poke it in the eye.
"They're wrong," I said. "Do you like Spider-Man?"
"Yes," Evangeline replied.
"And are you a boy, or a girl?"
"A girl," she said, and then it hit her: Her classmates really were wrong. Girls can like Spider-Man too. Her smile was like the sunrise climbing over the horizon in the morning as the realization set in. It was nice for me, too. I got to reassure my daughter that she's OK.
I just hope it's this easy next time, too.