11 pm Sunday night, and I find Morgenstern (9) sitting up in bed, tangled blond hair making her look like a sleepy wood elf.
She grins at me. “I couldn’t sleep, so I used my Story Cubes.”
Wonderful things those cubes. Little dice with tropes on them. They can keep one or two imaginative children happy for hours, especially if you’ve taught them how to connect them using “but”.
As I tuck her up with her over-sized plush rabbit, I ask, “What story did you come up with?”
She yawns. “Oh, it was about a girl who gets abducted by aliens.”
“How does it go?”
“Well, Daddy, she gets abducted by aliens but she kills them all with a sword and then flies the spaceship home.”
“Great,” I say, unsurprised. After all, this is the girl who teaches her male friends to play Halo…
Ted: “Stop shooting me, Morgenstern!”
Morgenstern: “Well get out of my line of fire, Ted!”
In the morning she confides that she still couldn’t sleep so watched an episode of Sky At Night and it was a new one with Neil deGrasse Tyson guesting which we have to watch together.
And I’m reminded of when Morgenstern was four, her and her best friend running around the garden in their pretty princess dresses, barefoot and jumping in muddy puddles and climbing trees and still Being Princesses.
Her entire cohort are like this!
Nobody has told them they have to choose between being a girl and making their mark on the world.
The boys for the most part take this for granted. They’re used to households where the mums have jobs at least as important as the dads, and where the housework and nurturing get shared according to practicality, not gender.
Of course, the real parenting challenge is preparing all these little Bradamantes for when somebody does tell them that they can’t do something because they’re a girl.
“Just bashing them” stops being an appropriate solution as you get older…