Rollie has been on a kick lately. He has been categorizing things based on gender. People, animals, toys, articles of clothing. Some of these make sense: Elsa is a girl. Others...well...let's just say that I never knew his bedspread had a penis.
His new way of labeling genders has evolved from the classic Boy and Girl to a more advanced way of viewing the traditional models of male and female: Peacocks and Peahens.
It's all Jeff's fault. He and Rollie had an in-depth conversation about how peacocks are boys and peahens are girls. The next day on our walk, everything Rollie saw he tried to label. A bright red cardinal, a flower, a water fountain. When an old man on a giant tricycle pedaled past (don't laugh--my mom has one, too), things got a little...confusing.
Rollie: That girl on the tricycle is a peahen, Momma.
Me: Actually Rollie, that's a man.
Rollie (craning his neck for a better look): Why is that a man?
Me: What do you mean, why? He just is, bud.
Rollie: But he's on a tricycle.
Me: So? You have a tricycle. Are you a peahen?
Rollie: ...No.... I'm a peacock.
Me: That's right. So's he.
Rollie: ...But Nana has a tricycle.
Me: Yes indeed she does.
Rollie: Is Nana a peahen?
Me: Among other things.
Rollie: Does she eat peanuts?
Rollie: ... Does she have a big tail?
Me: No. She has big hair, though.
Rollie: Why does she have big hair?
Me: That I couldn't tell ya.
I don't know if it's a boy thing, a three-year-old thing, or strictly a Rollie thing, but his whole gender identification obsession strikes me as quite hilarious. I try not to emphasize to Rollie what toys he should prefer, what colors he should like, or what ballet move he should perform only in private. His favorite toy is a diecast Lightning McQueen, but his favorite color is pink. His favorite show is Dino Dan, but his favorite aisle at Target is the one with a bunch of Disney princesses encased in a plexiglass box (and they belt out musical numbers when you press the big button on the box. Yes, it's as obnoxious as it sounds).
So I suppose Rollie has a feminine side? He's part of a new generation of semi-masculine tomgirls? He's a Metrosexual Peacock?
And just when Rollie thinks he has the whole peacock/peahen gender bending riddle figured out, he sees something that throws him for an absolute loop.
This weekend I took the kids to our local PetCo to kill some time while we were waiting for Jeff to stop goofing around at the brewery and participate in some family bonding (which usually includes buying diapers, goldfish crackers and using about 50 thousand baby wipes to clean up the inevitable spilled milkshake from someone's carseat.)
It was Adoption Day at PetCo, and toward the back of the store were several cages with wiggling, panting, yipping dogs. As my children were cooing over a beautiful brown mutt in one cage, an older-looking dog paced in the cage next door, pawing at a rawhide on the floor. This dog didn't have much fur on her tummy, but did have six large, saggy dog-boobs, evidence that humans aren't the only members of the animal kingdom to suffer from the post-baby saggy-boob affliction.
While I was lost in silent commiseration with my fellow um...female, Rollie came over and peered inside the cage.
Me: Aren't these doggies cute, Rol?
Rollie: ...That's a boy doggy, Momma.
Me: I'm pretty sure she's a girl, buddy.
Rollie: But look, Momma. She's got a lot of penises.
Me (realizing that if I don't set the record straight on this one, Rollie may start assuming that all breasts are actually large, supple penises in disguise...which may ultimately put a huge damper on his dating life): Those aren't penises, Buddy.
Rollie: ...But they are, Momma.
Me: Trust me, they aren't.
Rollie: ...But he has so many.
Me: Yeah. It looks like that, doesn't it?
Rollie: ...I don't have that many penises.
Me (thank God): And you never will.
I suppose I could have explained the whole canine Crying Game to him, but some things are better left unsaid. At least in the middle of a crowded PetCo.