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Questioning stereotypes I thought no longer applied - boys, girls, Legos and pink guitars

I've been thinking a lot about gender stereotypes lately. I dropped Liam off at his Lego camp on Monday and it was ALL boys. We're talking midtown Manhattan here, people - yes, the camp is called "Jedi Engineering" which probably accounts for some of the bias, but really, not a single girl in the whole of Manhattan or the five boroughs? As a girl who loved Legos (and Star Wars) growing up and who went on to become an architect, this makes me angry and sad.

I polled the parents in the Ask Moxie Facebook group and many chimed in to say their girls love Legos and Star Wars too so I know I am not imagining things. I realize that Lego is not for everyone but I hate to think that girls are still getting stereotyped this way, and so are boys. I would hate for my boys to think that Legos and engineering are only for boys. It is 2014! I am so disappointed.

Yes, I have two boys, and they enjoy a lot of stereotypical "boy" things. I am also told that boys are more rambunctious and loud and constantly in motion than girls. Certainly I have seen girls who sit and play quietly for way longer than my boys typically do, but we also have girls over for play dates who absolutely match the energy and craziness of my boys!

My boys have older girl cousins who love Star Wars and Lego but they have also inherited pink "girly" toys from them that they love. The pink stroller and pink electric guitar are hot items in our house and both boys love the color purple.

I'm not saying that boys and girls are the same or that they're different. Everyone is different. My hope is that my kids grow up in an environment where every child is encouraged to pursue their own interests and build on their own strengths regardless of what gender or other stereotypes dictate.

PS I did get many encouraging responses in the Ask Moxie Facebook group about what sounds like more equal gender participation in Lego robotics camps and classes at a slightly older age. Maybe as kids get older they are making less stereotyped choices about extracurricular activities for themselves? My husband is an engineer and he said over half their summer interns this year are women.


Top 5 Tips for Photo-Friendly Summer Outfits

Summer is here with a vengeance! And to help you keep the photography ideas flowing until school starts again in the fall, I have a series of blog posts I am sharing on Mom365 about summer photos, projects, and memories.

For my first post, I am talking about summer outfits.

Summer is a great time to photograph your kids. There's plenty of natural light and outdoor weather, and we all have some of our strongest and fondest memories from our own childhood summers.

What are the best summer outfits for photos? Summer is a great time to find bright colors, patterns and styles that really reflect your child's personality without having to worry about whether they are warm enough.

Jump over to Mom365 for my top 5 tips for photo-friendly summer outfits.


All kids will make this face in a photo - even with a professional photographer mom (sibling photos week 27/52)

As a professional photographer, I have all kinds of tricks up my sleeve for getting young kids to pose naturally without actually asking them to pose.

But when it comes to my kids, I don't necessarily want to be "on" like that, besides which, it is always much harder to get your own kids to cooperate, right?!

As a result, my highly photographed five-year-old is always the one complaining in the group photo that he hates having his photo taken, and he also displays no ability to pose like a normal person on the rare occasion I ask him to. In fact, he is much better at posing for others!

Here's what happened when I asked him to pose the other weekend with his brother

Kind of cute and hilarious but not the kind of photo I need a whole lot of.

The fact is, I don't want to play "professional photographer" with my kids and I don't want to train them to pose for me. When I'm with my kids I want to wear my "mom" hat and enjoy them just as they are.

Learn more about breaking the cycle of posed photos and how photography can actually bring you more into the moment in the Photosanity Workshop. It's not for professional photographers, it's for busy moms who want to make the most of every moment.


Family memories inside milestones - take the photo that means most to you (sibling photos week 26/52)

When I asked Liam what his favorite thing about pre-K was he said "Jack." And that was one of my favorite things too! Jack got to drop Liam off at school almost everyday and became an honorary member of the class, as comfortable as any of the other kids with picking an activity to start the day with, sometimes with Liam but often not.

My mom would text me photos of Jack engrossed in this station or that and the teachers were so welcoming and let him participate for a few minutes before he headed home or to his preschool. Some days he even helped set out the cushions for morning meeting!

This photo was taken of the two of them on the last day of pre-school, as I wanted to capture something I know I will always want to remember about this time. Of course I also have photos from his "graduation" ceremony and with teachers and the whole class but this moment is every bit a part of my graduation memories too.

Photo tip

When photographing a big event, don't forget to capture the details and natural interactions as well as the big moments.


Photo opportunities with kids come out of nowhere if you are open to them (sibling photos week 25/52)

I was down to the wire again this week with my sibling photo... and so it was that it was early in the morning with practically no light, and I had no idea what was going to unfold.

And then Jack wanted to play the banjo and I gave Liam a tambourine and they made a band. Voila, photo opp!

Photo tip

Photo opportunities come out of nowhere if you are open to them. Look for them, make them happen. Not every one will be frame-worthy but every one will be worth remembering.

Learn more about how to stop missing the moment in my online workshop.