Time was, when any mention of the gender gap would automatically start me off worrying about how much less I was sure I was earning than my colleagues or how few female editors there are around. But that was B.L. Since Louis arrived on the scene, the gender gap means something entirely different.
Like just how different are boys and girls anyhow? I mean, from the offset? Do baby girls like wearing pink shoes because they've thought about it and they just prefer the colour? Or do they just get pink shoes forced upon them because there aren't any other choices? And do baby boys want to play with a fire engine? Or read a book about trucks? Or wear blue?
It's hardly an original thought, but I still can't help wondering what baby boys and girls would actually prefer, given the choice. Watching Louis these past few weeks I'm not much clearer. I mean, he made a beeline for the glitziest pink shoes he could find in John Lewis the other week when I let him loose on the shoe department. (Naturally, I bought him the dullest blue pair I could find, although I did later wonder whether it would really have been such a bad thing to let him have had the pink pair.)
And he just loves those baby strollers little kids have. In fact, I got so bored of him stealing all the little girls' ones in the playground that I eventually got round to buying him one of his own. He adores it. Even if it is blue.
Then there's the jewellery. A box of bracelets is just about the best toy ever (thank you Great- Granny Barbara). Well, along with the hairdryer.
But, on the flip side, he's obsessed with cars. He's just started saying, 'kar, kar, kar' whenever he hears or sees one. Which is kind of his first proper word. (Well, if you ignore the dadas (Daddy), nanas (initially banana, but now a generic term for food and/or drink), or 'ack, 'ack (started out as quack but now gets applied to any two or four-legged animal).)
Being able to say car is one thing, but I don't plan to encourage the love of all four-wheeled vehicles that most little boys seem to have. Don't get me wrong, I'm not going to paint his room pink or only let him play with dolls, or anything like that. But I'm all for a bit of gender balance. I will, however, stop FAR short of the Swedish couple whose child is known only as 'Pop' and who gets dressed one day in a boy's outfit and the next in a girl's.......