Beauty. Each of us has our own definition of it and what makes one beautiful. We often hear arguments that the media, television and movies dictates and defines “beautiful” for us. Whether you prefer Julia Roberts, Halle Barry, or Nicole Kidman it doesn’t matter. All three are thin and “beautiful”.

Since becoming a mom and watching my son grow, learn and develop I have been absolutely fascinated watching his “boyisms” develop. Whether it’s his obsession with baseball and trucks, or his fascination with dinosaurs and rocket ships, it seems he has neatly settled in to his role as a boy. About a year ago a girlfriend came over with her daughter who is three months older than V. We were all out in the backyard, sipping wine and listening to music while the kids played. I remember her daughter coming up to ask her mommy why V likes to throw things. “Because he’s a boy”, her mom replied. I was struck by that question and started asking my girlfriend questions. Does her daughter ever play catch? What kinds of things does she like to do? Typical little girl things, she replied. Dolls, stuffed animals, etc.

I find myself thinking about this quite a bit. Are boys and girls – and what they enjoy – a product of their environment? Just as society’s supposed definition of beauty is a product of what is fed to us? Of course they are on some level – but how much? Am I feeding my son “boy” things intentionally? He does have a basket full of stuffed animals that somehow appeared in our home (I hate stuffed animals, but I’ll save that for some other post) and he even has a few dolls, such as his Elmo doll. Every once in a blue moon he’ll pick one of them up and play with them – but given the choice, he goes for the traditional toys marketed to boys nine and a half times out of ten.

This past weekend I was sitting on the sofa next to V. He was flipping through one of his favorite books while I was flipping through a magazine. One one of the pages in the magazine there was an advertisement for shampoo. It featured a brunette with long, flowing, hair with loose curls. When V saw the picture, he looked at me and said “Her’s beautiful!” “Yes, she is. What about mommy?” I replied. I was completely curious what he’d say.

“You’re cool, mommy!”

Geez, thanks kid. I think.

So at three years old the kid already has a definite opinion of what he considers to be beautiful. The model is beautiful. Mom is cool. Although I agree with him on his assessment, I am curious about how he developed this conclusion. Where did it come from? What is it about the woman in the ad that is beautiful to him? And how is it that he picked the cutest girl in pre-school to claim as his girlfriend? Was it based on her looks? Or something else? I’m simply fascinated – even though I’m sure I’ll never know the answers, I am truly fascinated with how this kid is developing, growing, and formulating his own little opinions. So, so much fun to witness!