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  • Please Stop Saying 'Panlalaki Yan' to My Daughter Who Loves Cars and Trucks

    "Please let my daughter use her imagination with anything a car can do."
    by Din Real Bautista .
  • Parenting can be a lonely job. What helps is having a community who cheers and listens without judgment. And that's what our "Real Parenting" section is for: a space where parents can share the joys, pain and the mess that is parenthood.
    PHOTO BY Beejay Bautista

    I’ve been asked a lot of times why I allow my 2-year-old daughter to play with cars instead of dolls. While these are most likely well-meaning questions, I can’t help but answer, “Why not?”

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    Monica started showing fascination and interest in toy vehicles when she was about 1 year and a half. She was browsing and playing with her book about trucks. It intensified when she watched an episode of Blippi on YouTube about excavators. Since then, she would scream with delight whenever she sees them either on television or book.

    One day while on the road, she suddenly blurted “excavator!” when we passed by one. We were so surprised because she remembered, and she was delighted to see it in person. Funny, I never knew the differences with the trucks until she got interested in them! One morning while walking to school, we saw a fire truck parked near the school. Her face lit up and even posed beside the truck, and up to this day, she still remembers it.

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    We started giving her toy cars, and she was always thrilled to play with them. Whenever we enter a toy store, she would still go to the car station. Dolls didn't seem to have any appeal. She has three dolls at home, but she barely plays with them.

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    Now we have tons of vehicle toys — name it, and we have it. Her favorite movie is Cars that she can watch nonstop. She'd watch Frozen or Moana for 10 minutes, and she would go back to Cars.

    Personally, we don’t mind. My husband and I are excited to see that Monica knows what she wants even this early. And we don’t want to see her stuck with "girl-appropriate" toys if she doesn't want to play with them.

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    I always pray that I can raise a strong, empowered, and kind girl. We can only do that if we let her choose and play with whatever toy she wants. It may sound simple or silly, but for us, it’s a start. If she has the choice to play with any toy that pleases her, then it gives her an idea that her parents will always support and trust her that she can make a choice on her own, whether it's a car or a doll. 

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    So, let us stop saying, “Ano ba yan, panlalaki yan.” A little boy can play with dolls, kitchen set, or Little Pony, and a little girl can play with cars, action figures, or Stormtrooper. Let us not force our kids to conform because that is what we grew up with. Let us be the reason they become confident about the choices they make.

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    My daughter's toy vehicles.
    PHOTO BY Beejay Bautista
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    To our daughter who loves cars, go on. Play with whatever you want. We won’t stop you from playing with construction vehicles, from feeding your excavator, from talking to Lightning McQueen, from being gentle with a cement mixer and not so gentle with Princess Jasmine. And if and when you decide to collect the princesses and dolls, let’s do it. We will go with anything that you think will spark your interest and imagination.

    As parents, we will always back you up, support you and love you regardless of the choices you make. Yes, it may be too early and too ideal for me to say, but I guess that’s what parents’ love can do.

    Din Real Bautista is a proud full-time homemaker. Most of the time, she’s busy raising a kind-hearted and strong human being named Monica together with the most amazing husband, Beejay. And the rest of her time, she’s making sure her life is better outside social media.

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