10 introduction girls playing in the hollow block corner, wearing hard hats and shouting out raucously? Or do I feel the need to shush them or even to redirect their play to something quieter, more demure, and, dare I say it, more feminine? Do I feel comfortable when little boys cry or need support, or do I subtly encourage them to hold back their emotional expression? I am always proud of myself when I take out my toolbox and fix a faucet or do something as simple as hammer a nail into the wall! I never take it for granted. How can I? I bought my first toolbox when I was forty-five years old. I had just gotten divorced and had moved into an apartment on my own. During that year, I built myself a desk and learned to fix all manner of things in my home. I realized just how much helplessness I had learned as a girl. I felt empowered and more confident each time I was able to take responsibility for the tasks I used to think belonged only to men. I wonder, when I was a young teacher of preschool girls back in the seventies and early eighties, if I encouraged them to fix things or become curious about math and science. I doubt it, because at that time I did not feel capable of such manly tasks myself. I am sure that in subtle and even intentional ways, I directed girls to domestic and nurturing types of play. I shudder to think of it now! Now, I find that I become agitated when I hear adults comment- ing about little girls’ appearance with statements like “How pretty you look,” or “What a pretty dress . . . ribbon . . . shoes . . . ” I would prefer to encourage and support girls about how intelligent, curious, or strong they are, or about their ability to solve problems. This has become a new bias. Yet I am sure that girls also like to know how they look to others, since society still puts a strong emphasis on appearances, clothes, and body shapes. I still have much work to do to find a balance between my biases, learned and unlearned, old and new. But one thing is for sure: edu- cation and self-reflection have given me numerous, different options about how I think about and understand gender identity. In my book “Don’t Get So Upset!” Help Young Children Manage Their Feelings by Understanding Your Own (2008), I describe specific actions to take when we decide to research our own self, especially when making connections between our earliest emotional memories and our inter- actions with the young children we care for and educate. Here are some questions to help you learn about how you acquired your gender identity: