My son is 2 1/2. He within the last couple weeks has started to notice and talk about the fact that he and his dad are boys, and me and his sister are girls. From a cousin he got the idea that girls can't run fast or play soccer. I have corrected this error. But, something is persisting, and even getting worse, in that my son has started to say that he doesn't like me or his sister. Whenever his Dad is around, he wants to play with him to our exclusion.
He doesn't go to preschool and has not been exposed to TV, so I am not sure where he is getting this need to differentiate between the sexes like this. I guess his sister went through this in her own way, preferring women and girls, but we actively work on it-- I don't buy in to the stereotypes and think that all humans can and should relate to one another by the person they are and not the sex. But, I know our culture is completely imbued with signs about what it is to be male or female that kids absorb despite my personal feelings.
My question is this a natural stage, trying to differentiate himself from me his primary caregiver, as part of becoming independent? It was a different process for my daughter because she didnt have to claim a sex different from mine. So, it wasn't as dramatic. I should mention that I am a SAHM but work freelance and sometime (like now) when I am working more (and my husband takes care of the kids), I have noticed that my son has coped by ignoring or rejecting me upon return.
To be fair, his sister is bossy, and I have to run the house and tuck work in here and there in addition to caring for the kids, so don't play as much as Dad does.