Over at the New York Times's Social Q's column, a family asks how to proceed after their 5-year-old daughter was uninvited from a party (she had received a "save the date" invite) because it had a superhero theme. The boy's parents said there would be another party for his female friends later on. First thought: We need to corral a group of girls and dress them up as super-villains to crash the party! Superheroes are for everyone! But it's never that simple is it, when you're parenting. Last year, we had a knight-themed birthday party for my son and we just knighted the girls. If one had wanted to be a princess instead, I'm pretty sure we could have accommodated that. And yet, navigating the gender "rules" with my boys isn't always as easy as ignoring the stereotypes. The big questions are actually pretty easy so far: Our family values include equality, and equality means that we seek out stories where girls are heroes and villains and everything else. But it's questions like...if a lavender-coloured hand-me-down raincoat would save the family budget, do I press ahead and send my son to school in it knowing that he may get teased for having a "girl coat" on? If my preschooler wants nail polish, do I -- or when do I -- explain that mostly girls wear it? Would I keep my son home from a spa party? What's surprised you most about your child and the boy/girl thing? And would you have a party just for boys, or just for girls, with kids under 10? And also, please talk to us about planning your child's first birthday party! --- 1. No. 2. Yes, eventually, if he doesn't figure it out on his own before grade 1.