Without going into too much controversy I think we can all agree that boys and girls are different, right? The nature of this difference...or perhaps the nurture...remains up for grabs, but it's still there, the difference.
Robert and Zion began reading some of R's old X-Men comic books a couple months ago. Zion was entranced and they read most days. For Hanukkah we bought several X-Man action figures, including his most dearly beloved, Wolverine.
Liel was interested in the X-Men comic books too, but being 3 her attention span is shorter and she stuck around for far shorter periods of reading time than her brother. Still, she developed a fondness for certain X-Men as well, most notably Phoenix/Jean Gray. So we bought her a Phoenix action figure for Hanukkah.
As the weeks have gone by a very distinct difference in Zion and Liel's play with the X-Men toys has developed. Zion plays with them more or less the way you might expect. Wolverine fights people, snickts his claws, brawls, kills, and usually defeats evil. Zion also liks to mix things up by playing bad guys and they behave in a nearly indentical manner (he also gives them powers they don't actually posses in the Marvel canon, annoying the crap out of his father who plays these games with him daily). Liel's Phoenix does some fighting too, but mostly? She is a social creature. She has parties (and not just Phoenix, either...today Liel had a tea party for the Hulk and Colasses), lives with people, sleeps, gets up, eats breakfast. Liel is so interested in the relationships that Phoenix forms that she now owns Cyclops (Phoenix's boyfriend/husband in the comic books) as well. When we play make believe games involving family members as X-Men (Zion is Wolverine, naturally. Liel is Phoenix. Robert is Colasses (Zion chose this) and I am Storm) Zion likes us to hunt bad guys and fight. Liel will sidle up to me and say, "Hello! I'm Phoenix! What's your name?".
To which I reply, "I'm Storm!", and make some suggestion of what we might do (always enthusiastically accepted and rarely acted upon. Mostly she likes to repeat this introduction).
Today I said, "Hi Phoenix! I'm Storm. Do you have any super powers?"
"Huh!", said Liel, in her little piping voice. "I can crush people with my mind! Do you have an extra bed I can use?"