We brought home a dead worm wrapped in a paper towel, carefully placed in a used tupperware container. My daughter was determined to give the worm a proper burial. This, after finding the worm barely alive on a walk through Riverdale Farm.

She picked the worm up carefully and hoped that she could nurse it back to health but sadly the worm died in her hands. We buried “Wormy” in our front garden a few months ago.

A few days ago, we had the opportunity to visit a friend’s cottage and befriend some more worms and some frogs. My daughter is not squeamish when it comes to bugs or critters. Neither is her friend, who also happens to be female. They love to touch and hold slithery creatures like worms, frogs and snakes.

They don’t view this act of engaging fully with living things as anything but normal, and they certainly don’t see this activity as being particularly “male”.

Although our world has made progress on the gender equality front, there is still a lot further to go, especially when it comes to eliminating gender stereotypes. As parents, my husband and I are very intentional about what kinds of activities and things we expose our daughter to, making sure that we give her a wide range of options for play. And, we talk to her about gender stereotypes (because she inevitably sees them in our culture) so that she learns that she does not need to ascribe to a particular “type” just because of her gender.

As a photographer, I photograph a LOT of my family’s life. I think it is important to document our children participating in all kinds of activities because these photographs then become an anchor for memories and for identity as our children age.

I’m imagining my daughter as an adult, as a veterinarian or zoologist, looking back on the photo of Wormy and remembering the story and the beginning of her passion and love for animals.

What can you photograph your child doing today that might help them affirm who they really are?