With Wondermum Vivian taking daughter Meimei on a girl’s day, I was tasked with bringing little infant son Tintin to the toy store. Being a responsible parent, I resolved to buy something (a) which encouraged motor skills and creativity (b) was non-violent and (c) did not conform to gender stereotypes.

Upon entering, a cheerful store assistant said boy toys to the left and girl toys to the right.

Taking the aisle to boy toys, I thought I had wandered into the People’s Liberation Army arsenal. Row after row of plastic pistols, machine guns and rocket launchers were on display. There’s nothing like buying toy semi-automatic weaponry to ensure one’s infant son grows up socially well-adjusted. I asked my assistant whether there was something that did not involve guns. My helpful assistant enthusiastically took me to the plastic swords, battle-axes and nun-chuks.

Realizing this was the wrong approach, I asked to have a look at the girl toys. My smiling wunderkind led me round the corner where my eyes were assailed by fifty shades of pink. It was as if a herd of unicorns had vomited rainbows onto a strawberry patch.

Pink princess dolls. Pink ponies. Pink cooking sets. And my favorite, a pink vacuum cleaner “so that your daughter can learn to clean the house for her husband!” I checked the calendar on the wall to ensure I hadn’t teleported back into the Ming Dynasty. I considered buying the vacuum cleaner for Meimei, and then I imagined her taking one look, turning it side-ways and shoving it up my asymmetrically located nostrils.

I turned to my assistant. “You’ve been really helpful, but do you have anything like building blocks or a toy that can be put together – something creative that supports motor skills.”

“I have just the thing!”

And he brought me to the Lego section. I breathed a sigh of relief, this is where I would find the perfect toy that I could take home and show off to Vivian and Meimei. Oh what a wonderful father I was.

“This is our best selling Lego kit, I’m sure your son will like it. It builds a tank! Sir? Where are you going? It transforms into a robot and if you push this button laser beams come out of its eyes…”

Andrea Schneider is a professor at Marquette Law School teaching ADR, Negotiation, Ethics, International Law, International Conflict Resolution and Art Law. She is the author or co-author of numerous books and book chapters in the field of dispute resolution. She serves as the editor of ADR Prof Blog.