I have decided that each time someone comes up to me and my perfectly dressed little boy, who happens to be in spiffy little boy clothes and engaged in definitely-little-boy activities and says, “She is so cute.”, I am going to turn to their little princess, in her little princess dress with her precious little tiara and say, “Thank you. So is he.”
As if cute ones have to be girls.
Heaven forbid that the gods or the stork (depending on your beliefs) blesses you with a beautiful baby boy. I don’t mean beautiful like “all babies are beautiful” beauty. I mean beautiful like long, thick and curly eyelashes that any woman would kill for. Soft curly hair full of life and of a color that I haven’t quite been able to adequately describe; full lips; a too cute unibrow and big bright eyes. Heaven forbid this be your he because he will forever be she.
It’s not that I don’t understand. Until a certain point, all babies are rather unisex looking. It could go either way and even I have been stumped on many occasions. Only I have been smart enough to say something that hides my cluelessness. Something so specific that mothers are often pleased that I am taking a more significant notice of their bundle. I have been known to say, “Such beautiful eyes” or “I love tiny baby fingers.” or “Wow, so much hair…it’s beautiful.” or even “How precious.” Notice no references to gender.
I have had the wonderful fortune of meeting very well intended people who obviously don’t put much thought to how annoying things like this can get when repeated daily over a 3 to 4 year period:
* “Little Brother” printed on t-shirt…”She is so cute.”
* Blue shirt. Blue shoes. Blue jeans. Blue jacket…”I love her hair.”
* Blue stroller. Brown jacket. Brown henley shirt with monster truck print. Dark brown pants. Dark tennis shoes. Truck in one hand. Toy plane in another. (Definitely says boy)…”She’s such a doll.”
My Contribution to the Delinquency
Okay. So I don’t believe that I need to restrict my son to total, complete, traditional boy activities in order to help others see him as a boy. I am not going to thwart his natural development and curiosity by snatching away all things that might say (even if in a whisper) “Girl”. So, my precious monster wears a ponytail sometimes. Men wear ponytails, right? And he sometimes plays with dolls…and not G.I. Joe dolls but, bona fide “put me in a pink stroller and push” dolls. He picked it up from daycare where there are more girls than boys. So what, right?
Exactly my thought. Thank you. But, I get it. When we are out and he is wearing his ponytail I don’t get as bothered when at a glance someone mistakes him for a girl. Yet, there is a part of me that says we must either take the time to pay close attention or keep our thoughts and comments to ourselves. It is too easy to simply say that good intention overrides the need for thorough thought. Right…like it is always just the thought that counts and not the gift…ever.
Well my little he is now a well-rounded 4 year old whose favorite colors are pink, purple, blue or orange (depending on what day you ask.) He plays with anything in front of him. And yes real boys who grow up to be real men, loving husbands, and awesome dads do play with dolls….All Kinds…
- All I want is to buy a doll… (thefword.org.uk)