Boys will be boys and girls will be girls?

Motherhood offers the opportunity to view and revisit many firsts.  First steps, first words, first family trips, you know what I’m saying.  Today, we came across another one.  One I anticipated coming for a while, saw things gearing up to the event, and then at last, it happened.

Today while picking strawberries, which by the way was so chaotic I took not one single picture of the days events, another child insisted my son was a girl.  In no way do I feel that this should be something to be offended by, nor did I see any sign of hurt on my sweet long-haired, rainbow toe nail painted, magical key necklace wearing little guy.  He simply looked up in confusion and said point blank, “I am miles.  A he.”  And that was that.  But it made me start to think a little bit.

My boys are encouraged to play house and dress up as much as they are to driving trucks and digging trenches but the truth is they almost always lean towards the ladder.  This is fine with me, and has given me a good old-fashioned lesson about nature vs. nurture.  I enjoy giving them the option of being comfortable playing any game or enjoying any activity, limiting them only as far as our imaginations do.  But I also take pride in giving them little pushes to encourage any nurturing instincts through pretend and stories and simple discussions.  And so far, it has worked out just fine.

Of course I worry that one day his feelings will be hurt by an assumption, but I can only hope that he has stored up enough confidence to realize that indeed he doesn’t fit the mold.  At least not the mold set in front of him.  Maybe I believe we should build our own molds of values and truths, style and grace, attitude and opinion; ones that we stand firmly by (for the moment at least), and do all we can to squish and bend slide ourselves into that one.  It seems like a more pleasant alternative at least, rather than constantly trying to size yourself up to the standard (which quite honestly would be boring anyways).

But the truth is, minus the deep seated fear of ever trimming a single hair on his mane, and the plethora of necklaces that he rotates through on a daily basis (an amulet, a magic key, a wooden coin, a rainbow knot), he is what I would describe as a truck loving, motorcycle obsessed, fort building, worker man anyways.  But I suppose I am contradicting myself all together now.  It all just boils down to knowing there is no limit or constraint (be it by gender or anything else) that one should abide by.  You are just you.  Plain and simple.

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I mean look at that beautiful head of hair.  If it was on your head would you want to cut it?  I would think not.

What do you think?  Is your little lady a princess loving gal regardless of your thoughts?  Does your boy feel inclined towards race cars despite your efforts to stay away from the hype?  Have you found a nice balance between the two?  Or do you think I am over thinking the whole thing all together?!

7 thoughts on “Boys will be boys and girls will be girls?

  1. Granted C is still much younger than your boys, but we let her play with whatever she’d like to, and we intend to keep it that way. If that’s princesses, great! I look fabulous in a tiara drinking tea out of a tiny cup. If it’s cars, wonderful, someday I’ll teach her how to change her own oil. If we take her to the toystore, she can shop in whatever aisle what she’d like to, be it purple and pink or blue and green (because they are totally color coded, at least in Target). I think part of it right now is Miles’ age and his hair cut. Kids that age make their own assumptions based on what they see as the majority. The majority these days is long hair = girl and short hair = boy. I wouldn’t worry too much 🙂

    • can you teach me to change my oil too? 🙂 thanks letty, I love your thoughts. But, I am not worried about it one bit, in fact it makes me proud! You are absolutely right kids make their guesses at this whole gender thing typically by hair and well, we are stirring the pot I suppose:)

  2. My Kenzie is a princess through and through. It’s not uncommon for me to check on her one last time for bed and find is fast asleep in a new princess gown and tiara. Decklan is a rough and tumble boy who is attracted to dirt and trucks. He does love himself a baby doll and the vacum so that makes me happy!

    And I would never touch his hair! 🙂

    • YES! all children should learn to love to help you clean. At least thats what I hope for:) and oh my no, never ever touch those curly locks. they are something to behold!

  3. I love this post. At work I facilitate Diversity activities, challenging our members to reflect on their thoughts, opinions and subsequent actions. We talk about equality and minimization and bullying and bigotry. After which I’m inspired to think of what I can do to create a world that Lyla not only feels safe, secure and proud to be herself but also to not need to belittle someone or something else to make herself feel better. I love that Miles replied with “I am Miles.” I don’t think there is a better or more honest response. He is Miles and every wonderful thing that makes him him.

    Goals that I’ve set for myself is to create a world of diversity in our play. I’ve bought books where the characters aren’t Caucasian, where characters are wheelchair capable, books where the characters are cookie cuter majority. I want to do my best at creating a world where difference is celebrated not intimidating. We don’t have dolls yet but when we do they will be of different races and cultures. When we start to play house we will play where there are two mommies, or two daddies, and other times where there is a grandma and grandpa, and times where there is a mommy and daddy.

    I want her to choose her religion and be able to do so because she was informed and educated of different beliefs. I want her to be comfortable in whatever she wants to wear, I want her to not let tradition get in her way of being her. And I can only hope that she feels loved and safe enough to be able to do so. We all are weird and thats the beauty of life. We all have a freak flag and I think we should all let our freak flag fly!

    My rant is over. In short thank you for inspiring me and reminding me how important it is that we let anyone, especially the loves of our lives, be themselves.

    • audra you are a wonderful mother! i love all your thoughtful ideas. and i know your life experience will serve you well in raising your little lady to be a lover and an earth warrior and a sweet soul. i can’t wait to see her again!

  4. Um, yep, the same exact thing happens to my little guy all the time. We keep his hair long because it just suits him and for whatever reason I’ve never chopped it (just trim it now and then) and many, many – if not most – people mistake him for a girl (especially with his toenails painted like his big sister’s!). I really loved reading this post. I feel very much the same as you.

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