Thursday, April 15, 2004

Rant Alert! Boys Will Be Boys

I am, quite obviously, insane. Why I ever agreed to watch four kids at one time is beyond me. I guess I figured that they are all sweet, well-behaved children. I assumed that it wouldn't be so bad, since the older three would all play together. I couldn't have been more wrong.

It went downhill when I was carrying the 6-month-old and felt something wet on my arm. I assumed he had spit-up. I couldn't have been more wrong. Did you know that it is possible for a baby to get poop in his hair, when he can't even walk?

Anyway, this experience reminded me about something I've been meaning to rant about.

My son is two-years-old. He is sweet and affectionate. He is also very strong-willed and independent. He's a lot like me, come to think of it. He also lives in a very feminine world. Because he has an older sister, and an enlightened father, he spends a lot of time playing "girl" games with "girl" toys. The other couple of children that he plays with on a regular basis are little girls.

One time, my kids were playing quietly in my daughter's bedroom. That was nice, but after a while it was too quiet. So I went to check on them and they were both decked out in make-up and crowns and jewelry. Of course I took pictures. Someday my son will want to kill me, I'm sure.

My daughter has ballet class every Thursday, and my son and I always have to wait in the little waiting room. One time the teacher asked all the parents in so the girls could show us a routine for Christmas. My son stood beside me and did every single move along with the teacher.

Both of these incidents made people make comments like, "Oh, your husband will freak." Or "Make sure your husband doesn't find out." What? What is that supposed to mean exactly?

One of the most common phrases you hear in the South is, "He's all boy." Usually this is said while the boy is breaking something, disobeying, or even beating up on another child. Like violent tendencies are something to be proud of. That drives me insane.

I understand that boys and girls may be different, especially at a young age. But I still expect both of my children to behave to my expectations, and I expect them both to be empathetic and caring people. And since I would never stop my daughter from playing sports or other stereotypical boy games, I'm not going to stop my son from dancing or other stereotypical girl games.

But what bothers me the most is when people assume that my husband will be upset if my son wants to dance ballet or play with dolls. This implies that these activities will make a boy gay. Doesn't it? I mean, isn't that really what they are saying? And it further implies that being gay would be an awful, humiliating thing? Doesn't it? And it further implies that my husband would be asshole enough to find fault in his wonderful little boy if he were to be gay, or even effeminate.

Argh! Now I realize that being gay isn't easy, and it's not what I want for my son. Unless that's who he is. Then I want him to be happy. But why do people have to be this way? How many times do I have to do my passive aggressive reprimand thing before my friends get it? Why can't we just let our kids be who they are?

Okay. The next southern mother who makes such a comment to me is going to get blasted. I'm sorry to rant out like that! But I really needed it. And isn't that what blogging is all about?