Monday, May 2, 2011

Know your Roll

I went to buy MT flipflops and underwear a few days ago. He has taking up a flipflop obsession. He calls them flippers, But sounds like feepers. It's hilarious and adorable. E and I are lovers of flipflops. (Re.efs are my fav) I have tried flipflops on him several times and he would not have anything to do with them. He would say they hurt and take them off. But, Our neighbor's little girl wears them and he adores her. He found an old pair a few days ago(like Neighbor's 2yr old) and will not wear anything but them now. The problem is they were too little but he wanted to wear them anyways. So, We went in search of a pair that fit.

I found a few pairs, pulled them down from the rack for him to see and choose which one he liked best. I chose ones with Fish and Camo on them. There were Pretty sparkly ones next to the ones I chose ... He wanted to pretty sparkly ones. OF course he does. Glittery Sparkles are So Flashy and eye catching ... I distracted him back to the 2 I chose first and we ended up with the Fish ones ... (then my brain kicked into overdrive)

Then we went to go pick up underwear ... He immediately saw and wanted the Tinkerbell Underwear. He LOVES Tinkerbell (we had just watched the movie a few nights ago) ... Then he wanted the Spiderman ones too ... I bought both. -Then My brain exploded.

I was at a lose of what to do. This got me thinking, What IS my stance on this whole Gender Awareness or Gender Identity? I began to google/researching MANY sites. (here is the most useful one i found)

I did contact a friend on Gchat - Because My first reaction is - Who Cares. What does it matter if a 2 yr old wants to wear glitter and tinkerbell? THEN, I started questioning myself. Should it matter? Should I care? We play with Dolls, We cook, We clean, We play with Bugs, Mud, Monster trucks. He loves Cars ( the movies, toys, etc), We play with a soccer, baseball, football, music, swimming. We read, We color, We play with just about every toy/book out there and We do imaginary play also. What I am trying to portray is that We do all that we can. I have the mindset to just let them embrace life as much as possible. They will never be as innocent as they are now. And I love that about both of them.

Ok here is where the post is going to bullet points because it will just be all over the place:
  • When he chose the glittery shoes, I did not want him to feel as if there was a wrong choice
  • Am I aware that people will have something to say if I let him wear the glittery sparkly shoes, YES...... Am I prepared to defend more of my parenting choices, I do this daily.
  • He has longer hair than most boys and He already gets called a girl all based on his hair. He can be decked out in camo shorts and spiderman shirts, wearing Cars Light up shoes AND he will receive "she is just the cutest" comments ..many of these daily
  • No, I am not going to cut his hair yet. I will if he asks
  • What are your thoughts on toddler learning in relation to introducing gender identity? Have you already started teaching gender identity?
I feel very ill-prepared for this next step of parenting. I am simply speechless and right now. I want him to be whomever he wants to be. I want him to be allowed to explore and discover. I am ok with whatever He wants out of life. ( help me remember this when he is 18 and He gets to chose) BUT I know that there are others that Are NOT ok with such and I can't protect him forever, But right now, I feel like that Mother Bear that WILL eat whomever harms him .... AND I know there will be harm or negative gossips from onlookers. it can be a cruel world out there


HereWeGoAJen said...

You saw that really good blog post about this around Halloween, right? I'd go back and read the comments on that and I bet there is a lot of good information there. (Probably a lot of trolls too though, so watch out for that.)

I think you did the right thing, not that my opinion matters. And I bet he looks cute in Tinkerbell and Spiderman underwear.

maresi said...

Man this stuff is hard to navigate, but like Jen said, I think you're doing well. Who's gonna see the kid's underwear anyway?

alison said...

Brecken's favorite color is pink right now. Purple and "bwue" close seconds. I bought him a pink hot wheels for his Easter basket and he over the moon.

At the moment, B's world consists of colors and shapes and textures. To me, he's not equating pink = girly yet. He's just equating pink = a color of the rainbow and it makes me happy.

I really just try to make it a non-issue. After all, Joey has a few pink dress shirts, and I can't really be like "no! pink is for girls!" when he sees his daddy wearing them. I grew up playing hot wheels and GI Joes... and Barbies and had Cabbage Patch dolls. Life is too short for me to stress over it... he just likes what he likes and I want my boy to be happy.

You're doing a GREAT job! Your boys are loved and that's really all that matters at the end of the day. I think A might just be on to something with the Tinkerbell undies - he'll know the way to the girls that like Tinkerbell too. :)

Hang in there friend, it'll sort itself out. xo

BigP's Heather said...

Katherine is in LOVE with dinosaurs and cars right just like fun things and pretty things. I say, get him the sparkly shoes!

Mommy Wants Vodka let her son go as a butterfly for Halloween because that is what he wanted to be. She has some great posts on this topic.

hope548 said...

I don't comment a lot anymore, but this is such a great post and something I've been thinking about a lot lately too. I took my son to buy him a watch the other day and of course he wanted the pink Dora watch. I hated that I had to draw his attention to other watches and he finally chose one with sports balls on it. Last time we bought him sunglasses, he wanted the pink Dora glasses, but we bought the yellow Sponge.Bob glasses instead. It hurts me to not be able to buy him what he wants. Why can't they make Dora stuff in other colors? Boys watch Dora.

He also requests pink and purple shirts sometimes, but we don't have any because I can't find any that would be appropriate for a boy. Pink and purple are happy colors and I can understand why he's drawn to them. It breaks my heart that I have to encourage him like blue and green instead just so that others won't make fun of him one day.

I've been thinking about it a lot lately and I'm still at a loss.

Anonymous said...

G and I always laugh because L is such the girly-girl in some ways and it's really come out of nowhere. We don't push certain toys over other, we've just let her choose and she really likes princesses and frilly things.

That said, she also adores robots and bugs. She likes to dig in the dirt. She can be a tomboy at times too.

We don't put a whole lot of pressure or thought into really. I don't see a point--let them be and they'll figure it all out eventually. :)

Barb said...

Oh man I'm right there with ya. Hard stuff for sure. What I hope is to let E be E and teach him that nothing is "right" or "wrong" based on gender but that people will THINK it is and to eventually understand that. Let me know how it goes trailblazer.


Missy said...

My daughter calls them shoe-flops.

I think it goes both ways. I can have the baby dressed head to toe in pink with a pink blanket and people still call her a boy.

I think the kids choices is all based off of what they see on tv (as to who they like). they have no idea what is supposed to be for girls and what is geared for boys.

I say let him choose, and if somebody says something, deck 'em. They will learn to keep their mouth shut, or open their mind.

A New Beginning said...

Oops, I was signed in as my mom.

Rebecca @ Unexplained X2 said...

Matt loves to have his nails and toes painted...loves it! I wouldn't worry about it until he does! Follow your instinct and whatever will keep the peace.

Anonymous said...

Have you seen all of my pics of Miles in my sequined flip flops? We just laugh. Nothing is right or wrong at this age!

Anonymous said...

Sorry I'm catching up late with the conversation - I am so impressed with what an understanding, supportive, and loving mom you are. Your post also reminded me of something I read on another blog a few months ago, a woman whose daughter is sort of playing with gender identity in some ways ( I've felt frustrated too by how much little children's clothes and toys are gendered so strongly, that pushes kids from such a young age into such tight little boxes.
I also thought about a song by Dar Williams called "When I Was A Boy"

Cibele said...

I have been looking for your blog and my link wasn't opening. glad to find you again. I was thinking about that yesterday. Lyla loves Nemo and yesterday she was wearing a nemo PJ that I bought at the "boy's PJ aisle". I thought to myself how nobody would find it odd that she is wearing a "boy pj" but if it was the other way around it would be controversial. Talk about double standards hum? I honestly don't know what is the best thing to do, what I know is that all this gender separation starts early on, maybe it is time that we as parent break this cycle of blue for boys and pink for girls. BTW Austin's hair is gorgeous!