The Author

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I am a high school English teacher, and mother of two charming little ones of my own. I teach in a high poverty urban charter school, while I live in a typical American suburb that has frequently been rated one of the safest cities in the country. It is a paradox I struggle with constantly, but it is my life.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Boys and Girls

Interesting happenings today.

My son is an interesting kid. He is passionate about singing and dancing and performing. Today, I convinced him that he should just go ahead and audition for Seussical next week. He has been hesitant about wanting to do it because he is nervous about the audition. I think he will be okay once he gets there if he is doing something he knows really, really, really well, so I made the decision for him - he needs to sing "Do Re Mi" from Sound of Music, because that is the show he is currently working on, and that is the song he knows best. Besides, he is only auditioning for a Who, so he just needs to show them what a cute little singer and dancer he is.

So, how did I convince him?  This morning he watched an episode of Veggie Tales about a kid who doesn't want to use his gift. Eventually, the kid uses his gift and all kinds of good comes of it. I reminded Vinny about this show and told him, "You have a gift. You are a gifted singer and dancer. You need to use your gift."  Tonight, when discussing it with Marc, he added, "and director! I'm going to be a gifted director when I grow up."  He very well might be. He is such a sweet, unique kid... even if he is kind of making me crazy lately.

He is a very emotional kid. He is sensitive and he cries a lot. Particularly lately. Sigh. I am not this type of person.

Our family is not big on traditional gender roles. It is not like I am a super feminist or anything, we are just... different. Out of the two of us, Marc is the sensitive one. I think it is usually the other way around, but not in our relationship. Marc is also probably the more nurturing one. I don't wake up if the kids awake in the middle of the night. It is not that I wouldn't; it is just that I sleep really hard. When I was pregnant, I told my mom I was afraid of this, and she assured me it would change when I had kids... but it didn't. Thank goodness for Marc. He is really good with kids. There are some ways in which I am traditional. I cook.  But I sure as heck don't clean. I'm not good at it, and I don't like it. This summer, we would not have had clean laundry half the time if it wasn't for Marc.

Anyhow... back to traditional gender roles. Tiana is a pretty traditional little girl. Vinny was not really a traditional little boy. Sure, he liked cars, but never as much as most boys. He loved Disney princess movies and collected Disney characters. In fact, his Disney action figures are still probably his favorite collection. Vinny is not really into Transformers or other things that his friends are into. He is a bit of an odd duck. Tiana is pretty typical. She is not even two, but she is obsessed with babies and doll stuff. Today, I bought her a doll stroller with a doll. I bought it for the stroller, but I didn't realize it came with such a cool doll. Dolls sure have come a long way. This one cries, drinks, sleeps. She makes sucking noises and blinks when she eats. If you feed her enough milk, then she falls asleep and snores.  Its kind of a trip.

Vinny was crazy jealous. He spent the evening crying and emotional that he didn't have such a cool doll. At dinner, my sister made some comment about the fact that dolls are girls toys. My mom and I were quick to come back with a "So what?"  My mom pointed out that boys today grow up to be very involved dads, and there is nothing wrong with him wanting to play with dolls. He now wants one for his birthday, and my mom said she would try to get him one. I think my dad was a little concerned, but I reminded him that he did his share of tights wearing in high school and college, and I think he moved on.

But I know it bothers people. So what if he loves toys that are traditionally female?  He is an amazing person, and there is nothing wrong with his preferences. Perhaps there is just something wrong with a world that is so judgmental.

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