We had just come home from a trip to the local grocery store. My husband was putting away our coats and the boys began running around in the living room.
Come on! son 1 shouted to son 2. Let’s play!
I don’t remember what game it was. Just assume something terrifyingly frenzy, that involved lots of running, shouting, messing up of my already quite messy home, and raising of my blood pressure.
Son 2 replied I don’t do that. I’m a girl. With an emphasis on the “don’t” and the “girl”.
I sighed a terribly frustrated sigh and thought grimly This kid is going to start kindergarten soon. It’s one thing if he marches around the house, demanding that his clothes and sippy cups be in shades of pink and purple only, and it’s another if he does the same in school.
They like to make big deals out of these kinds of things in institutions of the educational type. When son 2 was delayed in his speech, he was analyzed by six different child psychologists, therapists, and special education teachers. I try not to think about the conclusions they would reach and the questions they would have regarding my son’s flip flopping on his gender.
Because to me, and to his pediatrician, it isn’t a big deal. He’s four years old. Hardly the age where major life decisions are made. It’s probably a phase that he’ll eventually grow out of. And if he doesn’t, he doesn’t. If that’s how and what he chooses to be, then that’s how and what he is. We all know his behavior isn’t the work of the devil whispering bad things into his ear after we turn out the lights. I doubt even that spiky tailed mofo can get past the all seeing eye that is the ADT motion sensor.
I keep telling him he’s a boy that loves to do girl stuff, because he loves to do all the boy stuff, too. And that’s fine. Boys can love the colors pink and purple, dolls, pretty hair, etc. But he’s still a boy. And I can’t check both M and F on his school forms.
I said it gently the first 10 times or so, calmly explaining to him the whole boy with the likes and dislikes of a girl concept. He listened and said Okay.
Then came the situation mentioned at the beginning of the post.
Oh my Allah! Omg! Not again! Jesus! Jesus, Mary, Joseph, Stalin, John, Lennon, Yoko, Ono, Rinko, Star!
That’s how I vent my frustration. I spout nonsense.
We’ve been through this before, darling I said through clenched teeth. You’re a boy that likes girl stuff, remember?
All I got in response was a big, Cheshire cat like grin from Son 2.
There had to be some way to get him to understand. I thought for a while about obvious differences between the sexes.
Hair length? No, that wouldn’t work.
Boobs? No, I wasn’t going to start that. The male fascination with the female chest is something they’ll have no problem figuring out once they hit puberty. The bigger, the better is pretty much self explanatory.
I really didn’t know what to say, so I blurted out You’re not a girl because girls don’t have wee wees.
From the corner of my eye, I could see my husband raise his eyebrows and smirk. I wanted to pinch him. He wasn’t helping. And why was he wearing that expression?
Because he knew what was coming up.
Often I tend to miss the obvious, like the time I thought I was reaching for the minty blue mouthwash and almost gargled with the stuff from the bottle clearly marked Windex.
My husband is a smart cookie. He knew what was coming next. He just sat there, arms crossed, and let me deal with what I had started.
Son 2’s eyes got big and round and Son 1 started to laugh. Bewildered and obviously anticipating something scandalous, they asked the question that I, quite foolishly, hadn’t anticipated.
If they don’t have wee wees, what do they pee out of ?!?!
And they haven’t stopped asking it. I tell them I will sit down and explain anatomical differences between males and females soon, when I know what to say and how to phrase it right.
It’s better than I don’t know how to tell you this boys, but I have no idea how to approach those kinds of topics with you. Your grandparents always chose the ‘no’ option when they sent the ‘would you like your child to participate in sex ed classes’ permission slip home. They were first generation fobs that were scandalized by such a notion because, in the old country, you found out where babies come from on your wedding night. No sooner.
I’ve got some prep work to do on the topic before I open up my big mouth again and start an avalanche of questions. Because kids ask a lot of questions. Their minds and voices don’t have the confines and restrictions of the adult thought process. And I really don’t want to say anything that might confuse the heck out of them.
I always prided myself on being the most knowledgeable on any topic that was parental, but apparently, mom and child specialist are sometimes two different things.