Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Embracing My, Or His, Other Side

My boy has very much grown up to be exactly that, a boy.

He loves getting stuck in, enjoys messing about with boys’ toys, likes to kick a football, and to throw himself about like a mini Bruce Willis.

That does not mean his life is overly brutal, he has a very sweet and sensitive side, just he generally prefers quite masculine pursuits.

Making fairly cakes is butch, right?

It has not always been that way, and I think all boys grow up with a pink fascination, and he would cry like a girl if he did not get a go at pushing the pram at playgroup.

Takes after his dad.

The friends that he has chosen, rather than the ones that started primarily as offspring of my chums, have generally been male, although that seems to be wavering of late.

It is all about balance to me, and without trying to force or influence his mind too much, I do not shy away from more feminine activities.

You know, like vacuuming and stuff. *dons tin-hat*

My best friends have a daughter, well, they have two, but one is still a baby, and has yet to really become of great interest to Max, although their relationship is growing.

The other is nine months younger than him, and they have spent a lot of time together.

We had regular weekly days while they were both pre-nursery place age, and weekends, birthdays and simple ad-hoc days out on top of that.

They have a real tight and ever developing bond, and long may it continue.

Do they argue? Of course. And it is a brave person, let alone toddler, that gets in-between them.

But, they look after each other too. And when they play, and share nicely, it is an absolute delight to be around them.

They have also got to ages where they travel with less.

I mean, if we visit them, or they visit us, we take, and they bring less stuff, especially play things.

The kids just have to play with each others’ toys.

This means boys stuff here, and girls stuff there.

There is some common stuff, like games, play dough and some toys of unisex appeal, Peppa Pig for example. But generally the overtone of each of the respective vast toy collectives is different.

Last Friday it was our turn to visit these wonderful friends, and to stay over. Max decided to take a few Transformers for entertainment, but they soon lost their appeal, instead he chose to like whatever his friend wanted.

You know, that not-so-cute arguing they do.

Mediation was fairly successful between the pair, agreement, and, where necessary, substitute items were used.

We went out to a soft play area, and the children insisted on taking a toy each with them.

While they were advised theses items would have to be surrendered once we were out of the car at this place, they were still undeterred.

OK, not a problem.

Then the items they chose, were dolls.

Yes, dolls.

My boy, he of the long hair and lovely eye lashes, wished to take a doll out in public.


Initial grimace subsided, and quick big-picture thinking returned.

Samanatha would have thought it funny, and so did I, eventually.

Not funny that I should ridicule my boy about it, and perhaps give him a complex, thus making him reluctantly choose to take a firearm next time, but funny to laugh at amongst the adults.

Pictures taken for future reference, that sort of thing.

My mini-colossus continued exploring this part of his being upon the return to our friends’ house.

Dressing up has become a popular activity at home, and it seems, at our mates’.

He makes quite a beautiful princess.

More photos stored for future use.

And while we may have joked about it, I actually really enjoyed seeing Junior try these things out and adapt to his surroundings.

The kids did not care, and nor should they have. Share/Save/Bookmark


Bee and Rose said...

I LOVE this post:) My 6 yr old daughter loves to play James Bond with her brother (or assassin..disturbing, I realize, but I'm hopeful it may serve her some day..lol!) She usually does this all while wearing a tutu and carrying one of my son's "weapons". Hilarious!

Your little guy sounds like he is really comfortable with who he is:) You are doing a fantastic job with him. I'm sure Samantha is very, very proud:)

T said...

I love this!!! It makes me crazy to see my brother-in-law get all up in arms when my nephew wants to play with My Little Pony or Barbies. My nephew's the only boy amongst my nieces and my two girls... poor thing. But he can figure out a video game before men with college degrees! And he's yet to reach the age of 4!!

Good on ya! I'm glad you're able to watch him explore without judgment. I think its the best thing for them.

My Grace loves Matchbox cars. I'm not stopping her. Why the hell does it make a difference anyway?

And yes, "funk", referring to my post, meant "shit". :)

Robert said...

If more parents took your attitude, there would be many less messed-up adults out there.

Sandiegogal2000 said...

Good for you for not having a fit that your boy wanted to play with a doll. I have a 4 year daughter who loves her girl toys and wears dresses . This year for Christmas she asked Santa for a Spider man car. I made sure that happened and Santa brought her the spider man car. It is was the winner this Christmas. My nephew when he was younger wanted a doll so grandpa (my dad) got him a boy doll. It was a great doll and has all the boy "parts" too. He even got a doll stroller in which he was able to take him doll out in. I have too many friends that won't let there child explore/play with toys because they are 'boy" or "girl" toys.

Momo Fali said...

My husband has even played "Pretty, Pretty Princess" with our daughter. There's nothing wrong with doing what the girl wants to do, or playing with what the girl wants to play with. It shows him how to please a woman! He'll make a fine husband someday.

Laura said...

My daughters best friends are both boys!

Her favourite activity when we visit the one is for them to bath and then swop clothes - the pinker the better for him and the blacker and action-hero for her!

The one often pushes the pram for her baby and the other one washes the dishes for her :)

claire's mom said...

Lovin' your blog! It is so nice to get a single parent perspective from a man!!! AND, an added bonus for me because your son and my daughter are around the same age. Therefore, I can relate well to your parenting issues. Yay.
so, yes my girl is slow on the uptake with the girly stuff but her daycare is mainly boys so... I'm not worried - If she wants to be a tomboy - so be it!

Kat said...

I wish my girls had more boys to play with. They have become such girly girls that I know I am going to have problems when they hit 12 years old. Ugh.

Becca said...

My four-year-old son makes a beautiful princess while wearing his six-year-old sister's Cinderella costume. And I'm quite glad that my husband let him pick out some Tinkerbell underpants, just like his sister's, among all the Supermans, Spiderman, Batman, and Lightning McQueen undies. He's very much a typical boy in many many ways; but we try very hard not to force him to avoid masculine things.

And our six-year-old daughter -- very much into princesses, but also very much a tomboy.

Reinvent Dad said...

My 4-year old son and daughter love to exchange old Halloween costumes. Alec wears Supergirl and Ju Ju wears Spiderman. All my kids play together whether it be cars, dolls, or imaginative play. Whatever they chose works for me.

Mama Nabi said...

How's that tin hat protecting your head? Just checking... in case I change my mind and do chuck someting sharp at you. :-)

Yes! Toys are toys - they each have some role in developing children and their mind. Once, I saw a young boy being rebuked by his crazy freaky grandma for picking out a doll at a toy store. Crazy. Hope that grandma leaves the kid enough money for therapy when she croaks.

Aw. Do you have a pet? Wondering if Max is getting curious about taking care of others (like doll play reenacts)...

You're a good dad, you are.

Working mum said...

I can't bear the 'boys stuff/girls stuff' divide. Especially being in a field considered a male preserve (science). I'm trying to keep daughter open to all experiences and trying desperately to stave off the comments she's receiving at school at the moment because she loves Thomas the Tank Engine and steam trains.

what happened ?how did i get HERE? said...

hi there! any kind of dressing up/make believe/dolly play is great for preschool kids....we get far too hung up on the 'correct' roles for boys and girls....they have years of our society imposing rigid roles ahead of them so let them make the most of now! and ..he sounds like a great kid!

Single Parent Dad said...

Bee and Rose - James Bond now has blonde hair, so perhaps a tutu is not out of the question.

T - I think if you discourage it, you'll supress them, and pay for that later.

Thanks for the American lesson, I shall be back for more of them, I'm sure!

Robert - Thanks, but I don't know if that is true.

Sandiegogal2000 - Cool. Good on you and Grandpa.

Momo Fali - Absolutely, they're still called husbands in same-sex marriages, right?

Laura - Fantastic stuff.

Claire's Mom - Thank you. And do hang around.

Kat - You'll just have to find them some then, before they do it themselves as teenagers!

Reinvent Dad - That is my thinking too. Wicked stuff.

Mama Nabi - Look how many comments I got away with my brash sexism, but not passed you eh? I might have to set a password ;-)

We have fish, which Max helps feed, and I have been appraising keeping chickens for a while now.

Working Mum - I know, because comments and stigmas can influence a child. Some people just don't think enough about 'different' do they?

What happened - Hi. And you are right, he is!

Solo-Dad said...

I recall my own explorations into my other side as a kid and as an adult. We're two halves: each of us has a harder and softer side and to deny it is lunacy.

Goodonya, Ian - for allowing Max to explore his developing personality. Too many dads are stuck in the stereotypical masculine-pursuit-only mode when it comes to parenting.

Crash Course Widow said...

I have many HYSTERICAL pictures of my nephews in various girly dressup costumes, from playing with their older girl cousin. I think the pics are a hoot, as I'm sure their future wives will in 20-30 years. ;o)

I have the same problems but in opposition: Anna's quite girly. Plays basically only with Barbie dolls, little Polly Pocket dolls, etc. Girl toys. (No baby dolls, though.) I try to get her interested in some more-boy's (or gender-neutral) toys--Legos, matchbox cars, blocks, etc.--but nope...she almost always just wants her girly toys. Sigh. I don't know that it'd be radically different if her father were alive, but occasionally I feel twinges of guilt or something (although I certainly don't know why--that somehow it's my fault she doesn't have male influences in her life, even when it's not my fault at all??) that she doesn't have any tomboy impulses.

Then again, she might not play with boy toys much, but she LOVES to play video games with her boy cousins, or occasionally with the boxes of toy cars, so maybe all isn't lost. ;o)

Hope you're both doing well!

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