So, I think the fact that I started this blog yesterday nudged the boy to wear a dress to the Children’s Museum today (totally unconsciously — he has no idea about this place). Rarely has he worn a dress in public. We’re not opposed to it, but we don’t push it much. More on the internal struggles in a moment. So, he wakes me up this morning, adorned in a dress. As we get ready to leave, I ask nonchalantly what we’ll wear to the museum. “My dress!” Of course. We add some tights to the mix (a favorite around here), and head off.
On the way, I asked him what he wanted me to do if someone refers to him as a girl or says “she,” or any such thing. This is usually my question when he heads out in an outfit that codes particularly as “girly.” He told me not to correct them. Then that he likes it when people make that mistake. I wondered aloud why that was. “I don’t know, I just like it.”
So, as for the internal conflict. I had no problem with this boy wearing a dress out. I’m glad he knows what he wants, that we provide him access to it, and that he can choose to wear things that make him happy. No troubles for me at the museum. Mostly we were in places where there were few other kids. No instances occurred where I even considered correcting someone about his gender. As we left, I thought I saw someone we knew. That was when it hit me. Even though most of our friends embrace our boy and his style, rarely is he out in a dress. That might be harder for some to swallow. Or really, it might be harder for me to swallow — is it something I have to explain? Is it something I have to justify? If I say nothing, do I seem really strange? Too permissive? Deep down I don’t really care about the answers to those questions, but I must admit that on some level I do. Perhaps it’s me worrying that, for now, I might take the flak in order to divert it from the boy but that it might some time come his way. I’m not sure, but there’s the truth about the matter.
So I guess, while this blog is very much about journeying through life with a boy who pushes boundaries (on ALL fronts), it’s also about my own journey of figuring out how I negotiate my role in this whole thing.
Finally, a caveat. Occasionally I worry that folks think we might be trying to turn our boy into a girl. As lesbian parents, I could see such accusations coming our way. We are definitely NOT trying to do that. We love this boy with all our hearts. But, a big part of that love for us is making the whole world available to him. Letting him explore his passions without limiting them just because they may stretch beyond the “blue aisles” at Toys R Us. So, know that this isn’t a blog about trying to turn a boy into a girl. At all. Not one bit.