Archive for September, 2008

Looking, looking

Looking, looking

Yesterday Q wore a skirt to school for the first time this year. I admit that I was glad he held off until after the first week…for many reasons. There are lots of new kids in his class, and I guess I wanted them to know he’s a boy before he wore “non-boy” clothes. I know that one could argue that point, but it was a gut feeling that I had. No matter how pretty or ugly.

So yesterday, it was skirt day. Totally cool. I was, though, intrigued (and yes, nervous) to see how the kids reacted. His teachers embraced him immediately, as did a few of the parents who know him already. It was a great reception. I don’t think it really struck him as great in a different way, as it is pretty much the normal reception he gets every day: warmth, love, and a welcome.

Q then climbed up into a loft where a few kids were playing. He was aiming to join a beloved friend. As he got to the top platform in the loft, a kid Q doesn’t know too well yet flashed him “the look.” It was followed by a poke to another friend. As a mom, I knew the look. It read, “What is he wearing?!?!? That is weird and strange.” Q didn’t notice. So it was just my mama hackles that were raised, my alarm lights blinking wildly. The poked friend didn’t respond, but the newer kiddo did look right at me, since I was there helping Q get up and saying good bye. So, instead of saying anything, I gave my own version of “the look.” Having been a teacher, I have a pretty good one. I think it says, “think about what you’re doing right now; be careful.” I think the kiddo got the message. I didn’t want to talk to him, I didn’t want to call attention to Q, but I wanted to let him know I’d seen his look and give him a tiny bit of feedback.

I do think I could have had a nice chat with that kiddo, but I don’t really know him too well. And I really didn’t want to make too big a deal. And I also don’t think it was a “squash your reaction right now!” kind of look. Who knows how he took it, but he didn’t dissolve into tears or anything. Just kept playing. I think that’s how it mostly is. A kid looks at Q, perhaps has a reaction, maybe says or thinks something, but then gets back to the important stuff of learning and play.

Q’s teacher reported that she had a conversation with a second grader out at recess about Q wearing a skirt and just acknowledged to that kiddo that it’s not something we usually see but that it’s what he likes, and doesn’t he look great?. I thought that was such a great way of handling it. Perhaps that’s what I should have done in the loft. Instead, we communicated through looks. They say a lot, the looks. And often it’s “the looks” that I fear most when I’m out and about with Q and folks know he’s a boy in “girls'” clothes. But it’s me who cares, and it doesn’t seem like he notices too much. Or cares too much. Interesting how that goes.

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