He’s one!

 

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Aww! So sweet and demure! (Yeah, right! You know how hard I worked to get this shot?!)

It’s happened. Of course it would. But, somewhere in the pained corners of my heart I hoped he’d stay a wrinkly little squish forever. Alas, my handsome boy is one today. He’s funny and engaged, adventurous and determined. He climbs anything and everything with gusto and melts me with his tiny, “thank you.” He is one thing, though, that I was not prepared for. He’s a boy.

 

That sounds odd, right? Well, I keep getting it. “He’s all boy.” “He’s just a boy and boys are so different from girls.” “Get ready! Boys give you a run for your money!”

And it’s all so true. When I was a nanny, other childcare workers on the playground would talk about how so and so’s mom didn’t allow him/her to wear blue/pink for fear it would impose false gender identity on them. Tommy’s mom only let him play with dolls because toy trucks are so stereotypical for boys. Sally’s dad thought she should be allowed to pee standing up if she desired so as not to squelch her budding gender exploration. I even had one family for whom I personally worked tell me to only refer to their child by name and never with “him/her” since those are “pronouns that project societal ideals on a child.” HE was 18 months old.

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Notice the giant flap of flesh missing from his forehead…he tried to jump to his own demise ON his first birthday! So much for a photoshoot!

I call bologna. Since when is being a boy, BAD? Why are we feminizing the acceptable role of men and boys in our society? It’s just not real life. I had a lady tell me once that children don’t form “gender” specific attributes until society teaches them to. I would like to submit exhibit A. My very physically motivated son has been challenging himself to conquer literal mountains since the first day he could army crawl…at 4 1/2 months old. He throws himself from the top of toys just to see how it feels. He takes risks for the thrill of the wind in his two wispy hairs. Things that excite him are trucks and mud and growling. He prefers meat to just about anything else and he farts. Constantly. Stereotypical…for sure! Truth…absolutely. After all, aren’t most stereotypes born in some truth?

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SO, perhaps because of the feedback I got from reading too many opinion pieces on Huff Post, I was not prepared for what would actually lie in my future if I had a boy. I grew up with three brothers, but surely their “machismo,” if you will, was thrust upon them by our folks, right? My child would be whatever, WHOever he wanted because I would be a totally free-range parent. Surely that would make for a sweet, soft-spoken, well-mannered, totally-in-tune-with-his-feelings little dude, RIGHT? Well, I AM a pretty free-range-y mom and this is what I get. A kid determined to kill himself before adolescence!

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I’m not discounting the exceptions. Chuck likes bugs and dirt and running naked and free in the backyard….all traits commonly attributed to the masculine. And Buddy has a sister so he is absolutely familiar with dolls and headbands and tea parties. But, overall, she tends to be more sweet and sassy than stout and steady. And I posit…that’s good!

 

 

Why are we so eager to blend in to one gender, while at the same time screaming out for recognition of our individuality? Shouldn’t the sexes be celebrated for their obvious specific strengths?

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It’s quite the honor to be the mama to my boy. I cherish the role I have to help mold his sense of chivalry and moral fortitude. I don’t want to live in a world where men don’t open doors for their date or feel the responsibility to take care of their families. Where will it get us? It definitely won’t guide the state of the family unit into a harmonious lot. And, I mean really, are little boys not just the cutest, scariest, most exhausting form of love joy there is? And I don’t want to squash THAT!

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