Boy or Girl – What does that mean?
Sometimes there are moments that just fill a persons heart with such happy feelings, but then quickly turns to feelings of confusion looking for clarity.
The day started off like most- the boys were off to get the day started. Josh heading to work and Jacob heading to school. Chan sleeping like a sweet baby lamb- there I was workout clothes on, but finding everything I could do to not start my workout until finally I had too! It’s a super hard program and sometimes I need to talk myself into it. Half way through- here comes Chan down the stairs- I pause the workout and welcome the little break to greet him with a hug and a smile and a yummy cup of cocoa. Then back at it huffing and puffing my way through…
Friday’s are fun days for us Gymnastics! Then a lunch date usually with Dad, but today we had a lunch date with Tammy in the food court at the mall. We had a few minutes to spare before lunch and thought it best to do a little shopping.
Children’s Place is our go to- As you enter the doorway Children’s Place is split into 2 clear sections – Boy’s to the right and Girl’s to the right. We enter and stand there for a few seconds and Chandler’s eyes found them- The most sparkly, bright colored, fabulous shoes he’s ever seen. This prompted him to quickly take off his hate and jacket. He tells me he needs to really focus and takes off his sweat shirt and extra pair of pants. (We had to dress super warm it was cold). I stand there patiently holding all of his extra pieces of clothes. He get’s up and asks if I can fix his hair pins. (He’s been a fan of sparkly barrettes for about a week) Once he felt like everything was in place he says with absolute certainty “Now I can focus”. He went from rack to rack smiling from ear to ear and excited about all the options- He got even more exited when he found shirts that he already had reminding me that we didn’t need to buy those again because he already had them. He know’s that his size is -S- he was a little bummed that a few of the shirts weren’t in his size. Then we ventured over to the huge table of t-shirts. His eyes found the one- It was a white long sleeve shirt that said, “Birthday girl” in the brightest of rainbow colors. He held the shirt up to his chest and read it out loud and was certain that he had found the shirt of his dreams.
Understand that the next little bit is happening in my head and not verbalized to Chandler. Here’s where the questions for me come in… Chandler knows that he is a boy and like’s being a boy from what he says, and he get’s his feelings hurt when people call him a girl, but at the same time he wants to wear a shirt that says, “Birthday girl” By this time he’s tugging at my hand-
Yeah buddy? Ooh Mom did you see this one? By this time he has about 5 shirts that he is in love with and says well, I am ready to go… Oh bud you have to choose 2 shirts to actually bring home we can’t get all 5. Then he narrows it down to 3- the longs sleeve shirt and 2 short sleeve shirts, then I explain to him that he can get both short sleeve shirts or the long sleeve shirt because the cost is more than the 2 short sleeve shirts. I then explain that if he likes the “Birthday girl” shirt that I can make him a birthday boy shirt in bright rainbow colors for his birthday if he wanted- His quick response: No, Mom I like this one. Okay then what are you deciding to get today. Oh this is a tough tough decision I mean Mom they are all so great, but I think I’m going to have to go with these 2 and come back and get this one when it’s closer to my birthday.
Sweet! Let’s go check out. He heckled it up with the cashier and off to lunch we went. The lunch was pretty fabulous Chandler is super fun to have a lunch date with.
On the way home- He closed his eyes for a quick 20 minute rest (His words)
Meanwhile my mind was racing and playing back some conversations that Chandler has had with us- a few weeks ago I was changing out of my workout clothes and he came in and was like, “I see your penis Mom! Laughing a big big belly laugh!” I respond with Chandler- Mom doesn’t have a penis so you can’t see my penis. Now, I am sure this would have been the perfect time to sit him down and have a conversation about it, but it was happening fast and that didn’t happen we all moved on as if it never happened. About a month ago he was on a kick of marriage and how he just didn’t know who he was going to marry- We assured him that he could marry whom ever he wanted, but that he had a long long time to decide that. He went through a list of names of his little friends- He could marry George from school, but that would be hard because he wasn’t sure where he lived. He could marry Alexis from school, but she had a mad face on a lot of the time and he didn’t think he wanted his partner to be mad. He talked about a couple of other little boys and how they were good friends, but he wasn’t sure- then he brought up his best little friend Kensley and he said they could get married, but then he didn’t want his friend CC to get sad if he didn’t marry her, then what about Evey she was pretty great. Oh mom this is just such a hard decision- I’m gonna have to really think about it.
As I sat there quietly listening he asked Mom right any one can get married- Yes buddy as long as you love that person you can get married. Boys can marry boys- boys can marry girls – girls can marry girls- He says that’s great mom…
A couple weeks later he was talking about being a Mom and Dad and asked what the difference was and I asked him what he thought and he said, “I think they are the same- I responded: Mom’s and Dad’s just love there children buddy. Some people have 2 Mommy’s and some have 2 Daddy’s. Some have only one Mommy and no Daddy and some have only one Daddy and no Mommy, and some kids live with there grandparents or maybe aunts and uncles. That’s because all families are different.
As these conversations were happening it never hit me until yesterday, but I wonder if in his little mind that he thinks that boys and girls are the same – meaning he doesn’t really know what the difference is? Part of me wonders if he is confused himself and isn’t sure that he is a boy –
We decided that rather than having a conversation about it we are going to let him lead the way- From now on when someone calls him a girl we are going to smile and nod and let him decide if he wants to correct those around us or not. We are going to try really hard not use boy terms with him over the next week or so and see where it leads.
As confusing as this all is – I have to say that I love that he is oblivious and maybe thinks that everything is the same and that everyone can do what everyone does. How beautiful to just see life and happy and feel like you can do anything without restrictions. At the same time – Does he feel sad when people call him a girl because he thinks I get sad? Am I projecting my thoughts, fears, and frustrations where he can feel it and see it? I know that I try so hard to stay very neutral with everything and try not to talk about any of it in front of him. Maybe just maybe though I am and that is why he get’s upset? I don’t know.
I read an article this morning that talked about a woman as a child that she felt like she was a boy and she had no real understanding of what that even meant- she just knew that she liked “tom boy” clothes and everyone told her how strong she was and brave for standing up- she never understood any of it- she just felt like cool – they like my outfits, then puberty hit and it was like WOAH I am a girl and girls have this awful thing that happens to them and she transitioned just fine into womanhood if you will- Now she has her own 4 kids – 2 girls and 2 boys- One of the boys is total boy and one is total girl- same with the girls.
This article makes me feel a little less alone in that there are kids like Chandler they just aren’t all over – especially not in this little town of Columbia City-
As a Mom I am trying to shower our kids with love and acceptance for who they are and not who I or anyone else thinks they should be- We shall see how this week unfolds using completely gender neutral terms. 🙂
Thank you for indulging in my thoughts for a moment – if you have any advice for words of encouragement eel free to drop a comment below