Yet another snow day, selfishly I am thrilled. Another opportunity to rest and try to get caught up – even though I don’t really know how I am seriously this behind – we just had almost 2 weeks worth of snow days!! Apparently all it takes is 3 days of work to undo it all again.
Instead of cleaning and organizing we decide to veg out and watch a high quality flick. Snuggled up on the sofa, surfing through Amazon for a movie to rent we spot the new Tinkerbell movie. The kids squeal, “That one!!” We three are nestled in, ready to begin, me the in the middle and a kid on each side. The movie had the classic highs and lows of Disney, blessedly with no deaths, and a heartfelt satisfying ending. The kids loved it, and I didn’t hate it. Unfortunately it is now time to actually tackle the mountain of dishes and actual dirt (yes, actual dirt! I potted flowers on the kitchen counter and thought my husband would be sweet and clean it up. Three days later I figured I should stop hoping and break out the cleaner.) that was preventing me from making oatmeal and raisin cookies – snow day priority!
As I am toiling away in the kitchen and my son is practicing his spelling, he yells to me “Momma, that movie was fun wasn’t it. I don’t know why I like the Tinkerbell movies, I just do.” I responded, “I don’t know either sweetie, the movie was fun and we like what we like.” Then I heard my least favorite phrase, “Mom, could you not tell anyone else that I like a girl movie?” Instantly I replied, “Buddy, there is no such thing as a girl movie, we all just like what we like. If it makes you feel better I will promise not to tell anyone.” <Oops! I hope he never reads this blog post!> He laughed, “I know that, but the guys at school laugh at other kids when they like girl stuff. It’s silly, but I just don’t want to be laughed at.” “I understand kiddo.”
This is only the second time in his short seven years that we have had this conversation. The last time we were watching Dora the Explorer with his sister. Even before he was born I have been so conscientious about being gender neutral. The idea that someone else can limit what my child is able to wear, watch, or play with infuriates me. It is so easy to insulate them from the insanity of culture when you are the most important person in their world. Putting them out there for the world, to be a part of the world, judged by the world, is terrifying. As a teacher I have seen how cruel children can be to one another – the thought of someone treating my child that way crushes my heart. One of my most difficult tasks as a parent has been and continues to be teaching my children how to be themselves no matter what. Teaching them that even when someone does not treat them well that it is more about the other person than them. It is incredibly difficult to equip both of them with the tools to handle the challenges that come their way. Hopefully these smaller ones they experience as kids will be great practice for handling the tougher things that come your way as an adult.