25 August 2011

Hello, My Name Is Walking Contradiction

Having a boy and a girl has really rocked my world - but it's for reasons so unlike what people might assume...

I can't tell you how many times people have told me that Benny is "all boy" because he likes to jump and run and get dirty. And I can't tell you how many times people have asked me if Lila is different than Benny. Here's the thing: I don't want Benny to be all boy and I don't want Lila to be sugar and spice and all things nice. I want both of my kids to be well rounded in gender stereotypes and feel confident and comfortable in breaking many of them.

For example, I want Benny to be strong and assertive and have ample self confidence, but I also want him to be sensitive and respectful and nurturing. I want Lila to be sensitive and respectful and nurturing, but I also want her to have an opinion and love her body and be physical. The dualisms of gender are not something I want to promote in my house.

Benny typically dresses like a boy - pants, shirts, and not too many frills. I think this is less about him being a boy and more about his parents' own fashion style. Which is to say, we have almost none. Nate wears pants and shirts and stays away from frills. I wear pants and shirts and I'm afraid of frills. The same goes for Lila. Sure, every once in awhile, I like to put a dress on her. It's cute. However, I'm never going to be the parent who discourages her from getting dirty on the playground because she's wearing a nice outfit. I'm also not going to dress her in all pink. It's just not going to happen.

The same goes for gender activities around the house. Benny cooks with me, helps me with the laundry, and puts away his dishes (we're still working on putting away his toys). He also helps us in the yard, planting things and shoveling. This is not only teaching him to ignore gender specific tasks, but it's also teaching him a sense of responsibility (I hope). Lila will get the same education around the house.

In the end, I don't want my kids to feel like they have to fulfill any type of stereotype - at least while they're young. There will be plenty of time for that when they're teenagers and are subjected to intense peer pressure.

What's more, Benny is "all boy" in his activities - he likes to play with trucks, he likes to run, jump, and get dirty. But he's also our curious and cautious child. He has always been that way. He sizes up any situation before diving in, cautiously. Lila on the other hand, is our honey badger. That girl, unlike a girl who is sugar and spice and everything nice, doesn't give a shit.

And, after that RIDICULOUS rant, I just purchased these adorable bows for Lila from Adorn Me Girl on Etsy. At least they're handmade, right? I mean, if I'm going to give up on one principle, I should probably follow another and support a small business. Hello, my name is Walking Contradiction.

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