So I’m joining in on the fun created by Scary Mommy and playing Flashback Friday. I don’t have to reach far back to pull out a post that is still near and dear.
The following post was originally published March 30, 2009
During March break I told you about taking the kids up to visit my mom for a few days. It was a great trip and the kids enjoyed themselves, outside all the time. We visited a great park that had that awesome saucer swing.
When we go to the park or playground I never really have to worry about my kids being lonely or board. Not because they play with each other, heavens no, miracles like that don’t happen too often. No, my kids are very outgoing and have no problem finding playmates in the playground. Our playground visit in my mom’s town was no different.
My son and another little boy were playing in the sand when my son decided he had enough and wanted to do something else. Here’s how that conversation unfolded:
my son: k, I’m going to so something else. I need my toys back
playground boy’s mom: You need to give the little girl her toys back
my son: I’m not a girl, I’m a boy
playground boy: How are you a boy?
my son: I don’t know. Same way you are
playground boy’s mom: Oh, you mean you like to play with boy’s toys
my son: No, I’m a boy. I play with boy’s toys because I’m a boy. I already told you that!
I should point out my son has long hair, longer than mine. Almost as long as his older sister. It’s beautiful and blond and had great curls at the bottom. When he was younger, my husband and I couldn’t bring ourselves to cut it for fear of loosing his cute curls (my husband had long hair up until I meet him). Now my son chooses to keep his hair long.
Hearing this conversation started my heart racing. You know, that anger type of racing, like when you someone cuts you off in traffic. The kind of racing from anticipating a fight. I wasn’t so much bothered by the comment. My son and I are both use to the girl/boy mix-up. When he was younger he would get quite mad. It was so obvious to him he was a boy and he couldn’t understand why people would make this mistake. Now older (if you can call being four older), he’s more matter-of-fact about it. No, I was bothered by this mother’s insistence that my son was a girl, even after he corrected her and her son. Why did she think she knew him better than he knew himself? Why do some adults have difficulty believing in something because a child tells them. If I had corrected her I don’t expect she would have argued with me about it.
I believe it’s our job as parents to teach our kids. Teach them to stand up for and believe in themselves. Teach them right from wrong. Teach them not to be too quick to judge. What lesson do you think playground boy walked away with? The same gender stereotypes that we were raised with but should be trying to break? That kids are too young to really know what the truth is?
I’m glad I let my son handle things. His response was calm and to the point. No yelling or threats. I’m sure if I had stepped in I wouldn’t have been so understanding. Perhaps that day I learned a lesson from my son instead: you can’t let ignorant people get under your skin. I can only home that playground mom and her son learned something just as valuable (though doubtful).