Thursday, January 29, 2009

I like boys girls better

I recently read an article entitled "I like boys better." Written by a mother of two boys who was expecting her third baby, the author was hoping for yet another boy. Upon learning the baby was a girl, she found herself paralyzed by the thought of a future involving pink poodle birthday parties and princesses.

Perhaps every mother has her preference, whether or not she chooses to openly admit it. There's something that pulls some moms to fru-fru dresses and patent leather shoes, while others veer the way of train tracks and baseball hats.

Reading the piece, I found myself writing in my head a counter argument as to why "I like girls better." I couldn't believe a mother would rather shop amongst the two racks of boy clothes than the six dozen racks of dresses, skirts and all things pink. I was appalled that she'd prefer throwing a Transformer party over one featuring The Little Mermaid (she actually used the word "ewww").

After finishing, though, and later mulling over why she'd take mud pies over braids, I realized my preference in dealing in the world of make believe princesses and pretend grocery store visits has less to do with my favoring dollhouse play over Thomas the Train track building, and everything to do with my fear of failing our son.

I've learned how to make motor sounds and spot out semi-trucks or construction equipment while we're out and about, to Trace's gleeful delight. What I haven't learned, though, is how to turn him into a man. And, that's where my bias lies.

While I'm not proclaiming that in another 20 years or so we'll have produced three women ready to run the world, I'm somewhat confident in my abilities to nurture in the girls character values of discipline, confidence and self-worth.

On the flip side, teaching Trace to be a strong yet compassionate man who sees the injustices of the world while trying to right them, all the while maybe making meatballs for dinner. That seems a bit more daunting.

That job seems larger to me. Sometimes even too large, when there seems so many instances left in the world when a man is emasculated because he can cook or care for a child or express emotion.

I want for him to be a productive person, a loving husband, a caring father, a stand-up citizen. I want him to understand that manhood means more than sports, working and being macho. I want him to be a lover, not a fighter.

Jason says from time to time, as Trace shows off his painted toenails or prances around the living room in high heels, he hopes I'm saving up for the therapy Trace will most likely need years down the road. Perhaps living in a house where you're outnumbered by the opposite sex two to one might mean future counseling, but I refuse to deny him pink polish on his toes when he so requests it.

So, with our painted toes and John Deeres we set off. And maybe one day, I'll be able to write a follow up entitled "I like boys better," when I know he's turned out okay (and, if not, I guess I'll be picking up the therapy bills).

1 comment:

Gina said...

By the time I came along my mom had two boys already. When the doctor told her I would be a girl she said, "What am I going to do with a little girl?"

Turns out, lots of things. Dance lessons, gymnastics, trips to the mall.

My poor mom though ended up with something of a tom boy. I refused to wear dressed or skirts from third through 8th grade. And I never once played Barbies. I did, however, master the art of climbing to the top of the tree in our front yard, much to her distress. :)