Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Psychobabble on the Boy/Girl Thing

I've figured out part of what bothers me about the whole "it's a boy thing" or "girls do this" or "boys don't do that" nonsense.  It's the underlying message that if you're a girl and you like to do a "boy thing," like ride a skateboard or listen to loud heavy metal music, you must not be a "real" girl.  It's the underlying message that if you're a boy and cry or carry a favorite stuffed animal and you're told that it's a "girl thing," then you're not a "real" boy.

Most people who spout off about gender generalities don't necessarily intend to push a message that someone's Pinocchio.  But it's annoying.  And it hurts me.  Which is silly.  But it does.

I think it hurts me because when we were expecting Middle One and found out he was a boy, I was crushed.  How terrible is that?  I was crushed.  Cried for four days.  We were sure he would be our last one (dumbasses how naive were we?) and I so wanted a girl.  I wanted a girl because I was sure my boys wouldn't want to do the things that I liked to do: cook, bake, garden, make stuff, read, be interested in our genealogy, etc.  

It took months for me to get a grip and recognize men can do all those things.  Just because my house was dominated by guys didn't mean my boys wouldn't or couldn't learn to cook and bake and garden and make stuff and share books with me and be interested in our family history.  It just meant I had to get over myself and teach them the things that matter to me.

So it's a very soft spot for me.  Turns out when Middle One was born, I fell so deeply in love with him that thinking back to my first reaction astonishes me.  I adore him.  And he loves to cook.  And his older brother loves to bake.  Ironically, I completely mostly got over my desire to have a girl and wanted to have another baby - bring on another boy!  Three pregnancies later, we had a healthy baby - who happened to be a girl.  

But the "boy/girl thing" is still a soft spot.  So, chances are, if you meet me at the park and make some dumbass crack comment about something being a boy or girl thing, I will most likely turn myself inside out to prove you wrong.  And that's my psychobabble quota for the year month week now.

~ G

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