Sunday was “date” day in our house. I don’t mean romantic date though. I mean special time with the big kids. We split up and each take a kid to do something together. Sometimes we have to bring The Twins along but whatever we do, we make sure the focus is on whichever kiddo is with us. This weekend it was Daddy & Daughter and Deedee & Son. I think it’s worth noting that the kids are always a little jealous of what their sibling is doing at first but then they forget all about them.
For their date, I signed The Hubs and Crazy Eyes up for a Dads and Daughters program at our local university. It’s awesome! They get to go to five women’s sporting events and do special things like meet the athletes or participate in halftime activities. This month was soccer. She got to kick the ball and score a goal at half time. She enjoyed it although she kept calling it baseball. Bless her silly little heart.
The Boy and I took a different approach. He does a ton of outside work type stuff with his dad but that’s not really my wheelhouse. He loves to make things and has been taking an art class after school so we decided to go to Joann’s to get some craft supplies. Our primary objective was to buy him a sketch pad. Any other craft supplies were bonus. It turned out to be a really humbling and kind of embarrassing experience for me.
The Boy picked out two items while we were there that I instinctually nearly talked him out of. The first was a white butterfly mask to decorate and the second was a doll. I give zero shits about my son playing with either of these things, but I know that not everyone would feel the same. I looked at the plain white, butterfly shaped mask in my sweet boy’s hand and immediately worried that he’d have other people squash his creativity by saying ugly things. I cringed internally as he picked up the plain white muslin doll and decided that THIS was the project for him. Both times I immediately felt ashamed of myself for even thinking of talking him out of them.
In both instances, I judged from a female perspective. Surely that doll will need a dress and hair. Of course the butterfly mask will need glitter and sequins. I was wrong on both accounts. The doll is now a spooky pumpkin man. The Boy has chosen to make an all black suit for him. The butterfly mask will be the new mask of his superhero alter ego The Gunner complete with brown feathers and red and blue felt. (See my post on that for more details.) I would never have come up with either of those things. If I’d said no because of the dumb things people say about boys not being allowed to like butterflies or play with dolls I would have been closing off an opportunity for my Son to create.
It made me wonder how many other times I’ve told my kids no or discouraged them because I either didn’t want them to be judged or because all of my life the activity was deemed a “girl” or “boy” activity. Its really easy to encourage my daughters to do more masculine things but it’s still hard sometimes to offer my son the same opportunity. As much as I want to be open minded I still have a lot to learn. It’s a good thing I have awesome kids to teach me and show me when I’m wrong.