Friday, October 5, 2012

Loving Boy Stuff

"As far as I'm concerned, being any gender is a drag." -Patti Smith

I know it shouldn't bother me, but it does.

Maeve is going through this phase where she won't let me do anything - anything - to her hair whatsoever.  I can brush it, but that's it.  No clips, no ponytails, I even tried a headband.  Absolutely not.  She cries until I take it out.  I got her to wear pigtails in our family pictures only by sheer force of will; I think she sensed I was more determined than she was that night.

Why should I care if the child isn't wearing anything in her hair?  Her hair is beautiful just as it is.

Well, Maeve loves space.  And dinosaurs.  And they basically don't make girl's shirts that reflect those themes.  We have two pink space shirts, one from each grandparent, and I use them a lot, but once those are dirty, it's off to the navy-and-orange versions, which do no accessorize well with pink or purple.  And then I spend all morning worrying that the other parents at the museum/store/park are going to think my daughter is a boy.

And I know.  I know it doesn't matter, I know I shouldn't care, and ironically, if Maeve was self-identifying as a boy, I would be first in line to defend her right to do so and be so proud of her for being who she is. 

So why do I hate the idea of her being mistaken for a boy?  It didn't bother me when she was a practically-hairless infant, it seemed like a perfectly natural mistake.  How could anyone know what she was if they hadn't changed her diapers personally?  I didn't go out of my way to dress her in pinks and purples then, I really didn't care.

I guess it's a little because she has so much personality now, she is herself, and she is a girl.  And it matters to me that she not feel that only boys can like dinos and space as much as she does.  And obviously she doesn't feel that now, no thoughtless kid has come up to her and asked her why she likes boy stuff.  But someone will.  Maybe I get defensive because I am anticipating the future, and I want to stand up for my kid.  I don't know.

I honestly can't put a finger directly on why it bothers me, but I have succeeded in not acting on my worries.  I let the child wear what she wants, within reason of the weather, and although I'll keep trying to do her hair, I won't force her into a mold that doesn't fit.  Because she's my brilliant girl, and she can love whatever puts that spark in her eye.

My girl, hugging a meteorite.

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