Avi: Mama, do only boys have wifes?
unusually long pause as I consider the best answer. do i use this moment to talk about the right to marriage? legaleeze and politics? or do i provide her the labels and hope that by the time she is grown, this right really will exist no matter where she lives. i opt for the latter.
Mama: No. When two women love each other, than can get married and call each other wife. If two men get married, they call each other husband. When a man and woman marry, they call each other husband and wife. And then there’s people like me and Dada who aren’t married at all so we don’t have a husband or wife.
Avi: Oh. (and she laughs. she finds this last part about J and I funny.)
and then we stop talking and listen to “The Fisherman and his Wife” in silence. a poor man badgered by his greedy wife who wants everything for nothing. they end up in a hovel after all.
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Posted in gender, toddler, tot on March 19, 2008|
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Already, I face it. Already, I bristle when moms defend their sons by way of saying, “he’s a boy.” Already, I grimace and call my child a “girlie girl” to other moms and tell the stories of her necklaces and purses and fancy party shoes. Already, my daughter, at the tender age of 18 months–a tender age for ALL children, I might add–is being stereotyped and “gender-ified.”
This morning I interviewed a potential babysitter. She brought her son. He’s fifteen months old and behaves like a pretty typical toddler. He got into everything. He listened to the interesting sounds and felt the interesting textures. He found the piles and pulled them apart. He found the cat and chased her into a corner. He got to work being a toddler. He wasn’t interested in saying ‘hi’ to Avi. By way of trying to tell his mom that I was okay with his toddler-ness, I said, “It’s okay. He’s busy being busy!” and I smiled.
She replied, “Oh, he’s such a boy. Boys are so independent.”
I smiled again. Because as she said this, my child was off in another room, a girl, being independent. But because she was sitting and singing to herself, not attempting to pull my garbage can apart, she was clearly not as independent as he.
To be continued…
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