Thursday, October 3, 2013

Trucks and Tutus

This is my son, affectionately referred to as The Midglet. He's almost 3. He loves trucks, cars, tractors, construction equipment, and just about anything with wheels. He also loves tutus, tiaras, barrettes, makeup and nail polish.

 One day, picking him up from school, he refused to take off the "tutu" from the costume station (really, a pink skirt) until I reminded him he had this tutu at home. He relented and removed the school's costume in favor of immediately getting his tutu at home.

He then wore this tutu for days, over his clothes, pajamas, even on a 6 hour car ride to visit his Nani & Pops. He was so proud, spinning around and telling Daddy & Pops he was a ballerina or princess. 

My husband and his father were not the most supportive of these developments, my father-in-law even said to my son he didn't understand what the Midglet was talking about when he was wearing the tutu, and that lit a fire in me. I don't understand why or how it matters that a 2 year old boy shouldn't be allowed to dress up however he chooses. Fortunately the Midglet didn't catch on to the meaning under the words because he was too busy twirling. Later that same evening, my son got all dressed up as a princess when we were spending time with some other friends & their kids. Dress, barrettes, tiara, dress-up heels, jewelry - the works. He was so excited and all the other kids didn't say boo about it. My friends and I thought it was fabulous as he was so happy!

He is a boy - he loves all things "boy" and then some. He wants to help me with my makeup in the morning and loves going through my cases (as a makeup artist I have a lot of products) and there are even times I'll give him some foundation or BB cream or finishing powder to play with because as I see it, what's the harm? 

My husband worries - he doesn't want him to get made fun of or bullied for choosing to go outside the box. My response? He's 2. He spent most of his first 2.5 years surrounded by women and his little BFF is a girl 4 months younger. He doesn't see the stigmas associated with dressing up in "girl" clothes, and why should he?

He loves to run and play and pee in the bushes (a byproduct of potty training during the summer). 
He also loves cooking and "helping" in the kitchen. He loves race cars and pirates and big trucks and monsters. He also loves Tangled and The Little Mermaid. He might live outside if we let him, while getting dirty and learning about nature. 

I'm proud he doesn't have to worry about what other kids or parents think about his choice of play. He loves that tutu, thinks it's the best thing ever one day, then doesn't look at it for another month. If he wants to dress up as a princess, I'll be first in line to help him find the costume he wants. I tell my husband not to worry - "He's just 2," I say. "There's nothing wrong with it," I say. 

I worry, though, too. I worry the Midglet will lose his innocence and one day recognize the message of "boys don't dress up in tutus." I worry he'll come home crying and upset because a less tolerant child (or parent) makes a comment that wrecks his sense of self and independence. I worry that I won't be able to kiss it away and that he'll stuff that tutu in the corner of his closet. I can only hope that my drive to instill in him his individuality and self-protection is enough. That he responds to someone less tolerant with a simple "I like it, and that's what matters." That he encourages that other child, or parent, to think outside the box. That he keeps teaching me what it is to embrace the not-so-obvious needs of a well-rounded parent.

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