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The world according to my 8 year-old…

January 21, 2011

“I finally have made Lu a real man.”

This is what Chi told me as we were walking to the pool yesterday.

Under any other circumstances I would have been totally  freaked out, but since it came from my daughter I was just confused.

I said: “What?”

“Okay, I didn’t exactly make him a real MAN, I made him a real BOY.”

I was still dumbstruck by the whole conversation, so I replied (not so calmly) “What are you talking about? Why would you say that? What could that possibly mean?” She started to stutter and so on and I realized that once again I had gone a little too far so I backtracked. I started the whole conversation again by saying:

“What exactly do you mean when you say you made Lu a boy?”

“Well, I got him to play soccer today.”

“Umm..”

“Yeah, he used to only play with my toys…” “

“Umm hmm… what’s wrong with that?”

“Well, they are girls’ toys.”

“Okay, so since he plays with girls’ toys, he is not a REAL boy?”

“Well, yeah sort of…”

So then I started to try and salvage some of the conversation and make it more of a “teaching moment”. I told Chi that Lu plays with her toys because he wants to play with her. He loves her and will do almost anything to be with her. That includes emasculating himself in her eyes apparently.

I find it profoundly sad that gender lines and roles are so omnipresent and in-grained. It means I hear that our girl should not play soccer. Ever. Period. And it also means that our sweet little boy is somehow missing something because he spent the past two weeks playing Polly with his sister (and idol, I might add.) However, as much as I find the definitions of gender limiting and démodé, I revel in the fact that my daughter is fierce and that my boy is lovely – that will put them in good stead.

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