I have joined a fantastic group of ladies, who are involved in a weekly blog project. Every Thursday, we will dazzle you with our insight on various topics. And each week, we take turns coming up with the idea for the blog topic. Please check out their blogs as well, listed under my Blogroll section. Just click on:
Froggie (Tracey): One frog’s distinct voice on the world around her.
Merry Land Girl (Melissa): Tales of a suburban mom who likes to talk about pop culture, books, Judaism, family, friendship and anything else that comes to mind.
Mom Of Many (Susanna): One Mom’s perspective on life, raising kids, knitting and other unrelated topics.
I had recently read an article regarding parents who had hid their child’s gender for the first 5 years of life:
This prompted me to ask the other ladies in my blog group what their thoughts and feelings were on the subject.
When I found out I was pregnant with my first son, I was elated. Immediately, questions loomed as to his gender. There was something inside me that felt as though he would be a boy. Of course, I had no proof of this other than my gut instinct. There were no qualms finding out for sure at the five month ultrasound. After knowing for sure, I felt I could better relate to my unborn son. I already had his name picked out- Benjamin. I would talk to Ben, call him “baby boy” as I soothingly rubbed my ever growing belly. I felt so close to him, so in love with him.
After he was born, we surrounded him with a vast amount of toys, for various developmental stages. Many were gender neutral. He was swaddled in blue. He was also swaddled in green. Yellow. Red. White. Colors really had no impact on Ben, other than bright, bold colors which would attract his attention.
He started to show a large fascination for construction vehicles. When we were looking at toys in the store, he was drawn to them. This started around the age of one or so. I did not pressure him or force him to play with these toys, it was his preference. His choice.
Around the age of three, my grandmother mailed us a care package of miscellaneous items. A purse with matching wallet was immediately snatched up by Ben. He put it on his shoulder, and walked around with it. He would even bring the purse to restaurants or to run errands. We called it his satchel, and everywhere Ben went, the satchel was soon to follow. I wasn’t concerned or worried, or felt ashamed or nervous at the prospect of what others would think or say. And no one said anything, or gave us funny looks.
My son no longer wants the satchel. In fact, he’s also given up his love of construction vehicles. He’s outgrown it. He’s always enjoyed bugs, and lizards. Snakes. That interest is still there. He is really into Legos now, and also plays computer games. I’m guessing there are a lot of little girls out there who also enjoy these things.
Children are different. Each and every one. My toddler, Nolan, is more a nurturer, and loves cuddling with stuffed animals. I had also exposed Ben to teddy bears, and yet he just never caught on at that age, yet sleeps with them now. I am assuming like adults, they will go through phases and interests. Pick up new ones, and drop a few.
I think it’s very hard to attempt to hide a child’s identity. I also feel this may cause issues when it comes to socialization. What if this child Sasha was asked point blank by an innocent friend, “Are you a boy or a girl?” Sasha wouldn’t even be able to answer that. He had no clue as to who he was, boy or girl. That doesn’t even involve pidgeonholing what he’d enjoy or not enjoy based on gender; it’s taking away a large part of who he is as a person.
I’m imagining how bath time must have been for this child. My boys were and are very curious about their own body parts, which is healthy, and completely normal. What was the answer, when he asked what “this” is, and pointed to his privates? Were they honest? Did they not respond? Was there some sort of code name for it?
Children also mimic a lot of what they see in life. I always felt that Ben’s fascination with his satchel was due to him seeing me carrying a purse so often. He wanted to copy Mommy. There’s nothing wrong with this behavior. Or if he wanted to play with Barbies. Or if a little girl wants to play with toy cars.
Most of us respect our children’s rights to engage in whatever activities they’d like, as long as it’s safe, and we feel it’s appropriate based on their age. Does the gender of the child really matter?