Family / Kids

“I’m a big boy. And also a little girl.”

That’s what my daughter said to me last night as she sat on the toilet in the men’s room.

(Not for any subversive reason; only because the ladies’ room was occupied, and when a 2 year old has to pee…)

It’s not the first time she’s said something like that. “When I’m a big boy, I’ll pee standing up” is a common refrain in our house. Or “I’m a little girl now, but soon I’ll be a big boy.”

I’ve been walking a fine line in my responses. On the one hand, there is a need to teach her that she was born with female genitalia, and so, as far as how society labels her right now, she’s a girl.

But I hate that. And at the same time, I cling to it.

(Insert side note where I talk about how I never thought I’d be saying anything like this when it comes to parenting. Also that, yes, we discuss the biological differences between males and females, but that’s not what I’m talking about here.)

But I am saying this. Because on the one hand, yes, I wonder if not being firm in my own stance is confusing to her. But on the other hand, life is fucking complicated. And she does need to know that, at least in simple ways a 2 year old can understand.

On the one hand, I want her to know she’s a girl, and take pride in that. On the other, I don’t want her to ever feel like I’m fitting her into a cookie cutter stereotype that the world is presenting her with.

On the one hand, I want her to enjoy her dolls and her dressers, and her pink, sparkly things. On the other hand, I love that she loves trains and trucks and wearing sweatpants and tshirts, and want to encourage that.

And then on the one hand, I worry that, having two moms, she’ll already be more likely to fall under scrutiny in re anything that makes her less-than-feminine. And on the other hand, well. Fuck that.

And on the both hands, I want her to be able to play with anything she wants to play with. I want to run through the toy aisles that are labeled to the world with blue shelves and pink shelves and set fire to them. I want her to know that it’s okay to like “girl” things and “boy” things, and still be a girl.

And I want her to know that it’s okay to look like a girl and feel like a boy.

And then I start spinning in circles until I’m back where I started, not knowing what to say at all. So instead I smile, and I nod, and I say yes.

And if, somewhere down the line, she decides that, in fact, she does want to grow up to be a big boy, then I’ll have a funny story to tell.

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  1. I love honest parenting. I love that you are able to share so truthfully and vulnerably your thoughts on such a huge topic. THANK YOU.
    Your child is perfect and what ever this child choses to be will be perfect. I am amazed at your ability to be so open with that AND honest about the confusion it holds. We never want any pain for our kids and we have already opened them up to be “different”. My children were raised by me as a single mom until we met their other mom. They were teens and almost teens. Trust me, there was a lot of fun days and still is daily. BUT I am proud of the strength and acceptance kids of gay parents have.
    You are an amazing mother and i look forward to following your blog!

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