Twirl and Firecracker
I am nosey. I love the news, I love to know stories, other people's stories. I love to think about how life will turn out, for myself and my husband and for our kids. Maybe this is one of the reasons why I am in a constant struggle to not put my kids in a box. For the record I hate the phrase that has anything to do with a box, putting in a box, think outside the box, that SNL skit, but it's the best I have to offer at this point.
Twirl got his name because he twirls all the time. I don't mean I see this once a week, I mean down the hall, across the room, to music, without music, on the way to sit down to dinner, all the time. He loves dance. He loves to wear ballet tights. He loves to dress in play clothes. He loves to look nice for school, some days preferring a button up and bow tie to a sweater. He sucks in his cheeks. He will point with his wrist bent and other hand on his hip while having a sassy, borderline parental tone to his siblings. He loves to talk about being a fashion designer and his future career in fashion. He loves to pose with a foot turned out for photos. He loves to comment on clothes when he approves. I look at so many of the things he does and in my head think he will be a stereotypical gay man.
I box him in and I do it constantly. I over think and over analyze and thankfully I do it in my head otherwise this kid of mine would likely hate me. I don't do this as much to my other kids. My over analyzing brain, and of course of I have already thought about this a lot, led me to the conclusion that it is because he is a gender bender. Don't worry folks, it didn't take that long to come to the conclusion.
I have been thinking about this a lot after I went to a group of parents of other gender benders. It turns out Twirl was the only gender bender and the other kids were transgender. This group of parents were insanely amazing, and their stories were so heartfelt and just life, just living. They didn't feel like our story. But there I went, putting him in a box that this was not him, not us.
I have spoke and written about how wonderful it would be if kids could just be. It is something I feel very strongly about but also something I struggle with myself.
You see, as open as I am in my parenting, I have many faults. I tense up when Tornado dives headfirst into a chair knocking it and him over, making that exact noise you are thinking about right now. I lose my patience when Firecracker asks the same question, "am I skipping my nap tomorrow?" for the fifth time everyday. I say answer the kids in an annoyed "what?" too many times. I also over think and worry too much.
This is one reason I have stayed away from too many books on gender. Twirl doesn't have an issue, Cory doesn't, Firecracker and Tornado sure don't so why should I? Why do I feel the pressure to constantly put this kid into some group? Some of it is natural, we do this though life. I often refer to Tornado as the stereotypical boy, he runs, he is loud, he loves to climb, not a care in the world. I box him in too, but it's more from a place of wanting to describe him briefly and not in my head limiting him to those things. I think that is ok. I don't stop him when he picks up a necklace to put on or walks around in Twirl's pink slippers. These aren't often, he stays more within the stereotypical gender norm for boys.
I want my kids to know that I love and celebrate who they are no matter what. What I need to work on is that who they are doesn't have to fit into some known category. There are plenty of gay men who did not like girl things at all. Take Amelia's son, who seems very stereotypical boy but identifies himself as gay. Who is to say whether all or none of my kids are gay, transgender etc. Apparently me, if I don't stop categorizing everything. Now off to organize that sock drawer.