We’ve been hitting the pool at my folks house pretty hard. The first couple of days we were down here were tough. T had been fantastic during week one of our trip, but that week was incredibly actioned packed. We quickly learned we needed to tire the hell out of him so he doesn’t act out because he is bored.
In the past he’s been a bit freaked out by the pool, but this trip has been different. He begs to get in even though it isn’t really quite warm enough. But the hot tub has a kid setting of 94 degrees so when C naps we’ve been suiting up and jumping in. Keeping him busy has been working.
Part of the deal is he gets his hair washed days we are in the pool and little man hates to get his hair washed-usually we do it every three days or so. The water down here is super hard and the chlorine isn’t helping anything so little man’s luscious locks are full of snarls. My Mom smartly suggested we get some detangler and I found a natural one at the grocery store yesterday. It makes a fantastic difference.
I love my little man’s hair. I want my little man’s hair. It’s long and curly, Z and I have kept it long because it rocks so hard. People mistake him for a girl all the time, which doesn’t really bother me. I get it. Long hair=girl to most folks. So I gently correct them and hope that T doesn’t notice.
Today my dad took him for his first trip to the driving range to learn how to swing a golf club-another activity to tucker him out. And during the little excursion three people referred to T as “she”. Tonight as I was working the comb through the knots after his bath T said, “My hair makes me look like a girl.” My throat started burning and I had to blink past tears. I told him I didn’t think he looks like a girl, that long hair didn’t mean girl or boy. But I said if he wanted to get his hair cut that it was his choice and we could go do it. He said he did want it cut and I asked how short he wanted it. He pointed to about two inches past his shoulder. “But Baby,” I said, “You hair isn’t even that long now!”
If he wants his hair cut because he is bored with it I’d be sad, but it is his hair and I’d support him. If he just wants it cut because he thinks he looks like a girl it will break my heart. Don’t get me wrong, if he really wants it cut I will make sure it happens no matter the reason. But dude isn’t even 4. I don’t want him to think he needs to act a certain way because he is a boy. I want him to do whatever feels right for him.
Who knows what he’ll think or want tomorrow. The bottom line is I can’t protect him from-oh, the list in endless. From society’s idea of gender roles, from the casual mistakes of others that hurt even though that wasn’t the intent, from expectations others will place upon him, from everything that will make him fear just being himself. We can support him and encourage him to be himself. But we aren’t parenting in a vacuum and it sort of scares the shit out of me.
Dude can now doggie-paddle to the side of the pool if he is wearing his water wings.
His beautiful curls.
C loving Grandpa’s boat.
A rare moment of the boys not trying to beat the crap out of each other.