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September 2011

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DoctorMama

"As far as I can tell, no other child whose parents write on the interweb has gender issues. And parents simply aren't interested in gender."

huh?

ozma

Oh, duh! DOUBLE DUH. I forgot about you.

[Hanging head in shame.]

Context: I tried in various venues to get a conversation going. I want to know how parents of 'gender outlaw' children are handling things and the obstacles they are running into. It just sort of fell flat a few times. That's basically what I was referring to. Doh. Sorry.

My new issue is that all the public schools are horrible and the only school that we can afford is a Catholic School. And I was like 'well, OK, I went to Catholic school.' And then realized: SHIT MY KID IS A GENDER OUTLAW. I mean, if they were not that cool about it in public school what are they going to do in Catholic school? It's so depressing because there is no way to deal with Catholicism these days and not run up against homophobia of one kind or another. I try anyway, but...Damn. I don't want my kid to be ashamed and confused.

Also, I think I have her convinced that from time immemorial men can marry men and women can marry women. She has no idea this is a recent development or some disapprove of this. I guess, in the back of my mind, I wonder if she is a lesbian kid--but then I realized this might be wishful thinking. Who wouldn't want their daughter to spend high school dating other girls? Seriously, what a relief *that* would be.

Anyway, that was the issue that I thought I could not get parents to relate to.

It is interesting because you are making me realize that there is this genre of parenting writing that is highly particular--you fall into that. Then there is the general parenting writing. Not like I know your kid, but I feel like I have this sense of your kid as a unique individual. How does one do that? My kid is a fairly fascinating person but I cannot quite convey her in all her fabulous eccentricity.

magpie

Everyone is always one step behind their child/children. And vice versa. It's a little dance we do daily.

What do you mean by gender issues?

ozma

Well, I explain certain ones above. I think gender roles stymie her. Not all teachers seem to understand this and some actively disapprove. I do, because I was very similar as a child.

It is very annoying how little latitude there still is for children in how they experience gender. It's the 00s--boys should get to wear dresses to school, girls should get to wear spider man shoes and it should be no big deal...why is it still?

If only we lived in San Francisco. But there are so many reasons I want to live in San Francisco.

DoctorMama

I actually meant more that I feel like I've read other stories of gender issues on mommy blogs, though I can't think of any right off hand. But I do get a lot of comments from readers who are VERY interested in the gender thing.

I feel for you on the Catholic school thing. I know we are very, very lucky, given the kid we got, to be able to afford a groovy school. But I know quite a few broke liberal parents who are going with Catholic school; so you might get surprised. (But you might be living in Des Moines or something and then you're SOL, I suppose.)

I do think that kids are 1) going to be ashamed and confused at certain junctures no matter what (e.g., at dropoff the other day, my son suddenly got embarrassed about his nail polish -- broke my heart -- yet today he dressed in tie-dye tights and infant-sized shorts with no qualms); 2) kids absorb their parents' views way more than those at school (e.g., your daughter will believe that gay marriage is fine because you said so, even if others don't -- might have some strange conversations, but whatever); 3) it is waaaay more acceptable to be a "tomboy" than a fairy in conservative circles, so you've got that going for you; and 4) your kid sounds like she is very comfortable in her own skin, and will overall likely remain so despite any teasing. You've said she's less thin-skinned than you were, yes? I know that I found it hilarious when people mistook me for a boy when I was a child, and I wore whatever the hell I thought looked good.

(And you are so right: How awesome would a lesbian daughter be?)

slouchy

Your daughter sounds way cool.

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