ControverSunday: It’s a Boy!

by Ginger on April 18, 2010

in Mom Thoughts

It’s ControverSunday time, once again! This week, we’re discussing gender in all it’s glory–if you want to play along, just write something up, grab the badge from Accidents’ and then head over to Perpetua’s place to get linked up.

So, gender. I’m going to leave the academic discussions of gender norms, feminism, and the like to some of the other ControverSunday participants (seeing as how some of them are actual academics and all, they’re more suited to those discussions than I am). I can’t seem to get my thoughts together though, so I’m just going to give you snippets of what’s in my brain. Maybe we can expand on anything you find interesting in the comments.

  • I loathe how extreme the gendered clothing for babies seem to be. The girls section always looks like a pepto bismol bottle exploded everywhere, or it’s all princess based.  The boys section is full of cars, trains and sports. I’d rather use the gender neutral stuff half the time, but the colors are always so washed out. Apparently only pale yellow and pale green are gender neutral.
  • I think there are some definite natural differences between boys and girls. I see my 7 month old being more physical and more rowdy than girls I’ve seen his age. With no exposure to toy cars or trains, he got his hands on a train the other day that is just blowing.his.mind. everytime he sees it. I don’t know where that comes from, but it is interesting to see.
  • I was terrified about having a boy, because I wasn’t sure I’d know how to be a mom to a boy. Sometimes I still wonder, but more and more I think the bigger question isn’t just about how to parent the opposite sex as much as it is how to parent your individual child. Yes, I don’t know a lot of little boy stuff (I wasn’t around a lot of boys growing up), but more important is how will I react to Jackson.
  • My husband isn’t a sports/cars/macho man’s man, and I often wonder how that will affect Jackson growing up. We joke all the time that we’ll end up with a jock kid, because that’s probably the furthest from our own knowledge base, but I do wonder if that lack of overtly “male” hobbies and likes in his world will create a less or more “guy’s guy” kid. Will he rebel against his liberal arts parents?
  • We often talk about what will we do if Jackson wants to play with dolls when he’s older or wear pink or the like. I want to say that we’ll let him do what he wants, but I think there’s (unfortunately) a line between letting your kid be the spirit he wants to be and protecting them from our society. I wish that wasn’t true, but kids can be cruel and if we can help Jackson avoid some of that cruelty, I can’t help but feel an obligation to do that. Maybe it’s a matter of things you do at home and things you do in public?
  • In almost direct opposition to the bullet above, I hope that we’re able to create a home where Jackson can experience whatever he wants–be they “girl” or “boy” things–and know that he can be whoever he IS with us. I want him to feel comfortable in his own skin and I hope we can facilitate that ease as he grows up.

Now go check out more of the participants of ControverSunday–they’re all smarter than me, and have put together much more coherent posts than I have!

Our Lady of Perpetual Breadcrumbs

Altered Sky

amoment2think

Mommy-in-Chief

Partial Disclosures

The Disgruntled Academic

The Mothering Life

Just So Long and Long Enough

badges

carrie meadows April 19, 2010 at 6:04 am

I love having a boy- even though I am a girl (barely), all the little girly stuff really bugs me, with so much pink and glitter. Ridiculous.

Ginger April 19, 2010 at 7:19 pm

Yeah, I’ve never been a big fan of the pink and glitter. Or princess stuff. Blech. (But purple? That’s a color I can get behind!)

carrie meadows April 19, 2010 at 7:35 pm

I totally dress Hayden in purple.

Megan April 19, 2010 at 9:36 am

I worried about having a boy for all the reasons you mentioned, and I was thrilled when I had a girl.

But, I’m realizing that I’m just as excited about taking Charlotte hiking and camping as I am about getting pedicures together. So, I think I could find lots of common ground with a boy over stuff like that, stuff that has nothing to do with gender.

And I could fake my way through the cars and truck stuff if I were to get the momma’s boy I want so badly. LOL

Ginger April 19, 2010 at 7:22 pm

That’s the thing I’ve realized is that so much of what I was excited about thinking of a girl, I can do with a boy–lots of the books I want to read, lots of experiences I want to share. While there are gender specific things (somehow I’m thinking Little Women probably won’t be as big a hit with Jackson as a hypothetical girl) I’ll miss, lots of stuff to do is very gender neutral.

Nilsa @ SoMi Speaks April 19, 2010 at 9:43 am

I remember a particular trip to visit with friends in North Carolina. One friend had a boy and all he wanted to do was jump on and off of the furniture. The other friend had a girl and the first thing she did was become enamored with my sparkly necklace. It was at that point, I was convinced boys and girls are wired differently.

Ginger April 19, 2010 at 7:24 pm

Yeah, when you see them side by side at the same age, you can get a real sense of the hard-wired differences. Lots of moms will tell you about boys who make car noises or gun shapes without ever being exposed to those, or girls who are all into princesses and pink without parental influence. Some of it is just part of the difference between boys and girls.

Kathleen (amoment2think) April 19, 2010 at 5:25 pm

I am so with you on the baby clothing. I am happy now that A is in toddler clothing (a little more variety over the pink, pink and more pink)….. because the baby girl clothing drove me nuts. Although, right or wrong, I was just wondering in my head if they do that because so many really young babies you can’t tell if they are a boy or a girl, so maybe some parents prefer ‘gendered’ clothing so that they don’t get someone saying “Oh what a cute little boy” to their girl. I don’t think that would bother me, but it probably does bother some parents. That never happened to me because my girl had a full head of hair and looked very ‘girl’ from day one.

Anyway, I still would vote for them to mix it up a bit on the clothing front. If I have a boy at some point I am sure my quest for non-pink will shift to a quest for non-truck, as it seems every baby boy shirt has a truck on it.

Ginger April 19, 2010 at 7:25 pm

You’re probably right that that plays into it. But you know what’s funny about that? I know people who have a girl in pure pink, princess, glittery stuff and still get “oh what a cute boy” (and vice versa). People just don’t pay attention.

Partial April 19, 2010 at 7:46 pm

Bringing up the possibility of having some kind of “macho guy guy” as a kid is terrifying to me. I fear that I’d go the other way and try to feminize him too much, because I’m just not that comfortable with that level of overt dudeness….good to think about though. If I’m okay with my little boy wanting to be a princess, I should be okay with him wanting to play football.

Ginger April 21, 2010 at 8:15 pm

Honestly, I’d be ok with sports, just WAY out of my depth. The husband and I were both band geeks, he’s an artist, I’m into books. Sports are not really our thing. However football? I’m not sure I can handle football–not because of the macho thing, but because of the head injury thing. But that’s another topic for another day I guess.

Perpetua April 20, 2010 at 9:28 am

I have the exact same concern: that E is going to be a macho guy in rebellion against all that his parents represent. Wizard is DEFINITELY not a guy’s guy, if there even is such a thing. So either E is going to like his dad and identify with that, or…not. Or both. 🙂

Accidents April 22, 2010 at 11:18 am

I think having a boy who has shown this “rowdiness” (and when paired with the girl at his childcare the differences really pop) has made me consider, more, a mixed nature/nurture approach to gender, for sure. By all observations, Hank’s behavior is boy-boy-boy, and not subtly so. Of course, my post still tries to wrestle back some of the argument for social construction, if only to hope that while we acknowledge the possibility of the “hard wired” that a boy that isn’t rowdy, for instance, isn’t any less “normal” of a boy.

Nicoleandmaggie September 26, 2011 at 3:33 am

Girls love trains too, until they’re socialized not to. The fact of the matter is that boy toys are more fun than girl toys.

Also: boys can cuddle stuffed animals just like dolls until they’re socialized not to.

My son behaves, is not rowdy, and reminds me of me at his age. Yet still, when he was tiny he would get the “he’s all boy” comment at daycare even as he was being beaten up by Annabelle, who was 3 months younger and much more “boy” like. People see what they want to see and then encourage or discourage that behavior.

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