Joshua and I spend the morning drive to school talking. About anything and everything. Usually Sonic the Hedgehog or Toy Story. This morning’s conversation made my heart sink a little.
“Mama, what song is this?”
“This is the fairy godmother song from Cinderella.”
“Mama, do you like Cinderella?”
“I like Lightning McQueen. Mama, you can like Cinderella and I can like Lightning McQueen.”
“You can like Cinderella and I can like Lightning McQueen, sweetie.”
“Cinderella is for girls, Mama.“
My boy in the pink hat flashed across my brain and I felt myself tense up a little. I knew this would happen sooner or later. I knew it and I sort of hoped against it.
I knew the day was coming when Joshua would start to associate some things as boy and other things as girl. That the day when his peers held more sway over his likes and dislikes than I did would happen.
To be honest, I’m a little sad about it. Not because I want him to like “girl” things. But because I want him to know that I don’t care if he likes girl things.
I want him to know that it’s okay to love what he loves.
I tried to tell him this morning that it was okay if girls liked Lightning McQueen and boys liked Cinderella. Movies are for everybody. We can all like whatever movies we want to like.
We all love what we love and like what we like and that’s okay.
He said “Cinderella is a princess, Mama.” And I let it drop and kept on driving.
What I wanted to say was that it will never matter to me what toy he wants to play with, whether that’s Barbies or baseballs. It will never matter to me if Emma wants to race cars or rock baby dolls.
I will never care because they are my children and what I want for them above all else is happiness as they’ve defined it for themselves and not as it has been defined for them.
I wanted to shout that it shouldn’t matter to the rest of the world either. Because it shouldn’t. Why do people care so much what toys kids choose to play with?
Boys get trucks and girls get tiaras. Bah. That’s dumb.
Toys are toys. Games are games. Kids are kids.
We don’t have to define the world for our preschoolers in terms of gender-specific everything.
Why is it okay for our girls to like blue? What if our boys LIKE pink? If we tell them pink is for girls and they can’t like it because they’re not girls, what message are we sending to our boys? For that matter, what kind of message are we sending to and about our girls?
Why can’t we just let kids love what they love? That should be enough.