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I am feeling silly - straighten my brain out please!!!

(14 Posts)
DoubleLifeIsALifeHalved Wed 05-Dec-12 00:20:22

Am driving my brain round in circles on this. I 'know' the answer but I am not feeling it which is just rubbish of me!!!

Ds aged 2yrs 9 months likes to copy everything I do and he looks upset when he doesn't have his own necklace/ bracelet to put on when I'm putting mine on... Sooo, I have bought him a little wooden necklace & bracelet set to put in his stocking. It's green & yellow beads, some round & some flowers, & a cow at the bottom.

So all good so far right?! Except now I have them I'm worried about giving them to him, not cos of him at all, hate people who won't let boys play with toys they label 'girls' in case it's catching!

And yet... Why am I hesitating? It's seeing other peoples reaction as he innocently plays with them, I worry they'll teach him it's wrong & hurt him. And the voice of ex h exhoing with him saying the one thing i cant do is be the male role model for ds and I'll turn him gay! Now I know that's pathetic, esp the gay bit! But it's left a concern as I can't be everything to ds so it's left me a bit sensitive - silly I know. And I want to give ds the best possible environment & exposure to stuff, & protect him from other peoples stereotypes etc.

I guess my protective irrational streak is vying with my core feminist beliefs. Arrrrgh! Hate self! Unravel my thinking please? And don't loathe me tooo much, I know am being an idiot

LRDtheFeministDude Wed 05-Dec-12 00:49:07

I don't think you are being an idiot. You are worried because you know the sort of thing your ex says (sounds as if there is a reason for him being the ex!). And you are wanting to protect your DS who would be upset if he could understand that he'd be put down for liking something he happens to like.

I don't know the right answer, but didn't want you to go unanswered and didn't want you to feel as if no-one else would get it. I can see why you would feel conflicted.

I guess ... think how happy your DS will be to get a present you know he wants. He's got a mum who knows what he likes and isn't judging him, even if she knows other people might. I am sure whatever you do, he will grow up knowing that.

KRITIQ Wed 05-Dec-12 01:05:20

- You can't "turn a person gay." Think of all the boys brought up to do things associated with a straight male concept of masculinity who are gay adult men? Think of all the girls brought up to do things associated with the straight female concept of femininity who are Lesbian adult women?
- As LRD says, this is evidence if every you needed of why he's your ex! Trying to undermine your confidence in your parenting ability - that you won't be "good enough" without him there - bleurgh!
- You want to protect your child from hurt, and know that other children and adults can be cruel either through ignorance, fear of difference, spite or just because the can. You're worried that "letting" him do what he wants could make him more at risk of bullying.
- You DO know your child, what he likes, what he wants, what will make him happy. You are doing something to show that you genuinely care about him as the small human being he is, not because you are trying to shape him into something that will make YOU feel happy, or that will conform to society's expectation of what a boy/man "must" be to be an acceptable person.

Thing is, even if he is teased or bullied for being a bit different, he's got that supportive, loving, encouraging mother who will be there for him, who accepts him as the person he is, who will help him build resilience, self-worth and self confidence so he'll be able to deal better with the unfair crap that life will throw at him (it gets thrown to some degree at everyone!) than the children who were expected to just follow the social rules without questioning, without thinking, without feeling respect for themselves or for others.

You aren't an idiot. You are a parent who wants to do the best for her child in a wider social context that's actually working hard against that goal - that puts conformity to gender (and other) stereotypes above this. Don't hate yourself. You are doing something that takes alot more wisdom and courage than parents who just "play along" with the limitations and constrictions placed on us from birth onwards. You aren't taking the easy road. You're going against the grain so it's not surprising you've got a bit of the doubts. Don't beat yourself up about that and keep on being the mum who does the right thing, not the easy thing.

Athrawes Wed 05-Dec-12 01:11:17

You sound bloomin' marvelous. Stick at it. My 2 and a half year old has diggers and dollys and a bracelet like Mummy's. All power to you.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Wed 05-Dec-12 08:39:03

DS1 made necklaces and bracelets at nursery at about this age,I think all the boys and girls did. Does your DS go to any kind of pre-school where this might be done?

you are doing the right thing getting the jewellery but I feel your dilemma - I was happy to get DS1 a fairy wand and a pink outdoor toy but wasn't able to bring myself to get him a princess dress for dressing-up, saying it was too expensive. I still feel bad about that though he forgot it within a week.

CuttedUpPear Wed 05-Dec-12 08:43:25

DS chose his own wellies at age 3. They were pink with flowers all over them. I found myself going into rooms before he entered, warning my family not to take the piss out of him. I told them quite clearly that pink doesn't belong to girls, and DS obviously felt the same!

I'm glad I stuck to my guns. I was a bit disappointed when the next pair he had were green.

DoubleLifeIsALifeHalved Wed 12-Dec-12 20:38:22

Sorry for late reply Ds has been poorly & I've been running around after hi

Thanks for all the lovely constructive posts, makes me feel less guilty for worrying. I will give him his necklace & bracelet & bear in mind that it's ok for me to say 'they're not just for girls you know' to anyone who's weird about it. Ds asked for 'something greeb' for Christmas (!) & they are green so he will love them

emcwill74 Fri 14-Dec-12 13:00:49

Had to post as my DS is 7 and loves talking to me about stuff like dresses and jewellery. If I go out of an evening and glam up a bit he loves seeing what I'm wearing before he goes to bed and will often tell me how nice my dress is or my necklace or make up or whatever and tell me how beautiful I look - it's so lovely that he is like this and I know when he says it he totally means it! More and more though I feel sorry for him as if he sees me talking to his sister (9) about girls clothes or jewellery he says he is really sad that boys can't wear dresses or nice hair clips and he'd like to wear pretty things too. I feel so sorry for him and don't want to brush his feelings off with a curt 'boys don't do that' because I don't honestly know myself why boys don't do that! There isn't exactly a rational explanation. So recently when he asked me why boys and men can't wear dresses I just decided to be brutally honest. I told him they can and some men do, but sadly there are people who think they shouldn't and I said that when he is grown up he can choose to wear dresses and if he wants to do that I won't mind at all, but some people can be horrid and will laugh at him, and he will have to decide whether he minds that or not.

I have no idea whether this is all a consequence of having an older sister, whether it is something he will 'grow out of' once peer pressure takes more of a toll, or if it is a part of his hardwired personality that as he grows he will either have to choose to indulge or suppress. I have no idea if it is a completely 'normal' (not that I like that word at all!) part of childhood or if it means that he is likely to be gay. All I know is that he is not a typically macho boy and never has been, but so what?! If he does grow up to be straight he'll be a wonderful partner for any woman, caring, thoughtful and sensitive, and if he grows up to be gay it doesn't bother me at all. All I want is for him to be happy and loved.

OP I'm so pleased you have bought the things you mention for your DS! It sounds like he'll love them! I am certain you have done the right thing!

When you look at how (aristocratic) men used to dress in the Regency period with their wigs and make up and then consider the rise in (albeit subtle) make up for men now (a bit of bronzer here, a dab of guyliner there), and also how women wearing trousers would once have been impossible to imagine, I actually foresee the day at some point in the future when these distinctions between what men and women are 'allowed' by society to wear or adorn themselves with become fewer and fewer.

Oh and - whilst I haven't specifically bought DS a dress or jewellery etc he sometimes dresses up in DD's, and given we have enough of that clobber I don't feel the need to add to it, but nor do I have any problem with his playing with it either.

ohdobuckup Fri 14-Dec-12 20:04:23

My 25 year old step-son, now 6ft 3 and into good clothes and baggy old jeans, loved arm loads of colourful bangles as a little boy. He had dolls, wore turbans and liked a touch of make up when about 7 yrs old.

he went on to play rugby (where almost all the guys now use some sort of 'product'), is a happy heterosexual, and loves mooching around the house in dazzling loose pyjamas while laughing at his dad who still says he will grow up to be gay lol.

GrimmaTheNome Fri 14-Dec-12 20:07:50

we had a sailing holiday this summer...most of the instructors had those stringy bracelets/anklets ... these things are definitely not just for girls/gay chaps.

TheElfOnThePanopticon Fri 14-Dec-12 20:14:55

DS age 3 is currently asleep wearing a pink mighty. and had spent the day wearing pink snowboots. I have a wooden bracelet for his Christmas stocking. He had also been playing at trains, superheroes and wrapping-paper swordfish and wearing a pretend moustache. My experience is that most toddlers, regardless of gender, like stuff that is pink.and sparkly and enjoy dressing up.

Leafmould Mon 17-Dec-12 21:34:22

What a great thread. Well done OP

WidowWadman Mon 17-Dec-12 22:27:13

Bracelets and necklaces aren't that unblokey, are they?


Example, too

DoubleLifeIsALifeHalved Tue 18-Dec-12 00:28:13

smile (preens just a little) I'm going to give it to him tomorrow at a friends mini Christmas thing we do every year... I hope he likes it!

It's totally not 'girly' REALLY, as men wear rings & wrist bands & chains etc, but all the toy necklaces are rather obviously 'for girls', with fairies etc on. Mind you, he likes fairies too...

I'll let you know how he likes it smile

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