I think a little boy's first disappoint is that he's not a little girl.
Once one of the twins asked me when he was going to be a girl and then got very put out when I said he wasn't. I had to break it to him: "Once you're a boy, you stay a boy."
I recall C lamented once that as he was a boy he'd never get to be a Mommy. When I offered that he could be a daddy it seemed like little consolation.
The other day S asked me if pink was a girl color. I said some girls like pink, but girls like lots of other colors too. Then I asked him what his favorite color was and he replied "purple," but I suspect his first choice might have been pink and he was only settling on purple as a more socially acceptable substitute.
Then this morning S had one of my bracelets on and asked me if only girls wore them. I reminded him that his older brother sported at least a half-dozen sailors bracelets. But I know what he really meant. Do boys wear beaded bracelets with colorful flowers on them?
I was helping at the elementary school recently and a first-grade boy said he liked my bracelet (the same one S admired this morning). Then he asked me if I'd like to see his bracelets.
I said I sure would.
Perhaps it's not that little boys want to be little girls so much as they want the trappings that little girls are entitled to.
At church last Sunday the minister talked about Bread and Roses on account of Women's History Month.
Bread and Roses have an historical reference but roughly it means demanding not only the means by which survival is possible (bread) but also demanding a life with some beauty in it (roses).
I was reminded of when Gilbert & Sullivan's Pirates of Penzance sing that all they ask is "life, with just a touch of poetry in it."
It also reminded me of a scene in the play "I Read about my Death in Vogue Magazine" when the actresses come out dressed as men, pick up a handful of women's accouterments and utter phrases like, "I'm burning these -- women's things," and "I'm studying these -- women's things," and "I'm confiscating these -- women's things."
I think what the boys want is what those striking factory workers in Lawrence wanted one hundred and one years ago, not just to be provided for, but for a little art, a little beauty, a little poetry, beaded bracelets with big colorful flowers on them, along with the freedom to enjoy life's roses. Unfortunately it seems to me men are only respected when they stick to the bread side of things.
More from parenting