People seem generally very conscious of how they speak to girls. I’ve read articles that encourage asking them about their interests rather than stating how pretty they are. Also of course it’s common knowledge that girls can wear anything they want, do anything they want, dream anything they want.
I couldn’t agree more.
On the other side of this coin are boys. I happen to have two of them. One of them has long hair, likes to wear leggings and occasionally asks to have his nails painted. He also likes to pretend he’s Superman, and he gives the sweetest hugs and offers the most sincere declarations of his love for his mama. Also, he is never still, is obsessed with sports, and is mistaken for a girl 80% of the time.
My other son is sensitive, smart, and gentle. He likes to draw. All of his friends are girls. Just over the last two weeks he’s made a new friend in school, an adorable girl with dark curly hair, and they exchange letters and hugs all the time. One day Julian touched her cheek on the subway and said, “I need you.” When they say good-bye every day at our subway stop, these two hug and she says, “I will miss you.” This is not a joke. They are five.
This boy has decided he wants to be Wonder Woman for Halloween. Because, obviously, Wonder Woman is the coolest. So we bought our kid a Wonder Woman costume. He wants to wear it every day, alongside his Superman brother. Together they are unbeatable, just like in real life.
The other night my husband sat next to me on the couch and said, “Will he get teased in school?” I immediately said, “No! Never!”
Of course I have no idea if that’s true.
All the kids in his class and school are adorable. They seem like good kids, and they come from good people. Many of them are creative artist types. But of course it’s totally possible that one of them will say, “Wonder Woman?! That’s for girls!”
The last thing I want is for anyone to ever make my boys feel as if there is something they can’t do. I don’t want them to ever feel small because their hair is long or their nails are red or because of the clothes they wear.
But I guess it is inevitable. Not everyone sees things the way we do, and that’s a lesson they will learn and that will shape them. And that’s fine. What matters is that they know they can be whoever they want to be and do whatever they want to do as long as they are doing what makes them happy and as long as they are being the best people they can be. They will always have two fans on the sidelines who love them with all their hearts, no matter what.
For about a week now, ever since we purchased the boys’ Halloween costumes, they have been dressing up. On Sunday, Wonder Woman and Superman hit the street festival Atlantic Antic. They both got many thumbs up and lots of smiles. There was the occasional “Hey! It’s Donut Man!” because Julian also chose to wear his donut t-shirt as well as “Hey Super Girl!” because of Arthur’s long hair – but no one gave them a second glance.
Those are the days I am so thankful we live in New York City, a place where Superman and Wonder Woman are accepted no matter what’s underneath their capes.