People say to my son often, “What a cute little girl!” When I tell them he is a boy, the response has more than once been, “Oh. It’s a shame to waste that beautiful, curly hair on a boy.” Really? I was walking near where I live the other day and a woman in her seventies said that in front of him, like he doesn’t have ears.
It is a curious thing, raising a child. People are so ingrained in their ideas of who a child should be. Boy is ____. Girl is ______. My son’s hair is down to his shoulders if not a little longer. The deal I have with him is that he has to keep his hair out of his eyes. Baseball hat. Hairclip. Headband. The choice is his, but he has to choose one. I know that when I put a clip in my son’s hair that this invites confusion. I really don’t care. I have told M that we can cut his hair when he is ready. He is quite attached, so we have decided to give him that choice.
I am curious to see how M is effected by other people’s comments as he gets older. I wonder if there will be a time when he decides to cut his hair to look like the other boys or if he will be like a twelve-year old boy we know who wears his hair in two braids that hang down to his waist. Will he be offended to be called a girl? Will we be able to convince him that being called a girl isn’t a bad thing?