Having two boys and then a girl gives you a unique perspective on gender and raising kids. My big, healthy, vibrant, deep voiced little girl is a force. She doesn’t back down, is stubborn to complete break down, and leaps into everything with no fear. She literally has NO fear and that in itself is scary, but I try to celebrate it where I can. And there is something so refreshing about a girl just being free and fearless, isn't there?
I’m not into pink, which seems to bother other people more than it bothers me. I never intended to have a pink, bedazzled, tutu-ed little girl. A wears some of the boys’s clothes mixed with some new things and hand-me-downs from friends with girls. She gets excited about dresses, but is equally happy to wear a super hero t-shirt and I don't get any excitement from dressing her up like a doll... So, it's a win for all of us.
I encourage her to play with her brothers, whether it be cars or trains or super heroes. I love hearing her yell “Darth Vader!” while keeping up with the boys during light saber fights. Every now and then she’ll pick up a doll, proclaim it to be her “baby,” give it a hug, and then swiftly throw it to the ground and I see a bit of what could be pre-programmed gender moves coming out.
Will I encourage her to do "girl" things? Yes, in a way. I loved dance lessons, so will want her to give it a try. I equally loved soccer and swimming, so those will be encouraged as well. For me, there is safety in a girl who is taught she is strong and capable. It can't just be when they're little and don't know any better.
There is this idea that little girls explode from their baby chub as a fawn-like ballerina… graceful and quiet and sweet. That’s just not my girl. Nor would I want it to be.
This post was inspired by The Underground Girls of Kabul by journalist Jenny Nordberg, who discovers a secret Afghani practice where girls are dressed and raised as boys. Join From Left to Write on September 16th as we discuss The Underground Girls of Kabul. As a member, I received a copy of the book for review purposes.