I read an excellent post recently which I featured on my weekly round up a few weeks back. It was so on my wavelength that I've thought about the topic a lot since reading it. The author wrote about how she was running in to constant critism about allowing her son to have long hair, and people using this as a reason to say she would 'make him gay'.
As the mother to a very happy 19 month old little boy, this is an arguement I am already used to having and something that makes me see red frequently. Joshua has very thin hair, in fact it wasn't until he got to about 15 months that he lost that new baby look with regards to his bald looking head (he wasn't actually bald, just had very thin hair. OK and he didn't really have a lot of hair, but he wasn't bald!) and so since then as it's been growing and getting thicker I want to cherish it. My son now looks like a little boy with lovely fine blonde hair and it's quite whispy in places, around his ears it even curls. We have been asked when we will be cutting his hair a lot in the past few months. The whole smirking "isn't it time he had a hair cut" thing is wearing very thin. Both me and his Daddy want him to grow his hair, he will look beautiful with it all loosely curling at the bottom and as the original article stated; it's not long before he will be choosing how his own hair is cut but until then the choice is mine and I like it like this. Luckily so does his Daddy. Although we haven't directly had any remarks about the length of his hair making him gay, there have been other things.
|Joshua's hair as it's beginning to curl|
My son is like any other toddler, he runs wild, he likes to be free to go where he wants (in the house, obviously I don't let my not even two year old roam the streets!) and likes his newly found sense of freedom (which only amounts to choosing if he eats his food or what he plays with, but it's freedom to him which is what counts!). Part of his innocence and freedom means that he plays with dolls. Well one doll to be exact. Although it's a freaky looking thing, and would frighten even the hardest of 'Chucky' fans, he has enjoyed playing with this doll and it's not something I am adverse to. Going to the whole extreme of gender neutralisation is not what I am going for, thats not for me or my son. I know many blogging parents do this and I'm not critisising or judging, but it's just not for us. But I don't restrict things like toys etc as I don't think it makes a difference and even if he is five and playing with dolls, who cares. If he's happy so am I. So he's played with the doll, and really enjoyed it. Then we went to a play centre recently and I couldn't get the bright red and yellow dolly pram out of his hands the whole time we were there. Although he seemed to find it more fun ramming it in to my legs, he still liked putting the dolly in and pushing her around, all be it frantically. Again, it made him happy so there was nothing wrong with it.
At home he loves nothing better than to dig out old handbags of mine and walk around with them on his shoulder. He fills them up with his worldy posessions-building blocks, juice and happyland people and he wonders from room to room emptying the bag and re-filling it before putting it safely back on his shoulder. This to me is something he sees me do very regularly and he is only mimicking what mummy does.
But the icing on the cake is my sparkly head band. It's something I was bought years ago as a stocking filler when hair bands (a,k,a alice bands) were supposedly making a come back (I like to think I can pull them off you know) and it hurt my ears so I never wore it. Somehow Josh managed to dig it out of my drawer and loves nothing better than to put it on his head and walk around and then pull it down and wear it around his neck like a sparkly necklace.
|Joshua's favourite thing-his sparkly hairband!|
My in-laws have great issues with this which in turn has meant my partner now finds it difficult to see Joshua like this. He's very quick to tell me to take it off him and it goes to the extent that when my father in law has been here, he hides Joshua's 'handbag' from him so he can't play with it. It's not something I am happy with at all. I am his mother and if I say it's ok for him to play with those things then I don't expect anyone to take this in to their own hands. The only person I will even accept discussing it with is my partner, and even then I tend to disregard it because I know a little more on this whole 'you'll make him gay' thing than he does.
Although I have read many reports about homsexuality being something a person is born with (which is what I believe) rather than something they develop in to, I don't believe that at this young stage a child who will be gay will be showing any different signs to point to this. I think at this stage they are simply too young to exert any differnece regardless of sexuality! He's not even two for goodness sake!
|Mummy and Joshi|
My father in law has never actually said the words "You'll make him Gay" but it is implied with the whole hiding the handbag and removing the hairband and putting it out of Joshua's reach. Nothing makes me more cross at the moment than this. Joshua enjoys cars and footballs as much as he likes handbags and glittery hairbands, and if his choice is to combine the two then I dare the next person to try and change this for they will recieve the full fury of my wrath! At this stage in development being able to choose is really the whole point in learning about who they are, and if he likes these things now it's because he has decided he likes them and who am I to try and change something my son has decided he likes? Or anyone else for that matter. It's one of his earliest and first decesions, because he's so young all his decesions up until recently have been made for him by me and his Daddy. These handbag and hairband decesions are decesions he is making himself and I couldn't be more proud of them and won't stand for anyone trying to change my innocent childs first independant choices.
My father in law combines his removal of Joshua's more feminine play things with being too rough with my son. Don't misunderstand me, I actually love my father in law dearly. But he is far too rough with my son and tries to encourage us to be just as rough with him. He says thats what and how boys are. Fair enough, but it's not how this boy is or will be played with. I won't stand for him removing the sparkly hair band and replacing it with too much rough playing just in order to make Joshua fall more in line with a boy stereotype. He already is a boy, playing rough games isn't going to make him more of a boy is it?! I frequently have to give my partner the evil eye to tell him to calm his own father down when he gets like this, but trust me it takes all my energy to keep my mouth shut!
At this age and stage I really don't believe that children can be 'made to be gay' not just because I believe that it's something you are either born as or not, but because it's also something I think that childhood innocence removes the worrying elements from. To my beautiful son, a sparkly headband is as fun and just as innocent to play with as Buzz Lightyear or his toy cars and vice versa for girls too. There is nothing inside him luring him towards the feminine toys over the boys toys, it's just at this precise stage he likes them both. There is no lurking meaning behind it.
So I don't think anything I do at this stage is going to make my son gay and I don't like people trying to change something which doesn't need changing. Most importantly when it comes to my son, I'm the boss and regardless of their opinions I am in change and will decide 'what goes' because in such a short time Joshua will be choosing everything for himself and I will be but a bystander to his beautiful life of decesions, there only to provide guidance. I guess you could say I'm just getting practice in now with this whole subject!
Until the days when he makes all his own decesions (and I'm sure some pretty bad ones will be made in his teens!) and doesn't need my acceptance or guidance, I will happily allow him the carefree, safe environment to make his own choices, regardless of what they are.
Love Chloe xx
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