Thursday, June 23, 2011

Spoons, Snakes & Hair Wars

1. Spring 2011 (4 1/2 years old)

Topic: Vapidity

Simone: Hey Alexey, why are girls always pictured showing off clothes and make up?

Alexey looks at the ad and says: Girls typically wear skirts, not jeans.

Simone: No, girls can wear anything. Do you see me wearing a skirt ever? Huh?

Alexey (smiling): No

Simone: I wish boys and men could wear skirts and dresses but other people make it hard for them to do so. Now, why is that? It shouldn’t matter.

Alexey: I don’t know

Simone: Neither do I. That’s why gender is silly.

Alexey: Silly gender.

2. April 19, 2011

Topic: Spoon and Snake

Alexey, when eating with his superhero spoon (superhero gender-neutral body with a spoon for a head), said: I think it’s a boy spoon

Simone: How do you know it’s a boy spoon?

Alexey: Because I see that it’s a boy

Simone: It’s a spoon, child, not a boy. It can be anything, a girl, a unicorn, a trans person but first and foremost it’s a spoon.

Alexey, looking over to our snake Doyle: Is Doyle a boy or a girl?

Simone: Well, they said it’s a male snake but I’m pretty sure Doyle doesn’t know or care about his gender category.

Alexey: Well, maybe it’s a girl then…

Simone: Maybe, but its bio sex category is male

Alexey: Well, then it’s a boy

Simone: Perhaps, for now, you can think that

Process: The difference between sex and gender is hard for many adults to grasp.

3. June 21, 2011

Topic: Hair Styles

Simone: Alexey, I’ve heard you don’t like when your hair falls into your eyes. You have two options: we can grow your hair on the sides until it’s long like the hair in the back and we can pull your hair back with hair pins until it’s long or take you to the salon for a short hair haircut.

Alexey: What are hair pins?

I showed him what they look and feel like and how they look on my hair and feel in his.

Alexey: I want the hair pins in my hair but my bangs are too long

Simone: We can cut your bangs shorter and if your hair bothers you while it’s growing, you can use the hair pins to pin it back and you can let your grandmother and aunt and the people at the pre-school know that you are okay with growing your hair

Alexey: Grandma says she doesn’t know how to braid my hair.

Simone: I’m sure she knows but just doesn’t want to.

Alexey: And Tanya at pre-school won’t braid my hair either. Nor will Papa Eugene (his bio-dad)

Simone (surprised): Why didn’t you ask me or your father? We are excellent at braiding hair

Alexey: I want you to call Tanya at pre-school and tell her to braid my hair.

Simone: Okay, I will but you have to know that some kids might make fun of you for it because they have ideas about what girls and boys should do just like their parents and it might not feel good but you just say ‘Leave me alone, I like my braids’ because, after all, they’re beautiful and you do what makes you happy, okay?

Alexey: Okay, can I talk to Daddy now?

Process: Alexey told Daddy that Tanya said braids are just for girls. Daddy said that Tanya is from a different generation and that if Alexey wants braids, he can have braids. The next morning, I called the pre-school and asked to include Alexey in the hair decorating/braiding experiences. And he came home looking like this, :)