Friday, February 3, 2012

Umbrellas, Men & Princesses

5 ½ years old “On Umbrellas”

We were shopping for sneakers and there were some umbrellas that Alexey explained are for girls and others for boys.

Simone: Why are there different umbrellas for boys and girls?

Alexey: Because girls like princesses (the ‘girl umbrellas' had princesses as handles)

Simone: Why do girls like princesses?

Alexey: Because girls wear dresses.

Simone: Why do girls wear dresses?

Alexey: Because they’re beautiful.

Simone: Why are girls beautiful?

Alexey: I don’t know.

Simone: We’re all beautiful.


In other news, my youngest (who just turned three) is now beginning to ask questions about bodies. Lately, he has been fixated on looking at how I pee and why his penis looks like a tube but my peeing part looks different. He asks me daily to show him where I pee from, regardless of where we are (yes, that makes for fun bus rides). He’s also really into his princess and wanted to look like her so I put my shirt on him and the result is to the right. Isn’t he amazing?


5 ½ years old “On not knowing gender”

Alexey and I were going over his Kumon homework and reviewing pronunciation of some words. When he saw the word ‘men’ he didn’t know how to pronounce it because he didn’t know what the word meant.

Simone: Do you know what ‘men’ means?

Alexey (sharpening a million pencils with his new sharpener): No

Simone: Well, people get categorized as men…um…do you remember we talked about gender…do you know what gender means?

Alexey: No

Simone: Uhh…well, people with certain body parts like if they have a penis and testicles are then grouped to behave a particular way and others say they are men…and other people get called women…I don’t like these categorizations…they’re not really worth teaching…do you know your gender?

Alexey: No

Simone: This is hard to teach because it doesn’t matter, in the long run…let me see, do you know how others think I’m a woman?

Alexey: …not really

Simone: Well they do, but I don’t feel I’m a woman. I’m a person…who am I? What’s my name?

Alexey: Mommy!

Simone: Yes, mommy or Simone. It’s more important to me to be thought of as a person. You are a person as well and at the end of the day, we’re all people. So some people would group you and your brother and daddy together and say men. They would then place grandma and aunt and great-grandma together and say women.

Alexey (completely uninterested): Can I play tic-tac-toe and eat Nutella?

Reflection: I was amused at his lack of knowledge around gender or his own gender or how others are men or women but I suppose that’s not all the surprising given our rearing of our children.

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