Sh*t My Kids Say – Part 3
“Are you a boy or a girl?”
For a lot of people, it’s a black and white answer, but when my daughter asks it to a genderqueer friend of ours…
“It’s complicated,” is the answer she receives.
I think that was a wonderful and fitting answer to her first steps in learning about gender.
The twins are in the deep end of a genderqueer pool. Our and their personal lives are involved with folks fitting all along the spectrum. It makes for some interesting interactions, and for me some very, very deep thinking.
Part of our teaching in this regard is not making a big deal out of pronouns or gender-related interactions. Roomba every now and then says she “feels like a boy” or that she is a “boy/girl” today. When she says that, we go with it. We don’t fuss about it. We just say, “Okay.” We’ll see if it becomes something really important to her in the future. One time while playing with me she cast a spell to turn me into a girl. I was a little troubled by the implied negative connotation, but I answered as blankly as possible, “okay,” and then kept on without changing my behavior one bit.
Scooba tends to call everyone “he.” I won’t directly correct her if I know she’s using the wrong pronoun. I’ll just use the right one in conversation with her. It’s also interesting to see, when she gets mistaken for a boy herself, how overly sensitive and dramatic people get in their apologies. It really hits to the core of a lot of folks. It seems to be the highest of offenses, sometimes. Scooba herself doesn’t even bother to correct them.
Now that they’re nearing the end of their first year in preschool, they’ve had their first full taste of socialization, and I’m sure some of their classmates probably push a bit of the gender binary at them. I’m sure that’s where Roomba got the idea that to “turn me into a girl” was some sort of negative. However, when I got word that one of their classmates told her mom, “That’s Roomba, she’s a boy today,” I felt a sense of pride that our daughter was pushing back.