Of course preparing myself to have a baby boy has me thinking of a lot of different ideas. I always thought it would be easier to raise a girl than a boy — for the simple fact that I am a girl and it felt more relevant to me. Having said that I have never really been a girly girl (nevermind the few years growing up that I was adamant that my sister play Barbies with me). Then I had to grow up fast and, well, my most girly girl self was replaced with real live survival.
Of course I enjoy a bit of dressing up — you know once every year, where I bring out those uncomfortable high heels, and Chris oohs and aahs, and then those shoes collect dust in the back of the closet. I am and always will be most comfortable with myself when I am comfortable. Flip-flops, comfy outfits, and hopefully all that just falls in the background so that others see just me. Not what I am wearing or how it fits. As none of that really matters. I digress — this blog post’s intent is nothing about that at all.
Over the weekend, I came across this article “Why Boys Need To Play With Girl Toys Too” and I thought I wonder what Chris thinks of that? No matter at the moment, because whether he is okay with it or not, the message that I left with that I want to bring in to our parenting (we’ll talk Chris) is that I want to teach my son to care. For some that may mean a boy playing with a doll, or maybe it is about nurturing an animal or pet, whatever the vehicle I want to make sure to show my son how to care. That in my mind starts with Chris and me. For a long time he will watch us, emulate us, and learn the way of the world from our example. If he wants to play with dolls and we do not let him, that sends him a message. You get the point.
And in the end, while I have not really even started this raise-a-child thing, I can tell you I was one (with not the best childhood), and I spent from the age of 9 – 23 babysitting, working in day cares, and nannying — what matters most is that you show them you care. You do this by being present, listening, and appreciating what they have to say. By showing you care, they respond and show that to others. To me that is what matters most.
It has been awhile since I have shared from a book I have read. A book I finished last week called: “Unabrow: Misadventures of a Late Bloomer” by Una LaMarche was one of the better, more humorous books I have read in a while. The cover is classic. An early childhood photo of LaMarche with a unibrow. Such a clever title for a memoir, for someone who started early on in life having an actual unibrow. It spurred a conversation at work, if your very young child had very dark hair and a unibrow, would you do something about it, or let them get teased? Such a tough decision. You do not want them to think about their body, vanity, and waxing at such a young age, but if they are endlessly teased, what would you do?
LaMarche is hilarious. She covers a plethora of topics, from Barbies, to the etiquette for selecting which stall/toilet to go to in a bathroom, and which one is the “poop stall,” to Girl Scout cookies, I love this quote — how many of us wish we could just get our Girl Scout cookie fix via Amazon Prime (anytime of year).
“Yes, that’s right. Anyone can log onto this website to locate young girls anywhere in the country, and yet I cannot get my Tagalong fix using Amazon Prime shipping.” Page 184
I can relate to some aspects of LaMarche’s childhood. School was sometimes awkward. Maybe we all had a time growing up when life sucked, or when we maybe just did not fit in. For me it happened often throughout the years prior to college. Whether it was because of being poor and having hand-me-downs, or in not relating to my peers. We all probably had some sort of awkward stage growing up. Maybe we got that funky haircut, or went through a strange phase in how we dressed or what we thought was fun. Which is why I related to LaMarche:
“Because being loud about it is the only way that I know how to find other members of my tribe: yet-to-peak former outcasts with the dreaded ‘good personality’ of the previously homely. I just don’t feel safe otherwise. I mean, I can’t trust anyone who never had an awkward phase in high school. Those people are the real freaks.” Page 13
If you want to laugh, pick up Unabrow. I can assure you a cackle will escape your mouth. I had many dog-eared pages that I read to Chris to share her fun rants. Bathroom humor, childhood awkwardness, Amazon Prime for Tagalongs. All in good fun.