I hit a consignment sale the other day and got a couple really cute tutu-type dress up things for Eliza. A friend of mine was asking a few weeks ago why we had no dress up stuff – her girls love dressing up. I didn’t really have an answer for her, other than I didn’t want to spend $30 on a dress that would only be worn around the house. But after I saw Eliza prancing around in a ratty princess gown at one of the indoor play places, I made a mental note to try to find something for when we’re at home.
I got what looks like a purple fairy costume, minus the wings. Her eyes positively lit up when she saw it and as soon as she tried it on, she started leaping around saying, ‘I’m a princess!’ over and over. I also got her a little tutu that could be worn over jeans or leggings, which Jack pointed to and said, ‘My turn!’ Oh yeah, maybe I should have gotten some dress up stuff for Jack because of course he’ll want to play dress up with his sister. So I put the tutu over his pajamas and they ran around squealing with happiness while I took pictures to post on Facebook.
A couple friends ‘liked’ the picture and then came the comment from my mother. “You would post that on Facebook.” And then from my brother, “Not cool.”
Ever been around a toddler? There are tantrums that are unavoidable – no, you can’t taste mommy’s boiling hot coffee or you cannot go out with bare feet in the middle of winter. But when my son sees his sister happily playing and he can’t join in because…well…why, exactly? Fact is, I don’t have an answer that follows logic any more than I have an answer why it’s perfectly fine for Eliza to grab one of Jack’s sports ball pacifiers (never mind the fact that NEITHER of them should be using a paci – another issue for another day) but when he grabs her pink flowery one, just about every adult in the room lunges to pull it out of his mouth. Why? Why is it such a double standard? I’m getting the message that it’s better to reduce my son to a crying heap on the floor than let him play with anything girly, lest it somehow influence his future sexual identity.
Really, is it such a big deal that my 2 year old wanted to put on a tutu? I have two year old twins, a boy and a girl. Each wants to do everything the other does. Especially Jack, who seems to idolize his sister like she’s several years older instead of several minutes. Sometimes they play with cars/trucks/trains. Sometimes they push a shopping cart around. Sometimes they feed their babies. Sometimes they fight over books. If given the choice, both would much prefer running around outside in the dirt to just about any other activity. But why is it, if I post a picture of my daughter playing with trucks, it’s no big deal? But my son in a tutu, that’s an issue. They are kids! They are TWO!
Here’s the thing. I want my son to be happy. I want him to play and laugh and express himself however he’s comfortable doing it. And I’m not going to upset the kid because what he’s choosing to play at that very moment isn’t, like, manly enough. For a two year old. On top of that, I also feel a little strange not taking pictures of him the same way I snapped pictures of his sister in her princess costume. I don’t know, maybe that makes me a crappy mom and maybe one day he’ll be embarrassed of those pictures. Or maybe I will have raised him with enough confidence and humor that he’ll laugh at his silly tutu-wearing two year old self. Whichever the case, for now? I prefer a happy, smiling child to a whining tantrum-throwing one.