In June 2010 we were blessed with our daughter. We had elected not to find out the gender although deep down I knew (yeah I know… 50 50 chance) that it was going to be a girl. When she was arrived I was excited by the fact I was going to have an offspring, a mini-me following me around but, looking back, I was also relieved. Relieved because at the time, I wasn’t sure that I was footy-playing-huntin’-and-fishin’ enough to cope with a boy but I was sure I was sports-loving-up-with-modern-music-and-trends enough to bring up a girl.
In my mind, I was going to raise the perfect girl, like a boy but with more cuddles and less mess. She’d be outgoing (tick), try anything (tick), tough enough to dust herself off when she fell (tick… mostly) and happy to watch all three original star wars movies in a row. In many ways I’ve succeeded. She loves a good wrestle, fearlessly scoots or runs everywhere at full throttle and climbs and slides down anything, fall at speed and shake it off and although we’re not quite at a full star wars episode (did I mention original episodes?) I’m happy that we can both sit and laugh at a few episodes of Peppa Pig together (it works on so many levels).
My boy-style child rearing also required minimal pink clothing, frilly skirts and dolls resulting in the positive side effect of not having to sit through toddler ballet classes all the while preparing my daughter for her high powered role as a CEO, Prime minister or front (wo)man of a guitar driven rock band.
However something unexpected has happened….
“Come here sweet and put some clothes on”… “Yes Daddy” …flutter flutter flutter
“Can you please stand still while I brush your hair”… twinkle twinkle twinkle
“Just stand $%&*@% still while I dry you” …twirling twirling twirling
You see somewhere, regardless of my illiterate infant tomboy style © of child rearing, somehow, a little girl is blossoming. A little girl who loves pretty skirts, dresses, dollies and dancing “…like a ballerina Daddy”. Dancing hasn’t been in my training schedule. Dancing hasn’t been part of my backyard wrestling and rumbles program or extreme scooter stunts practice. I find myself asking, Where did she learn it and why does it make her so happy?
I had been battling with these thoughts for the last few weeks when it came to a head on the weekend. On Sunday we started toilet training and my wife and I had assembled the arsenal of M&M’s, iPad games and stickers. Many of you know the drill, do a tinkle get a sticker, do a poo and you get more stickers and maybe a treat (or variations thereof). We had a few failures but in the afternoon we had our first success. Splashdown occurred in the potty and was met with applause, praise and cheers. We put stickers on the chart and talked about how amazing she was but you know the thing that brought the biggest smile to her face? The wee-wee dance that we made up together,
“We’ve done a wee-wee, We’ve done a wee-wee”
Spinning and twirling and singing and laughing, she was having a ball, celebrating and dancing with her Mum and Dad. For 20 minutes I forgot about my hang ups and enjoyed being a little bit crazy, dancing with her and getting a little bit of an idea about why she loves prancing around.
On the bus this morning, thinking about tonight’s post I remembered a Dad in Germany who dressed in a skirt to support his little boy who wanted to wear girls clothes. I’m in no way comparing myself to this awesome display of love and support but I do get how cool it is to just be there supporting your child, regardless of your own hang-ups.
So, how about you? What hang-ups have your kids gotten rid of? What’s the silliest thing you’ve done? Did your child turn into a boy or girl regardless of your techniques?
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