I was browsing the Sunday ads the other day and I came across a deal on a toy that consisted of a purse, a set of keys and a cellphone. I told my husband I wanted to get this for Diego. I got the required side-eye and incredulous, “No way!” hurled my way. I was only half joking.
Keys and cellphones are only a couple of the things that Diego wants that he can’t have. Keys and cellphones are bacteria havens and at his age everything goes into his mouth, as do his hands so it’s really not safe to let him play with those. I also suspect that copious amounts of drool aren’t good for my phone either. Needless to say when I saw this purse set I was almost relieved to have a solution to this problem. Surely if he has his own phone he will leave mine alone, right? I suspect I’m likely wrong. Once he sees the object of his affection (my phone) he will likely toss whatever he’s holding. It would be nice to test out this theory.
Anyway the more important point here is that for some reason it is a widely held belief that giving a male baby a purse with a cellphone and keys is somehow damaging to his sexuality. Pink is for girls. Purses are for girls. I’ve always found this gendering of baby stuff restricting and damaging. He doesn’t know what any of these things are or what twisted meaning us adults have assigned to them. All he cares about is being able to play with these objects.
I am sure that some are likely to disagree with me but thankfully those people are not raising my son. I have always found it curious that what’s between our legs is somehow indicative of our expected behavior. We expect boys to be loud, rowdy, dirty and into cars. What happens when he isn’t? I’ve seen it firsthand. Whispers of suspected homosexuality along with suggestions as to how to fix this are passed around like a joint. I refuse to take a puff.
I was lucky to grow up having access to a treasure trove of toys that included cars, dolls, and everything in between. My brother played with my barbies. Sometimes he pulled off the heads, other times he joined in brushing their hair. I loved Hot Wheels and remember being quite interested in acquiring as many of them as I could. Neither of these things gave my parents pause. I don’t ever recall being told that I couldn’t do something because I am a girl. I consider myself fortunate.
There are a lot of assumptions made about Diego on a daily basis. People remark how he will break a girl’s heart someday. My mind immediately supplies, “Or a guy’s.” Call me crazy but I am open to the possibility of Diego being whoever he wants to be. I don’t want my expectations to be restrictive. I want to be nurturing. I want him to know he is loved no matter what life choices he makes. As long as they’re healthy choices (a crack addiction I will never support), legal (see previous), and arrived at out of his own free will I will always support him. At times I may not agree, but that’s life. I have many dear friends with whom I have a great relationship but don’t necessarily agree with on everything, especially world views.
I’m not sure if I will end up purchasing the purse, phone and keys combo but it’s very tempting. If only to ruffle some feathers. We need to be ruffled. It’s healthy.