Ahead of the Curve — For Once!
I have never been known to be fashion forward in any way. I am clueless about style, hopeless when it comes to the latest trends, and wouldn’t know what’s currently “in” or “out” if it smacked me like a swinging door.
Just one of those things. The Artist, I’m sure, will corroborate the assertion that I’m a fashion nightmare. If I get into a situation in which jeans or khakis and a solid color shirt won’t cut it, I panic and start blowing up her phone with howls for help.
However, it’s come to my attention that in one aspect, I was an Accidental Trendsetter!
Me? Trendsetter? How is this even possible? Well, the big way was that we didn’t use physical discipline and still managed to raise 3 incredible, intelligent, conscientious, creative, civic minded kids. Amazing that, eh? The other, though is something that’s hitting the news quite a bit lately. It’s called gender neutral parenting. The premise, in short, is that you don’t force predetermined stereotypes on your kid based on what’s between their legs. There are plenty of people who will recoil in horror at the idea of allowing a child to choose for themselves what colors they prefer, what toys appeal, or what clothes to wear.
Now, I’m not saying we never used pink and blue clothing, lace or trucks, or whatever. But as much as possible, we tried to remove the stereotypical gender roles and expectations from our kids’ lives in order to encourage them to explore their world without reservation, to decide for themselves what aspects of life they liked and what they didn’t. In short, we didn’t want them pigeonholed by a society that can barely manage to tie its own shoes.
Most people know from this blog (and my previous one) that by gender, I have two female children and one male child. When it comes to orientation, one is gay, one is pansexual, and one is straight; an ally. Can people tell by looking which child holds which orientation? Nope.
In a recent meeting at work that had dragged on way too long, I doodled this list of facts about my kids. Think you can tell which ones are which in the items that don’t apply to all 3?
- All 3 received Tonka dump trucks on their first birthdays – the original metal ones, not the flimsy plastic crap
- 2 have been admitted to the hospital for a serious illness
- 2 have had stitches in the Emergency room
- 1 has had broken a bone
- All 3 have photos of them wearing a dress and heels
- 2 have photos of them wearing a suit and tie
- All 3 are attracted to women, albeit very different “types”
- All 3 will receive or have received their Bachelors degrees right around their 20th birthday
- 1 is a math genius, although the other 2 are quite proficient
- All 3 have black belts in taekwondo
- 1 played on a Little League baseball team
- All 3 owned a Barbie house and Corvette
- All 3 have tattoos; 1 has multiple piercings
- 2 write poetry very well
- 1 speaks a foreign language proficiently
- 2 of them want kids
- 2 prefer monogamous relationships to open ones
- All 3 like to read
- All 3 love to travel
- 1 has learned to use a sewing machine and has sewn something independently
- 2 have been in physical altercations
- 1 loves to cook and has a well-developed palate
- All 3 are Harry Potter fans
- All 3 were invited to Duke University’s Talent Identification Program, but only 1 took the SAT at age 11
The answers might surprise you, as my kids really do not fit the traditional, stereotypical behaviors for their gender.
I may be a fashion nightmare until the day I die. I may never understand how style works. I may be clueless as to the latest technological gadgets for a while. But I will always know that in raising open minded, accepting, courageous, creative, adventurous kids, I was twenty years ahead of the game.