Posts tagged: Children
Nobody knows – except the parents of “Pop,” a 2-year-old in Sweden whose parents refuse to reveal whether their child is a boy or girl.
Pop’s mom and dad decided to keep their child’s gender a secret because they believe gender is a social construction, according to a recent story published in The Local: Sweden’s News in English.
“We want Pop to grow up more freely and avoid being forced into a specific gender mould from the outset,” Pop’s mother told the Swedish newspaper Svenska Dagbladet. “It’s cruel to bring a child into the world with a blue or pink stamp on their forehead.”
The family has received both positive and negative feedback. The Local interviewed Kristina Henkel, a gender equality consultant in Sweden, and she said Pop’s lack of gender-identity might be a good thing.
“Girls are told they are cute in their dresses, and boys are told they are cool with their car toys. But if you give them no gender they will be seen more as a human or not a stereotype as a boy or girl,” Henkel told The Local.
The Local also interviewed Susan Pinker, a psychologist, Canadian newspaper columnist and author of the book, “The Sexual Paradox.” “Child-rearing should not be about providing an opportunity to prove an ideological point, but about responding to each child’s needs as an individual,” Pinker told The Local.
What are your thoughts on this family’s decision? How do you think this experiment will affect Pop as he or she grows up? How long can a child remain “gender-free”?
My youngest son had a half-day today. When he climbed into the car he started crying quietly. “I had a bad day,” he said.
“What happened? Did you get in trouble?”
“No,” he sniffed, and cried harder.
“Did someone hurt your feelings?”
“Yes!” he sobbed. “I don’t wanna talk about it!”
We were quiet for a bit. “Would a Happy Meal help you feel better?”
“Yeah, I think so,” he said.
As we pulled out of the drive-thru I asked him if he wanted to talk about what happened, or if he was getting over it. “I’m getting over it,” he replied.
When we got home he gave me a big hug and kiss. “Thanks, Mom.”
How do you handle it when your kids get their feelings hurt?
I drive my nine-year-old son to school every day. Each morning as he prepares to get out of the car he leans forward and plants a big kiss on my cheek. “Bye, Mom,” he says.
“Have a good day. I’ll see you after school,” I reply.
Since he’s my fourth son, I savor this little morning ritual, because I know what comes next. Somewhere between 4th and 6th grade the goodbye kisses will end. He’ll have more on his mind as he leaves for school than saying goodbye to his Mom, and besides, what if one of his friends should catch him?
Thankfully, goodnight kisses in my experience last into the early teen years before they too taper off.
How about you? Do your children still kiss you goodbye? Do you have leave-taking rituals?
Earlier this month, I asked you about your thoughts on family planning and how factors that include money, time, religious beliefs and environmental concerns all play into your decisions. So along those lines, I thought I’d bring up the California couple that gave birth to octuplets – six boys and two girls, born weighing between 1 pound 8 ounces and 3 pounds, 4 ounces and delivered via Cesarean section. (The babies, by the way, are all breathing on their own and five have started bottle feeding. And, according to news reports, the woman who gave birth to them also has six other children.)
Yesterday, The Los Angeles Times wrote about the risks and ethics involved in such a pregnancy. “When we see something like this in the general fertility world, it gives us the heebie-jeebies,” Michael Tucker, a clinical embryologist in Atlanta and a leading researcher in infertility treatment, told the LA Times. He added that, “if a medical practitioner had anything to do with it, there’s some degree of inappropriate medical therapy.”
The reporters noted that these multiple births not only involve the potential for all kinds of health problems for mother and babies; they also “consume enormous financial resources for hospitals, health insurers and families.”
Some people have strong opinions on this issue. On The Seattle Times website, a woman who identified herself as Bothell mom wrote: “This woman went into the hospital and had a ‘litter’ like an animal. This is going to cost society at some point. There is NO way you can convince me that this family is going to foot this bill on their own for the lives of these kids. Unless this family is pulling in A-List Hollywood paychecks, they’re going to end up being a drain on taxpayers. …”
What do you think?
I’ve been going through some journals I kept when my three oldest were all under five. I’m not sure how I stayed awake long enough to write because in almost every entry I mention trying desperately to get some sleep.
One of my favorite entries starts: “They can’t stay up forever, can they? They will go to sleep eventually, won’t they?”
Another entry exults: “Ethan and Alex are both napping at the same time!” Other mothers and parenting books advised me to nap when my children were napping. Right. That’s when I cleaned house and read the paper.
How about you? If you have young children, do you feel well rested? Do your kids take naps? For parents with older kids, how did you cope during those sleep deprived months/years?
Last week I found a scrap of paper in which I’d written about the last time I rocked my youngest child in our rocking chair. Those five paragraphs brought back a wealth of memories. You can read it here: http://www.spokesman.com/stories/2009/jan/01/take-a-moment-jot-it-down/
Some parents are avid picture takers, some scrapbook. How do you preserve precious memories?
As angels go it was pretty ugly— its cherubic smile rather disturbing. But my son bought it for me at the Dollar Store when he was four. His dad helped him wrap it and Alex was so excited for me to open it. “Open mine! Open mine!” he yelled on Christmas morning. So I carefully opened the lumpy package. The cheesy gold coating was already flaking off. “It’s an angel, Mommy.” Alex said. “A Christmas angel.”
I smiled and lied like all good mothers. “It’s beautiful, Alex. Thank you so much.”
The next year when I got out the Christmas decorations Alex watched carefully. I thought he might have forgotten about it but he didn’t. “Where’s the golden angel, Mom?”
So each year for the past 12 years that gaudy angel has dominated our Christmas display. Like an ungainly, ugly stepsister she hovered over her more lovely angelic companions.
I asked Alex to pick up a pair of dirty socks from the living room. Instead of taking them to a laundry basket he opted to lob the socks over the top of the piano and down the stairs.
The socks connected with the angel and she went over the railing and smashed into tiny pieces.
“Uh. Sorry, Mom.” Alex said.
As angels go it wasn’t much to look at. But each year as Alex got older and busier, that angel seemed more beautiful.
Now I know that golden angels, like four-year-old boys are irreplaceable.
Do any of you have ornaments/decorations you once thought ugly, but now couldn’t bear to live without?