April 21, 2008

Boys and Pink Purses

I wrote an email to my in-laws, telling them about the latest things the kids have done and said. I mentioned how Elizabeth has three plastic dinosaurs she likes to take with her everywhere in her pink purse.

My mother-in-law wrote back that she'd tell me one thing: she'd rather have a granddaughter who liked dinosaurs than a grandson that liked pink purses. She added "Not that I wouldn't love him anyway. I'm just saying."

Let's bypass the feelings that can form in such situations, where you start with "Are you saying that there is anything but Total Awesomeness involved in her love of dinosaurs?" and move rapidly from there to "And WHAT exactly would be SO WRONG with liking pink purses that you'd need to CLARIFY that you'd still love him?" and go straight from there to cartoon steam billowing from ears because of course you can't SAY anything, since the person you'd be saying these things to would claim she was just kidding! Just making a light remark! My stars, she certainly didn't mean to OFFEND you! Goodness!

Let's instead focus on this question: am I now RELIEVED I chose not to include this photo of Edward in the most recent batch? Or am I wishing fervently I HAD?


He wanted to wear the genie dress-up outfit with his bunny ears, jeans, and baseball shirt. I wasn't going to take a picture, but he insisted.

54 comments:

wheelmaker said...

that is a precious picture - and will be of much use in the future when you want to embarass him in front of friends.

Maggie said...

That is a seriously awesome picture. Next time she puts her foot in her mouth, I say send it to her. She might just have a heart attack on the spot...

SLynnRo said...

Oh, I would SO send that.

JMC said...

That is a great picture. He's adorable. Definitely send it plus another one of him (and/or one or all of the other boys) holding Elizabeth's pink purse. Include an email message that says how they liked Elizabeth's purse so much that you got them each one.

Jennifer said...

Surely I can't be the only one reminded of this:

http://tinyurl.com/3n7pqc

That being said, I think he is ADORABLE. That's definitely a picture that begs to be displayed at his high school graduation party!

AndreAnna said...

I wasn't sure that this was possible, but I think I dislike your MIL more than mine.

That is a great picture and I'm sure he'll love you when you show it to his high-school friends.

And dinosaurs are cool, damnit.

Cass said...

That's a great picture and I would so send it in the next e-mail.

jen said...

part of me says send it, but such a sweet, sweet face, she doesn't deserve to see that adorable picture, ever, after her remarks which by the way, piss ME off.

Omaha Mama said...

Love the genie outfit! Am thinking that genie outfit is sadly missing from our costume collection.

Our little guy is in so many princess pictures wearing crowns, skirts, tu-tus and heels, family members have teased us a bit.

Her comment seems a little odd to me, so much so that it makes me think that maybe she really did think she was being funny and forgot her audience. Surely she would know that you don't think it's funny. I don't it's funny either. Hmmm...who does she think would find humor in that?

Jen in MI said...

My dd is 6 and a ballerina. DS is 2and follows dd around hungering for attention. Even if it involves her dressing him in her pink tutu, pink feathery crown, and purple high heals. Sometimes he even has a magic wand. I take lots of pictures.

Also, dd who is now the ballerina, at age 2 adored Thomas the Train and nothing else.

I'd send pic to MIL, but I'm passive aggressive like that...

Tracy said...

a seriously classic picture

Nowheymama said...

If you send it, attach Catherine Newman's essay "Pretty Baby" from the book It's a Boy.

I love this picture.

amber said...

Hee! You definitely should've included it. Definitely.

Elizabeth said...

I think you need to send her a framed copy of that picture. Also, I really should say "My Stars!" more often. It's quite charming, and much more toddler appropriate than what I normally say :).

Marie Green said...

I love how HE wanted you to take that picture!

And I would definitely send it to MIL. Maybe play along, dumb like, as if you didn't pick up on her negativity about the pink purse comment. Say something like, "Oh, haa, ha, you said how great it would be if Edward loved pink, and so I just HAD to show this to you. I knew you would love it."

RainyPM said...

What an adorable picture of your son! I've never seen a genie bunny that looked more pleased with himself and life in general.

Why is it okay and cute for girls to be tomboys and like Thomas and Bob the Builder, but heaven forbid boys like dress-up or shopping? It's such a double standard. I've got some friends that are terrified their 4-year-old son is gay because he doesn't like to get his hands dirty. I just have to bite my tongue.

Kim/2 Kids said...

That reminds me of the picture of my brother in my mom's high heals and a silver purse full of matchbox cars. No need to worry, he is graduating from college soon, he isn't a cross dresser but he is a pot head. I think my parents were prefer cross dresser over pot head, not sure though!

Snoopyfan said...

That is a great picture!

I don't get those kinds of comments from family but from perfect strangers while I am shopping for groceries! If one more person makes a comment about my 22 month old son wearing his 5 year old sister's pink princess hats, I may have to punch her (it's always a woman making a snide remark). I usually just say "It doesn't matter what color it is, at least he is wearing a hat!"
(Sigh)
I wish I had a better comeback...

LoriD said...

I would send that adorable picture. I used to torture my MIL with my daughter's utter LOVE for Thomas the train. She had Thomas shoes, a hat, t-shirts. My MIL would ask, "don't they at least make those shoes in pink?" Maybe they do, but what would be the fun in that?!

Woman with a Hatchet said...

I love it! Embrace the bunny ears, Edward! This may be your only chance before society has its way with you!

I am heartily sick of arguing with my eldest about how the other kids in her class don't get to define what it means to be a girl and what it means to be HER. I'm waiting for her to start standing up for herself.

As usual, your MIL sucks. : P

Miz S said...

Your mother-in-law is such an ass.

Ser said...

I love this picture! I really, really love it when boys wear pink or flare-legged pants or, really, anything besides the same sports and superhero clothes that all boys seem to wear. My boys do it too seldom, as far as I'm concerned.

the new girl said...

Oh, I HATE the 'But I was just KIDDING!! Don't be so SENSITIVE' reply.

As IF there'd be ANYTHING less than awesome about ANY of her GRANDKIDS.

I'm all fired up because there are PLENTY of perfectly-suited people who are WAITING for grandkids, in order to love them UNCONDITIONALLY.

Welcome to our World said...

She seriously needs a filter on her brain! I would reply and attach that photo... Can you imagine the stunned silence on the other end???

And I think he looks cute BTW!

Shelly Overlook said...

That would seriously chap my ass. How kind of her to still be able to love a pink purse toting boy. Wow, that's really generous and worldly of her.

Love the pic!

jennifer said...

Send her the picture and then blog about her response. Go ahead. I'll wait.

Elizabeth said...

That is just the sweetest little boy face ever.

d e v a n said...

I would send her that picture.

launchingsloth said...

I'm with you on a) being pissed off about narrow mindedness and b) not arguing about it with your MIL. It's much easier when it's your OWN parents.

Dinosaurs= so awesome.
Genie picture= SO AWESOME.

-R- said...

You should have seen my in-laws reaction when their grandson (my nephew) wanted to dress up like Dora for Halloween. They thought it was the worst thing ever. He was 2. Who the F cares? They claimed they were worried his friends would make fun of him. Do 2-year-olds really have friends? Who would make fun of them?

In summary, I think you should have sent it to your mother-in-law. =)

Jess said...

You should totally send it as a passive-aggressive response, like, Oh, ha ha ha, no pink purses for Edward but check this out!

Erica said...

I don't think you should sent it to her. Oh sure, it'd be fun to rattle her chain, but the thought of her thinking bad things about Edward raises my hackles. She's judgmental enough as it is, you know?

I think Edward looks quite dashing in his ensemble.

Raven said...

I would totally frame it for her!

"Constance-1-M" said...

ROTLMAO!!!!

I LOVE LOVE LURV the outfit!

He is just so sweet in that pic ~ no embarrasment, just a boy in a princess outfit with his bunny ears on ;) So sweet! When do guys loose their ability to do that?

And yes ~ it's a sure fire bribe to keep him in line as a teenager! "Be home by 10 or I will post a billboard of you in the bunny ears Jasmine outfit."

Alice said...

GAAAAH INFUUUURRRRIATING. i would be SO tempted to send the pic, but probably wouldn't because i wouldn't be able to deal with whatever she said back to me about him. although MY LANDS i love that photo :-)

Kristin.... said...

LOVE IT! What a great photo! We've had to tell our 3 year old son more than once to "take off his tutu" or "no, we can't paint your nails today". But who cares? They're KIDS! They're supposed to explore and learn and grow. My son has a Cabbage Patch baby boy named Leo that he adores. But he loves his trucks, dirt, cars, dirt, baseball, hockey, dirt (did I mention dirt?) and I'm all for him dressing up and wanting to LEARN AND GROW. Ugh. Some people make me want to scream.

Misty said...

I am trying to figure out what I would do if I were in your shoes. You know, just for fun.

I can see the steam shooting out of my ears. I can feel the feminist diatribe rising in my throat. I can hear the resounding, "Patriarchy is JUST as oppressive to boys as it is to girls!"

And then I can see myself completely ignoring the MIL and rather talking to my son about in in the sneaky little ways mothers have of nonchalantly teaching their little boys to grow up to not just be men, but to be human.

You know, if it were me.

moo said...

kids at this age are TOTALLY into the gender exploration phase and it always puzzles me that grown-ups get so freaked out about it.

I think it's adorable and I'm SO GLAD he made you take that photo ... you'll be able to blackmail him with it one day.

fairydogmother said...

You are totally wishing fervently that you had sent that photo.

I absolutely loathe the after the fact "I was just kidding" excuse. It really only serves to piss me off even further, and I find myself biting my tongue to keep from saying something like, "Oh really? Because when you are kidding about something it is supposed to be funny, not mean. And it should be said in a tone of voice that actually indicates that you are joking".

Unfortunately I have yet to come across a situation where such a response would be successful with in-laws. So I have refrained.

I think I need to go back and look at that adorable photo again!

Saly said...

Great Photo! ED still carries a bright pink Dora backpack to daycare with him. It's totally cool.

samantha jo campen said...

Not only send her that picture, but blow it up to poster size. Or, better yet, get it printed on a t-shirt for her that says "#1 Grandma!"

Susanica said...

Wow. As a gay woman, and the mother of a precious little boy who is going to have to navigate a world where having two moms may elicit similar hurtful comments, I want to thank you for this post. Nnd the other comments here are so inspiring to me. Just wonderful.

For me, thought of losing the love of my family was a more real danger to me than anything else as I went through a long and painful struggle to "come out". No wonder suicide rates are so high for gay youth. But sometimes the truth sets you free.

Your post isn’t really about anyone’s sexuality. It’s about intolerance and the damage that can result from it. I don’t think you can change your MIL. Maybe you can have a standard comeback like “Oh, we teach tolerance in our home, and I gotta tell you, that was an intolerant comment.” Or if your kids are unlucky enough to hear such comments directly, maybe you can use it as a teachable moment. Anything you can do to break that cycle of intolerance is great. Even just writing this post is a step. So thank you. -Monica

Dawn said...

Now that's funny...I'd totally send that picture to her...just for fun you know! LOL!

Amber said...

Oh. MY. GOD. He is the cutest thing I've ever seen! At least since the picture of The Lip.

I would also be offended that my child's grandparent is already trying to convince herself that YES she would STILL love my child if he chose to carry a pink purse IN EARNEST one day (if you know what I mean.

I mean really, are there a lot of adults out there who still suck their thumbs and drag around blankies simply because they did as a small child? Gah. She is infuriating.

Miss Grace said...

Wishing fervently that you had, of course.

My family is FULL of boys (3 little brothers, two nephews, my own son, and 4 boy cousins under the age of 9), and they all are just as happy to tote around purses and wear their moms' heels as they are to play with castles and have sword fights.

mn said...

grandparents are funny creatures. they are v. "territorial" one could say. i once overheard a father disagreeing with his daughter for the nickname she was using for his grandson at a park! it was funny - the parent/ grandparent tussle - but i could see how much he just was so happy with his grandson and just wanted all to be perfect. someday we'll be there ourselves. I dread the day i become a mother in law and hope i don't become nasty and at the same time i am protected from horrible daughters in law. one can only hope. gulp/pray :).
( maybe i am "missing" something or don't know what kind of a person she is but other commenters here seem to be rather harsh and mean. i would not intentionally try to encourage you to hurt somebody's feeling by being mean to them...there's enough of that in the world.) so not trying to be preachy....so if i come off as that, i apologize, just don't know how else to word it i guess.

Swistle said...

MN- I used to post about my MIL a lot, and then took the posts down when I got nervous. Some of my other commenters are remembering those old posts. This particular example of my MIL is fairly mild---but on top of all the other stuff...

Amy Q said...

Oh how I wish you had included it. That would have precluded the comments right? or maybe not though...she might have had to clarify that she still loves him "even though" he likes to dress up in a pink genie costume. I agree with Marie too...play dumb and send it to her now. He is so cute by the way. Elizabeth too...the lip kills me, but only because I am not getting it directed at me!

Amy said...

Oh, send it! He looks adorable!

Gavin prefers our pink Disney Princess ride-on, much to my MIL's chagrin. She keeps saying, "Don't let him ride on that! He'll think he's a GIRL!"

This is also the woman that holds down Gavin's left arm while he's eating because she doesn't want him to be a lefty. Clearly she has issues.

Mairzy said...

Wonderful, wonderful picture.

I had much the same exchange with my own mil (with whom, as you know, I have a very good relationship). Titan, when younger, loved necklaces, scarves, and the lavender winter mittens I bought because I couldn't find any other color. I replied that I didn't think much of it because little ones love pretty things. I certainly wasn't going to tell him he couldn't admire something because it was shiny and pink. Fortunately my mil didn't put up a fight about it, because by this time Titan could care less about necklaces, but is all into dragons and throwing mud at the house, so the question is academic.

Dinosaurs in a pink plastic purse, by the way, is hilarious.

Heather said...

That picture is priceless. I'd frame it for a mother's day gift.

Astarte said...

Please, oh please, send that witch the picture!!!! It will probably make her have a heart attack and then you'll be rid of her. :)

Was that too mean? I can't tell. :)

raisingtheboys said...

My oldest is a very sensitive eharted 3.5 year old. And when he isn't making me want to brain myself with his Buzz Lightyear doll, he is charming me with his love for pretty things. He asked for pink crocs. He is fascinated with make up and has a big collection of chapsticks. And he loves playing with dolls and dollhouses. Today we went to Target and he had one of my head bands around his head. the turquoise with white polka dots really brought out his eyes.

Misguided Mommy said...

and we now have a picture to place in his senior yearbook