Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Peeeeep, hello little mouse

If there is some Halloween version of Scrooge, that's me. This has always been one of my least favorite holidays and as recently as last night I was debating bagging the whole thing. I'm so glad I didn't.

After some discussion, we decided not to go with the play-doh idea (way too much effort for my sluggish-of-late state) and instead decided to go with a mouse. "Why a mouse?" you say. Well a couple of months ago Jessikah went to get Taran from a failed nap, most of which he spent rolling around his crib shouting out "Peeeeeeeep". When she picked him up from his crib she said "Hello, little mouse". He loved it and it stuck. Now he walks around the house talking about Mama mouse and Papa mouse and little mouse and peeping a lot. So the mouse costume was an obvious choice.

I am not a sewer by any stretch of the imagination, but the fantastic thing about two year olds is that the mere suggestion of a costume is enough to bring sheer joy. So on my husband's encouraging last night at 9 pm (I was still sprawled on the couch reading a spy novel), I drummed up some enthusiasm and sewed a pink oval on to the belly of a grey fleece bought especially for the occasion. Joe gathered some white felt, cotton batting and wire for a tail and in the morning, I hot-glued together the tail and somehow managed to get it to stay on a pair of warm grey sweat pants with a few sloppy stitches. Some eyeliner-whiskers and voila! Mouse costume!

We let him wear his costume to music class this morning and he was more animated than I've seen him there for weeks. For the last seven weeks, every night before music class his sleep has been absolutely horrendous. I call it the curse of the music class. I'm kind of bummed about this because music class is something he absolutely loved to do last year but so far this year he's stayed curled in my lap the whole clase, all pale, bleary-eyed and well, pretty much miserable. I thought last week was bad when he was up for 4 hours in the middle of the night (peeping like a mouse of course) and got a grand total of 8 hours of sleep. Last night he topped that by only getting 6.5. I contemplated skipping it all together this morning but he had the best time. Ever. He ran around the class singing, dancing, laughing, peeping, and showing off his tail to everyone who would listen about it. For his 6.5 hours, I only got three, but his performance even perked me up. All in all, this might have been my best Halloween of all time, thanks to Taran. I'm so glad he's old enough now to get so much enjoyment out of all the holidays!

Trick-or-treating at our neighbors. According to their 9-year old Jack, Taran "is the cutest mouse I've ever seen". 

Bath time for the melty mouse

Friday, October 19, 2012

Sparkle Fantastic

Now that the days have grown colder and it's no longer barefoot weather, we have begun the great shoe n' sock battle in our household. The only shoes Taran has been willing to wear lately are the Croc clogs. You know the ones - molded piece of rubber with multiple holes in the top. Not exactly cool weather shoes. So the other day I had the great idea "take him to the shoe store with me and let him pick his shoes and he'll be so much more willing to wear them". Here's the thing. My plan worked brilliantly. He instantly found a pair of closed-toe shoes that he absolutely adored, put them on all by himself right away and burst into hysterical tears at the mere prospect of them being removed.

What I didn't count on was that the object of his affection would be the pinkest, glitteriest, heart-shaped bejeweled princess shoes you've ever seen. Complete with a bow. And here's the thing...I've dated people with every kind of body part, or lack of body part imaginable. I've always believed it's the person you love, not their parts. And I was totally floored by the pink shoes. Which shocked me more than his wanting them did. I mean hell, I want them. They are sparkle fantastic. And way more exciting then the "proper" brown leather dress up shoe or the navy blue sneaker that I picked out for him.

I guess I was pretty surprised to find that when it came to my son, I was pretty reluctant to step outside of pre-defined, societal gender roles. And I was dreading the judgement that he might get or I might get for his pink shoes. Which contemplating it a minute more just made me pissed. Because if he were a girl and waltzed around in a pair of spider-man shoes, no one would bat an eyelash. So the pink shoes it was. And I have to say, he looked pretty snazzy 5 minutes later running down the supermarket aisles, his pink shoes a-twinkling on his happy little feet.

Later that day, I called my husband to give him a heads up about the shoes. The conversation went something like this:
Joe: I guess that's ok as long as he just wears them at home.
Me: Babe, he's 2! Don't you think he's a little bit young to be imposing gender roles on him. And do you want to be the one to explain why he can't wear the pink shoes?!
Joe: But, I'm concerned about what the other kids will say.
Me: You mean the other two year olds at library storytime might call him a fag?

I feel like I should qualify something here. I don't throw the word "fag" around lightly. I was trying to unveil to my husband whatever unconscious thought people have when they make a judgement that it's ok for girl's to be a tomboy - heck, it might even be considered cute, or as they got older, sexy - but there is almost no tolerance for boys to be anything outside of a very....VERY... rigidly defined definition of BOY. At this point he saw where I was coming from. And when he got home and saw the shoes himself, he got a wry grin on his face and said "I totally get it". Have I mentioned I adore my husband?

I guess I'm bringing this up because it brings up for me a critical part of my parenting philosophy - celebrate who your kid is and give them the confidence to be happy in themselves, even when they don't follow a traditional mold. The pink shoes may be a one time thing, like a fish drawn to a shiny lure. And given that the child is only two, this is almost surely the case. But if in the long run it's not, I would rather be prepared to support my son in his choices. Even if it's uncomfortable. Even if it means that he swims more upstream socially because of it. Because I'd rather give him the tools to deal with other people's judgements from an early age than make him feel like he has to feel ashamed or suppress any aspect of himself. I never understood how to follow a traditional mold. I wasn't the most popular kid in school. But my parents gave me the love and the support to be whoever I was in the world and I'd like to pass that gift on to my son.