Saturday, July 6, 2013

on gender, beards and poo: conversations with my (almost) 3 year old


Our car kept overheating on our way home from Sydney this morning and our 90 minute drive took over three hours.  It was stressful: we kept pulling over to let our car cool down on highway stretches, we had no water or food, our phone was nearly dead and our children are not big fans of car seats.  And of course Saf (almost 3) had a sudden urge to do his daily poo.  I knelt down next to him on the side of the highway, not a building or person in sight, encouraging him to relax and poo if he needed to.  After a few minutes of adjusting his position he gave up: "I can't go poo here.  Somebody might step in it." 




thanks husband, for capturing this moment

This evening after the usual dinner chaos and showers we sat in the living room talking a bit.  Saf was lounging on Chris and I noted that they are looking more and more similar.  Saf agreed, he says it's their noses and their faces and their chins.  "Are you going to have a beard when you grow up like your dad?" I asked.  "Yes," Saf said, "Probably when I turn 3."  We laughed and Chris said, "Well, you probably will be shaving by the time you are 13.  You've got Indian genes."  (What?!?  I had a lot more compassion for my husband's teenage years after that conversation.)

And this one makes me laugh every time I tell it.

We were in a small bakery that recently opened on our street, popping by for the first time to see what they had to offer and pick up a few donuts.  There was one other person there, a man with shaggy hair, a slim build wearing a long trench coat.  Saf was talking loudly about the man, why he was there and about how he had dropped some coins on the ground.  He was quiet for a moment and then shouted in disbelief, "THAT'S NOT A MAN!!  IT'S A LADY!!"

I was moderately horrified, stared at my child and whispered, "No."  Then I turned to my much less verbal child and started talking to her about anything at all.  I did not look at the man nor did I try to correct my child's erroneous revelation about his gender.  I've replayed this scene many times in my head wondering if there was a better way to handle it - what do you think?

Have you ever been responsible for kids who have said embarrassing things in public? What have you done?






14 comments:

  1. Sadly, my sweet oldest daughter was about 2 and said something similar about a young man who walked past us. It was a VERY innocent comment. Something like, "That lady has pretty hair!" I was gently correcting her and said some men have long hair too. The young man turned to her, cursed at her and told me I was an idiot for having such a stupid child. I was much less horrified by her at that point!

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    1. oh that's terrible! what a sad person to curse at a child! :( The only semi-rude responses I've had to my kids have been when we've been on airplanes or trains and still it's been mild!

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  2. several years ago i was at the library with two little girls i volunteered with (both Somali). the man checking out our book was trans (and a bit shabby, to be perfectly honest). the younger girl (probably around 8), looked at the checker full in the face and practically shouted "are you a BOY or a GIRL????" while i was mortified, i think it was a fair question for an 8 year old to ask, based on the mixed signals of dress/makeup/hair/voice/build. sadly, the checker was very annoyed and chose not to answer the question, so my little girl just kept asking it, louder and louder as i tried to usher us out the door. once outside, we actually had a pretty good conversation about gender and identity.

    also, on another note, my daughter is almost 3 too! i was just thinking yesterday i would like to time travel and tell myself 4 months ago that almost-3 is almost more delightful than i can bear.

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    1. haha that is hilarious. children and their honesty. :) yes i'm really, really enjoying his age now. his ability to communicate (while sometimes embarrassing) helps us soooo much. my 18 month old is hilariously uncooperative compared to him! Happy Birthday to your sweet girl pretty soon!

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  3. Ha ha ha oh NO! What WOULD I have done?? Oh kids, they know how to mortify us.

    My Lydia, at almost-two, is starting to say hilarious things, too, and it's so much fun! Yesterday she was looking at a mosquito bite on her arm when she said, "I have nipple on arm." Ha!

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    1. haha, yes i could probably write a whole post on what my child says because he is nursing at almost 3. long conversations publicly about which side is his that day and which is his sister's ... i'm learning not to apologize about it. it's part of life! and hopefully he will have a healthier view of women's bodies because of it?

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  4. oh that's terrible! what a sad person to curse at a child! :( The only
    semi-rude responses I've had to my kids have been when we've been on
    airplanes or trains and still it's been mild!

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  5. oh that's terrible! what a sad person to curse at a child! :( The only
    semi-rude responses I've had to my kids have been when we've been on
    airplanes or trains and still it's been mild!

    ReplyDelete
  6. haha that is hilarious. children and their honesty. :) yes i'm
    really, really enjoying his age now. his ability to communicate (while
    sometimes embarrassing) helps us soooo much. my 18 month old is
    hilariously uncooperative compared to him! Happy Birthday to your sweet
    girl pretty soon!

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  7. haha, yes i could probably write a whole post on what my child says
    because he is nursing at almost 3. long conversations publicly about
    which side is his that day and which is his sister's ... i'm learning
    not to apologize about it. it's part of life! and hopefully he will
    have a healthier view of women's bodies because of it?

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  8. Thats awesome! Kids are just the best!
    Last week I was walking from the store with my 2 year old nephew in my arms. I was wearing a v-neck (nothing scandalous) but from his view,on my hip, I guess he could see a bit more than the average passerby. He sweetly stroked by chest and said (loudly and proudly!) "Aunties boobies!" I laughed, but also wanted to hide under a rock.

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  9. hahaha, oh man that's hilarious. :) i would have been pretty embarrassed too.

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