I was all fired up a few weeks ago that it’s fine for my son to have a pink kayak, because who cares? Apparently my laisse faire attitude regarding gender specificity doesn’t include undergarments.
One of my family members yesterday tried to sneak out of the house in a pair of the 3-year old’s Hello Kitty undies. They’re adorable: white with a scalloped top and a repeating pastel Hello Kitty pattern on them – if I weren’t long past a size 3T, I would try them out, too. (Especially if they cost $20 because then they would most certainly make my butt look great.) Well, said family member was so pleased with the undies that it was impossible for him to keep them hidden under the pants he was wearing out that day, and he showed just the tiniest scalloped edge to his lamemom.
I stifled a laugh and excused myself to get more coffee. Do I really care? Do I believe that there’s anything wrong with him going out in little girl underwear? No, not at all. I actually think it is cute and figure it will be a great story some day (or right now).
So what did I do? I returned to his room and insisted that he change them before he leave. He countered with a very sure, “No.” And then, “Why?”
I grabbed that band-aid and yanked: “You can’t wear them out because you won’t be able to not show your friends, and some of your friends, or at least some of the other kids, will be mean and make fun of you.”
Is it my job to protect him from others or to prepare him for others? Maybe both, but today, I chose to protect him. At lease partially. I’m certain he though he was fooling me when he simply put his underwear on over the Hello Kitties. I felt a tiny bit relieved, as he marched off that day in layered underwear, that if he was teased, at least he could kick the tar out of the offender if it came to that. Yes, he is one of the bigger kids in his class but don’t the magazines all say good underwear will make you stronger and more confident? And, having read enough of these magazines, I have to admit that I was also relieved that it was the son, and not the husband, who was sneaking out in pretty undies.