I apologize for the long stretch between posts. All is well with me and the amazing young M., but we’ve had a bit of a rough patch: Broken sewer line, overflowing toilet, toys floating around M.’s bedroom… you get the picture. Happy to report that no beloved toys were lost to the Great Toilet Flood of 2014, but it has been a challenging month!
In other news: M. is now wearing PANTS. Pants! I can hardly believe it myself. If you read this post, you know what a big deal this is. You know that M. has refused to wear pants for nearly three years. The “No Pants” policy started soon after she announced that she was a girl and begged me to buy her some dresses. When she finally got her way and acquired said longed-for dresses, pants became off-limits: The kid wouldn’t go near them for love or candy – not even when dresses and skirts were a highly impractical choice – like when we went sledding. All her little girlfriends wore pants nearly every day (and so does her mom!), but pointing this out to her had no impact on her no-pants stance. Although she never actually said so, I’ve always believed that her insistence on wearing dresses was a defensive (and not unreasonable) tactic: We had once told her she was a boy, dressed her in pants and denied her the girly dresses she secretly pined for. What if she caved on pants and we took the dresses (and her girl status) away again? Too risky. The girl’s no fool.
And then, a few weeks ago, all of a sudden, pants were back on the menu. We were getting ready to go out to meet some friends at an all-ages rock concert benefitting a nonprofit our friend founded. M. was pretty thrilled by the idea: “I need to dress up. I need teenager rock ‘n’ roll clothes,” she said.
“Rock ‘n’ roll clothes?”
“Yes, you know – flashy shirt, and jeans.”
“JEANS?” Had I heard her right?
OK, Mom, stay cool. Don’t make a big deal about this. “Sounds like a great idea!”
We found some jeans and a neon-yellow T-shirt. She admired herself in the mirror and nodded. “Now let’s give me a fancy teen-style hairdo.”
And thus, with very little fuss, the Great Pants Ban was lifted.
M. didn’t tell me why pants were suddenly acceptable. I didn’t ask. But I am pleased that she feels secure enough in her girlhood to wear whatever she likes – and to not have to be uber-girlie in order to prove that she’s one of us.
She’s also ditched most of her princess toys in favor of her new obsession: Pokémon. Her new BFF at school is a boy who shares her passion.
Pants? Pokémon? A boy BFF? Whither my girlie little girl?
I have to admit to some moments of doubt lately (“Is she really transgender? Could it all have been a phase?”). My quiet doubts prove the supreme wisdom of the No Pants Stance. The kid was right all along: Give an inch on the trappings of girlhood, and even your own mother might start to doubt you.
I never expressed these thoughts to M., nor would I ever do so. She has never said she isn’t a girl anymore. For cryin’ out loud, Mom, she’s just wearing pants!
And what was I doing at her age? My sister and I were building forts, sword-fighting with sticks, and playing games that involved pretending to be spies and fighting monsters. I rode my bike a lot. I coveted my brother’s skateboard. My hair was seventies-bowl-cut short and in my brown corduroys and androgynous T-shirts, I was often mistaken for a boy.
M.’s new interests don’t mean she’s a boy; they mean she’s just like her mom.