Today is show-and-share day at pre-school. It’s Griffin’s favorite day of the week and he usually painstakingly picks out his toy the night before. Last night he told me that he wanted to bring his baby doll and I told him that I thought it was a great idea! We bought Griffin a baby when I was pregnant with Evvie. Partially to show him what a baby is, and practice holding one and being gentle. But also because it’s a toy that any kid enjoys playing with! My brother had a baby named Charlie when he was little and Charlie went everywhere with him. Griffin loves his baby- not any more or any less than some of his other toys and stuffed animals, but she definitely has a place in his bed every night.
So we went to school this morning, and Griffin was SO PROUD to be carrying his baby. On the way in, one of the moms gave Griffin a side eye and then looked at me and grimaced.
Horrible mom to Griffin in incredulous tone: are you bringing that into school?
Griffin: yes! it’s my baby!
Horrible mom in snotty tone: ohhhh… it’s YOUR baby? Are you sure?
Griffin: yes! mommy and daddy got her for me when I was a baby.
Horrible mom: hmmm… are you sure it’s not your SISTER’S baby?
Me: No, actually it’s Griffin’s baby. We bought it for him and he loves her. I think it’s great when little boys learn how to be nurturing humans and are also given the opportunity to choose what they care about.
Horrible mom: hmm. My boys don’t have dolls.
Us” *walking away*
I. CANT. EVEN.
Gender norming and gender stereotyping is one of my hot button issues anyway. But DO NOT shame my kid. Are you kidding me? NEVER, EVER impart your values to my child. I am livid.
It is absolutely mind boggling that in 2014, in a fairly liberal neighborhood, this still happens. Griffin also loves to have me put his hair in “pony tails” and have an occasional fingernail painted. It doesn’t make him any less “boy”. What it means is that he is naturally curious, open to new experiences, and has not yet been beaten down by society’s opinions of what is right, wrong, and normal for a little boy.
I am so thankful that Griffin is too young to understand what she meant. But if it had been another year or two, he would have totally picked up on it. And what then? He could have been too embarrassed to pick up a doll again. People don’t understand the impact of their words. I feel so bad for this woman’s sons.