Year: 2017

Taking the Plunge

Well, here’s a lovely dilemma filed under “I never imagined having these conversations”: My partner and I have decided we need to be the grown-ups and not be so fearful for our son. Gathering wisdom from innumerable sources, we think it’s best to let our little gender-nonconformist break the ice and wear some skirts to school. My rationale comes from three arguments: What’s most important is he love himself and not feel his self-expression is anything shameful to be hidden. That he knows we always, always, always have his back and love him, unconditionally. There will be haters everywhere in life, no matter if he dresses in skirts or roots for the Yankees or has a funny walk. The sooner he knows issues 1&2 will help us all deal with the consequences of #3 and we can choose, together, how to address it all. Also? We aren’t making history, here. Boys from Arkansas to Arizona are already going to school in dresses. We need to calm the F down. But as we’ve done a bit …

Well…It Finally Happened

It finally happened. My son was publicly shamed for wearing a dress. And my fatherly instincts screamed with leonine ferocity inside my head, but the diplomacy of a damn Israeli-Palestinian negotiator without. I took my kids to France, again, for a few weeks, this summer. I figured the cost of the trip was less than paying for 2 kids’ camp in New York City; plus, I used the last of my AmEx miles to pay for the flights. Anyway. My gender non-conforming son wore a dress every single day, except when he squeezed himself into his 4yo cousin’s pink bathing-suit-with-attached-tutu. And it was all fine. His new short haircut (see here) drew some double-takes, but, overall, it was fine. Until one night toward the end of our trip. I went to a restaurant with another dad and his son, and my kiddo was decked out in his Trolls “t-shirt-attached-to-flouncy-dress”. We were along the banks of a EuroDisney movie set replete with medieval castle backdrop and window boxes exploding with flowers. My kid saw the quai …

Inside the Mind of a Gender Creative Boy

Originally posted on Raising My Rainbow:
I hear from a lot of adults raising gender expansive four and five year olds. The adults are typically stressed, confused, lonely and scared. I get it. I’ve been there. Ages four and five were the toughest for us in terms of parenting a gender expansive child. I tell families that it gets better once the child can communicate his/her thoughts and feelings. Like, now, with C.J. being 10 years old and getting ready to start fifth grade, if I have a question about him, I can ask him and he can answer. I asked C.J. what he remembers thinking and feeling when he was four and five years old and I wrote it all down. I’m hoping that sharing C.J.’s memories below might help families currently wondering and/or struggling. xoxo, Lori (By: C.J., age 10, August 2017) When I was two years old I kind of liked cars and knights and stuff because that’s all the toys we had. When I got closer to three years old, I…

Hair Today, Mullet Tomorrow

The Before: The After: When I became a father, one of the battles I swore to myself I’d never wage was over hair. A friend of mine's son made hideous teenage hair choices, but his mother once said to me, “My mother made such a big deal of my hair I swore I’d never do the same to my kids.” I adopted that philosophy. My mom and I went round and round about my hair so very many times. She wanted me to remain the all-American Tom Sawyer with the neatest side part and feathery 1980’s ‘do. But when I hit junior high and discovered blow-dryers and MTV, I follicly rebelled. I wanted Johnny-Depp-21-Jumpstreet hair. That meant much fuller and longer than Mom’s Eisenhower-June-Cleaver standards tolerated. So we fought for years about my hair. Yesterday, my 5yo had a bout with a pair of scissors and gave himself a haircut. I’m still apoplectic about it. Yes, I know self-inflicted hair disasters are a rite of passage for all children. As my partner said, “the only …

Proud to be “Worst Daddy in the World”

“You’re the worst daddy in the world,” was stated, yesterday. Not the first time I’ve heard it. Thankfully, I haven’t heard it much (yet). But as a friend reminded me, it probably means I’m doing my job. Why’d I receive such 5yo vitriol? Because on a rainy Saturday afternoon, after offering my sons to veg out in front of the TV, I made the stipulation they had to clean their room, first. Now, listen: I’m no neat-freak. I don’t like dirtiness, but I don’t mind messiness. However, I won’t abide a bedroom that’s trashed with dress-up clothes, princess castles, Legos and monster trucks. I’m asking for the very lest, kiddo: shove your shit into the big toy baskets and clear the floor. I’m not asking for hospital-tucked sheets, folded underwear drawers or toothbrush-scrubbed window tracks. Nope. Just clear the floor 80% and you earned your special TV time (no more than ½ an hour. Let’s not get crazy, people.) So, on this Father’s Day 2017, I pledge to my son to earn top-billing as “worst-daddy-in-the-world” …

Happy Father’s Day, Mom.

On Father’s Day, I’m reminded I’m the mom. Not in the ignorant person asking, “Yeah, but which one of you is the mom?” way. That has a connotation of “which one of you is the girl?” I resent that. We aren’t that superficially categorized. But I guess the semantics need simplification. I’m confusing myself. Lemme explain. My partner is the one who knows how to “just be” with our kids. He’s the one unperturbed with sitting on the bedroom floor, letting them toddle about, babble, sing, and play. He’s agenda-less. He lets the kids come to him and welcomes them with open arms, hugs, tickles and tolerates their make-believe. I’m the agenda-follower, vegetable-force-feeder, schedule-keeper, nighttime routine follower, iPad shunner, project-manipulator, muddy puddle-avoider, quiz-annoyer, list-checker, freaker-outer, frustration-succumber, unnecessary battle-seeker-outer, tear-causer. But not him. One of our favorite bedtime stories (Little Boy…check it out. It’s perfection), ends with the statement, “Little Boy, you remind me how so much depends on days made of now.” And my partner lives that. He’s able to be in the “now”, let …

I’m not Racist, but…

A few months ago, after my four thousandth reading of Pinkalicious, I closed the book, and thought, “Man. If I were an African-American father I would be disgusted by our book selection.” Pinkalicious. Vanilla Icing Icing Baby. Fancy Nancy. Frilly whitey. Biscuit Goes to the Farm (or does whatever). Yellow lab, white identity. Curious George. A monkey living in a white world. Ergo: white monkey. Hungry Little Caterpillar – a little white boy with an eating disorder. Clifford. Big red dog, little white girl. Where the Wild Things Are. White monsters. Dr. Seuss One fish, two fish, white kid, white kid. Goodnight Moon. Little white bunny and his old white granny whispering “hush” Harry Potter Even the “dark arts” wizards are white. (Thank goodness. Because awkward.) Lego’s are all white people, My Little Pony and Strawberry Shortcake couldn’t possibly be whiter. Sofia the First has a white character…once every 8 episodes when they’re running out of story lines for princess entitlement. And let’s not even touch the main Disney princesses (pre-Tiana, I suppose). (Alright, alright …

Is Love for Sparkles Genetic?

Where does our draw to sparkly things come from? OMG. I can’t let that sentence stand…but “from whence does our draw to sparkles originate?” sounds ridiculous. Anyway. Why do we like sparkles? Is there prehistoric programming within us to collect sparkly things because sparkly things can be used as…currency? Or status- like the crab in Moana? Perhaps is purely aesthetics?…Zeus and Gaia and their ilk thought, “I should give these pathetic humans something nice to look at since life is so nasty, brutish and short. I know! I’ll endow  ‘em with taste!” Back in the day, did Neanderthals attracted to rainbows steer their tribes from danger? Or did they lead them straight into certain death on quixotic rainbow hunts…but have a fabulous road trip on their way to starvation? Did little girl cro-magnons (and boy cro-magnons, Gavin…don’t forget the topic of which you’re writing) decorate their animal pelts with daisies in the springtime? There was definitely an appreciation for art…just look at the Lascaux paintings in France. But were they also indulging an appreciation for …

What Came First: the Princess or the Girl?

It’s not just that my son loves Disney princesses. He loves the entire kit ‘n caboodle of what society would label (unfairly) “girly” stuff. Purple lollipops. (Not just any lollipop.) Sparkly tutus Barbie pink dream cars Cotton candy Fancy Nancy Glitter this Sequined that Pinkalicious Pink everything Purple everything It comes as a package. Walking down the street, he’s got a focused attention to detail that’s both annoying and astounding. He loves all dogs, but seeing a King Charles Spaniel is all the cuter. (And it’s TRUE! King Charles Spaniels are cuter…than labs or regular spaniels or golden doodles.) It’s a fascinating cliché. Listen, I don’t want to put anyone in boxes. And it drives me crazy when people make assumptions about any of my tastes (even if they’re right.) So I try to accept that a girl can be equally inspired by Lego’s as by Elena of Avalor. (Oh, you haven’t heard of Elena? You’re missing out on Disney’s cornering of the Latina market.) And I think boys could choose a red crayon just …

Brexit: Maybe It’s Not So Bad?

Before iPhones, NYC taxi drivers were reliably fun conversationalists. They still are in London. London cabbies are some of the most uniquely intelligent people in the world. They have unparalleled geographic knowledge set to navigate the mind-boggling maze of tiny London streets. And due to my lack of a cell phone, the cabbies were immediately engaging and friendly. And opinionated. After hearing our accents, three cabbies started our ride off by asking, “So, what do ya think of your new president, there?” Please…get me started. And those conversations immediately led to talk of Brexit. Every single one of our drivers voted “Britain Out”. And they were quick to talk about it. And boy do I feel schooled. It seemed to me the Brexit vote meant 52% of Brits were short-sighted and wanted closed borders; that, indeed, they were being xenophobic not wanting low-wage workers from Romania or Estonia, let alone refugees. And it seemed they were tired of having another “boss” in Brussels, the EU capital. I just thought – “What are you? Texas?” But …