Wednesday, October 22, 2008

How Sad

You know, I think there's a point in every kid's life when they realize what about them is different from other people. Like when a girl realizes that she is unusually tall compared to other girls she knows, or realizes that her mother works and her father stays home even though no one else seems to do that. As anyone who has ever worked in an office or attended a college class knows, "It's these differences that make us each special." We should "celebrate these differences." Whatever. Try telling that to a ten year old girl who is already a B cup, has braces, and just started her period two days ago. (It's probably the milk!)

The truth is, I want my kids to be special and be their own person, but I also don't want them to be the weird kids. One of my goals as a parent - and stop me if I've said this 2 million times - is to make sure my kids are normal. That doesn't mean they have to conform to what everyone else is doing. That doesn't mean they can't excel in anything. That doesn't even mean that they can't be activists or conservatives, or whatever label you want to use. I simply mean that I want them to be kids while they are kids. I want my daughter to be a little girl before she's a preteen/teen/adult. I want my baby boys to be babies before they are men.

As for fashion, I don't know where I'll stand when this becomes an issue in my home. I was always the one who wore the "odd" clothing in my group. Of course, in the early nineties that just meant wearing gaudy rings on each finger, vintage shirts, and and Converse One-Stars. I'm sort of for dressing how you like, but really, do I want my little Ethan to one day be a goth wearing a hundred safety pins in his pants? No, not really. Clothing is still a grey area for me. Ask me again when I have teenagers.

Anyway, back to my original point. At some time their lives, kids realize that they are different in certain ways. I just always thought that was closer to puberty.

Today I asked Avery why he had an accident, and he responded, "I'm just different. I have yellow hair and no one else does."

My response? "What??"

Then he explained. "Ethan looks a little bit 'Cadun'."

I'm guessing he meant "Cajun," but who the heck told him this? Daniel is from Louisiana, so the term Cajun is not foreign to my kids, but I know I didn't tell him this. In fact, I always thought it was neat that Avery has blonde hair and no one else in our house does. I don't think I like for him to feel different because of it. I've dealt with the mailman jokes and questions about which kids were really "ours" for 3 years now, but this is new.

So now I'm reconsidering my stance on kids being different. Is it good or bad? Is it always just one or the other? If not, then when is it okay to be different?

Since my little Avery is so wise today, I think I'll just sit back and let him decide for now. But when he needs my opinion on combat boots and safety pin pants, I'm ready.


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