Saturday, June 30, 2007

it's a boy thing

You may have read about our affinity for salvaging things. When Isaac was still pretty little, Mike came home from one of his second-hand adventures with a little foam-filled kid's couch for Isaac's room. It is covered in blue material patterned with baseballs, footballs, basketballs, and baseball, football and basketball players. I didn't really give it much thought at the time, especially since Isaac didn't, though I knew for certain that I'd never actively seek some such thing out and purchase it new.

Lately, he's taken more interest in the drawings of uniformed men passing and swinging and slamdunking.

“'N' dis?” he questions me, pointing at the baseball player.

“Baseball. You know baseball.”

“Bayball,” he says.

“'N' dis?” pointing to the basketball player.

“Basketball. It's the game you play with the hoop,” I tell him, referring to the little Nerf hoop closed into one of his dresser drawers.





“'N' dis?” he demands finally, looking to the padded quarterback.

“Football,” I say, keeping any other commentary to myself.

He looks at me curiously and holds out his right toe. “Foot?”

“Uh-huh. Foot. Ball.”


There's a pause.

“Yeah, me, football?”

“You don't have a football, Iz.”

The brow furrows deeply as if to catch rainwater.

“Yeah, me, football!”

“We'll work on it, Izzy.”

Later that night he was out looking for various essentials with his dad, things like a gallon of scented bubbles, when he apparently again took up his campaign for a football. Inexplicably, he requested a “small, small football!” and, inexplicably, Mike found a bag full of tiny superballs in the shape of footballs.

“He must have been excited,” I said when Mike told me the story.

“He danced,” my husband responded.

My house is now confettied in thumb-sized footballs which can look at first glance like little turds lying about, and in these days of potty training, it's not really what you want to see.

My concern is not that my son may develop an interest in various sports, but rather that his myriad interests will be corralled into only what looks acceptable for a boy.

Isaac adores gardening too. Spends inordinate amounts of time planting and watering with me. Weeds at parks before heading for the slide, steps carefully over seedlings, and rescues cutting from the compost to plant them so they'll grow “tall-tall, up da boon!”

Recently, I put my name down on the mailing list at our local cuttings fair, forgetting about it almost immediately, until a week or so ago when I got the call. It was on my voicemail. An invitation to a fancy hat luncheon at the dump.

How can I, in good conscious, expect my son to continue with an activity that culminates in old women sitting around in straw brimmed numbers topped with feathers and sipping chai? (BTW, I'm inventing here, I didn't actually go to the luncheon so I don't actually know what the old ladies' hats were made of or topped with. I don't want to be associated with these groups any more than I imagine Isaac will.)

Short of the idea to get him a loveseat covered with hoes and spades, I feel kind of hopeless. Like all this is already in motion and way beyond my control. Why do “boy” things seem cool and “girl” things seem...girlie? Why can we even understand what that sentence means?

As for the fancy hat luncheons, it's like when you have someone on your side that you know will bring the cause down.

I ask my two-year-old who's driving his truck.

“Um, a guy,” he says.

“Oh. Do ladies drive it sometimes?”


“How about this truck? Do any ladies drive it?”


“How about your plane? Can a lady drive a plane?”

“No!” he says, impatiently raising his voice. “Guy!”

Show me to the country, the neighborhood, the patch of grass where I can retreat to and rewrite
this script.

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