My son is a princess.

This is my son. He will be six next month and is a month into Kindergarten.

Last night, he asked if he could wear one of my dresses. Knowing they would be way too big on him, I gave him a top that would look like a dress on him. He danced around, called himself a princess, and made sure to find my headband that has a big floppy bow on it.

He asked me, “Can I wear this to school tomorrow?”

My first reaction was, but what will the other kids say? But I simply nodded my head and smiled.

Then he had me teach him how to curtsy and said, “If anybody makes fun of me, I’ll just tell them it isn’t nice. And I’ll tell the teacher.” His tone was so devil-may-care that I was proud of him.

I don’t take this as an indication of anything except a small person wanting to experiment. He’s learning about his world, and who he is inside of it. He compliments the girls at school on their outfits, and admires the dresses he thinks are pretty as we pass them in the store. He told me, “I can wear a dress and still be a boy.”

When he woke up this morning, he still wanted to wear the dress. So I helped him put it on, tying it so it didn’t fit so loosely. He slid the big bow back on his head and smiled for me. I thought he looked cute. I wondered if I should prepare him for possible reactions. But I decided against it. I didn’t want him to change his mind.

On the drive to his school, I suddenly thought about the articles I’d read about similar situations. What would his teachers say? Was this the kind of school that would forbid a boy to wear a dress? How would the other children respond to his clothing? I don’t want it to be a problem, but I was afraid it would be. Because I know how our society works.

Children are not born believing pink is for girls and blue is for boys. They are not born believing only girls can wear dresses. Gender roles are learned. And I’ve struggled with them since the day he was born. We didn’t shroud his room in superheroes because he’s a boy; we did it because his dad and I love superheroes. I paint his nails occasionally because he asks me to. He sees me paint mine, and he wants to imitate his parent. I get it. And I love it. We bond over it, just as I’m sure mothers feel a bond to their daughters when doing similar things. But he never wants pink polish. The kids at school only make fun of his painted nails if they are a “girl” color. He sticks to blues and greens on his nails.

When we walked into the school, the assistant director was in the front office. She smiled at my son and complimented his outfit. She told him that was her favorite color. The next teacher we passed smiled at him and told him he had a very pretty dress on. The teacher in the “gathering room” for children dropped off early didn’t respond at all. Just greeted him the same way she does every morning.

As I was leaving him, I heard one of his friends.

“What?!?”

I don’t know what happened after that. Not yet. I don’t even know for sure the friend was reacting to my son.

I’m going to spend the rest of my day wondering. Will his friends be kind and accepting? Will he still be wearing the dress when I come to pick him up? Will he be confident enough to wear it to school again, if he chooses?

Will he be lucky enough to grow up in a world that will accept him for who he is? I know his family will. Even if he decides he likes wearing dresses. Or even if he doesn’t.

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7 comments on “My son is a princess.”

  1. Emily

    Very sweet post. One of my sons went through a stage like that when he was about the same age. He loved to wear girl’s shoes and even had a pink doll that he had requested. And, when his younger brother was born, he pretended to breastfeed (like mommy) with his pink doll. We did not try to discourage him in anyway. Now he is almost 13 and recently we were talking about his “breastfeeding days” with him. He loved hearing about it. Although he is a sports-playing, basketball-jersey-wearing almost teenager now, I know that he is comfortable with who he is (and was) because he has a family that embraces and accepts him no matter what. Keep doing what you’re doing!

  2. christina

    i’m not sure why exactly, but this post moved me to actual tears. you are such a good mama for allowing your child to be who he is. such a good mama. and hearing the reaction from the staff? awesome. seriously. there really are good people still out there, huh? i really and truly hope his day was just as beautiful as he is.

  3. Aunt Laura

    The only thing I see in the picture is my great nephew with the cutest smile on his face. Hope his day was great, cause this made mine… Hugs…Hope to see you two at the wedding….

  4. Kate Shrewsday

    Here for the first time and I find this Supermum tale. Letting your son be who he wants to be, when he wants to be – I think it must be the greatest gift you could give him. He’s lucky indeed to have someone who is facilitating his growth. And his courage and devil-may-care attitude are testament to the high self esteem you have given him. This is a wonderful tale, and I shall remember it when my own son wants to stretch his wings in a different direction. Thanks.

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