Friday, June 17, 2011

Blue Toes

The other night, while Husband and KJ were out getting haircuts, I painted Sweet Pea's toe nails pink.  It was something I had been thinking about for a few weeks but Husband was resisting.  I understood Husband's hesitation: Neither of us want to "impose" what we think are grown up things - like earrings or nail polish - on a baby.  But I had a very soft, baby pink color (that Sweet Pea had actually picked out some weeks before) and I knew she would love it.  So I went ahead and painted her toes.  And she was thrilled.

Sweet Pea, thankfully, is a girly girl.  She likes dresses and hair bows and nail polish.  It isn't anything I've done to encourage her.  If anything, I've gone to the other extreme.  We play hockey together and her most recent present from the Easter bunny was a baseball mitt.  I avoided buying anything even remotely related to a Disney princess until earlier this year, when Sweet Pea received a princess book from my brother and slept with it for a week.  We're not trying to raise a girly girl.  She just is one. 

And oh, how happy that makes me.  Don't get me wrong, I'd love Sweet Pea no matter what.  It's just that I never thought I would have a girl.  For some reason, I always thought I'd have all boys.  I have two brothers.  Husband has two brothers.  Neither of us have any sisters.  Boys just seem to run in the family.  And boys are amazing.  I was perfectly content with a family of boys.  Looking forward to it, in fact.  I had plans for my boys to share a room.  I thought about how lucky I was that they'd be close in age.  And I hoped that they would be best friends.  But then I gave birth.  And the doctor said words I never thought I'd hear: "It's a girl."

There aren't words to explain my happiness in that moment.  I'm pretty sure that I would have felt the *exact* same way if the doctor had announced I had a son.  But he didn't.  He said "a girl."  My heart just melted.  I had a boy and a girl.  I was the luckiest woman alive. 

Two years later I still feel the same.  Having one of each allows me to experience, in my opinion, the best of both worlds.  I go from playing babies to hitting baseballs in the blink of an eye.  I know all about Lightening McQueen and Pinkalicious.  I get to play in the dirt and paint toe nails.  And I get to do all of these things with both kids. 

Sweet Pea was so excited about her "pink toes" that they were all she talked about for two full days.  She showed all of her stuffed animals her "pink toes."  She showed my parents - in the middle of a church service - her "pink toes."  She even showed strangers in stores her "pink toes."  In short, Sweet Pea got a lot of positive reaction. 

It only makes sense then, that about a day after I painted Sweet Pea's toe nails pink, KJ approached me and told me he wanted me to paint his toe nails blue.  Sweet Pea was getting a lot of attention, and KJ was probably a little bit jealous.  Plus, when you are three, colored toe nails are pretty awesome, no matter how you look at it.  Husband promptly freaked out.  To Husband, painted toe nails are for girls.  KJ is a boy.  Husband therefore spent a lot of time and energy trying to change KJ's mind.  But KJ held firm, and a few days later, I painted his little tiny toe nails blue.

I've tried to tell Husband that there isn't anything weird about KJ's toe nails being blue.  He's three, after all.  To KJ, his nails aren't just painted - they are painted blue.  And blue is the best color ever.  That's all that matters.  I've also tried to tell Husband that the nail polish phase is just like KJ's barrette phase: when Sweet Pea first started wearing barrettes, KJ wanted to too.  Rather than have a battle of wills, every morning before school I'd let KJ wear a barrette in his hair for a few minutes.  It didn't take more than a work week for KJ to figure out that barrettes weren't so comfortable and stop asking to wear them.  I tried to tell Husband the same would happen here. 

Plus, I don't see any reason for us to tell KJ that painting toe nails is a "girl" thing.  I would never tell Sweet Pea that baseball is only for boys.  Why is it okay to stereotype one way and not the other?  KJ will figure out what he's comfortable with all on his own.  And to be frank, if he's going to experiment with wearing nail polish, I'm glad its now, when he is only three, and not in high school. 

Husband is still not convinced, and just this morning commented that he wished I had taken off KJ's blue polish before KJ's doctor appointment later today.  Apparently, Husband thinks KJ will get some note in his medical file about us being weird parents for letting our boy have "blue toes."  But I'm not so worried about a note in the doctor's file.  If the doctor asks KJ about his blue toes, he'll see pretty quickly how happy that little bit of paint made my boy.  Something so harmless that brings so much joy to a child can't translate into too bad of parenting.  Besides, if you really think about KJ has a point.  Blue toes are pretty awesome. 


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