Belle is a Boy

Earlier in the month there was a blog post by a mom, writing about her son who wanted to dress up for Halloween as Daphne from Scooby Doo. The post went viral very quickly, and I hear the mom was even on the Today show.

Well, that post could have (almost) been written by me, except I have a daughter, not a son.

(Actually, I have two daughters, but this post is about my younger one, known here as Belle.)

Belle has always been very, um, active. She has one speed, and it is high. She wakes up (far) earlier than anyone else in the house and is loud, with big movements and holds no prisoners. I often have to tell her to be gentle to our (five) animals. I tell you, any animal that can make it in our house can make it anywhere!

She also looks like a boy. She has an amazingly thick head of hair. I mean, seriously, you have never seen hair like hers. When she was younger I tried growing it long-ish, but it grew out more than down and it was always pretty much just puffed out from her head. I cut it shorter when she was about 4 and it fit her face much better. Then we had the Lice Invasion of 2008 (which has repeated itself yearly since) and desperate times call for desperate measures — I finally resorted to shaving her head to save my sanity.

While her hair was pretty much non-existent I tried to dress her in pink as much as possible when we went out in public, just so people would know she was a girl. She really didn’t care much either way. Left to her own devices, she dresses very boy-ish. And the same outfit, which looked feminine on Krystal, looks far less so on Belle.

She’s six now, in first grade. I still keep her hair short. When we are out in public a cashier will say “Here you go, honey” to Krystal, and “Here you go, buddy” to Belle. At McDonalds, unless I specify, they take it upon themselves to include a boy toy for Belle in the Happy Meals. Her appearance, her demeanor, her actions all scream boy. Friends with sons her age tell me she plays like their boys do: loud, aggressive, physical.

When I was young, age 8ish to 12-ish, I wanted to be a boy. I thought boys/men had it better than girls/women and I wanted to be one to gain those advantages. Around puberty I accepted my girl/womanhood and have never looked back, even though some of the male privilege still irks me. All in all, I like being a woman. Belle doesn’t seem to want to be a boy – she just acts like one.

All of this has made me wonder about her sexual orientation. I want to say, unequivocally, that it does not matter to me whether Belle loves men, or women, or both. I only want her to love people who love and respect her, who make her happy, and vice versa.

Parenting Belle sure is an experience.

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