Thursday, January 19, 2012

Should my son wear Hello Kitty boots to school?

This is Titus playing in the snow last year wearing the boots in question. You can see them best in the top picture. 

It's been raining cats and dogs in our neck of the woods lately. As in, streets closed, cars being swept into creeks turned rivers kind of raining. I almost got stuck on our street yesterday picking our foster kiddo up from school, and I drive a mid-sized crossover.

The conditions of the roads seemed a little bit better this morning, at least in our neighborhood, but the rain is still furiously pelting down. I had been really hopeful that school would be cancelled today, but alas, the morning rush began despite my desire to curl up with my kids, my green fuzzy blanket and a cup of hot cocoa.

As we were getting ready we were pulling out all of the rain gear we could find. You would think that since we live in Oregon we would own a lot of rain gear, but the opposite is true. Rain doesn't scare us; we live in it daily. Only transplant Oregonians carry umbrellas with them everywhere they go! The rest of us style our hair in such a way that the rain won't disturb it our look too much, roll up our jeans so the bottoms don't get soaked and make a mad dash to our cars, recognizing that everyone else is going to look like they just got pelted with a bucket of rain as well.

But today, today was a little bit different. Today I even put on a pair of my daughter's rain boots, imagining myself having to ditch my car in the middle of some make shift river on Hill street, carrying my brood of little ones on my back in a heroic effort to escape the wild raging river that used to be a main thorough-fair. I cinched up my rain jacket, got my kids bundled up and loaded everyone into the car to get our our teenager off to school (at O'Dark Early, mind you... why does middle school start at the crack of dawn, anyway?).

In the process of this Titus was admiring the fact that Leeann and I were both wearing boots, and he said that he wanted to wear boots too. I told him that he didn't have any boots that fit him. "Yes I do," he insisted. "The Hello Kitty boots fit me."

I brushed it off, hurrying everyone into the car hoping we wouldn't be late. After we got home though, and the younger kids finished getting ready for school Titus asked me again if he could wear the Hello Kitty boots.

"No," I stated again, hoping he wouldn't ask why. I firmly believe that there is a strong difference between boys and girls and I don't like that society is suddenly calling such a distinction 'wrong'. However, I also think that things have been categorized as 'girl things' and 'boy things' that have no business being categorized as such. Like certain colors, or cartoon characters. Or perfectly comfortable boots that contain such insignia.

In our home we don't really make a bid deal about 'girl things' and 'boy things'. We have a boy and a girl and they have to play together. Therefore, they will each have to regularly play with the opposite gender's toys. We don't dole out cups and plates in gender specific colors, or stop our kids from wearing each others dress up clothes because they are choosing to pretend to be a character of another gender. Trust me, I have loads of pictures to prove this fact! However, we also don't pretend that there isn't, or shouldn't be a distinction between genders either.

I had no problem putting Leeann's too small Hello Kitty boots on Titus last year when we were prancing around in the snow together. They were practical. They fit. And we didn't have another option.

Yet suddenly, now that my son was asking to wear them to school though, I refused to let him.

Did I make the right choice?

He pressed in on me a little. "Why can't I wear them, mommy?"

By this point his ride had shown up so we didn't have long to chat but I simply told him, "I have no problem with you wearing the Hello Kitty boots. I don't think they're too girly, but some kids at school might think they are and I don't want them to tease you."

That's what I said because, well, that's the truth, and he seemed more than okay with that answer as he scurried out the door.

My son wouldn't even think to question whether or not he should wear them. They would protect his feet from the massive rain puddles, and besides, he likes the Hello Kitty t.v. show. His favorite episode is where the whole cast pretends to be the cast of Star Wars. That's totally cool in his 6 year-old Star Wars loving mind. I'm sure it never even crossed his mind that he would have been teased for wearing the pink boots.

Should I have allowed him to wear the boots and experience this reality for himself, or was I right to protect him from what I knew would come from his insensitive kindergarten peers?

I'm beginning to realize this whole parenting thing only gets more and more difficult as the years go by!

1 comment:

Diana said...

I would have let him wear them, and thrown in an extra pair of shoes in his bag in case he did want to change. Chances are he's not the only six year old who loves Hello Kitty. I've seen more guys wearing pink every year.