I’m going to take a break from talking about the publishing process/agent search and talk about a subject that’s wildly off topic. This post isn’t even about the heart child – it’s about his heart-healthy brother, Mason. But first, a quick update on the agent search: I’ve sent about 20 queries/submissions thus far, and received a few rejections. I’ll just have to keep on keeping on I suppose. More on that later.
Let’s talk about my son and his dolls. Ever since he met his first Disney Princess, it was love at first sight for Mason. He loves all things pink, frilly and girly. As his parents, we have done our best to allow him to be exactly who he is. For example, this year the one item he wanted most from Santa was an American Girl Doll. He now owns Caroline, and she goes everywhere with him. She sleeps next to his bed. She watches him build Legos. She’s pretty much everywhere that he is, except at the dinner table. I drew the line there, because I don’t want spaghetti sauce in the hair of this $100 doll.
Last year he was obsessed with princess dresses. He wanted his own. So Santa brought him 3 Disney Princess gowns. Those of you who know Mason know that he is a HUGE kid. Literally a full head taller than all the other first graders in his class. Finding Disney Princess gowns that fit a giant 6-year-old boy was a challenge. But I did it! And he stomped around the house in them for a couple of months. He has now outgrown that phase, but I’m so glad we let him enjoy it on his own terms.
I think about what might happen to my son if we chose to squash his love of dolls and princesses. Instead of growing out of his princess-dress phase, would he have gone on to rebel as a teenager? And what would that have looked like? Something mild like dying his hair pink? Or something more permanent, like piercing his nipples and tattooing his face? It’s hard enough to figure out who you are – there are plenty of people my age who haven’t figured it out yet – without having people in your face telling you that you are wrong or bad for not conforming to society’s gender-based standards.
And Mason is learning to self regulate. I have mixed feelings about this. On one hand, I am glad that he is capable of being realistic. On the other, I am sad that he has to justify his love of the color pink to anybody. At the ripe old age of 7, he already understands that some kids will make fun of him for loving girls and princesses. Not long ago, a kid on the bus sneered at him and called him “a stupid little girl.” That really broke my heart. But it also gave me a chance to tell him, one more time, that it’s okay for him to be just exactly who he is. Whatever life throws at him, he will always have his mother’s love and support, and like every other mother, I hope only that it is enough.