I don’t write about my son very much, not because he isn’t a HUGE part of my life, but probably because he’s the person in my house that makes the least fuss. Oh sure, there’s drama, and he IS a drama king, but it’s normal everyday eight year old drama. He hasn’t faced adolescent crises yet, he doesn’t have special needs, he hasn’t really ever been sick (knock-on-wood), he does well in school – like I said, he makes the least fuss.
About the only thing he does that’s out of the ordinary, that’s an issue for him, is that he likes to play with dolls. Monster High dolls are his obsession.
He knows that boys aren’t “supposed” to play with dolls – no matter what my husband and I tell him. He never has playdates over because even though he can claim the dolls belong to his sister, he doesn’t have a lot of traditional “boy” toys to play with. He’s not interested in trucks, cars, or soldiers, Star Wars, or even Legos. He’s not very athletic, not into watching sports either, although he did say he would try basketball this winter. We’re ok with it. We don’t judge. It’s other kids he’s worried about. What the kids at school will say, or how they will treat him, if they find out. And it breaks my heart that it affects his social life, when he is really a very social little boy.
I would love to tell him, “Who cares what they think?” I would love to tell him to invite them over and if they don’t like his dolls then who needs them. I would love to tell him that they’ll like him anyway. But I can’t…
because- kids DO care what other kids think, kids DO need friends, and I can’t promise that the kids at school will still like him if they find out what he considers to be a big secret.
He’s already going to be judged by certain people because he has a big sister with autism. Whether that’s right or wrong, it is reality – I know because it’s happened to my oldest daughter. Kids can be ignorant and cruel, just like adults – except children who are targets have generally less “armor” to deflect cruelty than adults do.
I’m not sure how to help him with this one, except to continue what I’ve been doing – telling him he’s a great kid, a wonderful boy, assure him that I love him whether he plays with dolls or trucks or whatever. I wish we lived in a world where kids (and adults) didn’t have to worry about this sh*t, where we could just get to know each other’s hearts and respect our differences, and not make people feel left out just because they’re different.
***The only reason I’m publishing this post is because I try to keep this blog somewhat anonymous. I know my son would be embarrassed, and if I’m still writing this blog by the time he and his friends are old enough to come across it and he wants me to delete it, I will. And I’m sad about that. But, for now, I’m publishing because I don’t think he or any other boy (or girls!) SHOULD BE embarrassed about the toys they love to play with – and the only way to start to change things is to be open.