Friday, April 4, 2014
I always give my kids compliments on how nice they look. (I also praise their kindness, loving choices, intelligence, etc., but I think it is important to also teach them to accept and deliver compliments on people's appearances. Yikes that comes off as shallow, but it isn't, I promise. Sometimes a passing, "Great scarf!" as a )
Today, Sean was dressed very boyish. (Oh how entrenched I have become in labels now that we have moved slightly away from gender neutral parenting and more into the world of trying to look more girly for Kegan.) Sean was wearing a graphic tee-shirt, khaki's, and rain-boots. He looked, as always, super cute.
Kegan had planned to wear a tank type dress, but then in an unusual act of heeding the weather, decided she wanted to wear long sleeves. She wore a glittery, ruffly, long sleeve shirt and white pants. Super cute and by some amazing miracle from just yesterday, her hair is now just barely long enough to give it a little side swept bang thing, i.e., her hair is now slightly less "growing out an obvious boy haircut" and a teeny bit more "growing out a bad haircut." I think between the outfit being very feminine and her hair looking more girly, this might have been the first time I could really see the physical girl in Kegan as opposed to the emotional, intellectual one who I have known for a year or so.
As we were getting ready to walk out the door, I said, "Kegan, you look really nice." Then my sweet, sensitive Sean said, "You look pretty Kegan." Kegan got this big, beautiful smile on her face and said, "Thank you!" I think she really wants Sean to see her as a girl, maybe even more than she wants others to see her as a girl right now. She and Sean have been "the boys," "the brothers," for so long and this division of gender is definitely tough on Sean, but I think it is a little tough on Kegan too. She is gaining her true identity, but also losing the only identity she has ever known.
I don't know where Sean learned that girls are told they look pretty, versus nice or handsome or good. All those lovely compliments do work for both genders of course, but when was the last time a boy was called pretty without a quick correction or self-admonishment? I still do try to be gender neutral in praise, education, and toy selection, but Sean nailed it today. In doing so, he gave his sister a big dose of love.
Tonight, Sean said, "Kegan, I love you Kegan." Kegan responded, "I love you too, Sean." There are other factors in play, but I think their love is growing during this transition as they learn to know each other in a new way. Even though Kegan really is still Kegan, she is happier and more loving in some ways. Maybe she has a peace inside her now that was missing.