Hooray! Today, on my son Asa’s 5th birthday, I am officially starting the Handsome in Pink blog. I have been writing these entries in my head for the past several years but at last there is a place for them to live! I find that these gender-related thought provoking moments just keep coming up in my mothering journey, and I want to share them with you. Please check back regularly for new blog entries. And let me know your thoughts; I want to hear from you!
And now it’s time to dive right in…
We just sent home 4 little ninjas, decked out in their black masks and belts, clinging on to their silver spray painted cardboard swords and stars, and high on flourless chocolate cake and vanilla bean ice cream. What an afternoon! They helped my son, the birthday ninja, steal the treasure box from under the chair of the sleeping pirate, Grandpa Steve. And they completed an elaborate obstacle course in our backyard which tested their balance, stealth, and speed. It was quite a party, and now we all take a big sigh as the 5th birthday celebation comes to a close.
I can’t help but remember my son Asa’s previous birthdays. The birthday party themes are often a reflection of where your kid is at in life. And Asa is wholeheartedly in the world of ninjas, superheros, swords, utility belts, and really weapons of any kind. Last year’s theme was not a big leap from this year’s. It was a Star Wars and Superheros themed 4th birthday. And he was tempted to do the same theme again this year! He really seems to get a lot out of this realm of fantasy play. This morning he spent 45 minutes giving me the elaborate details of a five minute “Batman and Robin battle with the Joker” youtube he saw a few weeks ago. This is fascinating stuff to him!
You might suspect my husband and I are the sort of parents who push our son into the world of “boyish” delights. Actually, we are not. We just try our hardest to support his funny stages and trust he is working something through. If you travel back in time one more year to Asa’s 3rd birthday, you would see a little fella dressed in a pink fairy costume bouncing blissfully around with his party guests in a jumpy house. At 3, Asa was an ardent fan of pink and purple poof, dresses, pig tails, his big sis, and most notably Snow White. Dressed in his own Snow White princess gear, he would faithfully visit his special friend, a 3 foot high wooden gnome, as often as he could get us to take him to Fairyland on Lake Merritt here in Oakland. Asa’s visits consisted of resting his head on Snow White’s shoulder where they would then talk about important matters. (I actually was not privy to these conversations because Asa needed some privacy with his friend. I had to hide behind a nearby tree.)
Watching my boy leap frog from princesses to Star Wars in a matter of months was fascinating. The path went like this: Devotion through his 2’s and early 3’s to Snow White, and then like butter melting in a pan, Snow White was gone and Peter Pan was there in her place. All it took was a viewing of Peter Pan chez the Grandparents. Now Peter Pan, in retrospect, does seem like the likely stepping stone between worlds. He engenders both gentleness and fierceness. He is kind to children, and also can simultaneously battle pirates with that astonishing sword and gift of flight. Asa plunged deep into Peter Pan for a solid three months or so. He dressed the part every day, down to the feather in his green cap. I’m sure this would have gone on for some time… but Asa was interrupted by a storm trooper. Yes, a storm trooper literally stood in Asa’s path swiftly kicking both Peter Pan and Snow White onto their rumps and off of Asa’s radar for what seems like for good. ( I still miss them sometimes.)
It was the summer of 2008, Asa was now 3 1/2 years old. We decided to spend the fourth of July at the Marin County Fair. After a couple hours of the ferris wheel and fun houses, the kids and I decided to head inside for a while to get out of the hot sun. As if guided by the force, we walked right into the Star Wars exhibit, where there was an Imperial fighter ship protected by two storm troopers. Asa stood in awe. His eyes had never beholden such a sight. He could not move. We would spend the next hour there. Asa was continually in a light saber duel for his 4’s. We finally forced Asa to take a Star Wars break which was when he discovered the superheroes. Superheros led naturally to ninjas. And that takes us to the present. It’s been a good journey with our son thus far and we look forward to the next characters and phases.
I want to take this moment on my first blog to salute my son, Asa, who inspired me to create an entire line of clothes for kids who want to dress in their own style and colors and not have their fashion dictated by arbitrary social constructs. And may we as parents, grandparents, aunties, and uncles support our kids in being who they are and trusting their phases and interests.