Sometimes, I lose my sense of whether I and my children are weird or not. Most of the time, I actually think we’re quite conventional. Single-family house, a few pets, swing set in the backyard, urine in test tubes by the bed. Wait! See? I think that last one is probably weird. But most of the time, we’re quotidian. I am fairly certain of it.
Still, sometimes I get jolted out of this belief. Simon, my three year old son, likes to wear a skirt from time to time. He seems to like the movement of it. He also chose a pink and purple butterfly toothbrush at the dentist’s office the other day. I am pleased to say that most people we meet are unfazed by these choices, and mostly (in this post-“free to be you and me” era) encourage him. But there are still plenty of people who say to him, “Oh, you don’t want that. That’s for girls. That’s not for strong boys like you.” I bristle (ha! toothbrush pun!) when this happens, because unless it’s something that will harm my son, don’t tell him he “doesn’t want that.” To be sure, my kids do not always, or even often, get the things they want. But they are free to want them. I suspect Simon’s predilections are not all that weird. In this case, I think the only “weirdness” is my otherwise very normal husband, who is not the least fazed by Simon’s occasional princess indulgence. Whenever I’m out with Simon in a skirt, people invariably say, “Better take that off before Daddy sees it, huh?” No, actually. And among the many, many wondrous things about my husband, his utter lack of the machismo/homophobia/masculine insecurity complex is near the top of the list. Unfortunately, I suspect that does make him a bit weird. Not unique, by any stretch, but more unusual than I’d like.
A more obvious oddity of ours was illuminated the other day when the weekly kindergarten news came home from Malcolm’s class. In it, each kid reports one single, scintillating bit of information. Usually something like, “We got a kitten!” or “I got lots of candy for Trick or Treat!” What does Malcolm’s say? “I touched raccoon poop in the woods.” I actually had to speak with him about this. Not because I object to poop encounters; indeed, we often pull apart woods poop to learn about the pooper and often the identity of its last meal (the poopee). Raccoon poop, however, can harbor a horrible brain eating parasite. So we only touch raccoon poop with a stick, of course. Otherwise, carry on, children.
So, are we weird? I don’t know. Between the vegan thing, and the animal skulls around the house thing, and the woods poop thing, and the princess boy with the unfazed dad thing, maybe we are. But we wouldn’t have it any other way.