Monday, June 30, 2008

IHOP Stupor and Gender Confusion

Point blank: I don't like going out for breakfast. I like to have coffee at home and maybe something to eat later in the morning like an English muffin or some yogurt. I can't eat doughy, sugary, fatty food in the morning because it puts me into an all-day stupor and I will be worthless for the rest of the day.

This morning Don awakened me out of a beautiful sound sleep and demanded suggested that we go to IHOP . I reluctantly stumbled out of bed, out the door and off to the starch-fest that is IHOP.Mmmmmmmmmm! Nothing says breakfast like pancakes AND candy!! (This wasn't from our breakfast, but still...)

The kids just LOVE it there what with the double-stuffed French toast and chocolate chip pancakes and whipped cream and colorful syrups. It all makes me sick. I ordered Eggs Benedict and only ate part of it--but I still feel liked I've slipped into a foggy coma. My attempts to snap myself out of it (aspirin and a shower) have failed. There's no way I'll get anything accomplished today--IHOP has sucked every ounce of energy out of me.

There was also an uncomfortable "incident" there. It went something like this:

Waitress (all chipper-like): "Well look at this group! You're almost like the Brady Bunch--you just need one more girl!"

Me: "Yeah, except he's a boy" (motioning at Gooser).

Three Older Boys: Hysterical, shrieking laughter.

Gooser: Looks around, confused.

Waitress (looking like she wants to run out of IHOP): Goes into nervous ramble about how nice Gooser's hair is.

Me: "Do you have anything on the menu that won't put me into an all-day stupor?"

Here's the thing--Gooser is a BOY and he has LONG hair. Is there anything wrong with that? The child has beautiful hair and I don't want to give him a typical "boy" haircut--it just won't work on him. Furthermore, HE doesn't want a short haircut-he likes his hair--but I do worry about these constant run-ins we have with people thinking he's a girl. I don't want him to feel self-conscious.

The ridiculous thing is that people ONLY seem to see the hair. He usually wears very typical "boy" clothes--Spiderman t-shirts, little footballs on his Crocs, etc. It's not like he wears dresses!

My mom asks almost every day "When are you cutting his hair?" "Did you get his hair cut yet?" Then she goes on and on about how he'll be an outcast in kindergarten unless he has short hair.

I think I will get his hair cut before kindergarten, but it still won't be super short--maybe I'll have it styled and layered or something and cut a little? I'm feeling a lot of pressure about this. Thoughts? Advice?Thanks a lot, IHOP, for the stupor and the complex!


Amy said...

He's got great hair. I wouldn't cut it, let him be the cool kid.

Lori said...

Gooser is just so gorgeous. I think a whole lot of very little boys are assumed to be girls just because they're so beautiful. (Both of mine have been!)

I would say follow Gooser's lead on his hair. If he asks for a haircut, do it, otherwise who cares what other people say or think. (BTW there was a boy with long hair in my son's 2nd-grade class and most of the other boys wished their moms would let them grow their hair like his.)

Anonymous said...

That's a hard one, my son has a friend that has always had long hair. They are in 2nd grade now. The kids always make fun of him even though he is a beautiful boy. The kid is strong enough to handle the comments so it seems okay. A kid who cannot handle that might have a hard time. I think it depends on the child, if he's super-sensitive he might have a hard time...if not leave it.

Anonymous said...

Your story about Gooser and people's assumptions is a direct parallel to my situation with my daughter, who was incapable of growing any hair until she was 3.

Seriously. Not a follicle sprouted for YEARS. I'd put pink on her from head to toe and people would still go, "oh, what a cute little boy!"

leezee52 said...

I would leave his hair long!!! Don't cut it!!!!

Ruth said...

He's just gorgeous. I agree that you should follow his lead re: haircuts ... it's his hair, after all.

Anonymous said...

I work with kids at a summer camp and I have had many boy campers with long hair; as they get older, the comments start to fade. The younger boys (4, 5, 6, maybe even 7) usually get the most ridicule (if you even want to call it that, sometimes it's just a question from another camper "are you a girl or a boy" and I wouldn't necessarily call that ridicule; kids are curious). Once the other kids meet the boy with long hair & realize he's a boy, everything is usually settled. Also, when kids are younger, the gender roles they "play" is what demonstrates to others whether or not that person is a boy or a girl. A boy and a girl at age 5 look pretty similar, and what tells them apart is the clothes they wear and hair they have, and sometimes the things they're interested it. (Once they get older, it's easier to determine the gender based on things other than clothes, hair, etc.) One must understand, though, that in our culture, long hair is typical of girls and short hair is typical of boys. If one (esp a young child) "goes against" (i have it in quotes because those words suggest that they're is something wrong with that, and i do not think there is) those cultural stereotypes, there is room for questioning and mistaken comments. Asking the questions and not being sure whether or not a child is a boy or a girl or making a mistake is not necessarily the problem; when people start to poke fun at the kid, it becomes a problem. My brother is 22 years old, well grown, obviously, and he has long hair (longer than mine, down to the middle of his back), and it looks awesome on him. Short hair just doesn't fit him, at least not now. Anyway, he's 22. People know he's a man, but still give him a hard time. Kids will joke with him and say he's a girl (kids that are 11 or 12, who know full well that he's a boy) And he's not feminine either, he's masculine; he plays sports, hikes, goes rock climbing, etc. Anyway, my point is that society has a problem when people cross stereotypes, so your son will probably get a lot of feedback from his long hair throughout his childhood. When the questions and comments are completely innocent, I would try to brush them off. Realize that most people aren't used to it, and while it might be ignorant, questions will be asked and comments will be made. But when those questions & comments turn into harassment and deliberate intimidation and the like, that's when I get annoyed. It's not cool. If your son likes his hair, let him keep it! (It looks awesome, anyway!) But, if he asks to cut it, I would definitely let him cut it. But first, look into WHY he wants it cut; if he really just wants it short cause he's sick of it long and just wants a change, awesome! but if he likes it long and wants it that way, but is asking to cut it short because he's being made fun of, then i would look into it a little more. Ultimately, though, go with what he wants. =] He has beautiful hair and i think he looks super cool, but it doesnt matter what I think, or what anyone else thinks. It's what HE likes =) so, as for the first day of school, if youre worried, discuss it with him and see if he wants it long or short. Anyway, i know i wrote WAY too much! i hope it helped!