Sunday, January 19, 2014

Mama Bear

As the days go by, Anderson's infatuation with Elsa and Frozen gets stronger and stronger.  There are probably less than 10 minutes a day when Elsa is not in his hands. We are still singing the soundtrack ALL. DAY. LONG (which is honestly driving me a bit crazy because EARWORM!!!).  We've even gone so far as to use their building blocks to build steps for the dolls--you know, the steps that Elsa builds to her ice castle during the "Let it Go" sequence (and if that song is now in your head, you're welcome). My kids are talking about, playing, or singing Frozen probably about 95% of the day. There are worse things that could happen.

Today is Anderson's trip to Hollister. Which is fine, except he wants to take Elsa. Now, this is ALSO fine with me--I could care less what he wants to take and where. I assure you, I am not the mom who doesn't want her boy to play with "girl toys". First of all, I don't even really believe in "girl toys" versus "boy toys"--toys are toys and they're all about developing creative minds and pretend play ability and social skills. And when you have a kid who is on the spectrum or has another disability that makes purposeful pretend play difficult, trust me--you are happy when your kid does ANYTHING that mimics traditional play. Girl, boy, dog, cat, alien. Doesn't matter. It's all good.

And while we are on the subject, let me just go ahead and address where I stand on homosexuality, because I know that there are people out there who think that if a boy wants to play with "girl toys", he is probably gay. I may lose some readers here, but I'm hoping that all of my friends and readers subscribe to the same general philosophy that I do--that everyone is entitled to their own beliefs and that it's okay to agree to disagree, and we can all still get along and enjoy each other. I believe that love is love, and that we are all human beings. I don't believe that God or any other entity condemns people to eternal hell for loving, which is what we are designed to do. I believe that the ultimate sin is just not being a good person in general, and you can be a good person regardless of your color, sexual orientation, religious beliefs, etc. So, as a result, I could care less if my children are gay. It would certainly make their lives more difficult, because of the societal stigmas that still exist, and that would be tough for me, but all I want for my children is for them to make a positive contribution to society. To treat others with respect and kindness. And I want them to be WITH people who do the same. Whether that's a boy or a girl makes no difference to me. So, if you were curious, when it comes to Anderson's new-found love of this doll, no I don't think it means he's gay, but if it does? I don't care. Not even a little bit.

But back to the topic at hand--Anderson taking Elsa to the mall.  Society does, to a certain extent, believe in "girl toys" versus "boy toys". It would be easy for me to sit here and say I don't care what society thinks here--and I don't. I don't care what anyone thinks, really, about the choices my children make when it comes to toys, games, identity. What I DO care about is what people say to or about my kids. Especially if they say it within my earshot. See, I can debate lifestyle philosophies and religion and politics in the most civil manner, but throw my kids into the mix? I. GET. CRAZY.  It's the mama bear syndrome.

I think mama bear syndrome is even stronger in mamas of kids who have special needs. I'm extremely sensitive when people comment on Amelia's size (as evidenced by other blog entries...). It's just hard for me. The same goes for Anderson. Except I think it's worse for me when it comes to Anderson. Because Anderson doesn't even understand comments and he can't interpret other people's faces and feelings.  For instance, when I picked him up from preschool the other day, he was, of course, holding Elsa tightly in his hand. I noticed another little guy in his class looking intently at Anderson, with a funny look on his face. Now this little boy didn't say anything at all, but it definitely made me think that he was probably wondering what Anderson was doing with a doll.  And in that moment, I realized that if I heard another child making fun of Anderson for having a doll, it would kill me. It would kill me because no mother wants anyone to make fun of her children. But it is even more painful for me because Anderson wouldn't even understand it. On one hand, that's a blessing. He won't even pick up on those who are being critical of him--wouldn't we all like to be oblivious to our naysayers? But to a mom? That's just salt in an open wound. Not only is someone saying something negative about her child, but her child has difficulty even understanding that. So that kind of behavior can continue, and her child  may never even know, and will certainly never be able to tell someone else. It just opens the door for all kinds of things that I don't even want to think about.  All I can picture right now is some pre-teen boy passing Anderson at the mall and laughing at Elsa, especially when they see how excited he is by "the dark doors" while he's carrying around this very-dressed-up doll. I know, I know...I'm making assumptions about other kids. I know that it may not even happen. But I'm a mom, and I'm not even pretending that my mom-thoughts are completely rational. All I know is that I would most likely break down in tears right there if that happened. That, and I'd probably envision myself saying something really not-nice to the kids. I definitely don't want that.

So for today, I'm adding that to my lengthy list of things to work on for myself. In the meantime, I'm nominating Marty as the one to take him to Hollister today. I'll get there. Just not today.

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