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Ponytails and rainbows

Posted on Jan 29, 2015

Today I sent my son to school with a ponytail.

But it’s okay! My son is four.

He likes pretty things, all things pink and sparkly. One time last year he broke down in tears because he didn’t have any pretty pants to wear to preschool. So I went out that day and bought him some. He loves to wear dresses, and their worth is measured by how much they flare when he spins.

He has an 8 year old sister who hasn’t worn a dress in two, maybe even three years. She used to only wear skirts, and on rare occasions she still does, but she is not at all into pretty things. I don’t actually remember if she ever was! That said, she won’t wear jeans or slacks either – she’s all about leggings. Suede or patterned leggings with a longish shirt. Sporty.

So where did my son get this affinity for pretty things? Don’t look at me – I own exactly ZERO things of any level of prettiness! I don’t wear jewellery nor makeup, I don’t “do” my hair or my nails. I only own a pink bathing suit because it was the only one on sale that day!

He must’ve been born with it.

After seeing (and falling truly, madly, and deeply in love with) Frozen, he decided he would like to grow his hair. Like Elsa’s. I humoured him – how long would it actually get before he tired of it? We’re going on a year now, and it’s definitely past his shoulders. Recently he has been asking me to put his hair into a ponytail. So I do. But this is the first time he’s gone to preschool with one.

We were the first to arrive at preschool and as my son was changing into his indoor shoes, one of the teachers whispered to me:

“Regarding his ponytail, he’s confusing some of the other kids. When we ask them to count how many girls they count him as a girl and we have to say no, no, he’s a boy.”

I blinked at her. I looked at my son, radiant in his flowered pants and his flowery dress. I looked back at her, smiled and shrugged:

“If I had the power, I would NOT remove colours from the rainbow.”

I told her kindergarden is going to be tough, but if he can handle it here then it’ll prepare him for it. If he doesn’t care, why should I?

She nodded in agreement. I’m not sure if she was asking me to dress him like a boy, but I don’t really care. I don’t dress my son. He has dressed himself since he started walking. If he wants to go to school wearing a mumu, he can. As long as he is secure enough to handle the consequences, I support him fully.

The day he comes home shattered because the kids laughed at him, I will wipe away his tears and tell him “they’re just sad because they’re not rainbows.”