Thursday, May 26, 2011

Gender Bender

Probably due to this couple who are trying to raise their 5 month old as genderless, I have been thinking about gender a lot lately. While I want to be sympathetic to the parents of this child, I think rather than making it not about gender, they are making it ALL about gender by withholding the information of whether their baby is a boy or girl.

I agree there is so much more to know about a person rather than boy or girl and as a society we are too focused on boy or girl behaviors, but by not telling people what the baby is it makes it all about the gender issue. When you a meet a baby you typically know the gender either by name or dress or other parental clue-in and once that is out of the way, then you have the opportunity to learn their favorite toy, how they like to be held and whether or not they like applesauce. By withholding that gender identity, the focus is totally on boy or girl because as humans we like to compartmentalize.

With Milo we've tried to walk a middle line in the gender issue. We didn't find out his gender before birth so for the first several months of his life he wore a lot of green and yellow, but he is now rocking out golf shirts and little boy shorts. He is allowed to pick out his toys and activities. So blocks, cooking things, tea sets all get a thumbs up from him. Cars, trucks and army men not so much. Recently at a store with a giant display of backyard play balls, he picked out pink as the one he wanted to take home. I hesitated briefly and then went with it. We now also have a purple ball. Both are typically girl colors, but a boy toy. Regardless, we have plenty of fun chasing then around the grass.

It's sometimes a tightrope walk this bringing up a child in a gender-crazed society. As parents we want to allow for freedom, nurture a healthy identity and provide the message that boys and girls are equal. We also want to make sure our children are happy, well-adjusted and accepted for who they are. Whoever that turns out to be, because there is more to a person than gender.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Milo May Update

Here we go again...although I had every intention of quitting these updates after 2 years, I have decided to keep going. I will be doing them in a different format and I think the picture might just be a recent snapshot rather than posing with the sign, but we'll see how it evolves.

Things I super heart love about Milo this month:
  • He's been saying "oh" quite a bit. "Oh" as in if I tell him where his fork is and it just dawns on him. Oh.
  • Milo is super sweet. At gymnastics when a friend fell down, Milo extended a hand to help him up and said "Otay Augie?". I was so proud.
  • He is also a good sharer (for the most part). If another child asks for a turn with a toy, Milo will always pretty much hand it over. This is why it irritates to me no end when bigger kids just grab from him. He looks up with hurt eyes and wonders why they did that.
Milo's Favorites this month:
  • Since we have reintroduced dairy to him this kid can't get enough cheese. Cheese, please.
  • Being outside is still a favorite and being outside at a park is even more fun. Yesterday he asked to go to the Red Park. It was interesting he had a specific park in mind and gave it his own name.
  • Milo had a cold this week and we've been watching way too much television. He has switched from watching Nick Jr. to watching the Disney Junior line-up. The Pirate show and Mickey Mouse Club house are the new favorites.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

A Lovely Soup

Cooking for family and nurturing through food is a long tradition in my lineage. For this reason, I am so pleased Milo is an adventurous eater, is constantly playing kitchen, and also often helps me cook. Yesterday he was standing on a chair at the counter as I was making soup for dinner. We were adding spices, prepping veggies and chopping ingredients. In the midst of all this work, he gently rested his little head on my upper arm and said love. I'm not totally sure if he meant he loved me, he loved cooking or he just loved eating Pa's sausage, but I'll take any of the above and it was an incredibly sweet moment. It seems cooking together is as meaningful to me as it is to him.

Lovely Soup
2 links spicy sausage
1/2 onion diced
4 cups cooked white beans
3 carrots chopped
3 stalks of celery chopped
1/2 zucchini chopped
1 carton low sodium chicken broth
1 bunch kale, torn from stems and rinsed
Spices to taste: salt, pepper, garlic powder, Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes

Saute sausage and onion together until onions are translucent and sausage is no longer pink. Add beans, carrots, celery and spices. Cook for 10 minutes. Add broth and bring to boil. Cook for 1 hour. Add zucchini and cook for at least 10 minutes and then add kale 20 minutes before serving. Enjoy with a grilled cheese sandwich on a cool and rainy day in May.