We are big on scrapbooking in this family. While Big Guy was in the hospital we printed extra photos of Little Guy and Big Guy that we've taken over the past two months so that we can help Big Guy make a scrapbook of his own when he comes home - Before he went to the hospital we took him to pick out a scrapbook and he picked one that is light pink with roses all over it!
I felt a little uncomfortable. A small, hypocritical part of me wanted to steer him towards something less girly. I thought to myself: What will mom think? What will other people think? What does this mean? And then I realized how ridiculous I was being. Who am I to be the gender police, after all? I'm a tomboyish, queer woman who likes boy things much more than girl things (generally speaking). Though I follow a religion that is highly binary in terms of gender, and I'm comfortable with that for the most part, I do not believe in overly enforcing gender roles in young children. Yet maybe it's partly because I'm gay that I feared him buying the pink flowery scrapbook. Same-sex parents are under much more scrutiny in terms of our childrens' "gender performance." If your boy is too girly, it's probably because you're a "man-hating lesbian" or you're trying to "turn him gay." If your girl is too boyish, it's probably because you "hate all things feminine" or she's "confused about gender roles". Much as I know these things to be false (the majority of gender non-conforming children have straight parents, after all) I still fear making Patty uncomfortable, making The Agency question our judgment, etc.
Ultimately, I said "screw it" (in my head, that is) and chose to not care. Big Guy needs to feel proud of his things, to feel ownership, to express himself creatively. If a tacky rose-covered scrapbook is going to help him with this, then more power to him. When he was first with us he asked us, "Can I take dance classes? And would they let me wear purple lipstick there?" One of the things I've missed most while he's been in the hospital is all the ways he makes me laugh.
By the way, I printed some extra photos for Patty but now I'm actually thinking I'd like to just print out one of those photo books they sell at W@lgreens and Sn@pfish and the like, when I see a coupon for one again.