Amazing, as usual. My pink loving crew gave it a standing ovation. And my long-haired boy with the unisex name got sick of being called "princess" for our whole Disney cruise, but doesn't much care that the school nurse still thinks he's a girl. What he *really* wants is a mom as cool as you, who will let him dye his blond locks pink :)
(Still giggling over Mitt Scissorhands . . . )
Yay Catherine! I almost never disagree with anything you write, but I have to say that I don't think Ben looks like a girl. I think he looks like a beautiful adolescent boy, with fantastic hair. But I get your point, and I love the piece, and I am so glad that you and your loving family are featured in the NYT. How cool is that??
excellent piece - well said!
Yay! I second that Ben looks nothing like a girl -- he looks just like Michael to this long-time reader. But even if he did look like a girl, who cares?Next stop for Catherine -- the New Yorker?
I just wanted to comment that Ben looks nothing like a girl - so I second (third) Julie and Sara! Ben, you look like a boy with beautiful hair, and I'm currently truly supporting my son to grow his hair too (and wear whatever colour he likes, though the only pink thing he loves is a pair of socks). But I like the New York Times piece very much.
Fantastically written, go Ben! (and Catherine!) :)
Congratulations on a great piece in the NYT! That's big time!
First of all, congrats on the article, way to go big time! Second, I've never thought, even once that Ben looked like a girl and three, I am totally jealous of his beautiful hair!!! That being said, I have two little boys (8 and 2) with light blonde, long cork-screw curls (Shirley Temple style)and we constantly get comments about what cute girls they are, etc. It used to really bother my older son, to the point that he insisted we shave all his hair off two years ago. Now he's grown it back out to a big, curly, crazy white-kid afro, and he says he doesn't care what people think, he loves his hair. I say bravo! When the hell did hair or clothes or nail polish (that my two-year-old likes to wear) make people gay or straight?
... and what difference does it make? Straight or gay, I mean. As long as it makes a difference in our minds, we're still struggling with a culture of homophobia.Kudos to you (and Catherine, of course) - for helping your kids be happy with they way they look naturally!!It's a long and windy road to being a confident, comfortable adult. Thank goodness for all the moms & dads who ease the way for their kids.- Martha, Corvallis, OR
Well, I consider myself a pretty accepting mom, and sometimes I do overcompensate for my less-than-easy-going husband and father to my 2 sons. We haven't had much issue with pink in recent years, but I do remember when my oldest (now almost 9) son was at the dentist and they were giving him a choice of toothbrushes. They offered him EVERY color except the pink one! And wouldn't you know that was the one he wanted? So he asked, and got it :)Anyway, I loved your piece, like I love everything you write, and I just love Ben's positive way of thinking "a compliment is a compliment". He's such a honey!Keep up the great work! Both with the writing, and, you know, the raising of two awesome human beings!
Congrats on the article. I want to recommend Mo Willems' book Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed. It is a beautiful live-and-let-live lesson.
Well done as always, Catherine!
That's wonderful Catherine - eloquent and true(as ususal). Ben is testament to some wonderful parenting.
Oh, how I love your utopian vision..."everybody gets to wear what they like and look how they want, and nobody is afraid anymore because the stakes are so low."I think what I love best here is the thought of no one being afraid anymore. Can you imagine what a world it would be if our kids grew up actually embracing who they are instead of fearing that they might just be (gasp!) different?Thank you for your wonderful words of wisdom...
What Kelly said.
Catherine--thank you for writing this. And thank you to Ben for being a part of it, too. You speak the truth and we are all more free because of it. Love to you both. --Cathy K.
Lovely piece. So glad to see it in the mainstream media. You did a beautiful job. I'm somewhat amazed and totally thrilled by the complete lack of bonehead-bully comments (at the time of this reading anyway) on the NYT site. Perhaps we are evolving after all....
I love it! thank you!
AWESOME article...love love love it!
Everytime I think I have forgotten about my women's studies degree (how does one think about feminism and gender inequality whilst sorting socks and undies and wiping baby drool off my shoulder all day??) you always bring back that old activist flame I have smoldering deep down. Yes! The Times! How awesome! Beautiful, evolved children you have. My husband tells me he thinks I may want to marry *you* some day, and he may be right, but then I don't think you are the marrying kind :)
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I've been reading your blog since "Waiting for Birdy" at Babycenter–can that really be a decade ago? I've long since given up saying to friends "This writer I love said. . ." and instead just say "My friend Catherine said. . ." So of course I feel like I know your family, and I'm just so happy for you and Ben. The NY Times–wow! I just hope Birdy and Tiny aren't jealous.
Yes! Fabulously said.
I'm so proud of you for representing us! -- this little community you've built here. And proud of Ben for being his own person. May all of our children grow up being whoever they are meant to be!
Bravo Catherine! What a great piece! Finn recently asked me to cut his hair really short (he admires the buzz cut of a classmate for some reason), so I got out the clippers and did it. I didn't like doing it. The reaction from people we know was immediate and so clear: you should wear your hair super short all the time. "You look all grown up," "I can see you," etc. Clearly, boys with longer hair are so suspect, so different in this land of buzz cuts.
My 2 year old has the most glorious curls...and his hair *is* short, but not so short that his curls are gone (why would I ever want to get rid of them?)People ask me all the time (well, several specific people) "when are you going to get him a real boy haircut?"What is a real boy haircut? I mean, even if you don't like long hair on boys, his hair isn't long! It's just not buzzed, and it will never be as long as I have control over it. There are no words to express how much I love and envy those curls ;)
DeltaJuliet, I'm right there with you. My younger son has the most gorgeous blonde curls, and he too is starting to ask that I cut his hair a lot shorter. For a while, he was referred to openly as my "surfer dude." I was willing to let the hair get as long as he wanted.
Excellent! But I'm a bit of a helicopter mom, so now I have to keep going over there to make sure nobody is being mean in the comments.
If you need a break, please know that I am doing the same thing!
I don't know if you have ever seen this quote but it is one of my favorites. It's from Not Even Wrong by Paul Collins. He is writing about his autistic son but it can describe anyone who doesn't quite fit others expectations."....the problem with pounding a square peg into a round hole is not that the hammering is hard work. It's that you're destroying the peg."
Wow, what a great quote, and something for all parents (and teachers) to keep in mind with all of our beautiful little "pegs"!
That is beautiful, and gave me a chill as I was reading it. I love it.
I agree. It's a very inspiring and enlightening quote.
So fantastic. I've been lost down the rabbit-hole of the reach and teach website since you posted about that...great stuff.my two boys are quite boy-y each in their own way, but #3 the daughter is happy to go to the grocery store in a yellow tutu, toting her captain america shield because, in her words, she's "super." We get a lot of, "that's quite the outfit." She's almost four, so her reply is "thank you" but sometimes I cringe because i know that's not what they're saying. I'm supposed to force her into a proper set of clothes that match or are pink. She HATES pink, declaring it "not bright enough." I'm always tempted to say, in response, "have you met Fuschia?" but I don't because her love of yellow knows no bounds, and she is sunny enough to match.Keep up the great work, I love reading your stuff, and always feel inspired by it!
don't you wish ALL of us could go to the grocery in a tutu and Captain America shield?
Hello -- Just read your Times piece, which was absolutely WONDERFUL. I passed as a boy for much of my elementary school career and caught such hell for it I "retired" my genderqueerness (as much as I could) for many years to follow. However, due to supportive parents, great friends, and a few eye-opening experiences, I re-opened that door and have not looked back. Not once. No matter how your son "turns out" or does not turn out, you are doing an awesome job letting him know he can -- and SHOULD -- be just as he is. But you already know that.All the best,RJ
Great job, Catherine! Yay!
I remember when I asked my mother if I could get a pair of overalls and she said "chubby children don't look good in overalls... you'll get teased." I was a little chubby then, already getting teased for other reasons, but I thought that I'd feel more comfortable in something a little looser than the clothes she had always picked for me. Twas not to be. I'm so glad that there are moms and dads (and grandparents, aunts, uncles, foster parents, guardians...) who listen to children and let them have a say in how they look, what they wear, and how they express themselves. Thank you for helping thousands of people who read the New York Times give a little thought to what they might do should their child want long hair streaked with pink, or a pair of overalls, or a short haircut to express outwardly how they feel inside.
Great article, but I have to admit I am kind of horrified that you indicated that people search your blog to determine if a CHILD is gay!! Really? It is kind of sick that people would care one iota about the sexual orientation of a child (or an adult for that matter). I must say, my daughter's favorite color was white for a long time. I loved it. Now she adores pink and purple which kind of bums me out as it is so main stream, but they are their own little people, aren't they?!
As a mom to a boy who occasionally wears his sister's clothes, because he could care less what he puts on his body and they happen to fit, thank you for highlighting that that style does not equal gender.
That article made me all lumpy-throated, in that "Gosh, I love these people, and am so proud of them" sort of way. Knowing your viewpoints, and seeing the lovely, supportive comments both here and over there, are making me feel a bit less worried about the world I'm soon bringing another little person into.
Awesome piece! I've wondered for so long why gender is such a big deal. Are we really that limited and close minded that we have to put even our kids in little boxes? I love your vision of utopia. May more of us work to make that future world happen!
Your kids are so lucky to have you for a mother, and the world is so lucky to have you in it. Congratulations on the piece. It was a triumph.
How cool is this? Supremely cool. I wonder what Ben's take on all of this is. In the NYT! Wowzers, right?
How does Ben feel about being the extremely stylish son of a rock-star mom? ;)Honestly, I am so delighted! And I'm also having the response that a couple other commenters had-- maybe we really *are* evolving!
You're amazing. Congrats on the article, but more so on just raising such incredible kids.
thank you, catherine!
Brava Catherine! What a wonderful article. I got teary reading, "loving families and happy children come in both traditional and varied forms." This has been part of my discussion with my kids this past week about why I'm so proud of our President. Everyone deserves happiness. Hope to see you and your brood at the drive-in this summer. And this time I'll say "hi!"
Another freak show. Nothing to see here. Move on folks. The further breakdown of society taking place right here.
No, YOU move on, please. You have no place in this blog.
I am the mom of a mohawk wearing, shaved on the sides of her head teen daughter and I have heard several "your son..." Come on people, she has boobs! Anyway, I have always loved the way you have let your kids be who they want to be and I wish more moms out there were like you. Maybe someday our kids will help change this ridiculous world we live in :-)
So, so excited for you. And I love the piece--to break down the whole gay marriage issue into "nobody is afraid anymore because the stakes are so low" is such a beautiful thought, and, I hope, an aspiration all parents can nod their heads at. Bad grammar, and I'm not being clear, but I so wish everyone could see it so simply (yet profoundly).--misplaced mama
Stay yourself, Ben!
Loved the article, especially the last line. I'm more about purple than pink, but I can only hope the world does expand and people stop obsessing over how people look and act. I love purple, classical music, chocolate, and lifting weights. This says nothing about gender and neither should the colors and clothes I choose to wear.
Congrats Catherine! I read through the comments at the NYT and I can't stop laughing at the question of whether the picture was a boy or girl! I have often looked to your writing for support on this issue. My one son used to love pink, princesses and hello kitty. He still enjoys putting together interesting outfits. Many times, strangers would make negative comments to me without hesitation. Other times the comments were from friends and family. I appreciate your parenting and writing!
Until two days ago, my 13 year old son had hair so long he could sit on it. He didn't care if people thought he was a girl, either. He actually thought it was funny when people called him a girl--he enjoyed speaking to them and seeing the expressions on their faces when they heard his deep voice. He was fine with who he was and so was I. Sadly, he decided that he was tired of his beautiful hair and got his head shaved. I keep hoping that he will change his mind and let it grow out again. :) I truly love these amazing kids of ours.
I love your blog, and I am always excited when there is a new post. We don't always agree on things, but that's ok because always agreeing is not only impossible, but downright boring! We might choose different ways of parenting sometimes (I love sleeping in my bed without my children), and we might disagree on whether there is any value in traditional gender roles (I think there is some), but I know that we are both working hard to raise our kids in a way that will help them be generous, kind, and thoughtful contributors to society. And meanwhile there are so many things that we agree on wholeheartedly. Thank you for being you and helping me understand viewpoints that are different from my own.I do happen to put headbands on my baby daughter. Not a bit weird to me - but I can appreciate your viewpoint. I really just think headbands are fun!
I love Ben's hair. Did you have to bleach the ends of it prior to using the pink dye?
Great article. I love how the comments attached to it assume that you and/or Ben chose his hairstyle because you are attention-whores! Because Ben can't have possibly chosen his current hairstyle BECAUSE HE LIKES IT....
I regularly check out the motherlode column, so I'm not sure how I missed this posting, but hooray Catherine. Thanks for your terrific words - they were wonderful and moving.