Friday, April 29, 2005

Identity Crisis

"Mommy am I a boy ?" asked J one night as she was getting ready to sleep. Of all questions I have been asked before this was the most intriguing. J the alarmingly over-acclaimed would-be-heartbreaker-Lalique-doll-like-perfect-beauty and a boy ? "Did anyone say that you were a boy ?" I ask

"No" she replies "Then why do you think you are a boy ?" I am now completely befuddled. "Because I play only with boys" she says as if the conclusions thereof are fairly obvious. "And why do you do that ?" I persist knowing to proceed very gently now that we seem to be getting to the heart of the matter. " Because girls don't want to play with me and boys do" she says with a tinge of sadness in her voice.

I don't know exactly how to tackle that issue and try address her concern about being a boy instead "J, are you a boy or a girl ?" She takes a while to think through that before deciding "Girl". Even before I can second that opinion she adds "But girls don't play with me, so I am a boy"

This conversation with J was proceeding like my typical work day where I have to deal with highly technical types who segue from one incomprehensible issue to the other. To estimate the size of the latest snafu, I tell them to dummy that down for me and stop where one thing ends, allow me to absorb it and then go on to the next thing.

Only J is not going to able to de-link. In fact her inability do so was exactly the problem at hand. "J you are a girl. If other girls don't play with you it does not make you a boy." I allow that to sink before proceeding. " I like playing with the boys and they want to play with me too" she says. "Even then you are a girl. Who you play with does not matter" I explain.

I can see she is having a very hard time understanding that. She is the age when Mommy is omniscient so she believes me against her better judgment. I ask her if I can talk to Ms W and Ms K to ask the girls to play with her. J nods her eager assent.

"Tommy told me this morning, he doesn't like me" she says as I tuck her in. So we're not done with the days battles yet. This is not a question. It is a problem statement. I have to think very hard to come up with a suitable rejoinder for J in face of such full frontal assault.

" You should tell him, 'Well, Tommy that's your problem' when he says that. Remember to give him a big smile too" I tell her. She bursts into laughter when I tell her we will practice that now.

I am Tommy and up the ante some "J, I think you are really yucky. I don't want to play with you" She replies "Well, that's your problem" and cackles so hard that I have to tell her "J, I said smile not laugh like a hyena" She's all about more role play and laughing like a hyena and soon falls asleep tired and happy.

18 comments:

buckwaasur said...

hehehe...funny girl...funny mom...:-P

Peppy said...

or as my mom taught "your loss" said with the nose up in the air works too..it still does when am excluded from "babes cluster in the kitchen while guys nurse drinks in living room" situations [yep tried all "lets all talk together" routines]

Heartcrossings said...

Peppy - have been in babe-cluster in kitchen situations. I'm more a living room person but the boys club is sexclusive. What's with that kind of segregation though ? Never quite figured it out.

Mindsurfer said...

HC, nice blog. And I think it's the rest of the women who decide that the boys club is sexclusive, if you know what I mean.

Peppy said...

hey MS--yeah, have noticed the differences in gender are most seen at these situations--suddenly "technology" becomes "lets please not talk of work" and "politics" is boring [for the females]. Its like every damn cliche you've heard is transforming into live events in front of my eyes.

i guess the effort should come out of everyone to have general yet interesting conversations, and its easier not to take that effort and blame "typical behavior" for huddling syndromes.

Heartcrossings said...

Peppy - I have to share this while we're on the topic of babe-clusters, sexclusiveness and the like.

A bunch of dudes in living-room drink and all were discussing a leveraged buy-out.

Self, instead of staying with babes-in-kitchen walked over casually and what is worse opined on the conversation. The silence was absolute. Thus chastised, self retired hurt.

Is that a stereotype by chance ?

Peppy said...

more like its "out of the stereotype" HS :-D

I definitely think that there is this assumption that "living room rights" belong to the said group--and the perception of "female knowledge on living room topics" is minimal. nevertheless, I believe its the lack of such volunteered opinions that cause the silence. And i truly believe that if intelligent, most guys are willing to discuss topics with women if they "talk sense". Thats that for the intelligent folk. Herz the other side of the coin--those guys arent many out there. Most guys havent had the wife/gf opine much in "party discussions" and would rather live with a boorish and ego-ridden opinion of women's opinions.

At best, such volunteered opinions work great to seperate the intelligent fellers from the ego-maniacal ones. And same applies to women i sppose, the ones who give you a dirty look for talking "shop" are the ones you would rather stay away from, and the ones who slowly reveal their own experiences and thoughts, even if have to be pushed a bit, are the ones to stick to.

process of elimnation of the unlike minded either way?

buckwaasur said...

man...i see this happening in the circles around my techie workplace...but when i go to visit my girlfriend and her phd crowd, it's all guys and girls together talking philosophy, research, whatever...and i'm talking desi groups here in both cases...so i guess the environment does play a role too...:-)

Peppy said...

again driving the intelligence point home ;-) [just kidding] i guess in academics, its slightly more levelled, and it shows.

CogitoErgoConfusum said...

Hey HC, that was a really amusing read! Had me chuckling along with your daughter, right at the end...

I was in a similar situation twice, where I had to reason stuff out with kids...and your Only J is not going to able to de-link. In fact her inability do so was exactly the problem at hand. pretty much hits the nail square on its head. Although I'm not much of a 'kids-person', on both occasions, I found the thinking-from-their-perspective really gratifying...

FunnyCide said...

"Am I a boy?" lol!! I think I went a step ahead as a kid and assumed I was a boy. When I was in the "preparatory" class just before going to grade 1 all kids were lined up for uniforms, with all girls to one tailor and all boys to another tailor. I went and stood in the boy's line because I was wearing a pair of shorts!! it took a lot of convincing [and candies of course] from the teacher to make me stand in the correct line!!

FunnyCide said...

Adding to the ongoing discussion, I think another new stereotype is emerging.. the set of women who try not to fall into the babe-clusters!! I recently noticed a lot of wives who [against their personal interest] follow the ball games, read statistics, watch post analysis of the games, hear it on radio etc, just so that they can contribute to the "living room discussions" with the hubbies and gang.

Not only is it irritating, it is pathetic too. I think both men and women [esp in desi circles] should take a step towards gender free discussions at parties. ex: politics, philosophy, home improvement etc etc. Football games and jewellery discussions should be conducted in similar interest groups thus sparing the rest from the torture.

Heartcrossings said...

FC - that's a hilarious story :-) Kids have an infinite capacity to be funny. J is just a case in example.

Peppy said...

hey funny--absolutely! Contemplated learning smtg i hated just to keep the conversation up [and gave up coz, well, forgot about it]. Have also noticed enough "guy is crazy about cricket and baseball while wife,well, just trolls along"--funny that the "forced convertors" strangely dont have their own interests as well!

Heartcrossings said...

FC - Second you on the emerging stereotype observation. Have seen living-room bound babes make idiots of themselves as described. Word of advice - let it come naturally and with time. A crash course in guy-ness is not a good idea.

bleu said...

quite a pleasant read. how lucky! you are having your share of laughs in large doses.

this is one of the first time I have seen heart crossings comment in the comments sections. nice to see that happen. :)

Chay said...

Ok Crossings,...as usual I am late in me comments...a darned tardy thing I am. :-))

This was ROTFL...as much as I am grinning at J and J's mom, and pondering the environments, stereotyping, sexuality and ramifications and such serious stuff, I cannot go past the thought that you are a great mom!!
What most parents would have tackled with urgent, fearful impositions of their own beliefs, I have noticed you actually communicate...and allow her think for herself...that is the greatest gift a child can get...independence...:-)) u remind me of my mom!! :-))
she will make a fine young lass and we will be proud of you both!! :-)))

Vikas Gupta said...

This was a nice read!