“Will, did you pee in this?”
I knew the answer before my wife asked the question. I was giving Sam a bath when I noticed a horrible smell. It was pungent and stale, and I immediately knew it was piss — I just didn’t know where it was. The toilet water was clear, Sam didn’t let loose in the bath, and all the rugs on the bathroom floor felt dry.
That’s when my eyes settled on the long, white, plastic cylinder I use to fill up with water and wash Sam’s head. And suddenly everything clicked.
I knew Will had peed in it during his shower and just left it there.
Continue reading Raising Boys: Just Put Your Penis Anywhere
Being a man and trying to discuss feminism is…tricky. To say the least.
I’m a white, heterosexual male. Because of that, I enjoy privilege. That wasn’t always so easy for me to recognize or admit, but it’s true.
I don’t know what it’s like to be a woman. I have no idea how it feels to have my self-worth tied to my waistline. I will never have to worry about dressing too provocatively to the point where that might be translated into a good enough reason for someone to rape me. And I don’t have to be concerned about getting paid 77 cents while my equally skilled coworkers earn a dollar for doing the same work.
So we’ve established I’m not a woman, I can never have the proper perspective to understand what women endure, and I’ve been told by “actual” feminists in the past that I’m no feminist at all. Which all begs the question, why am I bothering to discuss it in the first place?
The answer is because I’m the father of two boys who need to learn some valuable lessons feminism has to offer.
A man who is inherently incapable of understanding feminism charged with instilling feminist values in boys who will also be unable to fully understand them. It’s an interesting little conundrum, isn’t it?
Continue reading Should I Be Raising Feminist Boys?
It happened last weekend at my son’s 6th birthday party. Frankly, I’m still not over it.
While we were waiting for the Capron Park zookeeper to start the festivities, all the kids were able to run around in the field next to the administration building. There I was, admiring the ability of children to spontaneously erupt in unstructured play, when I noticed something over by the lemurs. A group of boys. In a circle. Quietly huddled together and looking at…something.
Any parent knows quiet groups of 6-year-olds likely means some kind of mischief.
I quickly walked over and tried to see what I was dealing with here. Granted, I have a weak stomach and this caught me off guard, but I was really taken aback by what I saw. And thoroughly disgusted as well.
There they were, a group of eight or so boys in kindergarten, all huddled together and — well, there’s no easy way to say it — they were playing with themselves. With a certain body part all boys have. Apparently one of them was curious about it and showed his, at which point the other boys just had to display theirs for comparison’s sake.
They were right there in public, wiggling them around out in the open. As if that wasn’t bad enough, a couple of them started touching other boys and wiggling THEIRS as well. It was right at that point I got there and put an immediate end to the whole thing, trying to choke back my revulsion and giving the speech about everyone keeping their hands to themselves.
Hey, I’m a guy. I get it. And as a dad, I knew this day would come. I guess I just thought I had more time. But last weekend proved beyond a shadow of a doubt I’m not ready for this stuff yet, and I’m still pretty grossed out by it all.
I can’t wait until Will’s loose teeth finally come out!
If you don’t like a word and you’re a massively influential figure, just have it banned.
That’s the mindset of Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, who is making headlines this week for starting the Ban Bossy campaign. Basically Sandberg feels little boys who assert themselves are told they’re displaying leadership skills by teachers and parents, while girls are called “bossy.” The result, according to Sandberg, is girls become hesitant to speak up and reluctant to take on leadership roles as they get older. So the author of the renowned Lean In book says the answer is simple — ban the word bossy.
Except, in my opinion, the only thing that should be banned is this contrived Ban Bossy marketing ploy.
Continue reading Why I Won’t Ban Bossy
“Will doesn’t care about Elsa from Frozen. He’s a boy and that’s girl stuff.”
That’s what a dad said to his daughter in front of my 5-year-old son recently. My son who, just a few days earlier, excitedly danced in his seat while watching Frozen in a movie theater accompanied by — gasp! — me. His dad. Yup, that’s right. A father and son trip to see an animated Disney musical about sisters, relationships, love, and sacrifice.
You know, total chick stuff.
Since this is someone we encounter on a fairly regular basis, I suppressed the dad blogger rage and accompanying vehement diatribe on gender equality that was desperately attempting to escape from my mouth. But I saw the confused (and slightly ashamed) look on my son’s face and it broke my heart, so I knew I had to say something.
“Actually, Will and I saw Frozen and we absolutely loved it. That movie is great and it’s for boys just as much as girls,” I said, choking down my anger. “Right buddy?”
But after hearing it labeled a “girl movie” and therefore unacceptable, all Will would offer at that point was a tepid “Well, it was OK.” Just OK. Three days ago it had been deemed “AWESOME!!!!!!”
And then it was my heart that broke.
Continue reading Gender Matters: My Son Won’t Play with “Girl Toys”