Aug 12, 2015

It's a boys team!!

There she was… a tiny bundle, wailing and kicking with all her might. I looked at her and fell in love all over again. She was a wish fulfilled, a prayer answered, and as I kissed her, I thought there was nothing more precious and flawless than her- my newborn daughter. 'Isn't she the prettiest girl in the world?' I smiled widely as I asked the surgeon while she administered anaesthesia and put me to sleep. 

I have an older son- and he was six when my daughter was born. When he was 2 or 3 years old, I would look longingly at those pretty dresses and cute sandals and accessories displayed in all kids wear shops. I  love my son to bits, but secretly wished I had a daughter whom I could dress up in all those oh-so-cute things. I wished and wished and wished, until he turned almost 5 and wanted a playmate - a brother, to be precise. 

During the months that I was pregnant, he would often say- 'Mamma, I am sure I will have a brother, who will play cricket with me' and I always said 'I am sure you will have a sister, so we will have a girls team against you and daddy!'

And a girl it was- a sister for my son. And he was happy, nevertheless. He even carried her in his arms on the very first day, very confidently, gently and affectionately. For me, taking care of an infant was a tad easier this time around. And I was only too happy that I could now buy all the prettiest dresses in the world for my doll.

But that was not to be. I was able to doll her up only till she was nearly three years old, which is roughly when she began pointing out what she liked to eat/wear/play. She displayed interest in everything that is conventionally meant for boys. The possible reason could be that she has an older brother whom she wants to emulate and whose approval she values the most.

My tiny doll is now four, and has a mind of her own. She has no love for pretty dresses, cute sandals and accessories, or girlie toys. She wears superhero t shirts, plays with cars, and can easily hit and punch while playing football! When she speaks, she says 'Main aunga, khaunga, jaunga'.

I did try at first to change her mannerisms, correcting every sentence that she spoke, cajoling her to wear girlie clothes, admonishing her for kicking the ball around inside the house, and chiding her for not letting me tie her hair. But soon I realised that all this only made her more react more boisterously, determined to 'become a boy'.

I also realised that there was nothing wrong with her, it was actually me. Not only was I giving in to gender stereotypes, which I always abhorred, but was also making her more rebellious. So, I had to some rethinking on the way I addressed her love for all things deemed 'boyish'.

Instead of lamenting that she never wore a single hair band or hair clip I bought for her and admonishing her for unkempt hair (which were very uncomfortable for her), I got her a short haircut. Not only is it more convenient for her, but for me also, when I need to get her dressed for school or while going out! I also stopped buying dresses for her completely (sigh), and now I buy t shirts and leggings for her, clothes that are comfortable for her to manage when she has to go to the washroom all by herself at school. I also don't buy her dolls or cooking sets, but try and find more gender neutral games for her.

Several times, people have asked me 'Isn't that a boy?' when I call her name, a girl's name. Or there are other kids, including my son's friends, who say 'Is your "sister" a boy?' And I don't mind explaining it to them that she is a girl who loves to behave like a boy. Reactions from people are varied. Some find it amusing, some think it is wrong, while some display sympathy, and say 'Don't worry, she will grow out of it.' But I am least worried.

And I wouldn't worry even if she doesn't grow out of it. It is alright if she keeps wearing superhero t-shirts forever, or plays noisy games, with boys. To me,  she will always be 'the prettiest girl in the world', whether she dresses up like one or not.

Though my friends found it very difficult to find gifts for her on her birthday, and though I see her picking up only blue racquets and blue balls and blue shoes and avoiding pink completely, I know that she will always be my princess.

At the same time, I marvel at the determination she has displayed at such a tender age, holding her own against older boys, when she plays with her brother and his friends. And her brother, my son - he is a proud brother. Yes, he has a sister, but it's a boys team at home!


  1. Wow At 4 she can punch while playing thats a Super Gal u got there :) Nice post

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  2. Lovely ..... you really have the right words to tell things in your way. Will read all with time. :)