My son has RED toenails

My son has red toenails.

Over the weekend, I had a pedicure. Since everyone in the house was sleeping, I decided to take my older son with me while I went on a pedicure. He was most fascinated with the whole process - that magical piece of cotton which can take the color off mummy's toes, that strange rectangular something that can make the nails shine like never before, and the lovely lovely array of color.

So anyway, once we got back, he decided that he needed colour on his toes as well. So what if he's a boy. Its pretty, isn't it. To keep peace, I painted his toe-nails red (that's the colour he chose). Now, I'm struggling to accept. To me, its strange to have my 5 year old have painted nails. Red nails. A boy with red nails. I'm sure if it were a friend's child, I would have told her to chill. But it isn't. Its my 5 year old. My son.

My son with red nails. I wonder if I'd felt the same had it been my daughter with red nails, instead of my son. I wonder. I think I'd have been cooler. And that surprises me. It exposes a part of me I don't like. I never thought I was a sexist. I didn't think I was so conventional. I don't know why I'm uncomfortable - is it because boys normally don't paint their nails. But then boys also normally don't play with dolls. Why was I okay with buying him dolls and encouraging him to play with it; or with joining dance & ballet lessons; playing with girls; not playing typical "boy" games? I'm surprised at myself.

Are these ways in which having children challenges you? It makes you suddenly realize how stupid you are about inconsequential things. Just as well he's doing this when he's 5. That way I'll be a cooler mom by the time he's 15.

Bring it on son, its okay. I need to grow up too. I'll struggle, I'll learn, I try not to judge, and I'll accept and love.

Yes, I'll always love you, my son with red toes. Yes, you can have red toes, for as long as you want. And if you don't, that's okay too. I love YOU, my son with red toes.


Anonymous said...

Red nailpolish hmmm. He doesn't have sisters or else he would have wanted more girly stuff. My brother wanted to try on my nighty, skirt or mum's sari. Mom never painted her nails, so we didnt have the stuff for him to try on. I even have a pic of him in my nighty. V

romit said...

Dont worry, let him enjoy red nails and ballet. This is the 21st century...having said that, I will offer that I fed my niece a steady diet of cars and other boy-toys and she inevitably veered to dolls...gender stereotyping is very active in school!!!

radhika said...

great post ritu! :-))

shaaz did exactly that couple of weeks ago. red nailpolish on his toes. i got slayed by everyone including ekhlaque and his mom.