Always an adventure

By Mir
November 24, 2008

I decided to have some quality time with the kidlets this weekend. DAMMIT. It seems absurd to me that we would need to schedule such a thing, but sometimes if I don’t make a mental and calendar commitment to it (complete with a mild expletive), it doesn’t happen. So it was slated to go down this weekend, like it or not.

We started it off in classic sloth style with a pajama day on Saturday. We all slept late and never got dressed. Well, I take that back—I eventually showered and got dressed around dinnertime, because I wanted to walk out and get the mail, and after having spent the entire day holed up in the house I figured my overly-concerned neighbor might call DFACS if she saw me trudge out there in my jammies. But we laid around and watched TV and read books and played Wii and just hung out together. It was lovely.

Sunday, we reemerged to join society. In fact, we not only made plans to meet friends to go see Bolt, I also surprised the kids by taking them out to lunch! This is because I am the greatest mother ever, or possibly because we were kinda out of food and I didn’t feel like going for groceries until after the movie. Whatever. And because we are extremely fancy, we went to Taco Bell.

(This whole having-a-vegetarian-kid has greatly cut down on our fast food options, which is mostly fine because we rarely eat out. But I will miss the days of Chickadee clamoring for a Wendy’s cheeseburger or a trip to Chick-fil-A….)

Taco Bell had the notable advantage of offering plenty of vegetarian options, which is awesome when you’re trying to eat healthily by avoiding animal flesh and instead eating as many artificial colors and substances as possible. Meat = bad! Radioactive orange cheese = good! And in addition to that, they have a serve-yourself drink machine, which is Very Exciting.

Normally I make the children get water or milk, but this was a Special Day and so when Monkey looked at the options and sighed, “Well, I guess that root beer there has a lot of sugar, so you’re probably not going to let me get that,” I told him to go ahead. Both kids scampered to collect their soda before I could recant.

“Wow,” said Chickadee. “You’re letting us have fast food, and you bought candy for the movie, AND you’re letting us have root beer! This is, like, the best day EVER!”

“Yes,” I agreed. “Haven’t you heard? Today is International Get Jacked Up On Sugar Day!”

“Is it REALLY?” asked Monkey, sheepishly falling back to guzzling his root beer when his sister laughed at him.

(Hey, sometimes you have to go all out. Just to keep them guessing.)

So we finished up our gourmet lunch and headed over to the movie theater, where we found ourselves in line in front of a trio of older ladies who immediately took a shine to Monkey. This may have been because he was bouncing and talking non-stop. Which I would dearly love to blame on the root beer, but he’s always like that, so I probably can’t.

“What movie are you going to see?” one of them asked him.

“Bolt! We’re going to Bolt! Because I love dogs! And it’s going to be really great! And my friend Franklin is meeting us here so they can see it TOO!” He bounced around in a circle, and the women all chuckled.

“Isn’t she ADORABLE?” one of them said. Monkey was still pinwheeling around and didn’t hear them.

“And do you have a dog at home?” the inquisitor continued.

“Nope!” he answered. “I mean, I have my stuffed Puppy. But not a real dog. Not yet. Maybe someday, we’ll see!”

“She’s precious,” the woman said to the other two. And this time, Monkey heard.

“I’m a boy!” he chirped, ever-cheerful. It’s worth noting, here, that Monkey was wearing a skater-style fleece, blue track pants, and green camouflage sneakers. Look, I realize some people cannot wrap their heads around a boy having long hair, but there was NOTHING else to suggest the child is female. Nothing.

“What, honey? You want to be a boy?” this poor, misguided woman now followed up.

Monkey laughed. “No, I AM a boy!” he said, still giggling.

Now the woman turned to me. “She’s… a boy?” she asked, clearly confused. Her tone told me she didn’t know if she’d just stepped into some sort of hippy-dippy progressive parent trap. Maybe my daughter was just an extreme tomboy and we were encouraging her to embrace the transgender lifestyle at age 8! Maybe when said tomboy dressed in boys’ clothing we allowed her to CLAIM to BE a boy!

“HE is a boy, yes,” I answered, trying to keep my voice mild.

“But…” she was clearly rocked, and losing her footing. “She’s so pretty,” she finished.

Now it was my turn to laugh. “He’s quite attractive, yes,” I agreed, ensnaring him in a hug and smoothing his hair down. “But he is, in fact, a boy. With long hair.”

“You shouldn’t be so pretty, with those long eyelashes and everything,” she said to Monkey, and although it sounds creepy and weird, I really think she was trying to be nice. (Also: Monkey IS pretty. I know exactly what she meant.)

“I can’t really help that,” he said with a shrug. “But I do prefer to be called HANDSOME.”

And just like that, the weirdness passed and all three women were delighted with him, again. Also, it was our turn at the ticket window. Thank God.

Yep. Quality time.


  1. RuthWells

    “But I do prefer to be called HANDSOME.”


  2. mamalang

    You showed a great deal of grace under pressure. You are definitely a better woman than me…lol.

  3. Katherine

    Luckily my long-haired boy is 12 and by that age most of the girls are starting to fill out, so he only gets confused for a girl from a distance. He also has drop dead gorgeous eyelashes though and it’s NO FAIR!

  4. Megan

    Monkey man – you are totally cool. I love that he copes so well with well meaning but utterly daft people.

  5. Billie

    lol. My 8 year old would not have handled that quite as well as Monkey. :)

  6. Beachgal

    OOOH, we saw BOLT this weekend, too, in 3D, even! I loved Monkey’s comeback! What a great boy! Handsome, indeed!

  7. The Other Leanne

    “a trio of older ladies” at first made me picture my mother, who is 80…please tell me they were 80.
    Monkey is so very gracious and obviously comfortable with himself, what a wonderful gift!

  8. Chuck

    Well, at least Monkey didn’t feel the need to PROVE he was a boy. Great comeback on his part.

  9. Becky

    A proper guy doesn’t mind when his masculinity is questioned, or something like that. Monkey’s definitely the most adorable and handsome boy around.

  10. Tammy

    I can see why they were so enamored of Monkey. “But I do prefer to be called HANDSOME.” Might be the best line EVAH.

  11. Angela

    Oh my, I really hope my son handles that as well as Monkey when he’s older! He’s only five now, but gets exasperated when he’s mistaken for a boy. Like your Monkey, he is indeed “pretty” and has long, curly hair. Which is why most of his clothes are blue or green OR have some kind of skull or spider on them. lol. But still, when we do eat out, if McDonald’s is doing Hot Wheels and Barbies, I always have to take a Barbie back and request a Hot Wheels. lol. And I so often hear “she’s so pretty/cute/insert feminine compliment here”. I’ve even gotten a few blog comments about “her”. lol

    I am glad to hear from Katherine that it eventually comes to an end!!!

    And yay for family bonding!!

  12. Melissa

    I wish I were as self-possessed as Monkey!

  13. Heather

    Monkey rules lol. Seriously, does he practice his lines with you each night? :P Too funny!

  14. Half Assed Kitchen

    That Monkey. He’s such a funny whippersnapper.

  15. Mary Ann

    I think I’m in love with Monkey.

  16. Leandra

    You’ll never believe it in a million years — in fact, I don’t quite believe it myself — but I sent the kiddos to see Bolt while I went to see a real live grown up movie! I know! Hard to believe isn’t it?

    You know, he *is* astoundingly pretty. But at least Chickie doesn’t get mistaken for a boy, something that happened to a friend of mine when she was 13. I don’t think she’s over it yet.

  17. Lori

    Monkey is too darn sweet to deal with that so pleasantly!

    When I became a vegetarian as a tween, it would have been more accurate to say I was a junk-food-atarian. Unless you count potato chips as a vegetable.

  18. tj

    Candy, eating out, and soda? You are the greatest mom ever!

  19. tara

    It doesn’t even sound like the lady felt stupid after. When my mom comes to my son’s wrestling tournaments and she sees a boy with long hair she’ll say, “Look a girl wrestler!” Yes, there are girl wrestlers too, she just doesn’t get that either. Older people just have their preception of what a boy should look like.

  20. Alice

    Monkey. Is. Awesome. (You and he already knew that, of course, but considering how much aplomb he showed with that conversation, it definitely bore repeating.)

  21. Em

    Geez, there aren’t alot of ways to get out of that greacefully. Leave it to Monkey to leave everyone smiling.

  22. The FringeGirl

    Glad you had a great weekend with your kids…sounds fun! Seems you’re raising a great kid…a male kid!!!

  23. elswhere

    Monkey, and Chickadee with her Rosa Parks hair, are gonna save the world. Srsly.

  24. Rhea

    Sounds like a wonderful way to spend a Saturday to me!

    I just finished reading your Real Mom post about boobs, and I laughed a lot. All copy machines in doctors’ offices are located in Mexico, didn’t you know? Not Arizona. hehe

    It explains why the copying takes so long. The receptionists have to exchange currency, the copier makes copies in Spanish, so then they have to translate it back to English…

  25. Erin

    I love that Monkey doesn’t mind being mistaken for a girl. I was just telling someone about that the other day. (Is it weird to talk about the kids of people you know on the internet? If so, I’m very weird, because I do it all the time.) I just think it’s great he’s confident enough to rock the long hair despite the gender confusion other folks experience.


  26. sheila

    What a cool weekend. A movie and lots of sugar! Can’t beat that! (and I didn’t even know that Taco Bell had veg. options! of course, I haven’t been there in like forever but that used to be our ‘restaurant’ of choice!)

  27. Jess

    Good for Monkey!

    When I was about fifteen, and had not, uh, filled out, I was wearing some rather unisex clothes and wandering around in a mall. Two “older ladies” behind me tut-tutted about the boy with long hair. I was SO MAD when I figured out they were talking about me.

  28. Sarah H

    People are just morons. I would dress my twin girls up all in pink and people would say, “what cute little boys”.

  29. Flea

    I love that your Monkey is so comfortable with his long hair. :) What a sweet kid. The perils of living in the Deep South, eh?

  30. StephLove

    My son had long curls until he was about three and everyone thought he was a girl. His little sister now has long curls and mostly wears his hand-me-downs. She doesn’t get taken for a boy nearly as often as he was taken for a girl (though it does happen sometimes.) People definitely go by the hair. But it sounds like M has a great attitude about it. He must be pretty used to the comments.

  31. Headless Mom

    International Get Jacked Up On Sugar Day is the best holiday ever. Too bad we missed it this year.

  32. Dawn

    Kudos to Monkey for having such grace and aplomb to handle that situation so well.

    I think some people are just colour blind. This happened to my daughter and I when she was a baby. Granted, it’s pretty hard to tell boy babies from girl babies when they’re dressed, but she was sitting in her stroller wearing a pink and turquoise snowsuit with a pink hat and mitts on. A middle-aged woman (can’t even blame failing eyesight) walked up to her and said, “What a sweet little boy. What’s his name?”

  33. Karate Mom

    When my husband and I were first married, he had really long hair. One time he was standing at a bookstore, looking down at a book in his hand, his hair concealing his face. A store employee walked up and said, “Can I help you, ma’am?”
    I’m pretty sure the guy has still not gotten over the shock of Troy looking up, complete with dark black goatee, and saying, “No, thanks.” in a deep masculine voice.
    Makes me giggle to this day!

  34. Daisy

    I’m falling in love with your Monkey all over again!

  35. Denise

    Not only is Monkey a very pretty boy, he’s also a really terrific kid. There are an awful lot of kids who would not handle that sort of thing well – Monkey is a great guy. I’ll take him if you want to give him away.

  36. Little Bird

    Monkey handled that perfectly. When I was his age everyone thought I was a boy. On at least one occasion even when I was in a dress. I had short hair. I think Monkey did better than I did.

  37. Brigitte

    My sister always looked boy-ish (even still does in her work clothes, as she’s a pilot). Once some woman started giving her a stern lecture for daring to enter the LADIES’ room! Luckily my sister just laughed in her face and didn’t care.

    I guess Chickie’s vegetarianism means no more dressing-up-as-a-cow day at Chick-Fil-A? :-(

  38. Aimee

    Monkey handled that PERFECTLY. What a great kid!

  39. Peggy

    Sounds like a perfect weekend:)

  40. dyan

    LOL – that was great!

  41. tori

    My son uses his all serious voice when people call him a girl. He has a way of saying “oh yeah, but I’m a boy” that cracks me up.

    Unless I am positive, I usually go with “what an adorable CHILD” much the same as I do with babies who are dressed gender neutral.

  42. jennielynn

    That kid is just flat-out awesome.

  43. Katie in MA

    Oh, he cracks me up! I can’t decide if you’re going to marry him off early, or if he’s too confident and too much of a ladies’ man to resist playing the field. Because, just…wow. :) Can you just imagine him in a few years?

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