When it comes to kids, everyone always comments that kids have so much personality. It’s true. Kids are great. They develop strong personalities from such a young age. It’s awesome to watch their interests grow and their uniqueness really come out. At the same time, I’ve had a lot of people look at me strange because I encourage my kids to embrace that which makes them different. Other people seem to think I should enforce a lot more conformity.
It all started out when Beekee was small. I guess when it comes to girls, non-conformity to the standard girly pink is a lot more acceptable and she didn’t do anything that out of the ordinary. Her imaginary friends were her hands with the names of “Boodie” for the left and “Dragon Blue” for the right. However, when Beekee started to develop his own sense of unique behaviors I had so many people question my sanity.
At first it was all really cute. I had called him “my little boy-kin, boy-kin…the B.K. not big enough to be a real boy yet!” I called that to him his whole first two years of life. I also called him things like “Mr. Aris J.J.” and other cute names, so it’s not like he didn’t have exposure to his “real” name until he was older. It was there in the mix of things that he was called throughout his young life. I didn’t think anything of it. I also called him “my little fairy child”, “the boy who never grew up”, and all sorts of other things that came from stories I made up for him. I really didn’t think anything of it.
Then when he started to get old enough to talk he spouted out his first sentence out of nowhere, “Beekee got ball-ball!” He was holding a ball, looking all proud of himself at about a year and a half old. Beekee never talked back then. He was the strong, silent type, and if he did say something, good luck getting him to repeat it! He’d say it once and that would be it.
When he said this, I gave him a questioning look and repeated him questioningly, “Beekee got ball-ball?” He nodded all proud of himself. “Who’s Beekee?” He pointed to himself and said, “Beekee!” again very excitedly. “You’ve got a ball?” I asked. He nodded and again said, “Beekee got ball!” That kind of sealed it.
At first this was kind of cute, but it wasn’t long before people started to remind me that he was getting old enough to outgrow the phase of cute names. At the same time, people, like his father and my family, didn’t want to respect his choice. At first it was okay to call him Aris, but after his dad left the scene he was no longer okay with it. It’s got to be Beekee. People keep trying to get him to use his middle name, but he likes Beekee.
As time progressed Beekee got used to things other boys don’t, and he didn’t seem to care. He was regularly called a girl because of his hair and he never seemed phased by this. I had tons of people reminding me I should correct these people who wrongly identified my son as a girl, but I eventually decided it was too much effort in most cases. Why should I bother if we’re never going to see these people again? Even if they did run into us at the supermarket or wherever it’s not like they would likely remember us.
This trend of Beekee’s unique identity just kept on. It’s been a struggle. As Beekee becomes more and more unique and independent, he comes under more and more criticism. I’m kind of glad we homeschool because I wouldn’t want his confidence in himself to be shattered by the pressures of his peer group. So what if he likes purple? Who cares if he likes to wear girl clothes. He doesn’t even get phased in the least when people call him a girl out in public. To be honest, he doesn’t even seem to notice. The only thing that does bother him is the insistence of other people that he use a different name. He likes his name and he thinks everyone should respect his choices. Does that make me too liberal of a parent? Some people would certainly say so. At the same time, I ran into some really awesome parents of a guy my age that named himself “Ducky” when he was little. To this day he still uses that name, even at work. So maybe it’s not such a bad thing!
Surprisingly, the person that gets the most upset about Beekee’s choice of gender identity is Corde. She gets really upset when other people call Beekee a girl. She’s very protective of her brothers and she’s a little afraid that someone is going to hurt Beekee’s feelings. I think it also makes her a bit uncomfortable knowing that her brother is thought to be pretty weird.
It’s funny how you would think Beekee would be the one to feel the heat of his decision, but really, it’s Corde. Beekee is completely happy with his decision. He’s committed to it. Most of all, he’s happy with who he is and doesn’t care what anyone else thinks.
I can only hope as my children continue to grow they keep up with the things that make them unique and special. They shouldn’t have to fit the mold the world has cast for them. I want them to be unique, vibrant, and strong.
And…because the kids were so excited that Sander got to be a part of the blog yesterday they decided they wanted in. Today we have real video footage of both Corde and Beekee! I will tell you this much, they aren’t really quite like they appear on camera. They’ve never really been video taped before, so they were both a little unsure of what it was supposed to be like. Corde got really silly there at the end. She just told me she wanted to do a video about cooking tonight and how she got to try new things. Beekee was much more task oriented. He told me he wanted to talk about his clothes and his hair more than anything else. They’ve also been super crazy and hyper today, which I’m surprised didn’t come across in the video. Right now they’re running hyper and crazy in the living room while Corde is still stuck on the tomato thing. Oh the joys of crazy kids! So I’ll leave you with our intros from Corde and Beekee!