Those of you who know me or follow my blog are aware that Big is very rarely himself. As I posted previously, he has quite a few different characters he pretends to be. By quite a few, I mean close to 30. And that doesn't even include the animals. We have a rule that he can't be anyone other than himself at school and church so he doesn't confuse the teachers and other kids in his class. If he were just one other character and stuck with it, maybe I'd let him, but he switches often and it can be a bit confusing keeping track of it all.
About a dozen of Big's other 'selves' are girls. These days it is most often a girl that he portrays. He's on another attempt to grow his hair out, too. In the past, his attempts have always been thwarted by the annoyance of his bangs in his eyes. This time around he has taken to wearing headbands to try to keep them out of his way while they grow. He used to want his hair long so he can look like the long-haired drummers he loves and pretends to be, but after this conversation we had the other day, I'd say there is now another reason:
Big: "When my hair gets long, I want to dress up like a girl on days I'm not in school."
Me: "You do?"
Big: "Yes. Just on days I'm not in school or at church. When my hair gets long."
Me: "How come?"
Big: "I just do. It's what I want to do."
Me: "Okay. But we don't really have any girl clothes your size."
Big: "Well, we could buy some."
Me: "We don't really have money for you to have two wardrobes, but we will see what we can do with what we already have around here."
Big: "Okay. Thanks, Mom."
I guess he was unable to wait for his hair to grow out. For about half of the day yesterday he wore a skirt of Ginger's over his jeans with the waistband rolled so it would stay up. We tried a few different hairdos, attempting to find one he liked, but I can tell he's frustrated with the in between stage his hair is in right now (I've been there, it's tough). When he asked me how he looked I told him he looks nice. I'm not sure he believed me, though. It seems really important to Big that he looks good as a girl, but I think he can tell it's a bit of a stretch.
I know a lot of moms who might not agree with how I'm handling things. I mean, I've lost count of all the 'well-meaning' mothers out there who have felt the need to let me know I should make Bud get his hair cut. They think I'm sending him the wrong message by letting him have his hair long. I can only imagine what kind of message they think I'm sending Big by letting him grow his hair long and wear a skirt. I suppose they expect me to lay down the law or something. Their law, I guess. Or what they perceive society's law to be.
Am I encouraging Big? No. Am I pushing him in any one direction? No. I try not to. I don't think Big wearing skirts needs to be fueled by me, and neither do I think Big not wearing skirts needs to be fueled (or demanded) by me. He'll figure it out on his own, and I think it's important that I give him the space to do so. No assumptions need to be made. No panic needs to swell in regards to who or what Big is or isn't. He's four. I mean, he spent the remainder of the day being a professional basketball player and a tiger. Do I worry about wether Big feels like he's really a tiger inside?
It's like I posted a few weeks ago-- I wanted to be a boy for a little while when I was a kid. After a bit, I realized that I am quite happily a girl and I found my way into being a fortunate married mother of five. So, if Big wants to experiment with being a girl, I'll let him, because I understand. I think I'm just the mom Big needs because I'll let him find his own way. He was meant to be mine and I love him. Even in a skirt.