I have a daughter and a son. My daughter is older; serious and cautious with an artistic temperament. She was two when I brought my son home from the hospital, and she trained herself that week because “babies wore diapers, and she was NOT a baby.”

My son is happy and carefree. They are both smart, persistent, and love to learn, but their personalities are so different. He was also toilet trained at 2, and has a knack for remembering state capitols and other facts. Once, when he was playing at a toy store, he told me he had to use the bathroom. Another mom said I was too rigid, training him too early, and he would have psychological problems. (Amazing how comfortable people are saying whatever pops into their heads!) I would have loved to stay and chat, but my kid had to go…

When he broke his elbow last year, the first thing everyone said was, “Boys!” This rankled me, especially since he wasn’t doing anything YouTube worthy, just playing on the playground. He had a cast and surgery, and just a few months ago asked me, “Can boys become doctors?” because so many of his physicians were women.

So, when he wet his bed three weeks ago, after years of nighttime dryness, I was surprised. I thought maybe he had had such a long day, or something or another… He was so embarrassed, I didn’t mention it, but it happened again. Then it stopped for a week, then it happened again.

I called our pediatrician. My son also had breath that smelled like nail polish remover, and I know that’s a sign of ketosis because I worked in a small office with 14 people on the South Beach Diet. I reported the breath and the accidents.

“Boys,” they said. “Stop giving him drinks at night. He could be constipated. He could have a bladder infection.”

“Should I bring him in…?”

Well… if you feel like something’s wrong…”

(I’m calling you, so I think it’s safe to say I feel like something’s wrong.)

The something I’m writing about in this post is this sexism that says boys are dirty and dopey. They pee themselves for the fun of it, and they can’t sit still because they are “little stinkers.” I wonder if I had called about my daughter, if they would’ve seen her right away, and not made me feel like a bothersome nutcase, and worse, not painted my smart, capable, joyful son with the broad brush of boyhood.

Girls can do “boy” things like roughhouse and belch (can they ever!) and boys can do “girl” things like express a full range of emotions, have close friends, and be “catty” (a rant for another day…)

Would you please do my son, and all children a favor, and if you must express your sympathy, say, “kids,” instead? After all, my daughter still denies having to use the bathroom, even while she’s hopping on one leg!

Turns out, my son has type 1 diabetes, which I am positive is NOT part of “being a boy.” We wouldn’t have known if I had just gone away like a good mommy. Kids don’t do stuff like that just to piss off their parents, no matter what their gender. (And no pun intended.)


One thought on “Boys…

  1. Alex Hurst

    Really sorry to hear about your son’s diagnosis, but man… I get so angry as gendering of every little thing in childhood, on either end! So many stories from my six years teaching kindergarten.

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