Yesterday, when I picked Munch up from daycare, he was cowering behind his favorite teacher because he was scared that another boy was screaming.
Munch is in a big "scary" phase right now. Over the weekend, we removed a lamp from his room because it cast a shadow he didn't like. Last night, he wanted a Mickey-head-shaped bottle of bubbles out. And right before bed, a book was banished because it was on his nightstand, which is usually clear, and was "scary." All these items were banished to "Mommy Daddy's" room.
And, admittedly, a severed Mickey head sitting on your shelf may not be the most comforting thing.
So when I got to daycare and found him scared, I wasn't surprised. His teacher, whom I really enjoy and who truly cares for Munch, said, "I told him, 'Be a man, don't be scared.' "
And I smiled a frozen smile, bent over, ran my hand over Munch's head, and said, "It's okay to be scared, everything is okay." My standard line.
And his teacher immediately said, "Oh yes honey, it's okay to be scared."
So many people are going to tell Munch so many things. And I can't stop that. So many people are going to influence his outlook. I know that as his parents, Hubs and I will have a huge role in how he sees the world, but others' views will get in there too.
In this teacher's household or worldview, men may not show fear.
In my household, men feel fear and are free to show it because that's what makes them strong men. Not being afraid to show fear or sadness or loneliness or hope.
There will be other things: Right now, Munch loves pink. He invariably picks the pink ball. He gets whatever ball he wants. And I feel myself bracing inwardly because I know, someday, someone will say, "Boys don't like pink. Get a blue ball."
And will Munch brush this off and say, well, I like pink so I'm getting the pink ball? Or, will he tuck something fundamental down inside himself and stick with blue or green or brown?
He will learn things that "society" believes. Skinny is good and fat is bad. Only weak men cry. If you're not first, you're last. Only dorks read. Coloring is for girls. Don't laugh too loud.
And I will run to sweep up the dregs of these bullshit statements, counter them as best I can by modeling strong beliefs and having open conversations and reassuring Munch that if he likes Sophia the First or Cinderella, then BY GOD WATCH IT.
But the world is many and I am one. And Munch will be who he will be.