In the cupboard where we keep the unbreakable dinnerware for the kids, there is a set of plastic plates in a dazzling array of colors: red, blue, yellow, lime green, turquoise blue, and pink. We've had most of these plates since the two boys were little; when we finally had a girl, I'll admit that I tripped off to Wal-mart and lovingly purchased one pink plate, stereotypes aside.
This, along with several girly outfits and dolls, was just okay with our Miss Bee for awhile. Sometime between then and now, she has come to the conclusion that she will someday be a boy. I can no longer depend on her to wear whatever outfits I pick out for her at the store (she would rather raid her brothers' dresser drawers), I apparently can't make any reference to her being a girl at ALL ("Mom, I'm going to be a boy, and don't say I'm a girl!") and she refuses to eat off the pink plate. (Although she begs me to paint her toenails, so figure that one out.) When Grandma called and asked for suggestions for Christmas presents last month, I put dress-up clothes and a tea set on the list, only because I had seen her play with these things at a friend's house. We called Grandma and Grandpa on Christmas morning to thank them for their gifts to the family, and when Grandma asked Miss Bee if she liked the Cinderella dress she gave her, she said, in a plaintive little voice, "No." (I think I gasped.) I don't think this is a gender confusion issue; I think it's just little kid logic at work - she has 2 older brothers who obviously grew up to be boys, so why shouldn't every kid in our family?
I'm okay with this for the most part. I realize not every girl is a girly girl. Of course she is free to be whatever kind of girl she's going to be. However, I guess (like any other situation where expectations are not met with assumed results) I am still a little bit sad. The pink plate has sort of come to represent that things are not the way I thought they would be. Miss Bee is no less lovable than she'd be if she was a pink-plate girl, though, so I can be okay with that.
But the other day, Daddy took the boys out for some father-son time and Miss Bee and I were left all alone for a few hours. She wanted to have a tea party (really?), so we went to the grocery store and picked out a fancy, baby-sized cake with a silver ribbon on top and brought it home, amid much ceremony. We spread Mom's lace tablecloth on the coffee table and laid out our spread: orange juice (in the little pink teapot), flower- and star-shaped tortillas sprinkled with sugar (from the little blue sugar bowl), and our purple-polka-dotted cake from the bakery. Halfway through the party, Miss Bee exclaimed, "I forgot my princess dress!" The party stopped while she changed into her frock, and resumed immediately after. What other word could I use for such an occasion other than glorious - just lovely. After it was over, the Cinderella dress came off, Mom cleaned up the mess (there was a leak in the creamer, we found out), and the guys came home.
This little event hasn't really changed anything - Miss Bee appeared this morning in a pair of red flowered pants and Flip's gray pullover shirt - but it was a most pleasant time; just me and my girl, and it's okay if the princess dress stays in the closet for awhile. I love just being with her.
But maybe I'll put the pink plate on the table for dinner tonight and see what happens.