I’ve always hoped that I am a non-judgemental person. However today I realised that as much as I try to be this, herein lies the issue, the fact that I am trying to be means I am not. I believe it’s unavoidable and natural to make an initial judgement, opinion or assumption. I guess it’s the process of rationalising those initial thoughts and prejudices that follows, how open-minded we are, which determines the kind of person we are.
Today I took my 2.5 year old to ballet. I dressed her in the obligatory pink fluffy tutu and made her look (in my eyes) like a proper little ballerina. On arriving at the class there were 10 or so other fluffy pink tutu clad ballerinas, swirling and twirling their way around the dance hall.
Last to join the class was a Mum with 2 young children. The eldest child was wearing huge white fairy wings and a fluffy head band and the youngest was dressed in red trousers and top, sucking contentedly on a bottle of milk in the pram.
Immediately I swooped on in there with my stereotypical instant judgement. “Fairywings” was obviously a girl, she was wearing fairy wings and doing ballet. She just looked a bit ”boyish” with her short hair and white clothes . I can’t lie, those were exactly my thoughts and I assumed the baby was probably a boy given he was wearing red trousers etc. So when his Mum introduced “Fairywings” as Harry and the baby as Ellie you can imagine my surprise.
The irony is that my baby is continually referred to as a boy. I guess this is because I very rarely dress her in what would be deemed as “girly” skirts or dresses for 2 reasons. Firstly, she has heaps of layers of delicious baby chub and the dresses look so terribly uncomfortable and secondly because she gets incredibly frustrated with being tangled up in them as she tries to navigate her way around on her hands and knees. Her being referred to as a boy so often is something that I try not to get annoyed by but for some reason it does irritate me. Yet here I was doing the exact same thing.
What actually hit me through the duration of the class as we pranced around like ponies and reached on our tippy toes to touch the stars, was just how inspiringly wonderful Harry’s mummy was. She was not allowing stereotypes to dictate what her little boy wore or did from such an early age. She was truly allowing him the freedom to decide for himself who he wanted to be. Holding back tears I got quite emotional in the class thinking about it all and how I can only hope to offer the same kind of freedom to my girls.