At the beginning of the school year, I asked my 3-year-old twins if they would like to take dance lessons. My daughter, Goose, was an enthusiastic, “Yes!”. My son said casually that he’d prefer Taekwondo.
Okay, I thought. Dance for Goose, and Taekwondo for Buddy. Fine.
And so it was for a few weeks, until Goose told me she wanted to take Taekwondo, too. Initially, I dodged the issue. It’s not that I don’t want her to take Taekwondo. It’s just that I’m already paying for dance classes and really… that’s enough.
But then she asked again… and again… and then Buddy said he wanted to try dance… and in my mind my wallet is shrinking, and shrinking…. I put off any real discussion with them about it until today when I dropped them off at school and reminded them that Goose has dance and Buddy has Taekwondo.
Goose said, “I want to take Taekwondo.”
I said, “Not today.”
She said, and this is what really hit a nerve, “Because Taekwondo is for boys”, nodding enthusiastically for painful emphasis.
“No. What? No. No, it is not just for boys.” I told her.
“And dance is for girls!”, Buddy chimes in from his seat.
“What? What? No. No, dance is not just for girls. Where did you hear that?”, I ask increasingly flabbergasted.
I reiterate the plan for the day: Buddy Taekwondo, Goose dance. I told them we’d talk about it later, and then I started trying to figure out how this happened and what to do about it. I know they didn’t hear it from me. I bought them custom tutus for their last birthday: pink/purple for Goose and blue/green for Buddy (shout out to Foxy Baby for those awesome tutus!). He has a train set; Goose has one, too. I want to reinforce that they can be anything, not just boy or girl things.
So now what? I can’t pay for both of them to take both classes, but I don’t want to send them the message that one is for boys and one is for girls. And they are only 3, after all. If I ask them to pick one or the other for the year do they really understand what a year is? How can they choose when they haven’t tried both?
They can’t. Dammit. And so, Goose will try a Taekwondo class on Wednesday. And Buddy will try dance on Monday.
Then we’ll see what they say.
I am sad to predict the following: Goose will still want to do both, and Buddy… well, I suspect he’ll see that there are no other boys in the dance class, declare it for girls, and stick with Taekwondo.
I guess there’s only so much I can do.