Monday, October 8, 2012

Nails, Part 3

Every morning, the first graders all swarm around me in the morning holding out their fists. I’m not sure how I became the ringleader of these massive games of Rock, Paper,Scissors, but once the proverbial genie had been released it wasn’t going back in the bottle because it was having too much fun playing with the grown up before school began.

On this particular morning one of the fingernails of the hands playing was painted bright orange. In the midst of the action, one brash girl stopped so she could tell the boy who was attached to the orange fingers that it was “against the rules” for a boy to wear nail polish.  She punctuated her proclamation with an authoritative, “My mom said so.”  Another boy chirped that his mom also said that boys were not allowed to paint their nails—only girls.

The orange-nailed boy quietly slunk away.

As the father of a boy, who on occasion likes to paint his nails, I have some strong opinions on the subject.  I told the objectionable kids that everybody has different rules and just because their moms told them one thing doesn’t mean it applies to everyone.  It took a lot not to use phrases like “narrow minded” or worse when talking to those kids about their mothers.

The kids scattered to line up when the bell ran. I hugged the Bean, who had witnessed the whole thing, and reminded him that no matter what anyone else says it’s okay for anyone to paint their nails if they want to. I then scanned the area for the orange-nailed boy. I spotted him at the front of the line and worked my way around some errant kids to get to him. I tapped him on the shoulder and when he turned around I looked him in the eye and said, “Just so you know, I think your nails are awesome.”

He smiled as he went off to class.

13 comments:

Sasha said...

I hope that one of these days you go with some of your nails painted and some not.

Daddy Geek Boy said...

@Sasha...That's a great idea!

BloggerFather said...

Good that you found the balance there, because if it were me, these kids would have gone back home with some new information about their parents.

Sasha said...

Glad you like it. Good luck.

Daddy Geek Boy said...

@Blogger Father...Tough not to, but I'd completely lose an audience with those kids had I done that.

Ashley said...

Today life is so different, especially in LA. I don't see what the problem with nail polish is. When you are that young how are you supposed to know that it is viewed as a feminine fashion trend? I'm sure by junior high all of these kids will have other things on their minds and won't be thinking about what interests them today.
Good for you!

Daddy Geek Boy said...

@Ashley...When you're not young you're not supposed to know what's "boy" or "girl". Kids get taught that. Just like they get taught to notice (and sometimes hate) differences. Kids are a clean slate that we dirty up with our stuff.

OneZenMom said...

Just so you know ... I think you're awesome. :)

Jill said...

As someone who is currently pregnant with her first child - a son who we are currently calling "Ripley" - I am so happy you did that! It doesn't have to be about shaming the other kids or their parents, but saying something thoughtful about the situation and validating the poor little boy being picked on definitely helps and maybe gets the kids thinking for themselves about stuff like this. Also, growing up, I knew a bunch of dudes who painted their nails (some because they like the look, some because they played guitar, etc.) and I thought it was awesome! I can only hope that when Ripley chooses for himself what he wants to do with his appearance that we will have instilled enough confidence in him and given him enough support so that when comments like that happen, and I know they will happen, it won't bother him.

Daddy Geek Boy said...

@Zen...Thanks!

@Jill...Congrats on the rugrat to be! I totally dig the name (though that may be the movie nerd in me). And thanks for checking out the blog.

Australian Jilly said...

You know you changed that boy's life, right? So glad he was called out then and not during kids-only recess. How different his identity might be.

Daddy Geek Boy said...

@Jilly...I don't think I changed his life. But maybe, maybe, hopefully I nudged him a little.

Unknown said...

@Daddy Geek Boy - Thank you! And thank you for getting the "Alien" reference. You would be surprised how many people don't (they think it is "Believe it or not" related).
I actually wore a Xenomorph shirt to my 12 week ultrasound. Confused the heck out of the sonogram tech, but my husband and I thought it was funny.
(http://www.redbubble.com/people/rubyred/works/4140451-whos-the-daddy)