Monthly Archives: May 2011

Congratulations It’s A ???????

By Deanna

I’ve read countless blog posts, articles, arguments and have thrown myself into several face-to-face and twitter discussions regarding the latest parenting controversy – Genderless parenting. When it first came up, I thought what the hell is that? And when I found out that it’s when parents decide not to put any emphasis on what gender their child is, like parents Kathy Witterick and David Stocker who are raising their third child genderless, I was confused.

Genderless? YES! Genderless! Am I speechless? Absolutely NOT!

When I first read the article about Witterick and Stocker a billion “things” popped in my head. First and foremost, what a pain in the ass to keep this secret; the baby is four months old only a few chosen people and the siblings know the baby’s gender, what a tremendous burden these parents have put on these people and their five and two year old children. Do they really expect a five and two year to have the constraint not to say anything? Not to slip? I mean if they are successful these kids should be tested for Mensa because I can’t think of one five year old that can keep a secret. The fact they these children haven’t slipped up has me wondering what the hell they did to bribe their children to keep their traps shut. But what actually has me speechless is the fact that for four months this mother and father have had no help in regard to dressing, bathing, or changing their baby. Mercy me! I definitely would of jumped out a window after four months of straight diaper changing – that’s roughly 1,200 diapers! That alone would send me to the nearest Staples to order a billboard declaring “It’s a Boy!” or “it’s a Girl!”

The parents made the decision not to disclose the sex of their baby because they “believe they are giving their children the freedom to choose who they want to be, unconstrained by social norms about males and females.” Hogwash. Their theory, beliefs, desires of raising a children unconstrained by the social norms seems like a direct contradiction of what they don’t want to do – by not letting the child identify with who they were born to be they are now forcing the child to be something that they may have never been.

Don’t get me wrong, I am all for giving a child the independence to determine their own path in life, to choose their faith, to grow and become who they need to be, to give them the confidence, love and support to find out who they are – but I feel what these parents are doing is robbing the child the chance to identify with themselves. The societal pressures are hard enough; to throw this type of psychological pressure on their children seems like one big paycheck for a therapist when the children hit their teens.

I understand that media is pumping young girls with how to look, what to play with and pimping out Bratz Dolls and Barbie’s by the bus load and boys get pigeon-holed into football, trucks, GI Joe, farting and burping. I get that we need to give our children a strong sense of self. I get it. But is this the way? I’m really not sure. As a parent I know I gender trap my farting pooping boys. I put them in blue and beige, buy sports equipment, trucks and nerf guns but I also know that they wear my makeup, paint their nails and are very curious and explore all the gender traps surrounding girls. I have chosen to let my children be whoever they want to be at the moment they want to be it because at seven and three what they want to be changes daily. Monday a Fireman, Tuesday a Zebra, Wednesday a Dancer, Thursday a Lion Tamer, Friday a Dentist for animals only.

Maybe I shouldn’t even get involved in this controversy because who the hell am I? As parents we parent to the best of our ability, and have to do what’s best for our family. Whether you’re a Tiger Mom, an Unnatural Mother, or want to raise your child genderless who the hell says you can’t? You gave birth, adopted, accepted the role of parent, do what you want, just don’t harm ‘em.

But I can’t drop this issue. I just can’t. I know I am judging but that’s because I felt judged after I read that article and that because I’m raising my boys as boys that I’m wrong. That I’m placing my kids in a corner and raising freak shows. I really don’t think that by allowing my boys to identify as boys – to be themselves whether it’s with a football or purse in their hands that I’m not building a strong character as implied here:

“When faced with inevitable judgment by others, which child stands tall (and sticks up for others) — the one facing teasing despite desperately trying to fit in, or the one with a strong sense of self and at least two ‘go-to’ adults who love them unconditionally? Well, I guess you know which one we choose.”

So if I raise my child as a boy or girl it means that I don’t love them unconditionally or am not hands on? My seven year old just won the ”Strength in Character” award at his school, and guess what I “allowed” him to be a boy! Shocking!

Stocker also said “What we noticed is that parents make so many choices for their children. It’s obnoxious.” Really? Does this observation apply to all the choices parents make for their children or just the toys and the clothes that we pick out for them? Because the last time I checked my children don’t have many choices to make. Am I supposed to leave it to my children to choose everything? Reasonable choices like where to eat, where to go on vacation, should we go to the park or to school? Aren’t these choices that parents should make? If I left it up to my children they’d be at park every day, have a pet monkey and every meal would be at McDonalds. Some would say that wasn’t good parenting either.

Withholding the sex of a baby is certainly not giving that child the power to make decisions on his/her own, isn’t that a skill that is taught anyway? Think for yourself? The only message I get is that the parents are giving themselves the power of challenging their family, friends, society and have put unnecessary burden on a few select people including their five and two year old children to keep this tremendous secret.

Maybe I’m just too old school, not confident enough to live my life as a statement but after reading countless blog posts and articles I’m pretty set in my views and agreed with most posts like –Roni Noone’s who wrote this article. Roni made perfect sense, I loved the honesty of the post, and I still do. But a little controversy happened when Cheree (with a K) who blogs at The Verbosery said with authority that gender is simple until it isn’t. And I agree. Gender is something that is typically black and white, but something this simple can be very complex for an individual struggling with who they are and their own sexuality. I support her thoughts too, I really do. However, I think it’s vastly different issue that is plaguing our society; Cheree’s statement has a lot of merit and strength behind it for an individual that already knows that they are not comfortable in their cleats or ballet shoes; that they were born a girl but know in their soul that they are a boy (Chastity Bono or rather Chaz, for example), I get that, but what Kathy Witterick and David Stocker are doing seems like a sociological science experiment, like what B.F. Skinner did with his air crib, but then his daughter Deborah seemed to turn out okay, but this still this feels like a social hypothesis, and we will only know the true conclusion as we follow this family.

All in all, should I really care this much? As long as the children are loved, that’s all that matters? And really, I’m not perfect and I know I’ll be footing the bill for my children’s therapy at some point.

Posted in chinese parenting, deanna, deanna verbouwens, genderless child, genderless parenting, That's Life

I Know This Much Is True

By Deanna

*Training for a triathlon has been so much fun! I really needed a relief from running so much, but still run does that make sense? So happy I am doing it!

*The iphone rules. End of story.

*The power of family is something I can never replace, witnessed in much sorrow: love & so much strength this last week-everyone should be as blessed as me and my family.

* Do we really need another Reality TV show? Enough already! Love in the Wild? Really another dating show? Survivor meets Bachelor – please! The Voice of America? Really another singing competition? Please!! I know there are original ideas out there c’mon Hollywood get it together!!!

*The seven year old is trying new foods daily! Read this on– holy crap it’s working!!!!

    Posted in deanna, deanna verbouwens, family, family matters, i know this much is true, iphone love, That's Life, trying new foods

    Race Five of Twelve: 5k

    By Deanna

    Yesterday was my fifth race of the year, a local 5k (John Theissen’s Children Foundation) to support students with special needs. I thought it would be a good, flat course to continue with my yearly goal of a race a month. I am training for a Triathlon – so in my eyes any running would benefit me. I asked a few people to join me but the only takers were my friend James, and Julie. James is the friend that convinced me to do the Tri, and the husband of dear friend, whose hair rivaled mine in the 80’s. I bug him on a weekly basis with all the races that I do. And Julie, well, Jules is my girl, one my closest friends, one of the gals that got me into running, and whom I have done almost every race with.

    When Julie and I run, we have a mutual understanding that we’ll meet at the finish line, if we happen to see each other on the course, we slap a few asses, talk a little than motor. We never ever stay together, ever. I have run three out of my four half marathons with Julie, and almost every 10k, 5k or Relay (Ragnar, Sound-to-Shore), as well as with at least three other friends/sisters/husband/family – we’ve all trained together but NEVER raced together. To me, it’s stressful I never want to hold anyone back, and frankly when I have the opportunity to haul ass, I take it, cause I am not sure when it’s ever going to happen again.

    Before the start of the race James threw down and said if I stayed with him through the race he won’t laugh at me when I fall off my bike at our Tri, I agreed but in my heart I was hesitant I mean, I know a good deal when I see one but racing with someone is something I have never done, and so out of my comfort zone. I was actually nervous to hold him back, and was nervous about wanting to break free. To me, racing with someone side-by-side is akin to having chains on – claustrophobic-ish.

    But a deal is a deal, and I kept my word and when the horn blew Jules said her usual “have a great run” and took off like a bat outta hell. As we watched her ass disappear in the crowd I had to implement some amazing self control to not go out on my own, it was hard, so out of my comfort zone but I am so glad I did! Cause during this race I learned more about my friend than if we shared a brew together. Learned that James is one funny dude, funnier than I knew, he’s strong as an ox and is such a straight shooter – he tells you like it is whether you like it or not, what you see is what you get, what’s not to love? I love that! I learned that fostering a friendship is more important than a PR.

    Overall the race was great, there was one steady hill that almost kicked our ass, we finished in a respectable time, 34 minutes I believe, and when we were about 40 yards from the finish James and I raced, he kicked my ass. Julie with her mad skills won fourth place in her age group!! So cool! With that being said if that bastard James laughs at me when I go flying over my handlebars in July his ass is mine!

      Posted in 5k, deanna, deanna verbouwens, local race, Mangia Mia Fitness Pia, running, triathlon