a hornets nest

Where do I even begin?

Last week I was painting my toenails. Because I usually splurge to get it done Braden is use to seeing them painted, but rare is the sight of me doing it myself.

He watched as I sat on the edge of the bathtub as I gently laid the brush back and forth..."What does that feel like?" he asked

"Nothing really... I can't really feel anything" I answered
"Does it tickle?" he walked over to me
"No. Would you like me to paint a nail so you can see?" He should his head no...
"I can paint it on and then take it right off... just so you can see for your self...."
"Colors are for girls momma, not boys Right?"
"Most boys don't paint their nails... that is true... but some boys do. "Usually rockstar boys"
"Awesome." he said quietly.

I asked him again if he wanted to try and if he didn't like it I would take it right off. "Okay" he said hesitantly.

No sooner had I brushed it on, than he wanted it off. Feeling like the matter was settle he left the room and didn't say a word about it for a while.

Until a few days ago. "I want to paint my nails momma." "Oh yeah?"
"Yeah, but all of them this time."
"What color do you want" I wasn't sure if he was for real or not.
" Red...like a fire engine!"
"hmmm well, okay but I don't really have any color like that, how about we go to the store tomorrow and get some?" he agreed.

I was not really sure where this was all coming from... but I hoped that if I got him to the store I could steer him in another direction from red.... like green or whatever. A few more days go by and we were in Ft. Worth with friends at Central Market. I had remembered my promise to Braden and thought that if I was going to paint his nails at all than I wanted it to be "a healthier type of paint" that you can't get at other stores. They didn't have green, but they had a great shade of metallic blue... he took to it immediately. So the next day I painted Braden's nails...

and I have to admit it looked really strange, out of place and a little weird.

Half of me understood why he thought this was cool. Fresh out of art camp (from last week) his creativity and love for colors is strong right now. I don't allow him to write on himself with markers or paint so I think the idea that there is an 'allowed' wait to paint himself was appealing. I really don't think that it looks girlie.... I didn't really think that anyone would have such strong emotions about the situation.

But I was wrong. Other people expressed to me their emotions ranging from 'uncomfortable' to anger with the situation. Mason said " you don't have to intentionally push the limits you know." I wasn't meaning too... I promise.

It's just the color blue on nails.... what is the big deal. I just assumed that people would see what I saw - a little boy who likes art, and color.

Mason told Braden that he didn't like the painted nails. He said it made him uncomfortable. Braden said... okay.... totally unaffected. I asked him if he felt weired that no other boys that we know have painted nails. He said no. Again -completely unaffected.

I am hoping that it is just a phase and that he can enjoy his color with out having to experience any sort of hurt .... but today I fond him trying to paint his toes... "can you paint my toes momma?" he asked earnestly....

Oh man, I thought to myself.... what did we just get into?


Leah said...

Ah that's hard. He's just 5. Its not like you pushed him to do it. I'm a big believer in not making mountains out of molehills (Kevin Leman thank you).

annie said...

He's so beautifully secure in himself. Like you, I hope he can last as long as possible in life before someone damages that security. Shame is a terrible weapon.

Williams Family said...

I think I would have stuck with the one toe nail just so he could see how it felt.

AMANDA said...

I don't think Mike would be okay with it either... That being said, HE IS A KID!!! I can all but guaranty he will not be asking for his nails to be painted when he's 10. And if he does, so be it! Being a parent means unconditional love. Sadly, it's the outside world that you need to be cautious of. My advice... DON"T make it an issue. Same goes for Mason. When my kids think that they have the upper hand in a situation the game is over! Just be accepting of what is going on right now without making a big deal about it! I bet you will look back on this post in a year and laugh!

Natasha said...

We're in sync again--I painted Rico's finger nails last week for the first time, also metallic blue. It's a last ditch effort to get him to stop biting his nails--and it's working. He LOVES the color and, ironically, he's the only kid in our family who has ever had their nails painted (with 3 sisters). He's also growing his hair again, and has the 2 side braids like he did two years ago. He also borrowed a red and pink skirt outfit from Jaja last week. It doesn't bother my DH, but you know we're both purposely flex with gender roles and stereotypes. At lunch today my oldest three (including Rico) were dicussing how old they'll be when they get their ears pierced (consensus was 13).

I'll have to send you the pics I took of Rico's little blue nails :)