my little ballet boy

Tonight I was quite torn on how to help Elliott. After his tap and ballet class (with a surprising healthy mix of boys and girls), we went to buy new dance slippers. His tap shoes fit well, but his dance slippers needed to be bigger. Since I just bought girl’s dance slippers at Meijers last time, off we went. Once we found them and figured out he was a size L, it seemed simple. There was pink and black. I grabbed black. But he stopped me, saying he wanted pink.

Before I go on, I will clarify my feelings on boys and pink. I actually have no real issues with little boys (or men) wearing pink, liking pink, and so forth. But I am very aware of other people’s feelings on little boys and pink and how they may have influenced their children’s feelings on pink.

So, I did not flat-out refuse, but I did not just toss the pink slippers in the cart either. We talked about it. I asked him why he wanted pink and he explained he saw others in class wear pink and he liked pink. I explained that often boy dancers wore black, but he could do what he wanted. Still he wanted pink. And then I got to the heart of my concern. I explained that other children might say something to him. Would he feel okay and want to keep wearing them? (See, my financial side kicked in too. I did not want to be back at Meijers after the next class buying black slippers.) He insisted he wanted them. Part of me wonders if he sensed the bit of rebellion in choosing them too, since he said it with such a big grin. But, regardless, now we own pink satiny slippers for dance class.

When he first said pink, I thought to my friend Jennifer who strongly supports her children’s decisions and think about how confident and in control it must make them, to make decisions for themselves and know they are supported regardless. I want to be that parent. But I also want to shield my child from nasty cruel remarks or even just snickers, mainly because I am worried it will destroy his confidence in his own decisions. I know – it is a lot wrapped up in dance shoes! And children overcome so much. But I guess that is part of being a parent. I just hope I found the best way to handle it tonight.

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