Tuesday, January 15, 2008

So sorry

Today I offended another mother. I referred to her little girl as a boy.

I know those things happen. Short hair, blue T-shirt, blue jeans – what else is a stranger supposed to think? But I’m also the one who has been known to privately rant over a passerby’s comments of Ladybug being such a cute boy. Sometimes I just want to grab the commentators by the shoulders, shake them and yell, “She’s a girl, dammit! See the skirt? See the pink top?”

Gender mix-ups are such my pet peeve that I actually avoided using pronouns with one of the neighborhood kids who befriended Ladybug. I suspected the freckle-faced chubby pre-teen might have been a boy, but the high-pitched voice and slightly girlish figure had me guessing for a while. Turns out, though, my first inclination was correct.

I guess that’s why I felt particularly embarrassed, guilty, apologetic, you name it, over my faux pas today. It happened so quickly – the little girl cut Ladybug off at the jungle gym stairs and I told Ladybug to wait so “he” could pass.

The mother said nothing, didn’t even bristle. She kept her game face on but made a point of referring to her daughter by her formal name and very girly nickname the entire time. I think there may have even been a “good girl” thrown in there for good measure.

Maybe I’m reading too much into her reaction. Maybe the mother shrugged off the whole thing. Maybe she didn’t even hear me. Or maybe someone’s getting an earful tonight about the idiot woman at the playground today.


Anonymous jennil said...

Ohhhhh!! This happens to me and my 2 year old son all the time! His hair his a little long and curly and has such feminie features! I HATE the fact that people can not plainly see he is a boy! I mean..wearing a shirt that has monster trucks or something like that doesn't clue you in?? I ALWAYS correct them..I am not rude too much, but I do correct them!

January 16, 2008 at 1:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When J was first born, she was decked out in all pink -- blanket, shirt, socks. A lady asked, "Is that a boy or a girl?"

I've done the same thing to other moms -- but now, like you, Michelle, hold back saying he/she until I get some indication from the mother.

January 19, 2008 at 5:38 AM  
Blogger Michelle Mahfoufi said...

We were grocery shopping today and Ladybug -- dressed in pink ruffled pants and a flowered jacket -- got called a boy again. Errrrgggghhhh ....

January 19, 2008 at 5:44 PM  

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