Monday, February 28, 2011


Before she was even born, I've wondered when Kylie would start questioning us about the fact that she has two moms. It seems the questioning starts now...before she's even four.

One of the games that gets played on her preschool playground is the "marriage" game. I much prefer Kylie's game of Bats where her friends all flap their wings and soar around the playground emitting high-pitched noises and chasing one another.

But back to the marriage game, from what I can gather, the boys were picking who they were going to "marry" and no one picked Kylie. This upset her and she came home crying.

I have to add that the way parents put these roles onto their children is one of my pet peeves. While on our regular playground, I've seen parents who ooohh and aahh when a boy hugs a girl or vice versa. And they will make little remarks like, "Isn't that sweet? They are boyfriend and girlfriend. They might get married one day." This makes me roll my eyes and say an inner "Ewww!" Then I proceed to lecture them in my head. "They are friends. They felt a moment of affection for one another. There is nothing sexual about it so don't term it boyfriend and girlfriend. Stop your indoctrination of marriage to innocent children." Then I remember to stop judging others and to take some deep, cleansing breaths.

After the preschool marriage incident, Kylie became infatuated with marriage. Her dolls were marrying one another, her dog and cat bath toys were marrying one another, a grape was marrying a pretzel on her snack plate. Kylie came home from school with statements like "Two boys can't marry a girl" and "Two girls can't marry a boy." It went on and on.

Finally, over breakfast, Kylie said, "Clara is my best friend. I love her. I want to marry her. Can I marry her Mommy?"

I leaned in and looked deeply into Kylie's eyes and said, "You know Momma and I are married to one another, right?" Kylie nodded and I went on. "So in the real world, two women can marry one another and two men can marry one another. But in your pretend play at school, you and Clara probably can't marry one another. Does that sound correct to you?" Kylie nodded yes. "Ok then, sweetheart."

I was pleased with my response. I was pleased that I differentiated the "real" world from the "playground" world. And while my rebel's heart wants Kylie to shout out loud, "I can marry Clara if I want to!" I realize that this just won't work. At least not right now.

Hopefully the kiddos will go back to playing Bats on the playground real soon.


Teaberry said...

Wow... I guess this is the sort of thing we've all got coming for us. I think your response was great!

Anonymous said...

You handled that in such a great way. :)

Allison said...

I agree that you handled things well with Kylie.

I'm a kindergarten teacher. Previous to this year, I kept my personal life from my students. This year, in large part because we were expecting the baby, but for other reasons too, I decided I would be more open about being married to a woman and having a child. My (kindergarten) students and their parents have been awesome! I've had to answer quite a few questions from the kids, and I try to do so fairly simply, but from what I've seen, the kids seem to "get" it. I'm so please with the way things have gone so far. I have a lot of hope for the future generations!

Kate said...

Our daughter who is 4 is going to marry Snow White- so she can live in a castle as all princess do- very black and white in her world. We just leave it at that. Our older boys hate it when people reffer to both Jen and I as their "Mom's" and they use the word parents when reffering to us. It sucks- kids are mean, adults get uncomfortable andit is just not fair. I think the bat game sounds more fun.

xo said...

Our children's generation will grow up surrounded by so many different kinds of families, faiths and lifestyles. I think they will end up rejecting their parents' square and old fashioned ways of seeing marriage as a man+woman concept, kind of like how we have rejected our parents' most conservative and dated attitudes.

At least that is what I hope!

Loralou said...

I am really glad you have posted about this. I think of all the blogs I follow, you have the oldest child and I am also wondering about how a child perceives their family set up.
I think the way you spoke to Kylie was awesome, and I hope to be able to be as diplomatic as you when Charlie asks in a few years.

rikje_l said...

I think I can learn a lot from you for raising my future children. Thank you for posting such a theme here. It was very thought-provoking for me. You are doing so well with your daughter, you are definitely a role model!

Stacey said...

Riley's class doesn't really play marriage but we've talked about marrying and she goes from wanting to marry our friends' son Erik to making up some girl's name. Did you tell her that comment about not playing 2 girls getting married on the playground because it's homophobic where you are and you didn't want her to get a bad reaction from other kids/teachers? Just curious. For us, we would say you can play whatever you want. I think we live in an area that is really accepting for the most part so we haven't come across that issue.

Mallory said...

Great response!! It's questions like that which already make me nervous and we don't have kids yet!!

Kerry Lynn said...

I'm actually sad that you had to tell her she couldn't pretend to marry her friend. I probably would have told her the opposite just to make a point (not that I think you did anything wrong!!!)

After the first day of school a girl in Jackson's class was obsessed with him (still is) so the teachers and my mother-in-law dubbed them girlfriend and boyfriend. Drives me nuts.

Did you ever read my post on "why is straight the default"?

Stacey said...

I wondered the same thing...about telling her she couldn't play marriage with her friend on the playground. Just curious...