Before I had children I dreamed of a sweet gender neutral nursery decorated in shades of green, yellow and cream. I truly believed ‘gender role socialisation’ was just that – socialisation. I thought this nature vs. nurture debate was overblown hype, and that nurture, or how you raise your child, influenced who they would become.
I overlooked the fact that the child has any say in this.
When Mr. Sensitive was a baby, he did not like rough and tumble games, and enjoyed playing with farm animals and other seemingly ‘neutral’ toys. Sure he had a train table, but his love for dress-up and costume, dance and interior design lead to the illusion that we could raise a child in a gender neutral manner.
The arrival of Little Miss Adorable, bringing forth glitter, sparkles and all things pink and stylish squashed all that. See the Princess Gene for more details on this one.
Now Baby Dunk is following his own path, one which is filled with bumps and bruises – for the bystanders! Baby Dunk is a bruiser of a baby, wreaking havoc with any notion of gender neutrality. Hubby says we should get Baby Dunk into rugby, maybe next year. I say Baby Dunk can play rugby this year, even if he were only used as the ball.
Baby Dunk is a typically-developing one year old who bite, hits, kicks and punches his way through our lives. So far Baby Dunk has knocked out one of Hubby’s teeth, nearly broken my nose, bruised my orbital bone, and covered us all with bruises, scratches and bite marks. Check out Dunk-Dunk Attacks for more on the trauma list.
Baby Dunk is a cuddly and affectionate baby, who will give you a hug and then bite your shoulder. He laughs while you shriek in pain, and then returns for another cuddle. Recently he was playing with a toy spatula, sliding it across the floor. Suddenly it dawned on him that it would make a great weapon, so he hit poor Little Miss Adorable. She howled in pain, and I picked up Baby Dunk and scolded, “No! No hitting!” He then took a swing at me, I ducked, and he missed hitting my face with the spatula by mere inches. He laughed manically, and I hastily put him back on the floor, still holding the spatula. There was no way I was taking it from him!
Little Miss Adorable and I then retreated to the couch, sitting with our feet tucked up, watching Baby Dunk cruise around hitting everything with his spatula, like a weird game of ‘sharks on the floor.’
Baby Dunk interruption: he just crawled over to me, pulled up to a stand and removed a piece of chewed up bread from his mouth and handed the sticky wad to me, saying, “Hereyougo! Thank you!”
I think that is the essence of Baby Dunk, sweet, well-meaning and potentially violent, he is an adorable weapon of mass destruction.
Baby Dunk’s recent accomplishments include: forcibly removing our baby gate from the wall (the kind that even our pitbull cannot knock down was no match for the push-pull strength of Baby Dunk); knocking a bag of Oreo cookies out of my hand and then eating all remaining the cookies; learning to ‘dress-up’ by putting a tractor tire around his wrist and a shirt over his head (courtesy of Little Miss Adorable); continuing to join Little Miss Adorable in a quest to empty every bag, cupboard and container in our home; and discovering he can stand up in his high chair, turn around and point out the window, exclaiming, “Wow, look at that!”
Alternately heart-stopping, adorable, frustrating and just plain puzzling (we still cannot find the part of the baby gate that he removed), Baby Dunk brings a unique element to our lives.
Last night our entire family collapsed into various beds completely exhausted – Mr. Sensitive fell asleep in my bed, Little Miss Adorable in her crib, and poor Hubby fell asleep on the couch. Baby Dunk somehow made his way into my bed with Mr. Sensitive and me.
At 2:00 am I woke up to Mr. Sensitive whispering to Baby Dunk. The next thing I knew Baby Dunk was propped against my sleeping body, kicking at a pillow Mr. Sensitive was holding in some kind of midnight martial arts training. Mr. Sensitive giggled, Baby Dunk frantically kicked the pillow with both legs and I just wanted to sleep.
At least Baby Dunk wasn’t kicking at me.