“Were you hoping for a boy?”, a woman asked me recently. “Men hope for boys. I know you have to say it didn’t matter.”
I told her it hadn’t mattered but in truth I had been hoping for a girl. Would it have made a difference? As much as I’d like to think I would have treated a boy equally and the same as I do Ruth, I know that my upbringing, full of gender stereotypes, means that I’m a confused mess of ideas about what it means to be a boy or a girl.
There’s no such thing as a boy or a girl at 2 ½. These are grownup concepts, created to give us the illusion that everything can be categorized and is stable. Ruth’s at an age where I don’t think she cares whether she’s acting like a boy or a girl. Or even like both.
There’s just Ruth, who likes to throw stones off a pier into the Bras D’Or Lakes, kick a beach ball through Zeller’s in North Sydney, try on Heather’s fancy shoes, has a Dancing Party Dress, wrestles, plays with cars, loves hairclips and makeup (aka facepaint), diggers and cranes.
Ruth throwing stones from the beach in Point Pleasant Park. Of course she had to find them among all the tampon applicators and other plastic shit that we flush into the giant toilet bowl called Halifax Harbour.