Mommy Wants Vodka

…Or A Mail-Order Bride

Gender Neutral


Yesterday, when I went in to the Beauty School to get my hairs did, I learned something that made my incredibly grubby heart smile: I could get Ben a haircut for $6. $6! A bargain!

Now, having birthed Ben, who was born wearing what I can only describe as a bad toupee, I am no stranger to having to get his hair cut. His first haircut SHOULD have occurred when about half of his newborn hair fell out (on the sides) while the stuff on top was left to be darker and longer than the rest of his head. He looked like a member of Flock of Seagulls.

But, because I was being incredibly sentimental, I refused to cut it (IT’S HIS BABY HAIR, AND I CAN’T CUT IT! IT’S SOOOO CUTE!), and now look back at the pictures and hang my head in shame. What was I thinking?

He began going to the salon with me to get his own hair cut a little after his first birthday because it was just that long and unruly. Had I left it to grow on it’s own, I would surely have picked him up from a weekend at his father’s house sporting a buzz cut, which would have only accentuated the largeness of his head. And TRUST ME when I tell you that he needs NOTHING to accentuate THAT feature.

After awhile, I noticed that he’d return from the salon looking just like I had cut it, only I was $20 poorer, so I took matters into my own (cheap) hands and cut it myself for a couple of years.

Since I have approximately NO eye for style and absolutely no experience in cutting hair, I eventually gave up and started paying someone again. But it STILL looks like I inexpertly cut it, and I hate paying through the teeth for something I can do myself, so I am determined to try out my far cheaper alternative.


I have taken a lot of shit over the years from the male portion of my family (the adults, not the kids) over my practice of painting Ben’s toenails. As a toddler, he’d trundle over to me while I was doing my own nails and indicate that he wanted his done, too. Since he was non-verbal AND I don’t wish to inflict such rigid gender stereotypes on a baby (only GIRLS have their nails painted), I always gave in and painted his nails, too.

No harm, no foul, in my mind.

Well, the males in my family had PLENTY to say to me about that. And often did. Eventually, I made the switch from brightly colored polish to clear, but hey, if the kid wants his damn toenails done (and I’ll never have the daughter to do it with), so fucking be it.

And I can only imagine what they’re going to do when I show them what I have allowed my big son to do now.

I have generously offered to allow Ben to put a chunk of blue (or whatever color he’d like) dye into his hair, JUST LIKE MINE (well, mine is electric red, I’m not so much a blue person) when he gets his haircut. It’s his choice, and I don’t really care one way or another, but since he’d asked to do it when I’d first dyed my hair, I am going to allow it.

And I will most certainly take a hugemongeous amount of shit for it. There will be NO END of what I hear about it.

But hey, I told him that he couldn’t put PINK into it.

So, opinion time, Internet: did I do the right thing? Would you have done this, or am I the worst, most hideous mother on the planet setting my son up for ridicule and tomfoolery?

33 Comments to

“Gender Neutral”

  1. On March 18th, 2008 at 11:24 am pamajama Says:

    There was a time when I would have never gone for this, but the world has changed. I love color. My friend Roxanne’s son has even got some pink in there and it’s quite adorable. I wish I could work up the nerve to do it myself. I’m waiting till I turn 50. I might get a buzz cut for 60 and stripes at 70. Pink and orange, like a sunset.

  2. On March 18th, 2008 at 11:26 am kbreints Says:

    No, I would not have let my son do this– however I have the most amazing sister that has the most amazing children and over the years she has “picked her battles” hair color– not a big deal ya know? in the scheme of things, there are a lot worse things that kids can choose to do…. she would rather save her energy for those things.

    For me however– I am a serious old fashioned fart and would not like my child to die his hair– but that is me…. if you don’t care about the color of your kids hair– no big deal!

  3. On March 18th, 2008 at 11:36 am Chris Says:

    Personally, I think it’s going to be awesome. But I think that the kids at school will not have such insight.

  4. On March 18th, 2008 at 11:40 am Michelle Says:

    I would much rather see a boy with colored hair, than really long hair like Kate Hudson’s son or Celine Dion’s. In my mind, you should be able to tell if the poor kid is a boy or girl.
    I did the same thing with my sons hair when he was a baby. His hair was such a beautiful blonde, I hated to cut it. Now when I see his toddler pictures, I cringe. He looks as if I put a bowl on his head!

  5. On March 18th, 2008 at 11:55 am Andria Says:

    If it makes him happy and the school doesn’t care (our school would kick you right on out) then go for it.

    Paint your baby’s toenails too. That’s what shoes are for. I still paint Adam’s even though it’s now sandal season. He’s three and he likes it. Have you seen what the teenagers are wearing? It’s not going to make a bit of difference in the long run, they’re going to dress how they want later on no matter what you do with them now.

    I would love to see his hair painted blue personally.

  6. On March 18th, 2008 at 11:57 am Heather Says:

    My son had his first haircut at 6 weeks and then at like 12 weeks we buzzed it because it had all fallen out on one side and was really long on the other side. (Sort of a bad comb over) Now we have to have it cut every 4 – 6 weeks. So I hear you on the hair thing.

    As for the color. I don’t see why you shouldn’t let him. It’s not hurting him. If he doesn’t like how people react to it he won’t do it again.

  7. On March 18th, 2008 at 12:21 pm shay Says:

    My toddler boys sported the odd colored nail in their day. they would never do it now (at almost 10 and almost 13) so your male family members need not fear. Social norms will eventually bend even your boys to it’s will:(

    I love the color in the hair. My nephew had green for a while. my kids have never asked but I would certainly let them. (maybe I can quietly suggest it??!!)

  8. On March 18th, 2008 at 12:42 pm Pauline Says:

    I think it would be awesome. But, he might run into issues at school. Kids (some kids) are mean.

  9. On March 18th, 2008 at 12:49 pm b Says:

    I think it’s great that he’s already proving himself to be a unique individual who doesn’t give a flip what other people think. Blue hair, why not? Paint your toenails? why the hell not? It’s not like this will make him gay or anything. Trust me on this..they put dresses on me all the time while I was growing up..didn’t make me straight! If he asks for a piercing or a tattoo..maybe throw on the brakes. can be shaved, and will grow back.

  10. On March 18th, 2008 at 2:06 pm electriclady Says:

    Blue hair on a kid is awesome. You are the coolest mom and he is the coolest kid.

    I decided long ago that my kid (who has no hair yet, but will someday!) can do whatever she wants with her hair and clothes (except for the baby-prostitute look). Save your energy for the don’t-get-knocked-up conversations. And you can show them the pictures when they grow up and make fun of them. Win-win!

  11. On March 18th, 2008 at 2:13 pm Chicory Says:

    I’d totally go for it. hair is nothing. It goes bad? Cut it all off, it grows back. I think at this stage, whatever your kids what to do in terms of self expression (so long as it’s not permanent) should be allowed. Play and experiment is exactly how they learn. And how they’ll learn to deal with other people’s reactions to their choices, too. If he wants to dye a chunk of his hair blue, then he gets to learn not only how that feels to him and how that jives with how he feels he wants to present himself, but he gets to learn how to react or not react to the way other people view his self expression. And he’ll have you to help guide him on that, too.

  12. On March 18th, 2008 at 2:41 pm Heather Says:

    Meh. If he wants blue hair, give him blue hair! I’m given a difficult time with family because I’ve started buzzing The MAN’s, but you know? He and I both have *way* too much to do besides shalacking his mop down every morning.

    You may want to check with the school (can I insert an eye roll here?) about the hair. I taught public school, and the principal/district didn’t think twice about suspension for hair color or ‘different’ cuts. Crazy, but still.

  13. On March 18th, 2008 at 2:45 pm Rayne of Terror Says:

    There is so much you have to say NO to as a parent, why not say yes when you can. I consider hair color fun, fanciful, and not worth a NO.

  14. On March 18th, 2008 at 3:02 pm becky Says:

    Sure! Why not. Let him express himself.

    There will be so many things in his life in the years to come that you’ll have to say “no” to (providing that he even thinks to ask you first), that you should definitely get a “yes” or two out there now, while you can. Even if it’s only to have a comeback when he inevitably yells “YOU NEVER LET ME DO ANYTHING!!!” in his teenage years.

    You might consider taking several pictures… just for photographic evidence.

    (Who has two thumbs and will never be allowed to have children?? THIS GIRL. Nice to meet you.)

  15. On March 18th, 2008 at 3:03 pm Ames Says:

    I support you 100%… I say if that’s what he wants you should definitely let him do it. If he ends up hating it you can always dye it back or shave it off right?

  16. On March 18th, 2008 at 3:03 pm Doc Says:

    Oh Becky… I am usually with you on these things but dear Lord you CANNOT paint your boy’s toenails or let them get his their dyed like that… Please for all that is sacred let them be boys. (they mad that saying boys will be boys for a reason) Just imagine if the young one gets used to this pedicurish treatment and keeps doing it what will happen when he shows up at boy scout camp with Bamboo pink toes? Do you think that the other little scouts will think it’s cute and wonder what shade he prefers?… Nooooooo maam. Your poor boy will be picked on to no end. Oh I can hardly imagine the horror that he will face. Please don’t do it Aunite Becky…please.

  17. On March 18th, 2008 at 3:31 pm Tombo Says:

    I say let him go for it. If he gets made fun of, so-be-it. That’s part of life. And he will either decide to not get it colored any more, or will decide that enjoys being different.

    As a fun note on blue hair – if you dye it the right shade of blue when you go to get your Drivers License (at least in AZ) it will blend in with the background and make you look oddly bald. 🙂

  18. On March 18th, 2008 at 5:18 pm KC Says:

    Is his crunchy granola school going to allow it? Furthermore, will it increase his bullying? Maybe wait until summer and then give him a mohawk. He can look as crazy as he wants during the summertime. Then we can take him to see Buckethead.

    What the crap do I know, though? I am kid-tarded.

  19. On March 18th, 2008 at 5:39 pm Victoria Says:

    I would probably let him do it – but then I’ve let my Boy grow his hair “shaggy”, as hubby says. Hubby would have a sh*t-fit over colored hair.

    I painted my Boy’s nails too. He’s over it now (nearly 8) but it was neat while it lasted.

  20. On March 18th, 2008 at 6:01 pm Kyddryn Says:

    The Evil Genius turned five in January, and since last November he’s had red streaks. He wanted them when he was just four, but I resisted for a few months. Finally, though, I decided “What the hell?” He loves his color. Next month, he’s getting either green or purple – he hasn’t decided yet.

    I have blue in mine, and he wants to be like his mum. Why not? If I painted my toenails and he wanted his done. I’d do ’em. I let him wear my Burt’s Bees Lip Shimmers, too. Champagne pink. When they’re young, they don’t have cemented gender boundaries, and I’m fine with that. I don’t think it should matter what a person wears, whatever their age.

    I draw the line at tattoos or piercing before the age of eighteen, though. The kid needs something to look forward to and rebel about (my friends tell me that my kid will probably rebel by being a Republican accountant, since I’m raising him like a feral Hippie).

    It’s what’s inside that counts.

    Shade and Sweetwater,

  21. On March 18th, 2008 at 6:02 pm Angela Says:

    Oh it’s fine. All the cool kids are doing this.

  22. On March 18th, 2008 at 7:17 pm janet Says:

    Oh, no. I will never hear the end of “Ben gets pink hair, why can’t I?”
    Never, ever, ever, ever.

  23. On March 18th, 2008 at 7:25 pm magpie Says:

    you are teh fun mommy!

  24. On March 18th, 2008 at 8:05 pm Jerseygirl89 Says:

    My only thing is make sure that the world knows that it was HIS idea, otherwise people will assume you just like to make your kids look different and they will judge you for it. And that will be a pain in your ass.

  25. On March 18th, 2008 at 8:23 pm honeywine Says:

    I keep wanting to do a layer of pink just under the top layer of my hair (minking I think they call it). It would look so cute when I put it up in a ponytail. I dunno about the nail polish on any kids. Maybe if you did it in black, so he could be EMO kid and the men would shut it.

  26. On March 18th, 2008 at 11:20 pm Judy Says:

    You will take alotta lotta grief for this one but my view is children have so little power in their lives that a hair cut or color is no big deal. It is just hair. If it makes him happy – go for it.

  27. On March 19th, 2008 at 7:23 am Emily R Says:

    My feeling is kids can have dresses when they ask for them — boys or girls. Not before. So, in terms of gender, I think you are just fine.

    Did you get an extra influx of hits yesterday on your “Stuck in the MIddle” post? My post that links to it ended up on an LA site, and I saw some then went on over to yours.

  28. On March 19th, 2008 at 9:15 am Kirsten Says:

    I’m with the mom who says OK to any non-permanent embellishments for your kids – hair dye, toenails painted, etc. Save the permanent ones (tatoos and piercings) until they can pay for it themselves!

  29. On March 19th, 2008 at 10:48 am Kristine Says:

    Sounds like fun! My sister dyes her step-son’s hair blonde at the beginning of each summer. When school starts he has dark roots and blonde tips and goes for a spikey style – all his friends are so jealous. (Although last year he got called into the principal’s office over it, at first they said it was the color, and then decided it was the length and they ended up having him cut a little off, so it wasn’t SOOO spikey – also they have rules about color being a natural color or something (which blonde is a natural color, os they couldn’t nail him on that one.))

  30. On March 19th, 2008 at 9:40 pm SaraS-P Says:

    Nothing makes me smile more than a blue-haired little boy!

    (Did you ever watch Kids in the Hall? Right now I am thinking of the episode where the mom dyes her hair pink and the son yells “Stinky Pink! Stinky Pink!”)

  31. On March 20th, 2008 at 11:21 am Manny Says:

    Call me Super Late to this party. I’m progressive as they come, but even I would have to draw the line at painting his toe nails. I mean, really? Hey, I’ll stick my thumb up my butt once in a while when I’m feelin squirrely, but painting toe nails is pushing it.

  32. On March 20th, 2008 at 12:18 pm tonya cinnamon Says:

    i let my kids that . pick out a color.. cause i do the same for me.. anime red hair..
    like me wise momma said if it aint drugs then pick your battles and know which ones to argure about LOL..
    true true.. all i ask of them is no saggy pants .. yuck yuck yuck..

  33. On March 24th, 2008 at 12:37 pm theramblinghousewife Says:

    My husband would most definitely object.

    But I don’t think there is anything wrong with wanting to be like Momma!!

    And I know for sure, the Tractor would choose pink!!

    He loves pink.

    My husband is thrilled! (lol) 🙂

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