"He wanted to be a princess, and I thought it was a little too early to be imposing gender."
I still see you everywhere I go and I will never understand why.
Many new parents don’t realize what natural swimmers their babies are. Until around 6 months, babies placed in water tummy-side down will move their arms and legs in a swimming motion. When the swimming reflex and the dive reflex are both engaged, a baby can then turn on their innate swimming ability. Researchers studying the dive reflex in babies found that none of them inhaled water or choked when they were under water. The babies didn’t seem worried about the next dive at all. In fact, some seemed eager to dive again! These reflexes don’t mean the baby can swim unmonitored as they can still drown, so supervision is always required. We also don’t recommend taking your baby to a chlorinated pool for swimming classes especially indoor. If you can find a pool whether private or recreational using salt, it’s a lot less toxic and better for both you and baby.
When a baby is able to walk, they can even be taught how to survive until help arrives if they fall into the water without the ability to swim.
This has been stuck in my drafts so
A boy sprawled next to me on the bus, elbows out, knee pointing sharp into my thigh.
He frowned at me when I uncrossed my legs, unfolded my hands
and splayed out like boys are taught to: all big, loose limbs.
I made sure to jab him in the side with my pretty little sharp purse.
At first he opened his mouth like I expected him to, but instead of speaking up he sat there, quiet, and took it for the whole bus ride.
Like a girl.
Once, a boy said my anger was cute, and he laughed,
and I remember thinking that I should sit there and take it,
because it isn’t ladylike to cause a scene and girls aren’t supposed to raise their voices.
But then he laughed again and all I saw
was my pretty little sharp nails digging into his cheek
before drawing back and making a horribly unladylike fist.
(my teacher informed me later that there is no ladylike way of making a fist.)
When we were both in the principal’s office twenty minutes later
him with a bloody mouth and cheek, me with skinned knuckles,
I tried to explain in words that I didn’t have yet
that I was tired of having my emotions not taken seriously
just because I’m a girl.
Girls are taught: be small, so boys can be big.
Don’t take up any more space than absolutely necessary.
Be small and smooth with soft edges
and hold in the howling when they touch you and it hurts:
the sandpaper scrape of their body hair that we would be shamed for having,
the greedy hands that press too hard and too often take without asking permission.
Girls are taught: be quiet and unimposing and oh so small
when they heckle you with their big voices from the window of a car,
because it’s rude to scream curse words back at them, and they’d just laugh anyway.
We’re taught to pin on smiles for the boys who jeer at us on the street
who see us as convenient bodies instead of people.
Girls are taught: hush, be hairless and small and soft,
so we sit there and take it and hold in the howling,
pretend to be obedient lapdogs instead of the wolves we are.
We pin pretty little sharp smiles on our faces instead of opening our mouths,
because if we do we get accused of silly women emotions
blowing everything out of proportion with our PMS, we get
condescending pet names and not-so-discreet eyerolls.
Once, I got told I punched like a girl.
I told him, Good. I hope my pretty little sharp rings leave scars.