William is very much in love with his little sister. Last week, after the big siblings had gone off to school, William came and nestled up to where I was sitting with Katie.
“No Jeffrey, no Eleanor,” William whispered. “I get Katie all to myself.”
However, just recently William has been appalled to discover that Katie is different from him in a fundamental way. In a basic, anatomical way.
“Wait a minute, wait a minute,” he cried, hands on hips, as he examined Katie’s diaper changing. “Where is it? Is it tucked away up there?”
I found this both hilarious and odd, since William went through a long — perhaps over-long — phase of making lists of who in the family did and did not have a certain piece of male-ness.
He liked to declare this list loudly. Especially whenever we were in a public restroom.
I explained to William that Katie is a girl, and in reply he crinkled his little brow. “Katie is a girl?”
“She can’t be a girl. She has short hair like a boy!”
Oh, the quandary. This isn’t the first time I’ve had to explain Katie’s sex, and I’m certain it won’t be the last. Hooray for gender socialization!