Little Chick yells. Before the word has escaped his lips, he is already on the move; the urgency in his speech and movement.
“Man!”, he repeats, more excitedly this time.
“OK”, we reassure him. “It’s OK. Nice and calm. Big breath.”
You would be forgiven for thinking this man is a special guest or even an intruder. Certainly, someone of note.
It is the postman.
It is the Morrison’s delivery man.
It is the man selling door to door.
It is a man. His gender is the sole explanation for Little Chick’s excitement.
You would be forgiven for thinking this is a rare occurrence, the first time in weeks. It is not. It’s not even the first time today.
Every time a male comes to the house that Little Chick does not know by name he bellows “man”.
We anticipated this, kind of. Little Chick’s world is predominantly female: in the home, in the nursery, in his small social circle. The volume was unexpected, by both us and the incoming males. Many recoil as they hear Little Chick’s war cry, genuinely surprised and startled.
Although he acts alarmed by men, he does not seem scared by them upon closer inspection. When we clarify that it is the postman delivering letters or the delivery man bringing food he is placated. I’m not sure that he’s reassured, but then I’m not sure I would want him to be. I don’t want him to be afraid but some stranger awareness can go a long way.
Women aren’t greeted in this way. Women – currently all women – are seen as safe. In some ways this is a bigger problem than men being yelled at. There is no distinction, no discernment. But that will come. With time and through teaching.
During our training before approval to adopt we were asked how we – a female couple – would include men, especially role models, in our hypothetical child or children’s life. We answered that we had fathers, brothers, friends, and by extension they would be grandfathers, cousins, mentors, and friends to Little Chick. We didn’t see a problem.
I don’t think we have a problem now, but we are mindful of preventing one. We want Little Chick to be a proud boy. Any mentions of him being or wanting to be a girl are age appropriate and associated with being more like us. He is not yet ready or able to celebrate his difference. But that will come. We will help him. The men in our lives will help him. So will the women. We will support him in reaching his potential. To being the kindest, happiest, best man he can be.