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    A Different Bear-ing On Gender

    | Norway | Cousins, Parents & Guardians, Sons & Daughters

    (My daughter is eleven and owns a teddy bear. His name is Mister.)

    Daughter: “Mom, Mister is seriously considering a sex change.”

    (I am surprised, but don’t let on too much.)

    Me: “Oh, really! Why does he want that?”

    Daughter: “Well, because the female teddy bears can have so much more clothing. They can wear a lot more different and cool clothes. Mister thinks it would be really cool to have that. And then his name would be Missy instead!”

    Me: “That makes sense. And teddy bears really only have social gender, they don’t have juridical and biological sexes like us humans do, so I bet it’s a lot easier for a teddy bear to switch genders than it would be for a human.”

    Daughter: “Yes! I just throw him in the air and shout ‘Hallelujah!’ and that’s that.”

    (After spending a day or so ‘seriously considering’ it, Mister did indeed become Missy.)

    The Moral Of This Toy Story

    | QLD, Australia | Children, Nephews & Nieces, Theme Of The Month

    (I’m babysitting my six year old nephew and he’s smashing his toys together.)

    Me: “Don’t be rough with your toys or they’ll be rough with you.”

    Nephew: “Toys can’t be rough with you.”

    Me: “Yes, they can. You’ve seen Toy Story. You know how it works!”

    Nephew: “No, they can’t! They’re just toys!”

    (Just then he lost grip of his toy and it smashed him in the head.)

    A Weighty Statement

    | Romania | In-Laws, Parents & Guardians, Spouses & Partners

    (Me, my husband, his mother, and our eight-year-old son are sitting at a table dining. Our son is unhappy about losing a toy and we try to comfort him in a pretty traditional way…)

    Mother-In-Law: “Don’t be sad, Sometimes losing things means they made space for something else in your life…”

    Husband: “Yes, and losing is sometimes good, and it makes you happy!”

    Me: “For instance, when you lose some weight!”

    Mother-In-Law: *not listening* “…and maybe someone else finds what you lost and is happy to have it.”

    (Everyone burst out laughing leaving my mother-in-law confused.)

    Remember To Hug Responsibly

    | Gothenburg, Sweden | Children, Friends, Sons & Daughters

    (I’m visiting my best friend. My friend is female while I’m male. She’s recently gotten married and has a young son, about four years old. Her husband is at work and the son hasn’t seen me other than when he was a newborn.)

    Son: “Mom, I got a question.”

    Friend: “Yes, dear?”

    Son: “Where is dad?”

    Friend: “He’s at his job.”

    Son: “Oh. Is that why you’re with this guy? So you get someone to hug under the blankets at night?”

    (We both stare silently at him for a few moments.)

    Friend: “No. He’s just an old friend of mine.”

    Son: “Oh. Okay.”

    (He walks off again. I turn to her.)

    Me: “What the h*** have you been doing around that kid?!”

    Mom Isn’t Down For The Count

    | Prince George, BC, Canada | Children, Sons & Daughters, Spouses & Partners

    (When this happens, I’m two years old, my sister is four, and my brother is about six months. My mom greets Dad at the back door as he comes home from work, which usually means we’ve been absolute terrors and she’s waiting to tag out.)

    Mom: “You know, you’re a lucky man.”

    Dad: “Okay…”

    Mom: “You have three beautiful children.”

    Dad: “Yeah…”

    Mom: “And even after today, you still have three children!”

    Dad: “‘Still’?”

    Mom: “I tried to sell two of them to the circus but they wouldn’t take them, so ‘still’.”

    Dad: *asking what is obviously the most important question in this circumstance* “Which two?”

    Mom: *glaring* “Your son is six months old. He doesn’t refuse lunch, run around the house, scream my name all day, pull everything out of the cupboards, or throw things at his sisters. He also goes down for a nap without a fuss. Which two do you *think* I tried to sell!?”

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