This may come as a shock to some people, but here it is. Ready?
Girls can jump.
I know, right? Mind, meet supernova.
Not only can girls jump, they are perfectly capable of leaping heedlessly off giant gymnastics blocks that might give some adults pause. In fact, they relish this, even when they smack their mushy-cheeked little faces onto the mat. They just leap up, laugh-screaming, and go back for round two. At least, my youngest does. At 2, she’s way more of a daredevil than her older sister ever was at this age (or is, for that matter). Does it give me a heart attack every time she goes all Evil Knievel? Absolutely. Not because she’s a girl, but because she’s my child, and I don’t want her to get hurt. (Plus, she’s a bit clutzy, and usually does get hurt, and ohmygod the drama.)
Oh, and yet.
Today, after she jumped off the aforementioned block, the first comment a nearby mom made was basically (and I’m paraphrasing because my memory’s terrible), Oh sweetie, be careful, daddy needs to help you, only boys should be jumping off things like that.
Why, in this day and age, are people STILL reinforcing this bullshit?
Why, in this day and age, do people insist on inserting that tiny sliver of doubt into girls’ minds?
My daughter doesn’t need to hear that crap. She needs to be protected, just like any other kid needs to be protected. But if she wants to jump off a block that’s higher than she is tall, you’d damn well better keep quiet. Because jumping off that block leads to jumping off an even higher block. Jumping off that block teaches her how to take risks. It gives her confidence, and, on occasion, freaks her out, which in turn teaches her little impatient butt that sometimes it’s better to take a moment to evaluate a given situation rather than flinging herself headlong into the unknown.
And yet, with a single, seemingly benign comment, those lessons–lessons which are so simple, and so utterly important–can be completely undone. Because you, lady, think my daughter’s bones are made of lesser stuff than your son’s.
Bones are bones, lady. Kids are kids. The next time my daughter wants to jump off that ridiculously high block, I’d appreciate it if you’d keep your antiquated notions to yourself and watch while she sticks her landing.