Author Topic: We're letting Baby decide for themselves!  (Read 3501 times)

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SmarterPrimate

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We're letting Baby decide for themselves!
« on: June 04, 2014, 03:55:45 PM »
(Sorry, long...)

So, I’ve never encountered this in real life before, and I wonder what other people think, and maybe, how to proceed.

DH and I met a new couple a few weeks ago, and they are awesome. We get along great as a group, the wife and I hit it off right away, and DH and the husband have many common interests. They also live close by, so we hope to be able to see them and hang out on a semi-regular basis.

Here’s the thing I am having a spot of trouble with. NewCouple (NC) have an 11 month old baby. Baby, you ask? Not “son” or “daughter”? I honestly have no idea what gender their child is, and I am starting to think NC are raising their child in this new-fangled “gender neutral” way that we’ve all heard about before.

(I know it was a thread topic in the past, but I seem to recall that the thread was based on an article in a blog/other media, not on an E-Hellion’s RL experience. Correct me if I am wrong…)

Here’s what I do know. Mrs. NC refers to Baby as “she” and “her” exclusively. Since I’ve spoken with her much more than Mr. NC, I was of the belief that Baby was a girl. The first time I heard Mr. NC speak about baby was this past weekend, when we met Baby for the first time. Mr. NC clearly refers to Baby as “him” and “he”. Baby is an absolute munchkin, but at 11 months, there’s no way to tell by Baby’s face which gender he/she is, and Baby’s name is 100% not gender-specific. (The name can be shortened to a traditionally masculine nickname, but the name itself is the last name of a famous female singer, referenced to me by Mrs. NC when I asked the baby’s name.)  My DH was not present for the conversations where Mrs. NC called the baby “she/her”. So when DH met Baby this weekend (Baby was dressed in grey shorts and a blue t-shirt), DH called Baby a “cute little guy”, more than once. Of course “guy” isn’t the most gender-specific word anymore, but it was enough for me to say quietly to DH, “I think Baby is a girl.” Cue confusion on DH’s part, because he’s spoken to Mr. NC much more, and Mr. NC refers to Baby in the masculine. One further point: a mutual acquaintance of both NC and DH and I congratulated Mr. NC when he heard about the baby, and said to him, “So? Boy or girl?” to which Mr. NC replied, “We’re going to let Baby decide for themselves!”

It’s not my business how anyone raises their child. But, I feel especially awkward referring to Baby as “he” or “she” when I don’t know which is right, and I’d feel really awful referring to Baby as “it”. (When NC was visiting, I was constantly on my toes making sure I referred to Baby either by name, or as “munchkin” or “peanut”.) We have lunch plans this weekend with NC, and I assume baby will be joining us (actually I hope so, Baby is a total delight to be around).

I was considering asking NC outright if Baby is a boy or girl, with the thought that 1 awkward question could alleviate a million potentially awkward moments. (Something like, “I feel really silly asking you guys this, but for some reason DH thinks Baby is a boy, and I’ve been under the impression Baby is a girl. I don’t want to use a misnomer while talking about your super cutie-patootie!”) But if their answer is, “We’re going to let Baby decide for themselves!” … I… don’t know how to respond.  I’m thinking something to the effect of, “Oh, how interesting!”, and then bean-dipping like crazy.

If I am correct, how do I carry on if bean-dipping doesn’t work?


(To reiterate, it’s not my business how anyone raises their child. The only important thing is Baby is obviously well loved and well taken care of. I will merrily engage with baby and NC and really hope they become a more regular part of our lives but personally? I think it’s a strange way to raise a child, and I would not do it with my own children. YMMV of course. I just hope I'm not coming across as judgemental here. It's so not my intention. I really, really like NC.)

auntmeegs

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Re: We're letting Baby decide for themselves!
« Reply #1 on: June 04, 2014, 04:05:06 PM »
How perfectly ridiculous!  The child is either male or female, for crying out loud.  This would drive me crazy, I probably wouldn't be able to be good friends with these people. 

alice

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Re: We're letting Baby decide for themselves!
« Reply #2 on: June 04, 2014, 04:07:22 PM »
offer to babysit and change the diaper.

Sophia

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Re: We're letting Baby decide for themselves!
« Reply #3 on: June 04, 2014, 04:09:15 PM »
I wonder if it truly is up to the baby to decide later on?  Maybe the baby is missing the relevant parts or has extra parts?  I've read about that. 

But it still seems reasonable to ask which pronoun to use. 

acicularis

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Re: We're letting Baby decide for themselves!
« Reply #4 on: June 04, 2014, 04:12:34 PM »
Maybe they're just goofy. Or maybe the baby was born with ambiguous genitalia, so they really can't answer the question "boy or girl?"

I don't know if it's OK to come out and ask, though.

Coralreef

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Re: We're letting Baby decide for themselves!
« Reply #5 on: June 04, 2014, 04:12:46 PM »
Short of asking to see the birth certificate and see if M or F was checked, you can only ask the parents. 

At one point, they will have to put down a gender on paper and that will be it.  Baby will be a boy or girl for the rest of his/her life ( if no transgendering / s*x change in the future).

Like auntmeegs, I find this ridiculous, this is taking political correctness way, way too far.  And I would think eventually confusing for the child.

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Aquamarine

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Re: We're letting Baby decide for themselves!
« Reply #6 on: June 04, 2014, 04:14:13 PM »
I wouldn't bother to ask because that's just giving them an opening to start spewing whatever on "gender neutral parenting" or the like.  They may be nice people but just from what you have described this sounds, at least to me, like the first incidence of eye rolling behavior with lots more yet to come.  For me this incident would tell me that I needed to search elsewhere for friendships that I can fully relate to, I don't understand people like this, I really don't.

Parents need to prepare the child for the world they actually will be living in, not a theoretical world and in the real world most people want to know if you are male or female.
Always be polite, even to nasty people. Not because they are nice, but because you are.

perpetua

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Re: We're letting Baby decide for themselves!
« Reply #7 on: June 04, 2014, 04:14:28 PM »
How perfectly ridiculous!  The child is either male or female, for crying out loud.

Well - not necessarily.

What an interesting dilemma. I think I'd be using 'baby' a lot, but I agree it could get awkward.

gollymolly2

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Re: We're letting Baby decide for themselves!
« Reply #8 on: June 04, 2014, 04:14:55 PM »
Refer to the baby by its name. "How's Pat?" "Pat looks sweet today." etc. No need for pronouns.

nayberry

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Re: We're letting Baby decide for themselves!
« Reply #9 on: June 04, 2014, 04:17:47 PM »
How perfectly ridiculous!  The child is either male or female, for crying out loud.

Well - not necessarily.

What an interesting dilemma. I think I'd be using 'baby' a lot, but I agree it could get awkward.

given how many people find that they don't associate with their birth gender the way the parents are choosing to raise their child means no pressure on the child to be one thing or the other. 

i would however want to know as i'm nosy ;)

nuit93

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Re: We're letting Baby decide for themselves!
« Reply #10 on: June 04, 2014, 04:20:34 PM »
It seem that the parents are stating that they will let the child choose what *gender* (i.e. the social construct, what their brain is vs. what the body is) they will identify as when they are older, which is not necessarily the same as the child's biological $ex.

It can be confusing if you've never known anyone who's transgendered, since most people tend to assume that gender and $ex are always the same.


shhh its me

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Re: We're letting Baby decide for themselves!
« Reply #11 on: June 04, 2014, 04:21:06 PM »
  Yep keep to proper name or "baby/little one/muffin" etc.

Either they are trying for gender neutrality(which I think is silly, kids will decided for themselves anyway as long as the parents are open to that) or the baby was born with non standard genital

newbiePA

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Re: We're letting Baby decide for themselves!
« Reply #12 on: June 04, 2014, 04:23:38 PM »
Refer to the baby by its name. "How's Pat?" "Pat looks sweet today." etc. No need for pronouns.

This is my vote.   The parents are making a very unconventional decision, but they actually seem to be doing it fairly politely.  At this age, does the sex/gender matter?  Unless you really want to get into it, I would avoid drama.

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perpetua

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Re: We're letting Baby decide for themselves!
« Reply #13 on: June 04, 2014, 04:24:34 PM »
Refer to the baby by its name. "How's Pat?" "Pat looks sweet today." etc. No need for pronouns.

This is my vote.   The parents are making a very unconventional decision, but they actually seem to be doing it fairly politely.  At this age, does the sex/gender matter?  Unless you really want to get into it, I would avoid drama.

newbiePA

Mine too. Brilliantly simple and I don't know why I didn't think of this!

nuit93

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Re: We're letting Baby decide for themselves!
« Reply #14 on: June 04, 2014, 04:28:18 PM »
Refer to the baby by its name. "How's Pat?" "Pat looks sweet today." etc. No need for pronouns.

Yep, this is the best way to handle it for now.  That or "baby", which can be amended to "kid", "kiddo", etc, later on.  But using the proper name and respecting the parents' desire to be gender-neutral is best.