Gender Bending Kids Parties

We live in a world where the gender lines are becoming less defined in some areas, more defined in others (pink Legos, ‘nuff said). As a mother of a boy I’m happy to get my son pink items, dolls, and other “girl” toys. He’s been the type heavy into cars, trains, and superheros, so it’s nice to see those gender lines aren’t so black and white. 

I didn’t expect to hesitate at his request to have a My Little Pony birthday party.

I knew my initial gut instinct was based on the gender lines I’d been taught and raised with. I also knew my second instinct was that of a mother who knows her child: this was a new obsession and ran the risk of dying out before the party. But I can’t deny that the gender issues weighed heavily on me, even as I did my best to shield all this from my son.

At the first mention of the party I was ready to start planning whatever theme he chose, already figuring on Legos as he’s been into them big time. I enjoy making a lot of my own decorations and like to plan in advance to prepare. Yet I held back this year, wanting to leave my child with an escape option, should he change his mind. Knowing any of his friends could tease him for his My Little Pony love and not wanting him to deal with that kind of negative feedback at such an early age.

He held strong to his desire, sans one week where Spiderman trumped. But after that week, it was back to My Little Pony.

This lead me to my next challenge, dealing with all the pink! Just about anything My Little Pony is saturated in pink, yet there are quite a few “Bronies” out there (boys who like My Little Pony). There was nothing I could do about the amount of pink available commercially, but I could balance it out. I chose a theme of rainbows, scattering more “boy” colors around to balance out the pink. Fortunately my standard deocrations already came in blues, greens, and reds, and melded perfectly into the theme.

For the cake, I opted to make my own. The result… well, let’s just say my creativity should stick with writing. I decorated a round cake with blue frosting, created a rainbow made out of Skittles, with marshmellow clouds at the ends. I found some My Little Pony candles and plopped them on the cake. Those who have seen this cake love it, I still fear if I post a picture it’ll end up on Cake Wrecks!

The end result of this party: one happy kid. My son had a blast. The guests were an equal mix of boys and girls and most of the boys got into the theme. I had favors of Ponies and Legos, and most of the guests opted to take a Pony home with them. My son was not teased, though I think most of that is due to the young age of the guests, and an amazing group of kids not affected by the gender roles yet. I’m sure it also helped that most of the boys had baby sisters at home.

For me, I still feel bad about my initial knee jerk reaction to my son’s request for a party theme. It makes me sad that I had to think of how his peers would react to his choice for a girly party. Bullying is all over the news these days, it’s forefront in our minds. Yet kids are kids. They enjoy things without regards to male/female. If we let them.

Ultimately, I’m proud of my son. He hasn’t compromised his love. In fact, as I sit and write this, I’m looking at decorations still handing from my walls. A former train table is filled with a bat cave, Batman figures, Legos, and My Little Ponies. I have one child, this is all him. I hope he continues to be true to himself, even after he grows to be aware of social stigma.

Advertisements

Work In Process Blog Hop

I was tagged by the lovely Kathleen to participate in a Blog Hop with 10 questions about my current WIP. So here’s another sneak peek at my New Adult story that is slowly morphing into something that looks like an actual novel on my computer.

  1. What is your WIP about?

My current WIP is about a college student who has a hearing loss and constant headaches. She begins to accept her hearing loss, only to discover her headaches are due to a past trauma. When the trauma happens again her life spirals out of control.

  1. What is your main character’s greatest strength?

Carli’s greatest strength is her power to persevere. She’s had attention problems most of her life, but still dreams of becoming a teacher. She adjusts her study habits to match her attention span and continues moving forward.

  1. What is your main character’s greatest flaw?

Her inability to stay on one topic for long, along with willingly ignoring issues that are right under her nose.

  1. Name your main character’s favorite food and drink.

Favorite drink: coke. Favorite food: chicken quesadilla.

  1. What animal would your main character be and why?

A mouse. Small and quiet, a mouse can easily escape and hide.

  1. If you and your main character were in a coffee shop, what would you discuss?

Since I share a hearing loss with Carli, we’d talk about hearing aids, hearing loss, and how we cope with both.

  1. Who would your main character like to date/marry and why?

Carli isn’t sure. She’s never been the type to catch a guy and hasn’t seen anyone worth holding onto. With a hearing loss she doesn’t see herself as exactly desirable. Though the deaf guy she meets certainly seems worth paying attention to.

  1. What superhero does your antagonist act like? Why?

My antagonist acts like Wolverine: short temper and doesn’t take crap from no one.

  1. If you made a music video starring your antagonist, what would be his or her song?

Never Again by Nickelback.

  1. What fictional character do you like the most and why?

Honestly, I’m too eclectic to pick just one! There are so many different attributes that I like about too many different characters. I think each character has their own strengths and weaknesses and I relish in each one’s uniqueness and how they deal with their own personal set backs to rise above.

For the next stop on the blog hop I tag Jen Henderson (www.sjhenderson.net/blog/).

Sex In Books: fantasy vs reality?

Over the weekend I saw this post, about movie sex vs real life sex. I laughed my ass off and think you will, too. In all forms of entertainment there tends to be a fantastical element thrown in, a departure from reality that we may not think of at the time. This also relates to book sex vs real life sex, in most cases.

Ultimately it depends on the book. If it’s a romance, the sex better be good, and hot, and not awkward. If it’s another type of book, well, then bring on the awkward!

I’m all for putting reality in my stories. But I must admit, writing sex scenes is not about reality. There’s little room for awkward movements, noises, etc. And let’s face it, at its root, sex is awkward. It’s a shoving of body parts together. Enjoyable most of the time, yes, but let’s not forget the awkwardness. 

In a romance novel the sex scenes are often times about showing the connection between the main characters. Show them growing closer together. It’s an emotional journey. And the awkward reality might very well dampen that journey.

I’ve managed some awkward moments in my writing. Words being said that shouldn’t be. Clothes half on, half off. And the all important sock gap (thank you Coupling, UK version, let’s forget there ever was an American one). But all the stories I’ve heard from real-life awkwardness (and no, you are not getting into my own bedroom here, I have family out there that read this!) I don’t think I could ever work into a novel.

And this, frankly, makes me a little sad. It’s the same concept I keep stumbling back to: fantasy vs reality. Why does the hero have to be perfect looking? And perfect in bed? And everything he does works just right? And the men without the moves are the bad guys? Nope. Not real life.

Alright, I’ll tell you a little secret from my real world: I wear hearing aids, no secret on this blog. The general concept of blowing air onto one’s ear makes me squirm. Air blown over a hearing aid microphone is… well, air being blow over a microphone. Nails on a chalkboard. Instant mood breaker. Real life. And, if I’m completely honest, something I DID put into a recent sex scene where my female wears hearing aids.

Now, back to reality vs fantasy. I’ll probably strive to throw in a little reality every once in a while. One of my writer friend’s wrote a truly wonderful awkward sex scene that had me laughing, covering my mouth, and cringing for the main character. It worked for the story and this particular scene. So I’ll try and throw in reality where I can, but the rest of the time, well, fantasy sells.

Authors Fangirl Too!

In fact, I think it’s vital for creativity to have someone else to look up to. The stakes are raised higher, and inspiration can be achieved.

For years I robbed myself of this, and have been making up for lost times by reading and reading. And reading. I sometimes slow down in my reading when I’m heavy into my own work, like now.

I’m just a few chapters away from the ending up my current WIP (work in process). The story is heating up, and I’m loving it.

Then I received notification that an eBook I pre-ordered, and had been waiting years for, was available.

I squealed and did a little girly jump at the e-mail, then immediately fired up my eReader to see the shiny new book downloaded.

I told myself I would read just one page. Famous last words.

So, that’s why my blog post is real deep this week, and full of fun pictures!

But, back to my opening statement, reading is good for a writer. I used to be afraid of copying too much from what I read. Not true. Give two writers the same exact plot to write and two very different books will be produced.

When I read a book I enjoy, I stop and think of why. What did I like about the writing? What did I like about the plot? Sometimes, in the case of the book that has drained my eReader of battery life, the book is a Paranormal Romance. Not my usual genre to write, so I really enjoy seeing all the different elements of the paranormal aspects of the story.

I also have learned a lot from other writers and how they form their words. Recently I read a book where the author had an amazing skill of taking one sentence, and throwing in enough sensory details that with just that one sentence, that the whole scene became a visual image in my head. Cue me being in awe, and promptly thinking of ways I could do the same in my own writing.

All this to say: I’m loving being a fangirl. As soon as I write a few more words in my novel, and my eReader finishes charging, I’m going back to reading.

Although I may be found, in the not so distant future, standing by the outlet reading…