Most strangers think that Huxley is a girl. It doesn’t really bother me, I admit he’s a pretty baby. All big eyed and elf-like. For the future I’m thinking (hoping) Legolas of Lord of the Rings, willowy yet beautiful and handsome. Other members of the family don’t take it so well. My mum, my sister and father-in-law get quite offended. My mum once held Hux up in a poor ladies face challenging “do you not think he looks like a boy!!!” I mostly think it’s funny because I know that not only do they see a pretty baby but they also see an amber necklace on him and their silent query is confirmed. “Ahhh, definitely a girl!” they think to themselves, relieved that they can now ask out loud “How old is SHE?”
Those of you that know me and have known Rory since a baby know that I’m a keen user of amber for teething. And in necklace form to be specific. Mainly because I figure if it’s for teething the amber may as well be getting to work on their faces not their feet! So that’s the main aim of the game. It helps I think they are lovely obviously but that is not really the point. The thing that bothers me about people getting it wrong primarily is that they cannot digest that a boy may be wearing a beaded necklace. That and peoples’ reluctancy of putting an amber necklace onto their baby for fear of what others will think.
Rory’s best friend Albie was having manicures with his mummy from a very young age. He also had a little blue buggy which he loved. His mummy couldn’t care less about what people thought and why should she? Are we worried that because he had a blue buggy when he was one that he might be…. dare I say it… gay? If that is the case then someone else has a problem here with how the world and humanity work. I can certainly think of terrible outcomes in qualities your child may develop, being gay would not be one of them.
You other mums out there will know- from around age 4 kids became very aware of what are ‘boys things’ and what are ‘girls things’. Rory will declare “oh no I don’t like pink ‘cos that’s a girl colour” and yet pick the pink sparkly cupcake and the pink sprinkled donut because his inner instinct knows that his theory is rubbish and it especially doesn’t apply to his stomach. I like that. That his stomach still has its primal instinct and hasn’t caught up with his head yet. I also like that he currently watches My Little Pony. But I know that when he starts school and he hears someone laughing about how that’s a girly programme that will be the end of it. Another little piece of his innocence and pure mind gone. I only noticed the gender stereotyping that tiny kids are subjected to when last year he told me a story after nursery; ‘….so when the emergency happens we’ll say ‘girls stand back,me and the boys will sort it’. I had to blow his mind a little by telling him that girls can be stronger than boys. He has also just learnt of same sex marriage and often tells us this new information at frequent and random intervals; ‘Did you know mummy, that boys can marry boys and girls can marry girls!’
I don’t think he is fixated on these things because I put amber on him and I frankly couldn’t care less that one person once thought he was a girl because of it. To be honest the amount of babies that I have peered into a pram at and been too scared to ask whats his/her name- and they weren’t even wearing amber!
I then realised after the ‘girls stay put’ story that this has been such a subtle and gradual influence. Fireman Sam, Postman Pat (a woman by the way, would so do his job better!) all of the superheroes he was beginning to love. All men. And not just a TV influence, I guess it’s in the wording we use, the images we see. Anyway I really don’t want to get all feminist on you but it’s merely an observation that I’m wondering if we all need to be slightly aware of and I can definitely connect it to peoples presumptions on amber wearing.
For us amber, amongst other stones and materials (read here about hazel wood and reflux) has been calming, given us more content babies and made teething so much easier than without. I know this because when Rory was about 4 months old and was in full on whingy-grump mode I remembered I had bought this amber necklace and thought ‘what the hell’, put it on and had a much happier baby in about 10 minutes. My sister was there to witness, I remember because it was one of those moments we all have when you think ‘I do not know what to do with this baby’. I agree different babies teeth at different levels- Hux started teething really early and has only just got teeth through at 9 months so has been slightly more dribbly. Rory however teethed only for a month before his teeth came through and the amber stopped any dribbling at all. Neither have had red cheeks or nappy rash associated with teething. When the necklaces have come off without me realising I have thought often- what is wrong with you and my mum will say- “has he got his amber on?”. Against guidelines I and many other people I know have kept the necklace on through the night, gently tucking it under clothing. Though I know you can tie it around their ankles at night if you were more cautious. Just as Rory did only deciding to take his off at 4 and a half, I will let Huxley do the same. There can be no loss in keeping it on for as long as possible. I have family members whose kids were teething very late and amber would be the ONLY thing to stop them dribbling!
So to the Dads that think their son will look weird and to the mums that think it just won’t work, I would dare you to try. At best you may get a contented, less agitated, dribbling baby. At worst your child will be asking for a gender re-assignment within the year. I think not…