A Sicilian friend of mine is perplexed by her son's choice of carnival costume this year. Her husband is simply not amused.
The eldest (9 years old) has decided to create his own, given that the monster he'd like to impersonate doesn't exist and it's therefore impossible to purchase such a costume. On his own accord, he dug out some pocket money and bought himself a red pair of leggings and a red turtleneck. He then proceeded to cut out wings and a mask by himself at the kitchen table.
So far so good. Actually, great: his parents are well-proud of their son's enterprising spirit.
Then there's the younger brother, who's almost four years old. A little bashfully, his mom tells me that when she took him to kindergarten this morning, she realised she'd forgotten the kids had all been told to dress up for the school carnival party. She soon realized her major slip-up and offered to rush back home to her his Spider Man outfit.
But, all hell had already broken loose. Hugo had seen all his little girlfriends dressed up in their Princess Sisi and Snow White gowns and he'd thrown himself on the gravel screaming that he too wanted to be a princess. His mother tried in vain to convince him l'Uomo Ragno was far cooler, but to no avail.
Finally, his teacher whispered to Hugo's mom that she might have a fairy outfit stashed away in a cupboard nearby. "Shall we give him that?" she asked.
My friend shrugged as she said to me: "What could I do? There was no way he was going to be convinced otherwise!"
Crisis resolved - the kid couldn't be happier! And so began the tale of Hugo the Fairy. But it doesn't end there. His mother phoned her husband as soon as she stepped back into the car to tell him the news of Hugo's silver wings and glittery wand. "Ah no! Please!" And then he quickly said: "Well, at least make sure the teacher knows not to take any pictures. NO WAY, no pictures of this."
Of course my friend was most reassuring with her other half. Then she turns to me and says "And to think that for the last year, Hugo's favorite color has been shocking pink...for Christmas he insisted he wanted Barbie's house and her camper (and Santa brought them to him)...for his upcoming fourth birthday he's already asked me for a Barbie decoration on his cake... and when I went to buy him sneakers last week, he cried in desperation because he said he wanted pink high heels instead!"
Obviously, his mother is wondering whether these are signs the child will grow up to be gay. And she wonders whether she is making the right decision in agreeing to most of his requests ("But only up to a point! Forget the pink heels and the Barbie cake!" she exclaims. "That's going too far. But for the rest, there's no point fighting it. What do you think?"
I'd say I agree. And you?