my little tomboy.

when i found

out i would be

the father to

a girl, i worried about

a lot of things.

and in spite of

everything i learned in my

sociology and feminist theory

classes, i sort of

took gender roles

for granted, assuming

like many parents do

that my girl would

be into “girly” things.she would wear nothing

but pink, play with

dolls, read “girl” books,

and want to be the princess.

i dreamed of turning

her into a tomboy

(you know, to keep her well-rounded)

and figured she

would resist all attempts.

over the last

year or so

her personality

has really developed

and i’ve re-learned


that there are people

outside the house

that can (and do) influence

her behavior more than

i do.

at her school,

she’s with a bunch

of boys who are

a little bit older

while all the girls

are younger.

if you have kids

(or if you remember your childhood)

you know that they

tend to look up

rather than down,

so thanks to the

boys at school,

my daughter is a

total tomboy,


but a tomboy i was

totally unprepared for.

i was ready to

teach her about baseball

and football and fishing and

all of the other

“boy” things i did

when i was a kid, but

she’s way into

comic book characters,


superheroes, star wars

and other shit

i know nothing about.

(thankfully brooke is into star wars and can handle maddy’s questions and can correct me when i incorrectly identify one of the characters).

a few weeks

back her mind was

completely blown

when she found a

batman mask ready

to be cut from

the box of her favorite

breakfast cereal,

and no matter where

on earth you live,

you probably heard

her squeal when i

pulled a batman

comic book from

inside the package.

(“squeeeeeeeeeee! dad! this is soooooo cooooool!”).

a few days

later brooke bought

her a t-shirt with a

bunch of superheroes

on it, and when madeline

chose it as her

shirt for the day, she

spent the entire

drive to school asking

me questions about

the superheroes and their

personalities and super powers…

questions i couldn’t

answer for her

other than to say

that the hulk turns

green when he’s angry

(i know nothing about wolverine or the other superhero on her shirt, whatever his name is).

so in hopes of

getting her questions

answered, i took her

to a comic book

shop to ask the guy

behind the counter

all the questions she

could think of.

but when we got there,

there wasn’t a guy

behind the counter,

but instead, a young woman

who looked

like the kind of

apathetic, child-hating

hipster typically found

in that neighborhood.

maddy eagerly hit

her with questions

about batman, wolverine,

green lantern,

and all the other

superheroes she could

think of, and the woman

answered her questions

enthusiastically, pulling

out age-appropriate

comic books for maddy

(i didn’t know such things existed, but maddy now loves her tiny titans comic book).

i stood back,

trying to learn all

that i could

my heart melted

when she looked

at me with those

thankful eyes

she has when

she’s really, really happy

and asked me to

read to her.

we sat in that

store for 35 mins,

each page i turned

led to more

questions, which led

me to say over

and over again,

“i don’t know, maddy”

which led the woman

behind the counter

to smile in our direction.

i left maddy alone

to read



while i

paid for the books

she chose,

and thanked the

woman behind the counter

for helping me out.

so now i’m trying

learn as much as i

can about comic books

and superheroes

so i can be

a better father.

but just when i

think i’ve figured

things out,

i’m reminded that

gender identification is

malleable and our

assumptions are bullshit

because i found myself

sitting with

brooke and my little tomboy,

getting my first pedicure.


and i fucking loved it.

maddy’s fourth birthday is less than a month away, and thanks to some scheduling conflicts, we have already made our visit to the doctor for her annual checkup. as usual, the person(s) who guess both her height and weight correctly, i’ll send you a copy of my current favorite book and a copy of my current favorite album.

for those of you who live in countries that use the metric system, please feel free to submit your guesses in metric units of measure…i will do the conversion for you.

here are some hints:

at her 3-year appointment, she weighed in at 29 pounds and was measured at 36.375 inches, making her roughly 61% of her mother’s adult height.

here are four charts that probably won’t help you with your guesses:

the first shows her weight since birth:


the second shows the percentage change in her weight from the previous dr. visit:


the third shows her height since birth:


the fourth shows the percentage change in her height from the previous dr. visit:


contest ends next monday march 5th at noon pacific time.

good luck.

(oh…and if you’re in the los angeles area, don’t forget to join us for the llf bowl for hope event/fundraiser on march 1st).

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