My Son, The Dancer – Part II

Continued from a previous post…..

I hate being the new mom.  I sat down on the benches outside of the dance studio by myself, looking through the one-way mirror at my son transform into a dancer. 

A mother and daughter came running up the benches and dropped their bags next me.  They were late.  The mother started to hastily change her daughter out of her light-up sneakers and into her ballet shoes.  As the little girl held onto the bench for balance she caught site of C.J.

“Look at the new girl!  Why is her hair so short!?” she asked loudly.

The mother looked up.

“I don’t know, honey, some girls just like to have their hair really short like a boy,” she replied. 

“That’s my son,” I said quietly to the mother.  Her face turned 15 shades of red as she confirmed to her daughter that she had been right; the new girl in dance class was a boy.  The mother hurried her daughter in the studio and did not return to her seat next to me.  It’s okay, we are used to being the elephant in the room.

My eyes were glued to C.J.  I had never seen him happier, more focused.  Finally, he was a dancer.  My heart was melting, yet again, for my sweet gender creative boy.

After the break, during which the kids metamorphosed from ballet dancers to tap dancers with a simple change of shoes, one of the other mothers had no choice but to sit next to me.  I decided to get friendly.

“How old is your daughter?” I asked, startling her.

“She’s five.  How old is your…..little….guy,” she asked nervously gripping her Starbucks for safety.  Is a boy in a tutu and ballet shoes in an all-girls dance class still a boy?

“He’s going to be five next month,” I said with a smile.  Apparently there was nothing else to talk about.  A mom behind me tapped my shoulder. 

“I think it’s so great that your son’s taking dance.  My little girl in there has a twin brother and I never even thought to ask him if he wanted to try it,” she said.

“Thanks,” I smiled sincerely.

An advanced adult ballet class started in the studio next door.  I was watching the graceful grown ballerinas and thinking about Black Swan and Natalie Portman and her baby and if she would be at the Golden Globes after retreating from Hollywood with her dreamy ballerina man.  A man entered that class late.  He set his bags down and stripped down to skin-tight black leggings and a tight, deep v-neck.  He found a place on the bar.  Oh my.  Okay.  I get it.  Dancers are good looking.  I watched him move, he was better than every woman in the room.

Before dismissal, each tiny dancer was given a coloring sheet as a reward for their hard work.  It was a ballerina Hello Kitty.  Miss. Milk-N-Honey asked if that was okay for C.J.  I assured her that it was right up his alley.

C.J. and I took a few minutes to watch the adults dance next door.  C.J. was enraptured. 

“Do you see the boy dancing?” I asked, leaning down to his level and pointing as he spotted him.

“Wwwoooooooowwwwwwwww,” he said slowly.  Oh yeah.  He saw him.  “Mommy, he’s better than the girls.  I want to be like that.” 

“You can,” I said.

In the car on the way home, I asked C.J. if he liked dance class.

“I.  Tote-a-wee.  Wuved it.”

The next class couldn’t come soon enough.  C.J.’s raced me to Miss. Milk-N-Honey.  He was a man, in tights, on a mission.  Like a super hero, but different. 

“Miss. Milk-N-Honey.  Today I’m gonna wear my skirt again to class.  Can you pwease tell the girls not to make fun of me?” he said in speech so clear and premeditated that I couldn’t believe it came out of his mouth.

“Oh, sweetie, sure,” Miss. Milk-N-Honey said, looking loving and concerned.

I couldn’t say anything; there was a lump in my throat.  C.J.’s Dad walked up the stairs then.

“Ohhhh, I feel like I’m on Dance Moms,” he said as he entered the studio, saw the parents’ seating area, grabbed as seat next to me and put his arm around me.  My macho husband makes me smile regularly.

“She’s no Abby Lee Miller,” he said upon glimpsing Miss. Milk-N-Honey.

“Alright, settle down,” I said without looking at him, all eyes on C.J.

Class started and C.J. was crab walking across the wood floor.

“We need to work on getting his butt up during the crab walk,” C.J.’s Dad said softly.  If C.J. were playing t-ball, he’d be taking similar mental notes, thinking of ways to help C.J. improve.  I love this man for being passionate and interested in the things that speak to C.J.’s soul: “gender traditional” or not.  I don’t tell him enough that it takes a big man to lovingly-father a girly boy.  He’s proof that a bully can be reformed.

“Are boy ballerinas called ‘ballerinos’,” C.J.’s Dad interrupted my thought.

C.J.’s Dad and I took turns watching C.J.’s Brother practice parkour in the main gym downstairs.  We were afraid to leave C.J. upstairs alone by himself and afraid of what the other parents might gossip about when we weren’t around.  We know we shouldn’t care, but we do.  We’re working on it.

Class was ending and it was time for coloring sheets.   Miss. Milk-N-Honey brought out two options to choose from: SpongeBob SquarePants and Princess Jasmine.  Options.  Options are good.  C.J. went straight for Princes Jasmine.  Miss. Milk-N-Honey smiled at me and acknowledged that with a boy in the class she felt like she should have a boy coloring sheet to choose and, even better, that she never considered that one of the girls might want a “boy” coloring sheet.

Three cheers for Miss. Milk-N-Honey!  She turned and walked away and I read the back of her shirt.

“Wherever you go, go with all your heart.”

I grabbed C.J.’s little hand and his tutu and his tap shoes and we went, with all our heart.

About raisingmyrainbow is a blog about the adventures in raising a fabulous, gender creative son.
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126 Responses to My Son, The Dancer – Part II

  1. Harrt says:

    That’s great my son does ballet he is 5 and wears the most girly outfit in the class after ballet he always goes home and watches my little pony I love my son no matter what he is wearing or watching

  2. Thank you for writing this! I also found your post by google searching boys tap and ballet shoes. When summer is over my son begins the dance class he’s been begging me to take (mostly because he wants the awesome shoes, haha!). He will be the only boy in the class, so I’m a little nervous and trying not to pass that on to him. I wish you son the best in all he does! ❤

  3. Pingback: Gender Nonconforming Part II | The Mommy Shoppe

  4. Miranda says:

    I found your post while searching for “boy” tap shoes, as my five-year-old son starts a ballet/tap class this week. I really enjoyed watching you and your family on the Today Show last week, so I clicked the link to read your post, which then made me cry. My son doesn’t show any signs of gender creativity, but we try hard to offer our kids toys and opportunities without regard to the gender roles society assigns. His big sister loves her dance classes (along with ninjas, knights, soccer and dolls), and I was incredibly excited when he decided he wanted to take dance. It was a bit of an uphill battle, both becuase he gets very scared of new things and because of the dad at the ballet studio who told him that he needed to join the wrestling club instead because ballet is for girls. I had to show him pictures of my friend’s son dressed for dance class and assure him tutus weren’t required (or actually even allowed at his studio, because they want to be able to see the line of the kids’ hips). I am impressed with your parenting and your blog. You just got yourself a new follower.

  5. Jeffrey M says:

    Just out of curiosity. Did you ever introduce CJ to the adult dancer?

  6. Moony says:

    I’m only 19 and I’m a bit of a conservative traditionalist in general. However, in the future when I have my first son, the first thing I’m going to do is take him to ballet class – and your beautiful story has reaffirmed that decision. Thank you, and your adorable little CJ! :3

  7. ShinyShoeGuy says:

    You know…..I’m an 18 year old boy, and i’ve had a secret afinity towards girl fashion. I like to look at myself as fashion aware.. I’ve always really liked Girl’s patent tap shoes, and i wear them regularly…..and i get made fun of for it…especially when i was in school…enough to the point were i said screw school and screw everyone, cause none of the school faculty helped do anything about it. To the point that my mother had to threaten to file a lawsuit against the school district.

  8. Cassie says:

    Your post brought tears to my eyes. There are so many things I could say as a former professional dancer & as the mom of a 6 yr old son who often makes non-traditional gender choices. But, the beauty of your & C.J.’s story is just loving our kids for who they are, respecting them & supporting their choices. Thank you so much for sharing. I will be checking back often.

  9. emmamulligan says:

    This made me all teary-eyed! Thank you so much for sharing 🙂

  10. dance mom says:

    Found your blog randomly. My son is 8.5 and still lpersists with the ballet – he actually thinks it is cool, even when his friends say it’s ‘sooo gay”. He also joined the all girls pom pom squad at school which elevated his coolness to a new level. As a competitive gymnast, the ballet instructors love his strength – I recommend adding it to your son’s repertoire. Good luck, from Chicago.

  11. This is one of my favorite posts so far. I teared up when I was reading about how supportive your husband is and his concern for making sure C.J.’s butt is up during the crab walk. I love that there are people out there like Miss. Milk-N-Honey. And I love that there was a man in the adult ballet class. If I were you, I would have had to make a slightly too-loud comment about it for the other moms to hear, to show them that if he could do it then so could C.J., or any other boy/man that wanted. I am going to continue reading your blog to find out what happens, but as of now my secret hope is that the male dancer is straight, and that C.J. gets to meet him and have the opportunity to know someone who likes things that are typically girl activities but is still heterosexual (regardless of what C.J.’s sexual orientation turns out to be, just to give him another perspective). This may be weird to say since I don’t know you or your family personally, but I am so proud of the way that you, your husband, your son, your bother, your parents, and even your in-laws are handling the difficulties that arise with the task of raising C.J./being his family. I hope that one day I am at least half the mom that you are.

  12. briannetyson says:

    Your blog about your son is just awesome! and the love you feel for him is profound. Hooray for you and your husband for being such exceptional loving parents and dealing so well with his non gender conforming in your stride. We never know what is in the future for our children, but be assured that C.J. is a step above the others in that he has been blessed with parents who love and care for his whole being, especially his unique soul. Over the years I am sure that his very being and outlook will encourage many people to look more closely at others who live with difficult burdens with the respect and the love that is meant for all.

  13. Emily says:

    A few days after reading this post, I stumbled upon an article about an all-male, tutu-clad ballet troupe called Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo, and it made me think of CJ. The youtube videos of their dances are fabulous. Maybe it’s in CJ’s future? I wish you and your family all the best.

  14. jo Hadley says:

    I love reading about C.J. It reminds me of my brother. He would wear my clothes every morning in preschool around 2 years ago.

  15. gertiengrace says:

    God Bless you, thank you for sharing your stories, you and your family make this world a much more beautiful place. I would love to sit next to you as you watch dance class!

  16. Animockery says:

    I love your stories they make me smile C.J. is very lucky to have such amazing parents and he sounds like an outstanding individual.

  17. chick says:

    I wish your family lived next door to mine. 🙂

  18. Emma K. Harr says:

    I love this so much. Thank you for writing about this journey with your son. The stigmas we place on our kids has frustrated me so much that I’ve thought, “When I have kids, I want a little beautiful and amazing gay boy so that I can treat him the way he SHOULD be treated.” I know that things are difficult for your family sometimes, and that people can be hurtful, and I hope you don’t think that by my saying that, I am at all taking what you’ve written about lightly. I think it’s incredible. I stand and applaud you. The way you love your son and the way you and your husband stand up for him together is what is going to make him such an amazing and caring and smart adult one day. Because he will be able to understand that there has never been anything wrong with him and that he’s perfect just as he is. I wish you guys all the best. And a very happy birthday to C.J.!!!

  19. Rob says:

    I’ve played all kinds of sports, and I credit ballet, tap, and gymnastics for my flexibility and balance. I took dance when I was about CJ’s age, and also “wuved it”. I mostly do martial arts and rugby now, and I still use what I got from dancing years ago. Here’s to Moms letting their boys dance!

  20. sydneydxb says:

    Again, I totally loved the post. I’m at a loss for words. Just gonna say…I loved it! 🙂
    God bless…YOU and your family!

  21. Olivia says:

    He’s probably too young to start now, but if he would be interested in a different kind of dance Irish Step dancing has more boys participate than most other kinds of dance.

  22. I read this post this morning and it totally made my heart smile! It’s so refreshing to come across people who encourage the things in their children that make them unique instead of trying to force them to conform with what’s society expects from them. You’ve made my day and your site has quickly become my new favorite way to waste time.

  23. insaniteen says:

    Love your story. I’ve already raised my rainbow (long before blogging was quite so popular) so it’s great to see it written down on paper here. Good job!

  24. Just passing along another story about a boy dancer.
    This one, from 1963! What a different world it was then!
    And I know you’ll love the last line of his message, too!

    Sam –

    Keep it up, fierce mom!
    xo Paul V.

  25. shanjeniah says:

    I love your writing, and your stories of C.J. and his delight at living on his own terms. He reminds me of a boy I once knew, who entered every room with a flounce and a perfect pirouette. He, too, was accepted as he was by his family.

    And I think of my gay friend, John, and how his mother managed to make a cake that was half- Barbie for him, and half wrestling for his twin brother.

    Every child deserves to be accepted as they are, nurtured, and supported. I think perhaps the lives of many other gender creative children are getting sweeter because you are posting here.

    I love the choice of blog title. Sparkly, uplifting, magical……just as I imagine C.J. is.

    Thank you for opening a window into your world.

  26. I love your blog! Today was my first ballet class.

  27. I love your writing and your beautiful mother-love for that little spitfire. May he grow up healthy and strong and quirky!

  28. Agni says:

    Man, I love this blog! I find myself looking forward to reading more of CJ’s adventures! This post was extra-nice since Dad was in it showing his support, and I also loved that quote on Miss Milk-n-Honey’s back! I had forgotten about it… 🙂
    Reading your blog, I’m starting to think that people dealing with kids – like teachers – are a lot more accepting and open-minded. Do you feel this way, too? Have you ever had a negative experience with someone who was supposed to support, educate and boost your child’s confidence? (Please, say ‘no’, and don’t break my heart!)
    Once I read that being a teacher is one of the most noble professions, because you are “building minds of the young children that one day will become our future”. Smth like that. I think it’s inspiring… Anyway, I asked that because, in my opinion, teachers aren’t supposed to pass judgement, but should encourage and turn their sutdents into confident tiny people, so they can grow up to be the best they can…

  29. I see your family as a role model to so many other people out there…I hope more people catch on to your positive attitudes about your son ❤

  30. penelopepl says:

    I just want to say I really enjoyed this and I was exceptionally touched when I read about your husband. You have a great family. 🙂

  31. Beautiful…beautiful experience, beautiful perspective and beautifully written. I had only to read about the short haircut to pause and subscribe to your blog. Our daughter is 18 now and only in the last year has really let herself BE. She’s gone from high school to college….from long hair always in a ponytail and jeans/sweatshirt to a mohawk and shopping in the men’s section. People often call her my ‘son.’ Lauren is used to it now, it doesn’t bother her. I’m comfortable with it now, too. She’s my daughter….and it doesn’t matter if people ‘get that’ or not.

    Love your perspective. Thank you so much. xoxo

  32. ntexas99 says:

    I don’t even have time to read all the comments (I’m sure they are great), but wanted to take a moment to say how happy I am to have found this blog. I adore your attitude. If you were to happen to get a chance to check out my blog, perhaps you would enjoy the post on Jan 16th titled Parental Acceptance (about raising my son with an attitude towards acceptance, that sort of went awry). Anyway, what a great blog, and I’m already hopelessly in love with your Rainbow.

  33. Tom says:

    You have really started out this year’s blogs hitting a homerun! (or performing a Fouette…choose your analogy 😉 Looking forward to the next one…with a picture of Miss Milk-N-Honey 😉

  34. rooksgolla says:

    CUTEST FAMILY EVER. Well, after ours of course. Just kidding. Thank you for sharing your sunshine, rainbows, and love with us. My husband and I are dancers/choreographers/dance instructors…we now have a 14 month old son….we hope he’ll have rhythm if anything (*crossing fingers*), other than that, we just hope he’s happy. I linked your blog to my own with some additional thoughts on my little guy.

    I love the part of your story where your husband comes in to watch class…you guys are just TOO CUTE. I love the photos of the purple tutu…so sweet and a little funny too! Love his energy and confidence. Please post videos of CJ’s first dance recital!!

  35. Pingback: Rainbows or Race Cars? | i like funny i like honey

  36. What is sounds to me is that its the mothers who have ” a problem” with C.J., not the children. ignorance is stupidity and says everything about them and absolutely nothing about C.J. Keep on dancing!!!

  37. tara says:

    Miss Milk-N-Honey rocks. I am so glad that CJ ended up with a teacher like her.

    And bravo to your husband for being such a supporter of CJ. My son’s father has issues because our son wants to wear his purple suede boots everyday. He loves them and they make him happy. Near Christmas, just about everyone on both sides of the family was against me letting my son wear his beloved boots for all sorts of reasons. I was in tears and struggling and I had just one friend supporting me. And I decided it didn’t matter. That the most important thing for me to do was love and support my son no matter what.

    And I also thought of this blog and all the things you encounter loving and supporting CJ. For all of your stories, I thank you.

  38. Firesparx says:

    Yup, you just made me cry at work. Such an amazing young man, such an amazing young family.

    As for the other little girls, give them a few weeks and they will settle in and having a boy in the class will be the new normal. I wouldn’t be surprised if they end up defending CJ’s choice to be in their class to closed-minded parents and other kids.

    I took ballet until I was 19 and always wished I had a guy in my class. When dancers get older, it’s so fascinating to see the different techniques and moves men can do that women can’t due to sheer body strength (have you SEEN male ballet dancers jump! Holy smokes!)

  39. asintree says:

    As someone who spent his childhood as the only boy in every single dance class he took until he was well into his teens, I know the bravery CJ has, but now I understand even more the courage of my parent. My dad was a college football-playing coach who supported my theatrical inclinations 100%. My mom, like you, was by my side every step of the way.

    I was blessed. CJ is too.

    PS. I make my living in the theatre and on Friday I will join the cast of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert where, besides playing several male roles, I will wear some amazing dresses, a paint brush, and a cupcake. If you EVER come to NYC I hope you will let me know. I would be honored to be your tourguide or dinner host, etc…

  40. Underground Dude says:

    Lovely piece. There need to be more parents like you and your husband and your family gives me hope for a better, more accepting world. Beautifully written and thanks for sharing.

  41. emiklio says:

    Loving this story so far! I’m a teenager who wants to be a preschool teacher super bad and C.J. sounds like the sweetest kid on earth to teach. :] Miss Milk-N-Honey is a lucky woman.

    Also, I love the way you write!

  42. I just wanted to say how lucky CJ is to have you as parents. Thank you and kudos to Miss Milk-N-Honey…you are very special people! Follow your heart CJ and you will never go wrong…

  43. nancyfrancis says:

    🙂 This makes me happy.

    I know at least one little boy that isn’t given the freedom to go with his heart, and its heartbreaking to watch.

  44. Little L says:

    my heart is smiling, so beautiful….i want to give you all a hug for your love and courage ((hug)))

  45. lissaofdoom says:

    I love your efforts and rewarding successes at allowing your child to decide who they will grow into. And mental high fives for your adorable husband. Many warm fuzzy thoughts to you and yours, and I can’t wait to read your next installment!

  46. Jan Wilberg says:

    I so loved this post. Especially the pieces about your husband. Ballerinos. Yes.

    Thanks. So good.
    Jan Wilberg,

  47. wightrabbit says:

    I saw your blog on Freshly Pressed and had to come to let you know that my son, now nearly 40, started dance classes when he was eight, after we watched his younger sister take part in her dance-school concert. Over the years he put up with a great deal of mental and physical bullying, but that made him even more determined and dedicated. He passed exams in ballet, tap, modern, jazz and character dancing – ‘earning’ private tuition by helping his teacher with younger children (all girls). When other parents saw him in class or performing they’d say ‘it doesn’t mean he’s gay,’ – remember this was in the 1980’s. I always replied that I didn’t care what he was, or wasn’t, as long as he was happy. And he wasn’t simply happy when he danced, his world fell into place and everything made sense.

    He went on to perform in musical theatre in London and Germany, for many years. And, although he’s the most sensitive of men, he isn’t gay – he’s a father himself now, very much in love with his young wife and not afraid to show it.

    But we didn’t know – or care about that then. As he was growing up – we supported and celebrated his every choice. Each time I watched him perform – in dancing school or college, or on the West End stage – a shiver ran through me, making my hair stand on end. And I wanted to tell the whole world, ‘See that gorgeous, talented, awesome young man up there? That’s my son, the dancer!’

    I wish you and all your family well, on this exciting journey!

  48. AkMom says:

    Smiling through my happy tears. Great post, great mommy and daddy, great Miss Milk n Honey, great CJ!!

  49. Addicted to your blog says:

    After reading ALL of your posts in a matter of days I got curious about gernder-neutral education and found this really interesting articel about a gernder-neutral pre-school in Sweden. I guess C.J. would have fit right in and would have had a blast there.
    Really interesting read!

  50. Kendra says:

    This is such a beautiful story! The example you are setting for your children and fellow parents is inspiring. Thanks for being brave and smart. Good work!

  51. Eve says:

    Thanks for sharing with the world. With tears in my eyes I finished part 2 and I am honored to follow your blog since reading about CJ and their wonderful supportive parents touched my heart. We need more parents like you in the world! GOOD LUCK WITH DANCE CJ !!! I’m sure you’ll be great!

  52. Miriam Joy says:

    This is beautiful. And I stand by what I said before – more boys should do ballet. They often are better than the girls.

  53. kamaratri says:

    Yay for colouring sheet options! I’m very glad that your husband also supports his dancing. Heck, maybe one day C.J. can play the Swan in Swan Lake himself. ^.^

  54. Darrin says:

    I think this is the best post you have created yet. There was just… different and powerful about this post. thank you for writing everything!

  55. aritali says:

    I adore everything about your blog. 🙂 I adore that you are allowing C.J. to express himself. He will absolutely thank you for this when he is older!

  56. And CJ’s Dad? You should be giving lessons on how to be the most awesome father in existence. No brag, just fact.

  57. Amanda Rudd says:

    I am so in love with you, your son, and your whole family. You make me cry. In the best possible way. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

  58. Vannie says:

    Just to sate C.J.’s Dad’s curiosity, male ballet dancers are most commonly referred to as “danseurs”, but the Italian “ballerino” is also completely legit.

    P.S. You have basically the best son ever. He reminds me of a little boy I used to babysit who danced with his aunt’s old walking doll because he wanted to be like the “Star Men” (a.k.a. the male dancers on Dancing With the Stars, his favourite show EVER).

  59. summitg18 says:

    Reblogged this on Lemonade Smiles.

  60. If only everyone was like you. You’re an amazing mother, and CJ is very lucky to have you. All the very best.

  61. You’ll have to pardon me. It’s seems I have something in my eyes,,,,(Sniffle…)

  62. How wonderful and inspiring. You are so lucky your husband is so wonderful! I think as a mother of 4 it is so important to nurture our children’s inner inhibitions. You go mom!

  63. Addicted to your blog says:

    You are such a great mom, C.J couln´t have gotten any luckier in the parent-lottery!
    Keep up your great work, even if its hard, C.J. will love you even more once he understands what you did for him!!!
    Greetings from Germany!

  64. tiannawynne says:

    I’m sure he will grow up to play the Prince in the ballet production of Sleeping Beauty, or something similar. A wizard in a ballet Fantasia production? I saw a Vogue article a long time ago and they interviewed male ballet dancers and a lot of them didn’t fit the “stereotype” that’s attached to them. Amazing new viewpoints every day. You are a beautiful writer.

  65. You are such a beautiful writer, and your words are so important. It’s such a gift that you were Freshly Pressed and I could find you.

  66. Kindred Pilgrim says:

    I just found your blog through freshly pressed and fell in love. Even more so with this second half of this story. You are amazing in chronicling your family’s story in such a manner and a true inspiration to many. I have a feeling you will be well noticed with your blog and story. Thanks for sharing it with us.

  67. Fia says:

    I wish everybody were just like you.

  68. Alexpwns says:

    An inspiring, totally feel-good story. You’re an amazing writer and a model mother.
    Thanks for writing this.

  69. MMM says:

    I love this post! That quote is one of my favorites. Yay for CJ and your whole family! 🙂

  70. Sky SeerySky says:

    Seriously, this is such a beautiful post. If C.J. were in my daughters dance class, it would be an honor to sit with you…I can tell you that.

    “Wherever you go, go with all your heart.” <—- so very true!

  71. cperigen says:

    I want to say thank you for your blog. I am a “non-conforming EDUCATOR” and love that you’ve listened to your son on who he wants to be. So many times, we beat the creative, passionate, and enthralling aspects out of children…and just try to get them to be like everyone else and learn what they’re supposed to learn. Gender discussion leads us to deeper discussions on expectations, opportunities, and, as Ms. Milk-N-Honey realized this last dance class, what opportunities we might NOT be offering children simply because of their gender. I read an article by Lisa Bloom the other day, talking about the girl side of it all: Thought you might enjoy as I just came across your recent reads list as well. It does make you think…and I love hearing your stories about CJ. Soon to be a book, I hope. We need more people like you and your husband raising children.

    Trust Your Journey,


  72. camartinsky says:

    LOVE this. Just stumbled upon it and read the top (this) entry. So great to see parents going against the “norm”, embracing their child and letting them do what they want to. CJ’s one lucky little guy, and he sounds fantastic.

  73. Denise says:

    I have been following you from the start and I’m so happy to see C.J. blossoming into whatever it is he wants to be. I have two boys, an 8 year old who likes everything boy and a 6 year old who likes everything boy and pink unicorns. I constantly share stories like c.j.s and others like the little,boy who wanted to be a girl scout. I let the. Know them know different is awesome. It’s what’s inside that matters and it’s not ok to judge. I don’t know what my kids will grow up to be but I know they would befriend c.j. In a heartbeat because he is a cool kid.

  74. redmitten says:

    landing here via mary m’s blog. inspired! in addition to what everyone has already shared, i wanted to share this: in the book, the element, there is a story about a little girl who could never sit still in class. she was such a disruption to the class and to her own ability to learn that the school wanted to kick her out. her mother wisely took her to a psychologist. he interviewed the little girl and then left her in his office by herself, taking her mother with him. before he left, he turned on the radio. through the one-way glass they watched- the little girl came alive, dancing so wonderfully her mother gasped. he asked her- how many years has she been taking dance lessons? and her mother replied: she’s never had a dance lesson.

    turns out this little girl could not think or express herself if she had to hold still. when she moved, everything fell into place and she could think like “the other kids”. asking her to sit entirely still while learning was impossible.

    this little girl started taking dance and later became one of the world’s top choreographers: gillan lynne (cats).

    if we listen to our children from the start and follow their lead, they show us the way and we can become proactive parents by helping make possible all those open doors they need to go through. good for you and your husband! good for your entire family and yes yes, c j!


  75. 4Nbahu says:

    I commend you on your blog. I first started reading it on Queerty…. when I couldn’t find it after awhile I was sad. I was so glad when I found your blog. Having known many people who didn’t quite fit the average mold, it makes my heart sing to find someone who can so eloquently celebrate the joie de vivre of such unique individuals.

  76. Gabrielle says:

    Love Miss Milk-and-Honey and love that another mom’s mind was opening regarding her twin son. C.J.’s dad is clearly wonderful. Glad to hear it’s turning out well, even up to a male role-model for C.J. to see and be able to point to as an example that “boys can, too, dance”.

  77. Steve says:

    Just commented on the first part, and didn’t want to be the loser who didn’t get to the second part. Loved this half just as much, and it’s really, really nice to see a supportive father. My father has always been really supportive of the things I choose to do – from baseball to theater to what I chose to study in college, etc. And that’s a major help.

  78. staphylocock says:

    i couldn’t wait for the second part, had an inkling that the resolution should be spectacular, and it was!

    this blog is one of the things that i show someone when they’re complaining that there is nothing good about this world. because there is, and you, your family, your efforts and successes are living proof of that, and of the fact that it IS worth trying, that you CAN leave an impacton the world, make others think and help them become better people.

    thank you so much for sharing. (:

  79. Gluten-free Medley says:

    This is only the second post I’ve read from your blog – I was hooked on Part 1 of “My Son, The Dancer”. I have tears rolling down my cheeks after finishing Part 2. Thank you for sharing your story!

  80. Fawn says:

    The moments you are sharing with you son as he grows are all very touching! I am so glad I found your blog! I too try to go everywhere with all of my heart!

  81. Giselle says:

    Oh just: love, love, love, love, love!

    I am enchanted with CJ, your writing and the entire blog. I couldn’t wait to read part 2 so clicked through immediately as soon as your Twitter alert popped up!

    A lot of good news, isn’t it? CJ is sticking up for himself (yay! Go CJ!), Miss Milk-n-Honey is great: considering new options and taking teaching moments in her stride, kudos to the twins’ mother for speaking to you, and CJ’s dad and you! are doing great… this is all wonderful! And seeing the male dancer in the other class: like icing on top. I just love CJ’s enthusiasm!

    Do you think that CJ and CJ’s dad will do a bit of crab walk practice at home? What better way for CJ to know for absolutely sure that his dad loves him and loves him just the way it is. Spending time together is such a precious and affirming thing!

    Now I’m just hoping that CJ will continue to love dance and that you can find the money for the classes. Perhaps a future birthday gift from someone in the family to contribute?

  82. Toby says:

    Your blog really takes me back to when our son was young (many years ago now). He used to insist on getting to playschool early so that he could be first to the dressing up box to wear the red dress. At every opportunity when he was playing he would dress himself up as a princess. It wasn’t what we expected from our eldest son, but we went with it, and it would have seemed unbearably cruel to have tried to stop or dissuade him. He’s now very happy as a budding women’s fashion designer.

  83. says:

    again, a beautiful blog post. i am SO glad i found your blog!

  84. I want to thank you so much for sharing your journey with CJ! I walk this road as well with my 11 year old son. Like you, I feel that the most wonderful gift that we can give them (or any of our children) is to honor their souls and individual spirit. My little guy was never into sports, but give him a stage and and music, and he would put on a show to rival the creativity of any Broadway show … as his mother, how could I not honor these gifts. And today, he has an audition for a coveted spot in one of the best performing arts magnet middle schools in the state. I could not be more proud of him. Sometimes this parenting gig can be challenging, but I believe by honoring our kids and ourselves we will do a bang up job…and who know maybe one day we will both be sitting in the audience with hundreds of other people, watching our children shine their Light on the World stage 🙂

  85. vilvintage says:

    Thank you. Your post brought a tear to my eye (in a good way). I’m the mum of a 5 year old boy who wants to go shopping wearing his spiderman mask, leggings, wellies and my sunglasses. I’m going to stop watching people to see if they’re staring at him and just embrace him for the great and creative boy he is. He was wildly flinging himself around the room after seeing Fred Astaire dancing on the telly the other day. Maybe I will encourage him take dance classes…
    Don’t get that ‘new mom’ feeling any more. We’re all there with you 😉

  86. irisgirl says:

    another gem—-I’m so proud of CJ for asking the teacher to speak to the girls about not making fun of his tutu! Such clear evidence of your wise and compassionate nurturing……

  87. Jassy says:

    A “ballerino”! How cute is CJ’s dad? Is it a prerequisite to be so endearing and sweet to be a part of your family, or is that special training that is received afterwards?

  88. Daigan Gaither says:

    I was disappointed last week when you didn’t finish the story.. My satisfaction and joy know no bounds this week at the conclusion. Thank you for sharing your lives…And CJ’s Dad is a hell of a man!

  89. Nabilla says:

    i absolutely love the stories you put up here, and at the risk of sounding a little like a stalker, I come back every few days hoping for updates. to echo some of the comments already said, i think you have fantastic parenting skills – you and your husband both make an incredible team. when i have kids of my own, i’ll probably come back here just to look for some advice 🙂

  90. knews2me says:

    I just recently started following your blog and I am in love with CJ. He is one lucky gender creative being! I’ve shared your post with my facebook friends. We could all learn a lesson or two from CJs mom…and dad!

  91. Pre says:

    Your parenting style is incredible. Kudos to you and your husband. You are champions.

    I’m so happy I found your blog. I’m not a mother and I can’t begin to understand how much of your heart goes into each post about your son, but I firmly believe in equality and it seems like you do too. I think it’s beautiful that your family doesn’t conform to gender roles. The world could learn a lot from your story.


  92. Tommy says:

    When are you going to get a literary agent to help with syndication? (No, I’m not kidding). Thank you for letting us all grow up with CJ.

  93. Only One Life to Live says:

    Your stories are honest and touching. My younger sister is a total tomboy and very tall, but loves to dance. She certainly doesn’t fit the mould and she would never give up what she loves to do. Your devotion to your son and the way you support him in all of his endeavours will certainly help you in raising a confident son who owns who he is. Its fabulous to read about, and I wish your family all the happiness in the world.

  94. Vic Anne says:

    This isn’t much of a comment but all I have it love to send to y’all!

  95. I can’t make it through one of your post without crying.

  96. Lyn~ says:

    When 2 of my 3 daughters were 9 and 6 there was a Mom who’d signed up her daughter and she refused from week to week ~ she’d not dance, the mother was quite annoyed about the loss of the out laid money ~ upon hearing this her son pleaded to be allowed to take his sisters place!!! This was not visually a rainbow boy in the same manner that C.J. is but he suddenly saw an opportunity to dance having not been asked (a girls activity type of thought) and he saw his big moment to align himself with something he strongly wanted to be allowed to express; it was an honor then to watch this Mom startled at first then softened by the gleam and joy from this 7 yr old boys eyes… as it is today some 16 + years later to experience the same beauty and honesty you show and share with us each time you post a blog 🙂

  97. deborah says:

    My son also was the only 5 year old boy in his first ballet class, dancing is his passion and after 11 years, he’s still going strong, but sadly, still the only boy in class. You might find that eventually, some of these same girls will become C.J.s strongest advocates, protecting and accepting of him just like you.

    Thank you for sharing your stories.

  98. On my blog today (about dancing), I asked people to visit this blog….I hope they do

  99. Pingback: A poem (with farting camel): Cast All Your Votes For Dancing « I'm Fine Being Single – Until I'm Not

  100. Karen says:

    Your comments about your husband made me cry, a little. Kiss him a bit and tell him thank you from me.

    I was thirteen when two girls in a neighboring town won the right to wrestle in the boys wrestling team. I was thrilled. My father was the wrestling coach and he had been pitting me against my brother from the time I was five. I knew I was better than my brother and for three minutes I was excited about being able to wrestle. Right up to the point where my father said he would quit before having a girl on his wrestling team.

  101. antarabesque says:

    Again an empowering and lovely post. Thank you. Continued blessings upon you all. 🙂 Can’t wait to read more.

  102. nagelle16 says:

    These have made me so happy and so inspired. Thank you!

  103. Ann Jackson says:

    Thank for sharing your stories about C.J., I love your blog. My daughter is a 13 year old ballerina who goes to a public “arts” school in Chattanooga, Tennessee (Chattanooga High Center For Creative Arts) plus takes dance classes outside of school. There are several boys in her dance classes and they are amazing. All the classic ballets have men roles. C.J. will be the one who lifts the female dancer high carrying her across the stage with strength, grace and agility. The male dancers are featured with two or three females in a lot of dances, seeming to be the stars. I’m so happy you are such great parents to support and encourage him.

  104. I’m in love- can’t wait to read more…

  105. I love it! What a perfect little story. CJ is so lucky to have supportive people around him (including Ms. Milk-N-Honey!). I grew up loving dance myself, and only last year, when I was 31 years old, did my mom tell me: “We really should have taken you to dance classes when you were younger”. Better late than never!

    Thank you for sharing it.

  106. Thank u for telling CJs story so the rest of the world can fall in love with your wonderful little guy!

  107. scientiste says:

    First, you and your family are awesome for embracing C.J. and letting him be who he is! That’s also awesome that you let C.J.’s brother do parkour! My husband teaches parkour here in Seattle. All the coaches are very supportive and accepting of all the different types of kids that come in, and I love seeing them get to play and feel safe and how much they benefit from it. It’s sad how hard it can be sometimes to find that kind of supporting environment. It sounds like you’ve found that with this dance class, so congrats! If you’re ever in Seattle, please feel free to come on by.

  108. Malia M says:

    Not a lot of men are like CJ’s dad….for that matter like CJ’s mom. You are making an impact in this world. I hate the gossipy dance moms and love the hot male dancer in the other room. You are amazing.

  109. Dance is art, art for the soul, regardless of gender, color, or any other limiting label. I’m in awe of how well you manage, but when your heart is full, how can you not manage well?

  110. Connie says:

    Go Miss Milk-N-Honey! I love your writing and your story.

  111. Gave me happy tears, CJ is the luckiest little kid!

  112. Chatter Master says:

    Oh my heart! 🙂

  113. Yes! Go with all your hearts! Wonderful! I’m so happy for C.J and for all of you that you found Miss Milk and Honey! She sounds wonderful!

  114. BruceP says:

    In the 70s, I took a ballet class as an elective at a Midwest university. I was awful. I couldn’t do anything that the others did. But I learned an appreciation for what others do that I couldn’t. Good for you that you are changing what other believe by being you and setting an example. When we change what we believe, we change how we act.

  115. cc says:

    Unbelievable, love it. You have such a way with words, it brings emotions as if I was there. My 5 year old son just finished a boys ballet class (yep, you read that right) where there were 6 boys in his class and a male teacher who is currently a dance major in college and has been passionate about dance since he was a toddler. My little guy would have been just as happy if it was a class of girls though, maybe even happier as he relates better to the girls : ) Let’s do this and support these little guys for being confident and unique.

  116. Stephanie Millard says:

    Hip,Hip,Hooray for CJ our “Tiny Little Dancer”! Just love you guys! I find comfort in your posts. As if I have a good friend who just gets it! My CJ has grown out of his tutu and moved on to heels and handbags!

  117. I love your family’s story! I admire you for putting your child first in a world where those choices are not always met with open arms. I am a kinder teacher and in my 25 year career, I have met 5 “gender creative” boys. Girls are harder to spot because it’s more widely accepted. 3 of the 5 families were like you. It made my heart sing.

  118. I subscribed to your blog after your previous post. We’ve never met but I love your writing and parenting style. You remind me of my own awesome mother! She always said, “I don’t care what you are as long as you’re happy.” I went through all kinds of phases, tom-boy, tommier-tom-boy, gothic, punk…and she was always there. My cheer leader. Bravo to you and your husband. Many blessings to your family.

  119. Awesome. There is absolutely nothing else I can say. He is an awesome little boy and you are a truly awesome mom.

  120. bluerosegirl08 says:

    I for one would like to know where C.J.”s teacher found her shirt because no I want one!

  121. cj’s mom, i just LOVE you. i read everything you write about your totally fabulous son and those who love him.

  122. Chris says:

    I know you already know this, but you are fortunate in the people in your life! And it’s wonderful that it only takes a little nudge to get people to think a little differently, like Miss. Milk-N-Honey with the coloring sheets. As always, thank you for sharing!

  123. Kristin says:

    Wow, such a beautiful, wonderful story! What a blessed child C.J. is for having a family who loves him for him. And to hear him ask his teacher to make sure the other children don’t laugh at him-priceless!! We could all learn from C.J. using his voice and following his dreams.

  124. VL says:

    Go CJ! Our office assistant Steven took dance for years – and looks it, legs and butt to die for even in his 50’s. Now he leads hot yoga and pilates classes and puts us all to shame. He said that when he started dance he really, really wanted the ballerina clothes – but it was a different time and he did without. I am so glad the CJ does not have to do without. Kudos to you and Dad.


  125. xxxMissVxxx says:

    Your family sounds amazing!
    C.J is already turning out to be a wonderful boy.

    I hope you’re both proud!!

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