Star Of The Week

The first weeks of school are always a little rough for C.J. (and me).  There are a lot of new things.  New routines.  New classroom.  New teacher.  New classmates.

photo 3We’ve found that he self-edits more than ever in the first weeks of school.  He tries not to stand out as he gets his bearings.  He doesn’t wear his socks from the “pink section.”  He doesn’t wear his jewelry and accessories.  He doesn’t take his pink lunchbox with hearts on it.

And, just like that, October arrives.  That’s when my son can no longer dull his sparkle.

Last year it happened on National Coming Out Day.  I shit you not.

“I did it,” he said as he was getting in the car after school.

“You did what?” I asked.  Not at all sure what the answer might be.

“I told my friends that I like girl stuff,” he said.

“What did they say?”

“They said that they already knew and then they ran to the slide to play.”

photo 1This year, C.J. was selected to be Star of the Week the week of National Coming Out Day.  When you’re Star of the Week, the whole week is about you.  In kindergarten, C.J. hated being Star of the Week because he didn’t want the focus to be on him; he didn’t want to share himself with the whole class because he was afraid of what some of them might say.  Being Star of the Week is hard when you’re a rainbow.

First Grade C.J. was relieved to be Star of the Week.  He wanted to use it as the chance to come out to his classmates as a boy who like girl stuff and boy stuff.  The last three words of his claim aren’t truthful.  C.J. does not like “boy stuff.”  None of it.  I struggle to think of something characteristically “masculine” that he does like.  I would have to offer up that he likes riding his bike (which is Monster High themed) and doing gymnastics (which isn’t typically perceived as the most masculine sport, but it’s the only sport that my son will do).  He also likes laughing at farts and making up rhymes and jokes that include the word “poop.”  Is that behavior considered more “masculine” leaning?

But, if it makes him feel better to tell the kids at school that he likes girl stuff and boy stuff, that’s absolutely fine with me.

Monday: Star Of The Week Day 1:  C.J. had to bring in an “All About Me” poster.  We spent the weekend getting his poster just right.  He has very high standards.

Favorite Animal:  Turtle

Favorite Food:  Strawberries

Favorite Color:  Rainbow

Favorite Place:  Colorado

When I grow up, I want to be a:  Artist

Favorite thing to do is: Play with my friends

If I had one wish, I would wish for:  I wish that people would understand me and not tease me because my style is different.  I wish that colors and toys and clothes could be for everyone – not “just for boys” and “just for girls.”  I like boys stuff and girl stuff.

photo 2

When he dictated his wish to me, I was a mix of sadness and pride.  I was sad that his biggest wish is to be able to like what he wants to like and be himself without the negative reactions and judgments of others.  And, I was proud that he was brave enough to share all of that with his 28 classmates so that he wouldn’t have to self-edit as much while at school.

“What did the kids say about your wish?” I asked after school.

“Some kids already knew.  Some kids didn’t say anything.  Some kids laughed at me.  But, those are the kids who laugh at everything,” he replied matter-of-factly.  He was unfazed by the laughers, so I was too.

Tuesday: Star Of The Week Day 2:  C.J. had to share one of his most prized possessions with the class.  He was going to share one of his favorite books, Roland Humphrey Is Wearing A What?, which is about a gender nonconforming boy who wears girl clothes to school and overcomes teasing.

Instead, he decided to earn some major playground cred and envious admirers by showing off two autographed photos.  One of the cast of Jessie and one of the cast of Sam & Cat.  It worked like magic, just as he knew it would.  He can already read a crowd.  He was the coolest kid in first grade when he whipped out those autographed photos.

Wednesday: Star Of The Week Day 3:  He led the class in some math-guessing game.

Thursday: Star Of The Week Day 4:  Every student in the class wrote him a letter and drew him a picture.

Friday: Star Of The Week Day 5:  He got to bring home the letters and pictures that his classmates made for him.  And, this is what I saw that warmed my heart and spread my smile.  These are just five of 28.

photo 1

That’s C.J. as an artist when he grows up with one of his girl friends.

photo 3

This is C.J. walking under a rainbow with one of his very best girl friends (and protectors).

photo 2

This is C.J. with one of the boys in his class. C.J. is the one in the rainbow shirt, in case you weren’t sure.

photo 2

This is C.J. on an ice cream date with one of his girl friends.

photo 1

This is C.J. holding up a rainbow for one of his girl friends. This girl wrote “I think you’re amazing” in her letter to him.

Since his turn as Star of the Week, C.J. has started to wear his socks from the “pink section” to school.  Now, every day he wears his rainbow BFF necklace that he shares with his friend Twirl.  And, he took his pink lunchbox with the hearts on it school for a week.  Then he broke the zipper.  So, now he takes one in the shape of a sweet owl that is intended for girls, but loved by my son…..the Star of the Week.

About raisingmyrainbow is a blog about the adventures in raising a fabulous, gender creative son.
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47 Responses to Star Of The Week

  1. Detetiv says:

    Now that is awesome! GO C.J.! ;3

  2. Jen says:

    How wonderful to know that our children can be so caring and embrace people who are different. And I love that his favorite place is Colorado, It’s my favorite place too and where I live 😀

  3. George says:

    Wonderful! Thank you for sharing. Just . . . thank you!

  4. Rachael says:

    What an awesome week for CJ! I just love reading your blog and all the journey you are on.

  5. BRIAN says:

    “He also likes laughing at farts and making up rhymes and jokes that include the word “poop.” Is that behavior considered more “masculine” leaning?”
    Find me a kid under 12 that doesn’t think bodily functions & sounds are funny & I’ll show you a kid that fits the word “abnormal”. I think that’s a part of growing up, learning to make “fart” noises and to speak when burping then laugh at it all with your friends/family 🙂

  6. Lori, I just Looove CJ! Hip Hip Urray! for you CJ, if I could I would choose you him to be Star of the year, he did so great in a week!!! Your son is such a fun, happy, intelligent, and unique kid! By the way I read your book and loved it too…. I will be waiting for PARTS II, III, IV…etc etc. jajaja!
    But in case you don’t, then you have to promisse that you will keep your blog for as long as needed so that we can follow CJ’s steps into becoming an adult,
    Beijos from Brazil!

  7. Lance says:

    Go, CJ!

  8. Yay! That’s so wonderful that he took this week to make things better at school! He’s such a brave kid and so wise for being so young. Things like this make a kid grow up fast, but he seems fearless and full of confidence. Keep up this attitude, for sure!

  9. Ellen says:

    As always I loved your post. Loved the drawings of CJ’s classmates and also loved his rainbow necklace that he shares with his friend Twirl. You are an amazing mom and you continue to educate others in such an easy manner. I am trying to do that as well by sharing your wonderful book with others who might not have come across it. Everyone I have shared it with has loved it!! No surprise there!
    xoxo to your lovely family!

  10. Bob Culkin says:

    What a very special boy.

  11. Simone says:

    Love this post. This line, though . . . “I was sad that his biggest wish is to be able to like what he wants to like and be himself without the negative reactions and judgments of others.” Oh gosh, I’m just your run-of-the-mill hetero genderconforming female adult and *I* wish I could be myself without the negative reactions and judgments of others!! xoxoxo

  12. Aunt Bonnie says:

    What a great thing for CJ and his classmates. Children can be so accepting and must be “taught” to hate. CJ’s generation will only make the world a better place for all of us. A very wise teacher indeed.

  13. Brian says:

    What a wonderful activity. Sounds like CJ will have a great year.

  14. Sofia says:

    Lori, I love your posts and I admire you and envy you at once. I admire how you know just what to say and how to approach every situation. I’m also sure you second guess yourself but do you ever regret a choice you make, by unknowingly sensoring your child’s likes? I took my daughter to the Party City, for her to look for a costume and of course she only looks in the boy section, I suggested a mail carrier costume or a firefighter because in my mind I wanted her to still look like my beautiful little girl, and she wanted to be a transformer, then she wanted to be some video game monster (that I’m not very familiar with but she was) and I dulled her sparkle by saying no with the pretense of it being too expensive. I saw her settle for a girly devil costume because the trident we found was so cool (made out of snakes) that she agreed to the devil costume. I also noticed that the costume she picked was simple, no glitter, no cute girl appeal, just a simple red dress with horns, but she compensated it by being so enamored by this scary and wicked looking trident which she loves and has been playing with since we bought it. My daughter likes boys stuff, she only want to play with boys and girls are so silly to her (her words) and although I cater to her every desire (only buying her clothes from the boy section – shirts), I realize I hurt her. I envy your acceptance. I feel like a terrible mother, like I need to fix this. I wish I had 1/2 of your mindfulness. CJ is a lucky boy.

  15. Sarah Manley says:

    Love the classmates’ drawings and notes. It helps drive the point home that children are not inherently mean or disdainful of ‘different’ behaviors. And CJ’s wish… oh so sweet and honest. Also, the matching necklaces gets me right in the feels.

  16. Monica says:

    I’m so happy to have found your blog! I’d only wish I would have found it sooner… it would have made raising my rainbow less challenging. Raising a teen rainbow is so much harder coming out so late. I read your book in a week that’s pretty fast for me. Started seeing a psychologist so hoping we can understand everything that’s going on. I’m so happy for C.J. … he’s living a happy life with the love and support of a loving family!

  17. Monica Converse says:

    I LOVE IT! Sending big hugs to you all! Keep doing what you’re doing…you have an amazing child in CJ…I have a feeling he might just change the world!

  18. Mark Daniels says:

    I think it was great that he got to be star of the week so early in the year. Got the whole business of who he is, in all respects out of the way early and everybody can just move on. I think every year will be a bit easier now that he’s in elementary. You’ll have some of the same kids in your classes while introducing new ones, and that’ll be that many more who’ll just appreciate the individual he is.

    On a sidenote, I re-read the four agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz and remembered why I read it in the first place. I was able to reconnect with the idea that being who you are is the most important job you’ll have in this life. You don’t need validity from anyone else, be that positive or negative, they are both equally meaningless to the one you know is yourself. Do what makes you happy, in congruence with who you are and never try to be a people pleaser just to gain acceptance from others in contrast to who you already know you are.

  19. Kelly Eakins says:

    My rainbow actually skipped right over second grade this year (I know, what were we thinking???). The academic decision was made before the whole family was willing to admit that we had a pink boy and he wasn’t going to change! So far, so good. I think God blesses these kids with charisma and positivity that attracts friendships. It also doesn’t hurt that this is the year of the Rainbow Loom craze, which is allowing my son to bedazzle himself every school day! This is one gender-neutral “toy” that I am truly grateful for!!!

  20. boysinthepinkaisle says:

    Great job, CJ! I’m so glad he’s finding his place in first grade. The other kids in his class are better for knowing him. 🙂 I’m always amazed by how brave children like ours are. My own first grader doesn’t wear “girl clothes” in public, but he takes his dolls to school…and whips them out to play on the bus, no less…and is in general very open with everyone that he likes “girl stuff.”

  21. Michelle Simmons says:

    Way to go C.J.! You are a brave and strong kid.

  22. Oh go, C.J.! What a great week for him. ❤

  23. DeerfieldJenn says:

    What’s up with 28 classmates in first grade?! That’s a large class!! I always follow you b/c I have a rainbow son as well, and he is also in first grade now. My son only has 18 kids in his class! Ten more children seems like a WHOLE LOT!! I am glad this week went so well for him.

    • Robyn C says:

      Kids in conventional schools in my part of California have at least 32 kids in a class. It’s not unheard of to have 40, even in the early grades. Yay budget cuts. 😦

  24. Christy says:

    CJ is a shining star. It was so neat to see that some of his classmates reflected his unique, beautiful self in their drawings.

  25. noelyreese says:

    This is so awesome! C.J.’s story really warms my heart! And it gives me hope and courage. Thanks for sharing!

  26. StarSpry says:

    That’s wonderful! I’m so glad the week went well and he feels like he can be more of himself at school 🙂

  27. Laurie says:

    I know it’s sad that kids like CJ and my son have to massage and cultivate their acceptance by other kids. But when they do, I’m just so proud. And I’m actually kind of envious because they will grow up knowing who they are, never apologizing for who they are, and, frankly, will be less willing to compromise themselves than I ever was. Their self-assuredness at 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 is something I couldn’t manage till I was 40! I know it’s hard, but it’s also a beautiful thing to watch.

    • 'Angela (John) says:

      It can take a while. I was 60 (I’m 72 now), and I’ve never been happier, but I so regret that it didn’t happen sooner.

      I wish I could be in CJ’s shoes!

    • Sofia says:

      your words are wise….I have a daughter – who only like boy toys, and although I have fully embraced her likes, I realize I sometimes try to girly her out, like I’m protecting her from the cruel world…I just wish there was a way to shield her from the ugly. I also realize that there aren’t many eyebrows raised when a girl loves dinosaurs and plays with race cars and the boy toy at McDonalds. I can only imagine that it’s much tougher to raise a rainbow boy than a camouflage girl. I’m trying so hard not to sparkle her matte, but it’s so difficult sometimes.

  28. doubleinvert says:

    CJ is amazing. Though it’s heartbreaking that he’s so aware of when he feels it’s necessary to self-censor, I fervently hope that a time will soon come when that won’t be necessary.

    Kudos to you and your family and all those who support CJ!


  29. mamawolfeto2 says:

    This post made me smile, and fills me with hope. At my middle school we have all sorts of kids trying all sorts of new identities, and for the most part kids just go with it. There is kindness in the world, and it looks like CJ has found his own little spot.

  30. Just when I think YOU and CJ can’t get any cuter, YOU DO! Again, thank you for sharing with us! I love it… My daughter loves hearing about how CJ is doing as well!

  31. Tami Bartels says:

    Every single post, I just laugh or smile, or feel a little heartbroken but ultimately start to feel a tiny little piece of heaven click into place in this sometimes big bad world every time. You cant even imagine what parents like you do for that whole big bad world when you support CJ as you have. Your step, lends courage to another, points us all to a place that we can educate, uplift, find some understanding with to those who are a little less than understanding because a little boy is just a little boy with feelings.. Your both star of the week, month, year, forever to us… Thank you for sharing as always…

  32. Cindy says:

    My 7 year old son is soooo similar to your son! He also likes to laugh at farting!

  33. nycmama says:

    My rainbow has broken out more in Oct too. He’s still testing the waters since it’s kindergarten and and all new kids. My heart worries for him.

  34. Lisa says:

    Yay! The world is changing and it’s the children who are leading the way! You rock, C.J.!

    • Dawn Conti says:

      Isnt it funny that the christian sect is ALWAYS the first to deride people who are different,,, But in the bible doesn`t it say ” AND A CHILD SHALL LEAD THEM” food for thought. Go C.J.

  35. Christie says:

    Yep another post that brought tears to my eyes. CJ is one of the most courageous persons that I have every heard of. And Mom and Dad; you are also 2 of the most courageous, loyal, loving, righting, just people that I’ve ever heard of. Your family is changing the world. I guess that would make you a family of heroes….

  36. mrBrennan says:

    “They said that they already knew and then they ran to the slide to play.”
    This is the part that made my day. Kids can be awesome. 🙂

  37. Amy says:

    I recently found and started following your blog. You have given me the courage to let my child be his true self in all settings. I hope I’m able to do as good a job raising my sparkling star. Tonight (3 years old), he ran into the living room and screamed, “Where are my pink, birthday, Minnie Mouse socks. I NEED to wear them NOW!” He is teaching me tolerance in all things. 🙂

  38. Denise says:

    CJ has some rocking classmates. I’m so happy this week went so well for him.

  39. Lauri says:

    I wish that my grandson Ayden and your son CJ could be next door neighbors. They are the same age and love all the same princess girl things!

  40. Kimberly says:

    So proud of CJ! He is a star and he deserves to shine. I’m so glad school is going better for him, and that he rocked his Star of the Week role!

  41. Dr. Sayers says:

    Beautiful. So wonderful to see the pictures drawn for CJ by his friends/allies.

  42. I loved this 🙂
    You are lucky to have such a wonderful son and he is lucky to have such a loving and supportive mom!
    Blessings to you and CJ 🙂

  43. What a great week for C.J.—and it’s heartwarming to see the responses from his classmates. 🙂

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