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Excerpted from "Raising My Rainbow: Adventures in Raising a Fabulous, Gender Creative" by Lori Duron. Copyright © 2013 by Lori Duron. Published by Broadway Books, an imprint of the Crown Publishing Group, a division of Random House LLC, a Penguin Random House Company.

Excerpted from "Raising My Rainbow: Adventures in Raising a Fabulous, Gender Creative" by Lori Duron. Copyright © 2013 by Lori Duron. Published by Broadway Books, an imprint of the Crown Publishing Group, a division of Random House LLC, a Penguin Random House Company.

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Published by wamu8850
Excerpted from "Raising My Rainbow: Adventures in Raising a Fabulous, Gender Creative" by Lori Duron. Copyright © 2013 by Lori Duron. Published by Broadway Books, an imprint of the Crown Publishing Group, a division of Random House LLC, a Penguin Random House Company.
Excerpted from "Raising My Rainbow: Adventures in Raising a Fabulous, Gender Creative" by Lori Duron. Copyright © 2013 by Lori Duron. Published by Broadway Books, an imprint of the Crown Publishing Group, a division of Random House LLC, a Penguin Random House Company.

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Published by: wamu8850 on Sep 04, 2013
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05/15/2014

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Chapter 2
It was like watching somebody 
come alive, watching aflower bloom, watching a rainbow cross the sky. It was the daythat C.J. discovered Barbie. He was two and a half years old.One late fall afternoon, as I was doing some cleaning, Ifound a boxed Barbie in the depths of my closet and tossed heron my bed.“WHAT DAT?!”I wobbled and nearly fell off my stepladder at C.J.’s shriek.“It’s Barbie,” I said, regaining my balance.This particular Barbie was pretty fabulous. It was Mattel’s
50
th Anniversary Bathing Suit Barbie. She was a modernizedversion of the original
1959
doll, with a two-piece, black-and-white bikini trimmed with her signature color pink; pinkhoop earrings; a long blonde ponytail; and a pink cell phone.“I want to open she!” C.J. declared.He held the box as he jumped up and down, up and down,up and down. I’m sure he gave Barbie a concussion. I hesi-tated. I had been trained well by my mother; you don’t opena boxed Barbie if you can at all help it. I was a little annoyed;I was going to open the box and take Barbie out, and my son
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6 lori duron
was going to play with her for a few seconds and move on tosomething else bright and shiny. Then I’d be left with a depre-ciated piece of plastic. But his face, his sweet excited face couldconvince me to do worse things. We opened her.In that instant, our lives changed forever in a way that wenever expected. In our family’s history there is now B.B. (Be-fore Barbie) and A.B. (After Barbie). Never underestimate thepower of an eleven-and-a-half-inch woman. Of course, at that exact moment, I wasn’t aware that ourlives were changing. I couldn’t have predicted the magnitudeof C.J.’s actions or mine. I figured that C.J. would play withBarbie for a day, maybe two, and lose interest— as he had withall of the other toys he had encountered in his short life. I waswrong; Barbie has been a constant in his life since that day.Oh, my son wasn’t dabbling; he was hard-core from the start.C.J. had found his life’s passion— and he wasn’t even three.Matt arrived home from work at the police department tospy a big-busted blonde in his younger son’s grip. He shot me alook that said,
What
 
the
 
hell 
 
is
 
that? 
I replied with a glance thatwhispered,
Settle
 
down. We’ll talk about it later.
Matt changed out of his uniform and sat on the living roomfloor next to C.J., who was sitting criss-cross-applesauce andtrying his hardest to put clothes back on a naked Barbie.“What do you got there, buddy?” Matt asked C.J.C.J.’s eyes lit up and a huge grin crossed his face as he excit-edly described the doll in great detail to his father. I smiledfrom my spot at the kitchen sink.Later that night, after C.J. and Chase were asleep, Mattshared with me the unease he’d felt when he saw his son play-
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raising my rainbow 7
ing with a doll. Having grown up with no sisters, he’d nevereven had a Barbie in his house before and couldn’t rememberever touching one. It didn’t feel right to him, though it didn’tfeel completely wrong either. After all, C.J. was just a childand Barbie was just a toy.It was the first of thousands of conversations we’ve had inthe privacy of our bedroom late at night as we’ve tried to fig-ure out how best to parent a boy who, at times, is clearly moregirl.“My brother played with Barbies,” I reasoned with Matt,reminding myself and trying to squash the indescribable feel-ings of unease we were flirting with. “And he turned out fine.”Matt gave me a look that expanded on my last sentence.
Fine
 
and 
 
 gay.
Of course C.J.’s zeal for Barbie reminded me of my brother,Michael.My brother and I had a bad Barbie habit as kids. While otherkids we knew were committed to karate, baseball, piano, anddance, we were committed to playing with Barbies. We didit all the time, just as I assumed all brothers and sisters did. Ididn’t realize until much later in life that my family’s defini-tion of “normal” was different from other families’.On any given weekend Michael and I would convert theentire floor of the front family room into a fabulous worldfor our Barbies. There was a wardrobe area and a styling areafor accessories, hair, and makeup. We arranged the minia-ture furniture to create a spacious four-bedroom, one-story,ranch-style home, since we weren’t fortunate enough to pos-sess the Dream House or even the Malibu Beach House. We
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