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.
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
6/14/13 9:52 AM
6/14/13 9:52 AM