THE MOUTHS OF BABES

Mom, Are You Going To Be a Man When You Grow Up?

Gender conversations with a three-year-old.

Adelina Vasile
2 min readMar 19, 2022

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Photo from Pixabay

OK, it didn’t actually start quite like that. More like:

-Mom, will the three of us be men when we grow up?

-Who are you talking about, Matthew?

-Dad, you and I.

Ignoring the fact that he doesn’t think I’m a grown-up yet, I do my best to remain serious:

-Oh, I see. Well, you and dad will be men, and I’ll be a woman.

-Why?

-Because I was born a woman.

-What if you were born a cat?

-Even as a cat, I would have still been a… hmm… a woman or a man. But you know, when we talk about animals, we say female or male. There are only two sexes, for either humans or animals.

He doesn’t seem impressed, so I continue my lecture. I don’t get into details regarding the difference between sex and gender, but I choose to exemplify.

-When we talk about cattle, the female is a cow and the male is a bull. With horses, the female is a mare and the male is a stallion. With sheep, the female is a ewe and the male is a ram.

Now, I figure it’s time to “test” him.

-So, when we talk about chickens, the female is a hen and the male is a…?

Silence.

-Come on, Matthew. You know this one. What do you call the chicks’ father?

-Father hen, comes the answer.

© Adelina Vasile

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Adelina Vasile

Mother, educator, journalist, copywriter. I write about the things I need to learn myself.